The Expository Files


Can God Trust You With His Gospel? 
 "...approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel ."

1 Thessalonians 2:1-6

Can you be trusted? Now that question is not the same as asking if you are honest. There is a difference, though honesty is a part of being trustworthy. There are honest people that are not trustworthy in certain circumstances. For example, though I am honest, I would not be trustworthy as a brain surgeon, airline pilot or as a center on a pro basketball team. See the difference?

But there are things we can do to make ourselves more worthy of confidence and trust. In addition to honesty, we can study and prepare ourselves for certain situations. Many people study life saving techniques such as CPR so that they can be depended on in a medical crises.

So, what does it take to make one trustworthy with the gospel? Again, honesty is certainly needful. Love for God and others, knowledge and courage are some attributes that also come to mind. This is important, because you see, God has entrusted us with His gospel Consider the answer.

1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain,
2 but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.
3 For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit;
4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.
5 For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed -- God is witness --
6 nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.
(1 Thessalonians 2:1-6)

The Effort Had Not Been in Vain
The efforts of Paul and others accompanying him on what we call the second missionary journey had born fruit in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:1, see also 1:6). It was a busy city, linked to all the important cities of Macedonia by road. Paul had first gone to the synagogue, as he often did, and proclaimed the gospel of Christ there on three straight Sabbaths. As a result, a number of Jews and proselytes believed, including a number of prominent women (Acts 17:1-4).

But others of the Jews became jealous of Paul, and went to the marketplace and began to stir up trouble for him. They formed a mob and incited it to action against Paul (Acts 17:5-10). There were actually two accusations made against Paul and Silas. The charged that the pair had "upset the world" and say that "there is another king, Jesus." Now that is a fairly serious charge, to having upset the world. The council received a pledge from the brethren and released them, while Paul and Silas left Thessalonica for Berea.

It would be a misunderstanding of the well known verse about the Bereans being more nobleminded that those at Thessalonica when they heard the gospel to assume that no Thessalonican was "nobleminded" (Acts 17:11). Actually, there were some very nobleminded folks there in Thessalonica. In fact, in the persecution against the few who had responded to the gospel we find them to be very noble and courageous. But as a whole, the people of that city were not very noble.

Some Things We Need To Be Trustworthy With the Gospel
What is it that made Paul and Silas trustworthy with the gospel with which they had been entrusted? There are at least four suggestions in the text (1 Thessalonians 2:1-4).

1. Boldness (2:2)- Opposition to the point of a very real physical danger did not bring about a hesitance to proclaim Jesus. We are to speak the truth, as it has been given to us by God, all the time. Our task is too important to allow ourselves to be intimidated into either changing the message or hesitating to tell it to others.

2. Approved by God (2:4) - Paul and Silas had already been tried and had passed the test. Their approval was from God. This approval comes to us today in much the same way. If we walk in the light of the gospel, being loyal to the Lordship of Jesus in all things, not allowing trying circumstances to dissuade us, then we are approved by God. But if we deny the Lord or become ashamed of living by His gospel, then we have failed the test (2 Corinthians 13:5; Philippians 1:10).

3. Speak to please God (2:4)- Our aim ought always be to please God in the things we do or say. He is the one we serve. This will often result in our being out of step with society's views and attitudes. God is right. His "opinion" is the only one that really matters (Romans 3:4).

4. Consciousness that God examines our hearts (2:4) - We are aware that God sees our hearts. He not only knows all we do, he knows why we choose to do it. The hidden thoughts of man are known to God. If we understand this, then we will be more likely to keep our motives pure.

Some Things We Need To Avoid To Be Trustworthy With the Gospel
When a Christian fails to be trustworthy in matters relative to the gospel, there are reasons. In our text, we find several listed ( Thessalonians 2:3-6).

1. Error (2:3)- The gospel Paul taught was free from misleading statements and false doctrines. There were (and are) false teachers in the world, but Paul was not one of them. We must be sure that our teaching is true. If doctrine matters to God, then it does matter, period (2 Timothy 3:13-15; 1 Timothy 6:3).

2. Impurity (2:3) - Paul's preaching did not come from moral or spiritual impurity. His motives were clean. His ethics were always the highest, and so must ours be. He expected no less of himself than he did of others.

3. Deceit (2:3) - Paul was without ulterior designs. He was not a trickster, nor was he treacherous. He was much more a giver than a taker of good things.

4. Flattery (2:5)- Flattering words often cover up evil intent. Paul was not a "men-pleaser"! That is obvious from the treatment he received at Thessalonica. Paul spoke plainly and lovingly.

5. Greed (2:5)- There were some who were false teachers seeking material rewards by their work at the expense of others. Offering false hopes may gain something in a material way, but it will cost the teacher and perhaps the listener their souls.

Can God trust you with His gospel? Make yourself a trustworthy servant of the gospel!

By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 16.8; August 2009