A week ago we talked about how to receive good news. Now we look at the messenger. In I Thessalonians 2 we find twelve ways a messenger should bring a message:
1. With boldness despite conflict (2:2). Paul and his coworkers had been “shamefully treated,” yet they persisted in being bold. So often conflict makes us want to be quite or hide. But it shouldn’t be a surprise that conflict often accompanies the good news of Jesus. God’s message, which teaches holiness, righteousness and obedience to God, is in direct opposition to the Devil’s plans and our own sinful nature.
2. Not from error (2:3). Error is mistakenly believing and teaching the wrong thing. Years ago, many people believed the earth was flat. They were well-intentioned but erroneous. The messenger of the good news needs to teach truth correctly. It’s not enough just to “have your heart in the right place.”
3. Not from impurity (2:3). Impurity is mixture. It could be a mixture of motives or intentions. Some people want to use a spiritual message for their own personal agenda. An impure messenger may be coming to control or seduce.
4. Not deceiving (2:3). Deceiving is lying or tricking someone.
5. Not to please man but to please God (2:4). Verse four tells us that God “tests our hearts.” That is, God purifies us like gold or silver so that we are brining the message for the right reason–to please God. God wants his messengers to be pure.
6. Not with flattery (2:5). Many people respond to flattery because it appeals to our pride. God’s message doesn’t need to please our pride.
7. Not with greed (2:5). Greed, of course, is the desire for money beyond what God has permitted you to have. Paul and his co-workers were anything but greedy. In fact, verse 8 tells us that they were ready to share even their “own selves” with the new believers.
8. Not seeking glory from people (2:6). We are all looking for a reward for our work and it’s easy to pursue people’s praise. However, God’s servants need to seek lasting praise from God himself.
9. Gentle like a nursing mother (2:7). I’ve known several nursing mothers, and they are often sleep-deprived and irritable. But with their baby, they are gentle and patient. These new believers were like little babies that needed nourishment, love and protection.
10. Working night and day (2:9). Quite the opposite of greed, Paul and friends actually worked side jobs to pay their own expenses. Even though he could have asked for money to buy food or clothes, Paul chose to work “night and day” so he could bring the message free of charge.
11. Holy, righteous and blameless (2:10). Messengers are like ambassadors; they represent the person who sent them. If the American ambassador was arrested for drinking and driving or visiting prostitutes or corruption, how would that reflect on the country that sent him? People would not want to listen to him simply because his lifestyle contradicted his message. The same goes for those who share the good news. We are ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ and we need to be holy, righteous and blameless.
12. Like a father with his children (2:11). Does God spoil his children? No. In fact, Paul told the believers to “walk in a manner worthy of God.” It’s a father’s job to train his children how to live in a way that pleases God.
What was the result? “When you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God” (2:13). That is the challenge to both messenger and recipient. Will we treat the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ as God’s message? It did not originate with people but with the one and only God.