Paul started out hating Christians and persecuting them mercilessly. After an encounter with Jesus and the Spirit, he was completely changed. He then travelled throughout the Roman Empire telling people about Jesus and planting churches.
One of the cities he went to was Thessalonica in Greece, a strategic centre with a population of about 100,000. Just before getting there Paul had been beaten up in Philippi. Arriving in Thessalonica he preached three Sabbaths in a row, making tents during the week. Some believed, some hated the message and some started a riot. Their time was thus cut short, but still a church had been planted.
In this passage we can gain some insights into sharing the good news as Paul recounts his time with the burgeoning church.
Share the Gospel boldly even when it is hard v1-2
Paul’s gospel efforts had caused two riots a beating and a whipping. It had been hard, harder than it’s been here! Paul was bold even when it was hard
Paul often asked for prayer for boldness to share (eg Eph 6:20). Even when he was tired, or battered and bruised he never gave up.
Share the gospel honestly v 3-6
That pleases God. We live in a world of fakes. Fake news, plastic laminate flooring pretending to be wood, instant coffee pretending to taste nice, even spray on mud for your SUV
Paul was real and his life matched his message.
In 1947, Billy Graham and his team met in a hotel in Modesto to discuss the pitfalls that travelling ministries were getting accused of. They identified four issues: misuse of money, sexual immorality, exaggeration of results and criticism of other clergy. They came up with what they called the Modesto Manifesto committing to integrity in all those areas and more. There was never a whiff of impropriety among Billy and his team.
Let’s keep our message truthful, our motives pure and our methods honest.
Share the gospel lovingly v7-12
They were gentle – like nursing mothers taking care of children. They were affectionately desirous of their people. That speaks of wanting the best. They shared themselves, avoiding aloofness. They were like loving fathers with children.
What a great example – let’s share God’s grace with one another and the lost boldly, honestly and lovingly.