1 Thessalonians 2:1-5
1 Th 2:1 (KJB)
For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:
Vain - Empty, worthless, or ineffective
Not only did the travelers witness to the Thessalonian witness of Paul to them but here Paul reminds them that his entrance to them was not ineffective nor vain. This was because the Gospel took a great foothold in Thessalonica to the point that early on these Christians were growing in the faith and had begun their own missionary program by bringing the Gospel to those who came to their city. They had become imitators of Paul because they saw in him the truth of the Gospel and how that truth had manifested itself in not only words, but mighty deeds. Paulís strength in the Gospel was able to confront the crowds who had opposed him and wanted to see him leave because they were jealous of him. That jealousy was because many had heard him preach in the Synagogue and the Lord had opened their spiritual eyes and saved them and no longer would they be part of the dead religion of Judaism. They had now become alive unto God through Christ and there was no turning back to dead religion.
1 Th 2:2 (KJB)
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.
Were shamefully entreated - Abused, mistreated, or treat disgracefully
Contention - Conflict or contest
Here is the boldness of the Apostle Paul concerning the Gospel. He did not allow the situation which happened to them in Philippi (Acts 16:12-40) to deter them from continuing to bring the Gospel to the Thessalonians. This is a valuable lesson for all of us. Paul states that they were treated shamefully and they were. They were flogged and then thrown into the inner prison, which was probably their idea of maximum security. Instead of Paul and Silas quitting and saying that this was too much and it isnít worth it, their faith in God did not diminish. In fact, the joy of the Lord was such a powerful part of their life, instead of them becoming discouraged, they started singing praises to the Lord and then came the earthquake whereby the jailer had become saved. Paulís desire to see people become saved overrode any personal desire to quit. He mentions Philippi because he wants these Thessalonians to know that as he faced stiff opposition there and in Thessalonica, they would face the same type of opposition. The opposition he faced did not stop him from preaching the Gospel because when one is sold out to the Lord and does not seek their own pleasure, they all have much boldness in the Lord to speak the Gospel wherever they are sent. Paul wants them to know that when a Christian is matured in the faith, they will have the boldness to preach the Gospel and will not let satanic hindrance stop them.
1 Th 2:3 (KJB)
For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
Exhortation - Encouragement or comfort
Deceit - Error as drawing someone away from the truth
Uncleanness - Impurity in reference to rituals
Guile - A cunning contrivance or like bait for a fish
Since humanistic philosophy basically had its start in Greece, Paul here confirms what the Thessalonians already knew about him. When he encouraged them in the Lord and in the Gospel, he did not use anything which could possibly draw them away from the truth, like a hybrid teaching. That would have been a contrary move since he was bringing them the true Gospel. Unfortunately, there are many who mix truth with error making it sound like complete truth. Paul here states he did nothing deceitful. He also did not come to Thessalonica to abrogate the law of God. His preaching was that the Mosaic system of sacrifices were now at an end because of the sacrifice of Christ, which was the final sacrifice for sin. However, since all unsaved people are accountable to the law of God and will be judged by that law, Paul wanted them to know that those rituals would no longer cover sin and the only way to have your sins forgiven and expunged is through Christ. He then states that he did not set up any system which would be akin to bait for a fish. He was not out to gain a following for himself and he did not make any wild promises, instead he brought them the truth in all aspects of the Gospel.
1 Th 2:4 (KJB)
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.
Allowed - Approved
To be put in trust - To be entrusted
Pleasing - Seeking to please or accommodate
Trieth - Proving, test, or examine
First, Paul speaks about the fact that he and his band were approved by God even before he was allowed to preach the Gospel. The only way God qualifies someone to bring the true Gospel is first they must become saved. Those who are unsaved cannot bring the full truth of the Gospel. Once a person becomes saved, then when God gifts them, He entrusts the Gospel to them so they may bring it to others. This means that every believer is entrusted with the Gospel through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who promises to guide us into all truth. (John 16:13) There is no such thing as a Christian without a ministry but there is such a thing as a lazy Christian. Here Paul continues that when he speaks the things of the Lord, he does not speak of things which makes the unbeliever happy or in agreement. He does not accommodate the sin nature of any human being and neither should we. He also does not accommodate anyone because of their status in the community nor their wealth. Paul then states that God tries the hearts of the believer. God tries us with challenges and tests that He allows us to go through. (Psa 11:5 KJV) The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. The reason He does this is to see if we maintain our testimony and true message under the opposition of trials, like Paul faced in Philippi and Thessalonica. It is not that He does not know, it is for our benefit that He does this to see if we have any breaches in our faith which need to be shored up. (Mat 10:22 KJV) And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. The true Christian who does not shrink back under tribulation and opposition, is the one who endures to the end and he endures to the end because he is saved. Endurance would be considered a work and since no one can becomes saved by works, the endurance in Matthew 10:22 would be considered a work of faith which can only be done by those who are already saved.
1 Th 2:5 (KJB)
For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness:
Know - Know fully or understand
Cloak - Motive, pretext, or excuse
Witness - One who has information or knowledge of something or observer
Paul asserts that he never used flattering words and he states that the Thessalonians fully knew and understood that. If Paul was using flattering terms, he would have never started the uproar and would have been welcomed by the unbelievers. So they knew that flattering terms were never used just by the outcome. He also states that they know he did not use any type of wrong motives for the purpose of coveting because normally flattering words cover up real intentions. His intention was to preach the Gospel and to start a church there. False teachers will normally flatter for the purpose of coveting the wealth of the people they are speaking to. Paul invokes God as a witness to the fact that his desire for preaching the Gospel was pure and without any ulterior motives. Paul, as a Jew, would not invoke the name of God to be his witness if he knew that he was being less than honest because it would be a vain use of Godís name and would violate the third commandment. This is something that we must also realize that God is a witness to everything we do, especially, since the Gospel bears His name. Any wrong actions on our part can cause the name of God to be blasphemed and Christianity would then be called into question as to whether it is real or not. So we have a tremendous responsibility whenever we undertake the task of sending forth the Gospel, there better not be any ulterior motives.