1 ¶ For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: 2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.
What happened at Philippi? Read Acts 16:12-40.
3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
He didn’t try to fool them by saying, “I’m going to speak from God’s infallible word”, and then hold up a book he didn’t believe was God’s infallible word. He didn’t tell dirty jokes to soften up the crowd and get them to laugh and he didn’t try to get people to make a shallow confession of faith and join up so he could brag about how many people he was “running” in church. In other words, Paul wasn’t a modern evangelical preacher. Paul has one purpose and one purpose only, to proclaim Christ. God did the rest.
4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
God put them in trust with the gospel and He tests the hearts of those whom in whom He has placed that trust. He knows what your motives are and what your purpose is and whom you really serve, Him or yourself.
5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:
Hear the preachers on the TV with their self esteem and self actualization patter, the Joel Osteen’s, the T.D. Jakes, the Joyce Meiers. They want you to feel better about yourself, not to trust in God. They want you to have power, not God. They want you to trust in yourself, not Jesus Christ. Those of you who are too lazy and reprobate to read or listen to God’s own words in His Book will gladly following those pied pipers. They flatter their public hiding their own greed behind the word, Christian.
6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
Paul did not publish the Sword of the Lord with the editor’s picture featured prominently. There was no “Nuggets from God’s Minister to the Gentiles” floating around and apparently he wasn’t paid a lot of money for his speaking engagements, nor did he show up in a chauffeured custom coach wearing the finest clothing a Roman could wear. He did not have a Ph.D. from Bob Jones or Crown and he, apparently, didn’t autograph copies of the Old Testament for the kiddies.
There were no glossy covers on fliers advertising his college with pictures of pretty girls in an attempt to appeal to the sexual impulses of the young men and women he wanted to attract. No, Paul would not have fit in to modern fundamentalism and would have been rejected as a speaker by the Clarence Sextons and the Bob Jones the 23rd or whichever number we’re on right now.
He did not try to be a burden on the Christians of Thessalonika. He could have been. He had as much right to annuities, a regular salary, and the parsonage as Peter or John would have had. But, Paul had one purpose and that purpose wasn’t to fill his own belly or to make sure he had a 401K in place.
He also could have screamed at the people, spewing spittle across the first five rows. He could have yelled at the top of his lungs and induced the people by emotional manipulation like some slick car salesman to “surrender to Christ”, pleading with them that if they ever wanted to see their dear godly mother again in heaven they better come down front and kneel at the altar.
But, he didn’t do any of that stuff.
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.
Notice the “even” describing what it means to be gentle, as a nurse cherisheth her children? Ephesians 5:29 defines cherisheth and nourishing in contrast to hate.
Paul had a tender love for the people he had converted. He gave them God’s gospel and also put his soul into his teaching. He wanted to give them something. His focus was on them, not himself.
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.
Paul worked hard, preaching night and day. Some say this verse also means that he continued his work as a tentmaker to keep from burdening them financially. Read Acts 18:1-4.
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.
Paul is reminding them and us of how to treat new converts and churches that are planted. This is the attitude we are to have. What father leaves his children in the street? When we hand out tracts do we give the people a way to contact us? Or the church? Invite them to the services or give them the Pastor’s number if not our own (I’m speaking to the women here for safety sake) or perhaps one of the other men in the church? How will these people be taught and mentored and made disciples of if they are cast adrift, should they receive Christ?
Do we tell those whom we pray with to receive Christ, warn them, that Satan will attack them viciously and immediately? Do we carry a couple of Bibles with us to give one to someone who we do lead to Christ and tell them to begin reading and praying that very day? Do we charge people, give them something to do, reading and praying, right away to combat the attacks of Satan? Or do we simply say 1-2-3 repeat after me, wish them well, and walk away self satisfied and smug? What would Paul do?
13 ¶ For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
This is a very important verse in the Bible. You can tell every apostate “Christian” scholar by how he uses the word of God. In fact, be very careful when you see them refer to the Bible as the “Word of God” capitalized. The Word of God capitalized is Jesus Christ Himself in the Bible. You might capitalize the W signifying how the Bible is the physical manifestation of Christ on earth for us to hold but I assure you that is not what the Neoevangelicals or the Neo-orthodox mean. When they use the Word of God capitalized they are referring to a “message” found in the Book, an IDEA expressed by the Book, but not the Book itself because they don’t believe there is a Bible that can be trusted to be God’s words. Don’t think that by their using of the Word of God capitalized when they refer to the Bible that they have any particular respect for the Bible.
They PREFER the readings of a handful of manuscripts found in the trash or in Gnostic churches in Africa, in Egypt where the Jews were told not to return to the Bibles in the common tongue and the Old Latin Bibles used for 1500 years in Europe and the Middle East. They prefer to praise the “original Greek” manuscripts that were corrupted by the Greek Orthodox Church to justify their own false doctrines.
The Thessalonians received the words of God, small w, the word of God, small w, as being the very words that God spoke to them and for them. That can not be said by a man such as Norman Geisler, a “Baptist” who received his PH.D. from a Jesuit university and has written more than fifty books attacking the true word of God and uplifting the Egyptian readings. Do you revere this Book as being the word of God or is it some message in the Book that you reverence? Receiving this Book as the very word of God will have a tremendous influence on how it works on your life and on your walk with Christ. Believing that it is one of many books that contain a message from God leads to apostasy and powerlessness. Soon, you’ll be holding up the Koran as containing God’s words with that attitude.
John 8:47 He that is of God heareth God‘s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
It’s not about simply being persecuted by the Roman government. We are always talking about the government taking away our rights but think about how common, ordinary people hold you in contempt for your faith. You are mocked, treated rudely, and even mistreated not by magistrates but by other people who claim to be Christians. These Jewish and Gentile Christians suffered a great deal at the hand of the Jews of the day. Today, if you believe the Bible you will have to face at least two different types of Christians who will oppose you.
You have paganized Christians who think that the state is there to enforce the doctrines of the church. They believe that Christ is already ruling on earth but through their church. America then is the Promised Land, God’s country, and Americans, no matter how reprobate, are God’s chosen people ruling on earth in His stead. Therefore, anyone who is looking forward to Christ coming back to rule is a heretic. They used to kill people like us but now they mock us and corrupt our teachings with theirs. I have a sermon given before Congress in 1857 that says that very thing, even declaring that Armageddon will be fought in the Mississippi River Valley. The Civil War made them think they were correct. We get the doctrinally twisted “Battle Hymn of the Republic” out of that thinking. They were called “Fifth Kingdom Monarchists” in the Revolutionary War period believing that America was the stone cut without hands that broke the world empire’s statue’s feet in Daniel and filled the whole earth after becoming a great mountain. Politically, they would be the modern Neoconservative and the Project for the New American Century. These Christians are often militaristic and view war as a good thing. They want to bring on Armageddon. I’ve heard them say it. That’s the right wing in our country. They’re the ones who profess family values and then, at their rallies, play demoniac rock and country music with sexually suggestive singers dancing like strippers in a bawdy nightclub and singing lyrics that a decent person doesn’t want their children to hear. They do nothing to reverse the actions and laws enacted by the second group I’m going to mention when they are in power and if they identify an enemy of the country they feel that it is fitting and proper to use any godless means to overcome them. They say “God” quite a bit, but rarely “Jesus Christ” in public, and but they don’t trust God or obey Him. They will link arms with the church of Baal from Rome to fight certain social ills as abortion and special homosexual rights.
Then you have the secular Christians who regard Christianity as a good philosophy. They revere the Ten Commandments some but the Sermon on the Mount suits them better. Jesus was a great teacher to them and the resurrection is a vague notion about which they aren’t sure but then there were lots of great teachers, as far as they are concerned. They believe if you are a good person, in their eyes, and you believe in something, anything, even Allah, you’ll go to some nebulous version of heaven where everyone is happy, floats on clouds, and plays harps or, like Sadducees, many don’t believe in an afterlife of any kind. These are left wing Christians like Hilary Clinton, whose Methodist upbringing mixed with her Marxist philosophies color her thinking. They, too, don’t really trust or believe in God and feel that their good works, good in their eyes, are wonderful no matter what damage they do to the country. This is our country’s left wing, who gave us the welfare state, the nanny state, the state as God. One political commentator has called the left wing of American politics the evil party and the right wing the stupid party.
Both sides want to bring in God’s kingdom on earth, a utopia of their own making. You are a problem for them because you can see that their actions are really opposed to God. They want you silenced.
These two types of so called Christians can’t stand you because you believe the Bible is true, that Christ is real, and that the Spirit of God dwells within you as opposed to the dead spirit that people who reject Christ have. They hate the Bible idea of Hell and can’t imagine God sending or allowing anyone to go there. They keep referring to the God of the Bible as YOUR God. That’s true, because like the Muslims and the Hindus, the God of these first two groups is Satan himself, the great counterfeiter. Plus, there are confused Christians who claim parts of all three of these groups and have no idea whether they are coming or going.
15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
The Jews he was referring to had the same attitude as the men who have tried to destroy the Bible. It is pride and envy.
Matthew 27:17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? 18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
For 2,000 years the Jews have suffered horribly, until recently. The racial history of the Jews has been one of mass murder and attempted extermination. They have certainly suffered a great deal for their disobedience and, if we understand prophecy correctly, they will suffer the worst during the Tribulation. As the nation of Israel in the Bible is a type of every Christian individually we should look at their Biblical history very closely.
The first two sets of Christians I mentioned have brought judgment on our nation and we are paying the price for their pious apostasy. We must keep looking up and pray for Christ to return soon.
Titus 2:11 ¶ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
17 ¶ But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
Here Paul mentions a crown of rejoicing. Some have said that this is one of the crowns we can receive at the judgment seat of Christ for works that survive the fire of 1 Corinthians 3. This crown represents those we have led to the Lord. The crowns are not necessarily figurative as some would say because look in Revelation;
Revelation 4:4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
Revelation 4:10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Notice the converts will be present at the Lord’s return.
20 For ye are our glory and joy.
Can you imagine sincerely, really, without any pretense having a sense of joy at the people you have prayed with to receive Christ and watched them grow as they studied the Bible with you? Does the thought of someone coming to Christ excite you and does the possibility of someone going to Hell break your heart? This isn’t about filling a church membership or about adding people to the Republican party but about having a hand in people getting saved.