Summary: Our commission, compassion, character will determine our witness unto Jesus.
1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But even[a] after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. 3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. 4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged[b] every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
Note – The Apostle Paul was forced to flee for his life because of the intense persecution found in Thessalonica. His attackers and accusers tried to discourage and discredit his ministry by stating he was a failure, false minister (only desiring money and praise). The church in Thessalonica was a new church full of new believers in Christ. Without a strong foundation and assurance of this they could easily be led astray and into error. This is one of the main reasons why the Apostle Paul needed to write and remind them that he was a true witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he had lived godly before them, and the need now was for these new believers to faithful in their witness and walk in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. OUR MOTIVATION: HIS GREAT COMMISSION
A. Undeserved Suffering
Note – Everywhere Paul went, he suffered for preaching and teaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He had been persecuted in Thessalonica, just as in Philippi.
20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Note – The world would look at the Apostle Paul – persecuted, prisons, preaching, and say, “Foolish,” and “Failure.” However, the Apostle Paul knew what God had called him to do. God was his ultimate authority and he longed to hear the Lord say, “Faithful.”
Note - J.C. Penney, the great merchant, was once asked, “What were the two greatest motivators in his life?” Without hesitation he said, “I can tell you in four words: Jesus Christ and adversity.” He went on to explain that adversity taught him never to give up, always start over again, keep his faith strong, and realize that adversity makes a person strong. —Norman Vincent Peale, Plus Magazine, July/Aug. 1985, p. 28.
Note – Stay faithful in your witness to the Lord, do what He’s called you to do. He is looking for your faithfulness, not necessarily success!
B. Unlimited Strength
Note – The source of Paul’s courage was the Lord.
Note – Paul was not naturally bold, yet he grew in boldness over his lifetime due to the power, presence, and promises of God.
"I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God" - 1 Corinthians 2: 3-5
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel…” - Ephesians 6:18-19