1 Thessalonians 2:5-12 ESV
“For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
“For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.”
Paul, Silas, and Timothy were servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, and they were ministers of the gospel of Christ. And, as ministers of the gospel, they faced much persecution and mistreatment from others. Yet they had boldness in the Lord Jesus Christ to declare to the people in Thessalonica the gospel, even in the midst of much conflict. Why? Because they loved God, and so they wanted to please him by obeying him, but also because they cared about the people, and they wanted them to be saved from their sins.
So, their motives were pure motives, and so they did not speak lies to the people, nor were they trying to deceive them, as some do who profess to be ministers of the gospel of Christ. And they didn’t use flattery or trickery or manipulation, either, to try to move the people’s emotions in their direction. And they were not looking for financial gain, either. And they were not looking to get “likes” nor the approval of other humans. They genuinely loved God and they loved the people, and so they told them the truth.
People like that today are rare, at least here in America they are, but they do still exist. There are Christians in America who do what they do for the Lord simply because they love God and they want to do what pleases him, and because they love their fellow humans and they want to see them delivered out of their slavery to sin and to be able to walk in purity of devotion to the Lord in walks of holiness and righteousness. But because so many people lie and deceive, their actions sometimes are not trusted.
But still they go on, and they keep on loving God and others, even those who do not love them back, but who treat them spitefully. And they do what God has called all of us to do, which is to speak the truth in love to one another so that we are not deceived, and so that we do not follow the lies, and to exhort one another daily so that we are not led into sin, and to provoke one another to love and good deeds, which is the love of God and the good deeds God prepared in advance that we should walk in them.
In a sense, this parallels over to a mother nursing her young or to a father who exhorts and encourages and charges his children to walk in a manner worthy of God. For, it isn’t just the work of pastors and ministers of the gospel to exhort other believers to walk in holiness and in righteousness, and not in sin. This is what the body of Christ is all about. We are to minister to one another, and to care about and nurture one another, and to speak the truth in love so that we will all walk in a manner worthy of God.
[Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Jn 4:31-38; Jn 13:13-17; Jn 14:12; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:14-18; Acts 26:18; Rom 10:14-15; Rom 12:1-8; Rom 15:14; 1 Co 12:1-31; 1 Co 14:1-5; Eph 2:10; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Php 2:1-8; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13; Heb 10:23-25; 1 Pet 2:9,21; 1 Jn 2:6]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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