Affections with the Gospel, 1 Thessalonians 2:8
July 28, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
Turned Upside Down by the Gospel, Part 4
I have always come back to Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians as an example and inspiration for faithful gospel ministry. One of my first sermons I preached at Oak Hills as pastor was a prayer for our church based upon 1 Thessalonians. During this month we are looking again at this personal, pastoral letter, seeking to reaffirm the gospel and the ministry of the gospel.
God worked a miracle among the people of Thessalonica. He does anytime someone turns from idols to receive the Word of Christ. The brevity of Paul's stay in Thessalonica (about a month, see Acts 17:2, 10) makes their conversion all the more remarkable. What tools does God use to bring about gospel fruit among a group of people? I believe Paul gives us a hint in 2:8...
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.
1. God Uses Faithful Gospel Proclamation to Bring About Fruit Among Us. Paul does not down play gospel proclamation in this verse. It's his first priority. In the prior verses Paul emphasized his commitment to proclaim the gospel. "We had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel" (v. 2)... "We speak, not to please man, but to please God" (v. 4)... "We never came with words of flattery" (v. 5). Gospel fruit will not grow among us unless the gospel is proclaimed, unpacked, and applied in our lives. Nothing replaces gospel proclamation.
2. God Uses Acts of Love to Bring About Fruit Among Us. Notice Paul's language in verse 8... "Affectionately desirous of you"... "You had become very dear to us." Paul was not a cold teacher of truth. His zeal for the glory of God and the gospel included a love for people. And his love for the Thessalonians was fleshed out in real active care. "We were ready to share with you our own selves " (v. 8); "We were gentle among you, like a nursing mother..." (v. 7); "Like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you..." (v. 11-12). God used Paul's loving care for the Thessalonians to grow the fruit of the gospel among them, in spite of his brief stay there. Perhaps we can image that acts of love are the fertilizer to prepare the soil of hearts to receive the seed of the gospel.
Do you want to see the gospel bear fruit among us and through us at Oak Hills? Paul's model of ministry at Thessalonica gives us a blueprint for faithful and fruitful gospel ministry. Let's be committed to proclaiming the gospel to one another in many contexts. Let's be "affectionately desirous" of one another and others in order to share our own selves. Pray that God would open your heart to love others and that he would provide you opportunities to show your love.