Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Paul had planted the church in Thessalonica during his second missionary journey, after he had been publicly humiliated and persecuted in Philippi. Instead of giving up on missions because of his hardships, Paul continued as the Lord led him. When Paul got to Thessalonica, he spent three successive Sabbaths preaching from the Old Testament how Jesus Christ’s being crucified and risen from the dead matched the prophesies of scripture. As a result some Jews believed in Christ, along with a number of God-fearing Greeks, and some prominent women. But, the authorities immediately showed up at Jason’s house from the synagogue, the man Paul had been staying with. They hauled off Jason and his companions (Paul wasn’t around at the time) and took them and accused them of serious crimes. As a result, Paul and Silas were escorted secretly out of the city after dark.

But, after Paul left, some people in Thessalonica used the opportunity of Paul’s leaving the city as he had done, to create a gossip-fest about him. These ones said that Paul had abandoned the Thessalonians, that he obviously didn’t care for them or he wouldn’t have left, that he had a false motive for planting the church, namely greed, and that he had fleeced the sheep, and also, that he had lied when he told them he would return to the church. Ughhhh, don’t you hate gossip. Gossip is always deadly wherever it lands.

Chapters 2 and 3 of 1 Thessalonians contain Paul’s defenses of himself to these accusations. I want to look at just two of the defenses that Paul makes to the Thessalonians: (A) He tells them that he showed to them the love of a nursing mother for her child, and (B) He tells them he showed them a father’s care and love.

(A) The love of a nursing mother: 1 Thess. 2:7-9 – “But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.”

a. It is hard to overstate the love of a mother, the love that the apostle Paul told the Thessalonians his actions had shown to them. A person who loves you is one you trust your life to, and the Thessalonians knew in their hearts the great love that Paul had shown to them. Paul had treated the Thessalonians like a ‘nursing mother’ tenderly cares for and comforts her child.

b. Paul says that because of the mothering type of love he had for the Thessalonians that they had imparted to the Thessalonians not only the gospel ‘but also our own lives’. Paul had let the Thessalonians be close to him as friends and understand his real thoughts, struggles, difficulties, and joys in life.

c. A Commentary Critical And Explanatory amplifies Paul’s statement to the Thessalonians this way: “As a nursing mother is ready to impart not only her milk to them, but her life for them, so we not only imparted gladly the spiritual milk of the word to you, but risked our own lives for your spiritual nourishment, imitating Him who laid down His life for His friends, the greatest proof of love (Jn 15:13).” Mother’s nurture, mother’s protect, mothers meet needs, and mothers empathize and guide us through their love and counsel.

d. There are too numerous to count the number of quotes and illustrations to found today of the love of a mother, but here are just a few:

i. Helen Rice–“A mother’s love is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking, it never fails or falters, even though the heart is breaking.”
ii. Mark Twain—“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.”
iii. Unknown–“The death of a mother is the first sorrow wept without her.”

e. Paul tells the Thessalonians, ‘you had become very dear to us’, and the mothering love that he showed to them was expressed in his laboring hard and providing for his own support as he preached the gospel to them: ‘our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God’.

f. The Greek word that is translated ‘gentle’ here means to be “mild in bearing with the faults of others”. Like a mother treats her children, so Paul was mild in bearing with the faults of the Thessalonians.

(B) The father’s care and love Paul showed to the Thessalonians: 1 Thess. 2:10-11 – “You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children,”.

a. As a loving father over the Thessalonians, Paul had lived his life before God and them ‘devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly’. A loving father sets the standard for what is acceptable and unacceptable in the household, and seeks to live that and train up and discipline his children in that way.

b. Paul tells the Thessalonians that just like a loving father does with his own children that ‘we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one’. A loving father trains up and disciplines in love his children because he seeks to mold them into being the kind of people who will bless others and be used of God when they grow up.

c. A father needs to exhort and admonish his children, but he also needs to encourage them when they become discouraged. This Greek word that is translated ‘exhorting’ means “to call to one’s side and encourage”. It implies to help a person to keep on going in the Lord.

d. The Greek word translated ‘encouraging’ here means “to comfort and console”.

e. This Greek word translated ‘imploring’ means “to charge someone”, and Paul had been charging the Thessalonians to godly living and perseverance in their Christian faith, regardless of persecution, trials, and obstacles. Paul always urged believers to walk in a manner that is worthy of the Lord, and to strive to be holy as the Lord is holy.

What I would like you to consider today in light of these words is two-fold:

First of all, the Lord loves us with both a “motherly” and also a “fatherly” love. He acts as both a mother and a father to his children, just as Paul did. Like a mother He protects us, nurtures us, feeds us, and comforts and consoles us mildly and gently. Like a father He comes along side of us and encourages us to get up and keep going when we fail. He points out to us by word and example His uprightness and holiness and calls and implores us to be holy just as He is holy.

Secondly, should we not seek to have a mother’s love and a loving father’s care for those whom God puts across our paths as we seek to preach the gospel?