I’m continuing to look at the exciting book of I Thessalonians and what it says about God’s Word, and now we are ready for chapter 2. “We had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God (2:2 ESV). Paul wrote to the Romans later that he was not ashamed of the gospel. Unashamed believer can share the gospel with boldness, not coldness! In Acts 4:29 Peter and John with other believers prayed to be able “…to continue to speak your word with boldness.” This was the only reason Paul was in Thessalonica: to declare the gospel and to make learners (disciples) who became believers.

“For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive” (2:3). The ground of Paul’s boldness was his freedom from deceit, uncleaness, and guile (JFB). Often when Vivien and I are watching a preacher on TV, one of us will turn to the other and say, “Would you buy a used car from this man?” And far too often the answer is “No!” We certainly would have bought a tent from Paul, if we had lived in his day. This world is crying out for good news that is not commingled with greed or fund-raising.

3 stages in the work of God -- Hudson Taylor“For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed — God is witness.

[6] Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ” (2:5-6). One prominent evangelist from 1947 onwards wrote that God told him not to touch “the gold or the glory.” That principle is clear is these verses and still a mandate for preachers and teachers today.

Then in verses 7-12 Paul recounts his brief time he spent with believers in Thessalonica, and makes this point in verse 13: “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”

Here we have the authenticity and integrity of the Bible. Those believers heard it as a spoken word, and recognized that it was more than just good oratory by men, it really was and is the word of God. And when Paul had finished teaching, the word of God continued its work in those who believed it. Jesus himself had said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63). Peter wrote of “the living and abiding word of God” (I Peter 1:23).

We’ve given our lives for the past six decades to sharing this living word of God, so that believers can see they are who God says they are, they have what God says they have, and they can do what God says they can do. God’s word is absolute; a politically correct culture is relative. The church is now on the margins of society, just like it was in Acts — and that is where its best work is done.

Though “heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away (Jesus, Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33). Now that is absolute and permanent!

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