I Thessalonians 2:7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
Those who are saved need to be gentle with the lost. Paul was directed to give the meaning of that word. We will see a further definition given further on. It is as a nurse cherished her children. There is a desire to do all that can be done to meet the needs of the person. It is not being gruff. It is not using deception as we have already noted. It is seeking to give the best nourishment that is possible. A clear, plain presentation of the Gospel with much prayer and as often as is accepted. If the lost person rejects the truth, you cannot force it upon them.
In our outreach efforts, we have respected signs on mail boxes or doors that say “no soliciting” or something like that. If that person does not want to hear the truth, they will answer to God for that. It will not open a door when we violate their personal wishes. There are other ways to reach those who have signs up. There is the internet and newspapers, etc. The goal is to reach the lost.
In verse 8 Paul reminded the Thessalonians that they had operated with Godly love toward them. They wanted them to hear and respond favourably to the Gospel. They were not just interested in a cold, robotic approach. They wanted the people to know they cared for them. They were not going around and charging a fee for the literature given out. They were not selling tickets to a church event. They were not placing any financial burden upon the lost. They wanted the people to hear the Gospel. Jesus never charged anyone for the Gospel. He taught the people at great lengths. He then fed them prior to sending them home. He did not use the food as a gimmick to slip in some Gospel. He gave them the Gospel first. That was the primary need of the people. However, He also showed His care for their physical needs. He did not want them to faint on the way home. That would not be helpful. He did not try to impress them with some fancy meals. It was a simple meal that He provided. All were given what they needed to make the journey home successfully.
Paul testified that he had a genuine love for the souls of the people. He saw the value of a soul. His team was willing to be spent for the sake of giving the Gospel to those people.
In verse 9 he again reminded them of their motivation. True saints are not interested in a cash grab. Years ago I worked in a community that had witnessed Charismatic charlatans come through in the past. Those people came in with a fraudulent message of spectacular healings. They could not demonstrate the healings in reality, but they could certainly use deception to try to convince the people. Along with their deceptive message, they also made a plea for funds. The cost of getting up to the community or some other project to feed the hungry, etc. The people had been willing to open their wallets and they gave generously. They did not seem to see that they were being used.
While we were there, we did not use those tactics. We went there to minister to their needs. We set up children’s clubs and had evangelistic outreach taking place regularly as well as regular church services. There were funerals to attend and suicides that gave opportunity to speak with grieving family members. They could not point to us as being there to fleece them. We do not know what the fruit of that time was or will be. We simply did what God’s Word tells us we should do and we tried to demonstrate a genuine care for the people.
In verse 10 Paul reminded these saints that they were witnesses to what Paul was saying. He was not trying to coerce them into agreeing with him. He was stating the facts and they knew he was telling them the truth. God also knew what Paul’s team had been doing. Paul reminded the saints that he could not hide anything from God. It is always important to be reminded that we are accountable to God. Paul reminded them that they had been sincere in their efforts. They behaved themselves in a godly manner. The Thessalonians could look at their testimony and they could learn how a true servant of God behaves.
In verse 11 we see further how a true servant of God demonstrates gentleness. Paul’s team had treated them as a father does his children. A good father is not a push over. He is not an aggressive, overbearing person either. He is firm and just. He demonstrates his care for his children by helping to see where the boundaries are and what is good for them.
A true servant of God is familiar with the Word of God and is willing to speak boldly and with conviction so that the lost can see that even if they do not believe what they are hearing, the preacher believes it.
The goal of God is that those who are saved would walk worthy of God. Being saved is a gift of God. Jesus Christ left heaven’s glory to come to this earth. He willingly laid down His life for the sheep. He is worthy of glory and honour. He is worthy of our best, if we are saved. As we honour Him, we demonstrate to others, the importance of knowing the true God. We do not want to bring shame to His great and holy name. We want others to know the blessing of God’s salvation.
God is able to deliver the lost sinner from the bondage of sin. The world cannot do that. They have many different schemes they seek to employ. Every one of them is a failure. They do not want to admit that, but the facts are the facts. God alone can heal the broken hearted. He alone can break the bondage of any and all sin. He can do so. This is not wishful thinking.
The apostle Paul knew the power of God. He knew how God was able to deliver him from the bondage of Pharisaism. He knew that God could set others free as well. He witnessed that many times. He preached with that in mind. He was able to see several churches established. He was also aware of the subtle nature of the devil. He knew all the good could be lost in a short time if the elders did not watch out for their own souls. If the leadership is corrupted, the people will be corrupted. The true Gospel will never be lost. It can be polluted, but the true Gospel will always be around. It is important for the true servant of God to be faithful in his own life and in his witness.
Paul reminded these saints that they had been called unto God’s kingdom and glory. They were invited into it. They had not earned it. They had not snuck in some how. They were called by God. What a privilege to be a part of God’s kingdom and glory. What blessing that is. How important not to try to pollute that kingdom and that glory. We want the lost to be in awe of the great and mighty God Who alone can save them and guide them aright.