Confronting the Lies
Remember those who passed the message of Jesus on to you. Thank the Lord for speaking through them to you.
Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-16
 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results.  We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.  For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you.  On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.  You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed-God is our witness.  We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority.  Instead, we were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children,  so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.  Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.  You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.  For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,  encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.  And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.  For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews  who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone  in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow does Paul describe his ministry among the Thessalonians?
The unbelieving Thessalonian Jews went to extraordinary lengths to stop Paul from spreading the Gospel (Acts 17:5-15). Paul’s robust defense of his ministry (1-10) suggests that these unbelievers had also mounted a vicious propaganda campaign to discredit Paul and destabilize the new Christians. The smear campaign insinuated that Paul had duped the believers (3-5). As Christians we should not be surprised if insidious rumors arise that aim to discredit us, or our leaders. According to Paul (and Peter in 1 Peter 2:11,12), we fight character assassination by living holy, blameless lives (10). The standards demanded of Christian leaders are very high (2-12), and that’s why our leaders need our prayers. Only with the help of the Holy Spirit will they remain focused on pleasing God first and foremost (4). Only with God’s power will they be able to work sacrificially (9), modeling Christ’s selfless love, gentleness and compassion (7,8), as Paul did. We shouldn’t be discouraged by opposition. Paul saw it as confirmation that God’s Word was at work (13-15), and Jesus told us to rejoice in the face of persecution because it is a sign that we truly belong to God’s Kingdom (Matt. 5:10-12).
Pray that Christians everywhere live holy lives and dare to share God’s good news with all people.
Lord, I pray that my pastor(s) and other Christian leaders will always–first and foremost–stay focused on pleasing You.
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