The first big problem Paul had to address with the Thessalonian church was lies they were being told about himself (2:1-3:13; the lies came from Jews, 2:14-15). Paul didn’t answer these lies because he had a big ego or cared about what others thought about him, but because he was an apostle of Jesus Christ. Jesus specially chose the apostles to be his representatives and to give his truth through them to churches (Eph 2:20). So, when false believers slandered apostles, Jesus was slandered!
Paul reminds the Thessalonians that while he was with them he didn’t seek after their money but supplied his own needs (2:1-5). He didn’t want great glory or act wrongly among them, he sacrificially gave of himself for their good (vv. 6-12). Paul reminded the church how they welcomed him (v. 13) and that when they received the gospel they joyfully suffered as Christians (vv. 14-16).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- True gospel ministers have stellar, Christ-like character and conduct (vv. 1-12). As we saw from 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6, they must be blameless. One who calls sinners to turn from wickedness and to live for the true God must himself have turned from sin to righteousness!
- The means and evidence of true conversion is receiving God’s truth (v. 13). “Receive” has the idea of welcoming warmly, with open arms, and believing as absolutely true. God’s Word is powerful, effectively working in those who truly believe. What is your attitude toward the Bible? When you read it or hear your pastor teach it, do you love it? Welcome it? Long for it?
- Those who oppose Jesus Christ and true religion can and often appear very religious (vv. 15-16). Paul would know, for before he became a Christian he was a zealous Jew who persecuted Jesus’ followers! Christian, don’t be surprised when there’s opposition to the truth (Phil 1:29; 2 Tim 3:12).