Friday, June 11, 2010

An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday June 13, 2010

(Share your lives as well as the Gospel)
(1 Thessalonians 2)

It is always a great tragedy when impure motives, trickery, or witchcraft is used by those who claim to be promoting the Gospel. They are, in truth, only seeking to promote their own private agenda. We must be forever conscience of wolves like these, who don sheep’s clothing, and sharpen our senses daily with the word of GOD, so that we won’t be easily fooled by such spiritual predators. All too many people have memories of unpleasant church experiences that have forever shaped the way they feel about GOD, and the people who claim to represent HIM.
In the biblical Greek, the word used for “approve”, by Paul in his original Greek writings in verse four is “dedokimasmetha” (de-dok-im-mas-met-ha), and it means “to be shown, by testing over time, to be genuine”. GOD entrusts with the Gospel, only those who are willing to, over time, suffer, for the faith they say they hold.
Here in 1 Thessalonians 2, the Apostle Paul offers proof of the genuineness of his ministry, by first, reminding the Thessalonians of how badly he and his co-workers were treated in Philippi a short time before they arrived at Thessalonica. He reminded them of how in spite of their suffering, by the help of the GOD WHO sent them, they were able to boldly continue to preach the Gospel while being surrounded and attacked by hostile parties.
When we rely on the strength of the HOLY SPIRIT, we are never alone in our witnessing of CHRIST JESUS to others. Paul did not choose his own work, but rather, GOD selected it for him. And when one is working for the ALMIGHTY GOD, he or she can be bold in carrying out their assignment, as it cannot be derailed by mere mortals who may oppose them.
The standards of Christianity, differs greatly from that of the world, and often the person who follows those standards closely, will appear foolish to the world as a result. JESUS, Paul, Stephen, and all the great Christian apologists of the New Testament era were deemed to be out of their minds by the foremost religious leaders of their day. Even JESUS’ family thought HIM to be mad (John 7:1-5), and pleaded with HIM to come home with them to save them further embarrassment with HIS teachings (Mark 3:21).
Several accusations had been leveled against Paul since his last visit to Thessalonica, and by just reading between the lines of this passage, one can easily imagine that he had been called a criminal because of his many imprisonments, including the one at Philippi (Vs. 1-2). He had probably been called delusional because his doctrine of preaching CHRIST was yet strange and new to world of the first century. It was being said that his preaching was rooted from impure motives, and that he guilefully tried to trick and delude those who listened (V. 3). And finally, there were those who charged that Paul was preaching for financial gain, even though he had worked as a tentmaker since early on in his ministry, and had never depended on the church to support him financially. He had been trained in the art of tent making and had worked with Priscilla and Aquila, two early church workers who shared his profession and philosophy, during his second missionary journey (Acts 18:3).
And so, through the facts and experiences of his own life, Paul was always able to dispel any false allegations concerning his ministry. He lived his life practicing what he preached, and he lived a life that was most pleasing to GOD. He was motivated by his love for his fellow Christian, and he shared his life with them, as well as the Gospel.
There are many personal benefits that can be enjoyed by an evangelist in his ministering here on earth, however, the most pleasing benefit of all comes after the race is over, and he or she realizes how great a gift they will be able to offer to GOD, when they present the host of believers to HIM, whom they have won through their labors here on earth, as warriors in the army of CHRIST JESUS.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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