Sharing Christ At Work
Loving Lord Jesus, the light of the world, enlighten my world, my mind and my spirit by Your Spirit.
Read 1 THESSALONIANS 2:1–16
You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 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. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 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. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 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. 7 Instead, we were like young children among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 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. 9 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. 10 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
13 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. 14 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 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Walk wisely toward outsiders. Redeem the time. Let your Gospel speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer each person” (Col. 4:5,6, my translation).
Most of us go into a hostile world for work. As Paul reminds us, he did this himself—toiling as a tentmaker and evangelist. If chapter 1 is a great introduction to the Christian faith, chapter 2 gives us an excellent introduction to evangelism. Paul stresses the inevitability of resistance and suffering—he himself experienced this in Philippi and Thessalonica (2; Acts 16:16—17:15). The Thessalonians are encountering this from their neighbors (14–16). We too will experience this, probably in increasing measure. How do we respond?
Paul gives a rich array of virtues that should shine from us at all times. Boldness: despite opposition yet always with gentleness and respect, we will not be bullied into silence; we will not lose our voice (1 Pet. 3:15). Integrity: the Gospel is offered without deception or manipulation, without strings attached. Its essence is not violated, it comes from pure motives and with authenticity. Humility: we offer the Gospel as Jesus offered himself: in service, not self-glorification. Gentleness: the Gospel is offered with tenderness, a desire to nurture; like that of a mother with her infant child or a father with his children. Affection: the Gospel is held forth with deep love for those we encounter. This love leads us to share words and our very lives with others. Holiness: the Gospel comes from lives characterized by holiness and righteousness. We don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk.
Many of us live in societies which are deeply suspicious of the Christian story; many have heard the Gospel and rejected it. Such people need to hear the Gospel and to see it in us. Often it is only as they see authentic Christian lives that their interest is piqued, their resistance is disarmed and they consider following Christ.
Read Acts 4:29 and 30. Do you need boldness to embody the Gospel? Reflect on the principles above and Colossians 4:5 and 6. How can you take such attitudes into the world?
Father God, I pray for continued growth in my Christian life. I ask that my life, not just my words, will proclaim the Gospel.