1 Thessalonians 2: The Painful Truth

What do you thing the most positive aspects of Paul’s ministry were? What was the downside?

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1 Thessalonians 2:1 My friends, you have seen the positive results of our effort. We have not labored in vain.
King James
1 Thessalonians 2:1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:

How should we behave toward those who oppose the message of Jesus Christ?

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Matthew 10:16 “Listen, I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. Therefore, you must be wise as snakes, slipping in unnoticed, and harmless as doves, fleeing when threatened.”
Luke 12:11–12 “When you are arrested and stand before synagogue authorities, governors, and kings, do not worry about what to say. At the time you must speak, you will be given the right words to say.”
1 Thessalonians 2:2 You know how severely we were persecuted in Philippi for preaching the message of Christ, yet we were every bit as bold when we spoke to you, in spite of the opposition.
King James
Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Luke 12:11–12 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
1 Thessalonians 2:2 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.

If people would be more responsive to a popular message, why did Paul choose to deliver the plain and sometimes painful truth?

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1 Thessalonians 2:3–5 With pure motives we preached to you, without the slightest pretense, manipulation, or deception. In preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, we have a responsibility to please God, not men, for he’s the one who knows and judges our motives. You know we always preached the plain truth, even when it was painful. God knows we never used flattering feel-good words for any kind of personal gain.
King James
1 Thessalonians 2:3–5 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: 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. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:

How do our motives affect our message?

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Daniel 3:17–18 “If he wants to, the God we serve is able to deliver us from your fiery furnace. He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
Either way, know that we will not be serving your gods, nor will we worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Acts 5:29 “We are compelled to obey God, not men,” Peter said, and the rest of the apostles agreed.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 In preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, we have a responsibility to please God, not men, for he’s the one who knows and judges our motives.
King James
Daniel 3:17–18 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 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.

When is the truth painful for the messenger?

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Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem. You kill the prophets and those who have been sent to you. Many times, I have wanted to gather you to myself like a hen brings her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”
1 Thessalonians 2:5 You know we always preached the plain truth, even when it was painful. God knows we never used flattering feel-good words for any kind of personal gain.
1 Peter 3:9 Don’t retaliate, insulting or injuring others after they have done that to you, but do the opposite, blessing them, for you will be blessed when you bless others.
King James
Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
1 Thessalonians 2:5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:
1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

Why did Paul, being a Jew, care so much for people who weren’t Jewish?

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1 Thessalonians 2:6–7 We weren’t looking for recognition from you or anybody else. When we could have imposed ourselves upon you as special messengers for Christ, we were gentle with you, more like a mother caring for her children.
King James
1 Thessalonians 2:6–7 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

What can make it difficult to share our personal stories? What makes it easy?

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1 Thessalonians 2:8 We cared for you so much that we not only told the good news of God, but we also shared our personal stories that made us dear to your hearts.
King James
1 Thessalonians 2:8 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.

Why didn’t Paul expect his ministry to be work sufficient to justify having others support him?

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1 Corinthians 9:11–12 If we have planted spiritual seeds among you, is it too much to think we should reap a few physical benefits? Of course not. If others have exercised this right, shouldn’t we? But we haven’t done that, not wanting to hinder spreading the good news about Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:9 You remember how we worked day and night to pay our own way as we preached God’s good news to you.
1 Timothy 5:18–19 for Scripture says we should not muzzle the ox that threshes the grain. Don’t accept a complaint about a church leader unless it is supported by several reliable witnesses.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:11–12 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:9 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.
1 Timothy 5:18–19 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

How did Paul’s motives differ from others?

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1 Corinthians 9:17 If I followed a self-serving initiative, what I have on Earth is all the reward I would get. By making myself a slave to whatever God wants, I reap a greater benefit.
2 Corinthians 4:2 We have rejected all forms of pretense and deception, unwilling to manipulate the word of God for a self-serving purpose. As God sees what we say and do, we always follow his direction. So you should be confident that he certifies the truth of our plain speech.
Philippians 1:16 Those who have self-serving interests in speaking of Christ are not the servants they present themselves to be. My desire to be free and confront them adds weight to my chains.
1 Thessalonians 2:10 You remember how we worked day and night to pay our own way as we preached God’s good news.to you.
King James
1 Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
2 Corinthians 4:2 We have rejected all forms of pretense and deception, unwilling to manipulate the word of God for a self-serving purpose. As God sees what we say and do, we always follow his direction. So you should be confident that he certifies the truth of our plain speech.
Philippians 1:16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
1 Thessalonians 2:10 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.

What does a good father do to encourage, challenge, and empower his children?

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1 Corinthians 4:15–16 You might have ten thousand advisors telling you what Christ would have you do, but you don’t have many who care for you like a father loves his son. I am your spiritual father who brought the good news about Jesus. That’s why I urge you to follow my example.
1 Thessalonians 2:11–12 Like a good father treats his children, we encouraged, challenged, and empowered you to walk worthy of your place in God’s glorious kingdom.
King James
1 Corinthians 4:15–16 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
1 Thessalonians 2:11–12 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

Is there anything we must do to be worthy of our place in God’s kingdom?

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Matthew 23:11 “Whoever is the greatest among you must be everyone’s servant.”
1 Thessalonians 2:11–12 Like a good father treats his children, we encouraged, challenged, and empowered you to walk worthy of your place in God’s glorious kingdom.
James 2:14–18 My friends, what good is a declaration of faith if you don’t have the actions that show you really believe? Can words alone save you? Suppose a brother or sister has no coat and nothing to eat. If people say, “You have my blessing. Go in peace and be warm and satisfied,” but they do nothing to help, what did they gain? So you see, a declaration of faith alone is dead without the actions that give it life. If someone said, “Faith and works exist independently, so show me your faith apart from works,” I would say, “That’s impossible. Only my actions can reveal what I truly believe.”
King James
Matthew 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
1 Thessalonians 2:11–12 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
James 2:14–18 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

For God’s truth to change our lives, what must we do?

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1 Thessalonians 2:13 Because you recognized our message as God’s truth, not the philosophy of men, your faith changed your lives and we thank God continually.
King James
1 Thessalonians 2:13 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.

How should we treat those who persecute us?

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Proverbs 25:21–22 If your enemy is hungry, prepare a feast for him. If he is thirsty, give him your best wine. Your generosity will amaze him—as much a shock as coals of fire being poured upon his head—and God will reward you.
Matthew 5:43–44 “People usually say, ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy,’ but I say you should show kindness to your enemies, doing good to those who persecute you.”
Romans 12:20 If your enemy is hungry, prepare a feast for him. If he is thirsty, give him your best wine. Your generosity will amaze him—as much a shock as coals of fire being poured upon his head—and God will reward you.
1 Thessalonians 2:14 My friends, you became like the assemblies of believers in Judea. You’ve been persecuted in your own country much like the Jews have persecuted followers of Jesus Christ in their land.
King James
Proverbs 25:21–22 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.
Matthew 5:43–44 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Romans 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
1 Thessalonians 2:14 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:

Why did the Israelites dislike some prophets and like others?

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1 Kings 22:8 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is one man through whom we can inquire of the Lord, Micaiah son of Imlah, but I hate him because he never speaks good concerning me.” Jehoshaphat said, “You shouldn’t say that.”
1 Thessalonians 2:15 They killed their own prophets who didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear, and they killed the Lord Jesus. So we should not be surprised when they persecute us. They don’t please God, and they work against what is good for people.
2 Timothy 4:3 You will experience times when people reject sound teaching for what suits their desires. They will love those who preach what they want to hear.
King James
1 Kings 22:8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
1 Thessalonians 2:15 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:
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

Why do people try to stop the preaching about Jesus Christ?

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1 Thessalonians 2:16 While they do their best to keep us from preaching the good news of Jesus Christ for the salvation of foreigners, they keep sinning and will not escape the fullness of God’s judgment.
King James
1 Thessalonians 2:16 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.

Some people believe that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Is that saying true? Why?

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1 Thessalonians 2:17 Although we have been kept from your presence for a while, our hearts are with you and we greatly desire to see you.
King James
1 Thessalonians 2:17 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.

How could Satan block what Paul wanted to do?

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1 Thessalonians 2:18 We very much wanted to come see you, but Satan blocked our way.
King James
1 Thessalonians 2:18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.

What do you think is the greatest source of joy for most people?

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1 Thessalonians 2:19–20 So what is our source of hope and gladness, our greatest reason to rejoice? It is knowing you will live in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ when he comes, because you are our pride and joy.
King James
1 Thessalonians 2:19–20 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? For ye are our glory and joy.