1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians
which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto
you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
(1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, KJV).
Paul is ministering to the church of Thessalonians, not alone..but in
an apostolic group. He and Silvanus, and Timotheus were sent as apostles
to this group.
He thanks God for all of them, remembering their work of faith, and labor of love, knowing their election of God.
He says the gospel came not unto them in word only, but in power in the Holy Ghost and in much assurance, as they knew what manner of men they were among them.
He says they received the word in much affliction, trouble no doubt
from the enemy, and yet with joy in the Holy Ghost. This made them examples
to them that believed in Macedonia and Achaia.
He rejoiced that they turned from idols to serve the living and true God.
He is really beginning to describe here pure ministry; and the character
of this little group, and how they moved together for God.
This group was called and worked together, they were sent to do a work for God. He first remembers the brethren and their work and election of God. Then describes how the gospel came unto them.
It came not just in word; but in power and in the Holy Ghost. It had a supernatural power to it. The assurance came because they knew the men that were bringing it to them were real Christians.
He speaks of the trouble they had as they received the word, but that this made them examples to others who were just believing.
So clearly we are beginning to see how the apostolic church of the bible
operated just from this little example.
They worked together, remembered their brethren and their work of faith, and their ministry.
Then they served the gospel to them in power,and in the Holy Ghost, not in word only. They then became followers, having received the word in much affliction. The end purpose with the people they ministered to was free release.
So this is the beginning of the fruits that they had. The results that came from moving as a body; with "no one person in charge" so to speak. Lets look at how chapter 2 describes real ministry; and its fruits; and how the new testament church operated in the apostolic way that the Lord intended all along. .
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.
3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
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.
5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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?
20 For ye are our glory and joy.
(1 Thessalonians 2:1-20, KJV).
Paul first claims that his entrance unto them was not it vain; that
even after having been shamefully treated at Philippi; they were still
bold in God; to speak the gospel.
So one of the fruits they had here was boldness; to speak the gospel. They were not shy or timid; or afraid; they were not frail in their speech; and they proclaimed the gospel with all boldness. One of the reasons for this is because of the purity of their hearts and that they were uncluttered in their intentions and the Holy Ghost gave them boldness. This will happen to us every time as we please God alone.
He then claims that their exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile.
So what kind of ministry is this describing here? They had no hidden motives, or sin or guile, sarcasm towards others they were ministering to. They had no plots to conceal anything in a stealthy way. I believe these pure intentions gave them the boldness from the Holy Ghost. When we are in full cooperation with the Lord's business with a pure heart; He is sure to back us up in mighty ways.
Now chapter 4 gets really interesting. Paul writes down that WE, again
emphasizing that they worked together, (Paul wrote it down.,someone had
to!) They were all of equal importance as they worked together. Or else
it would not have been pure; from heaven; it was ministry incorrupt.
Now here's what he goes on to say; that we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel; allowed of who? TODOWHAT? Wait a minute.....I thought you had to be allowed of the pastor; to speak in church;;; to be allowed to minister a little bit??? NOT SO HERE; Paul says they were ALLOWED OF GOD,, AND PUT IN TRUST OF THE GOSPEL BY HIM!!!!!!!
Then he goes on to say he does not please men, but God only, who trieth our hearts. Wait a minute;--- I thought we were tested and approved for ministry by the pastor of the church, or the elders or someone in authority;--- not so here.
Paul says God trieth our hearts; after he has put us in trust with the gospel.
Now lets get this straight;
God elects and calls; puts us in trust with the gospel; not as to please or submit to man; but to Him alone; then He tests us. Its all from him, given by him; and for him.
There was not any man in charge or head over these apostles; and they were free to be ministers and serve the Lord. He alone called and allowed and trusted them with his word; and tested and approved them.
When man steps in and starts doing these things; then God can no longer do it; that's why no one is being released and set free for ministry. It is very rare; God has to break in and do a special thing; when it should be an every day occurrence among Christians.
If only we would let him do it, and not put it in man's hands!We only to have believe the word of God concerning his means of releasing ministry and that is all. Release is supposed to be a faith thing--it's supposed to be from God--simply from faith and meting Jesus. Whether we understand it or not, release is a part of the Gospel--along with healing, and delverance.
Verse 5 says neither at any time did they flatter to get the gospel across, nor used it as a cloak for covetousness. They did not hide behind the gospel and use it as a means for gain.
Verse 6 says they did not seek glory from men, that would have been a burden. Because they sought to serve, unselfishly, not wanting praise from man. But they were gentle, imparting the gospel as well as their own souls.
So, we need to redefine ministry, and understand release is from God alone.
Ministry is a gift given unto every one of us---and Jesus sets us free---free to serve HIM!