1 Thess 2: A la carte or adapted gospel? (1 Thessalonians 2); Patrice Berger
Résumé : In a cyclical way, there is a revisiting of the Gospel, more social, more prosperous, philosophical, etc. Each attempt leads to the same outcome, it is no longer the Gospel. Nothing new, nothing modern, this is why the apostle Paul recalls all the strength and content that are summed up in one person, Christ.
1 Thess 2: A la carte or adapted gospel? (1 Thessalonians 2); Patrice Berger
A la carte or adapted gospel?
1 Thessalonians chapter 2. 1-16 “Living Word. »
1 “Dear brothers, you know that we did not come to you empty-handed. Our activity among you has not been fruitless.
2 You remember how we arrived. We had just suffered insults and outrages at Philippi. We had been mistreated.
Despite this, we have drawn from communion with our God the courage to announce to you, with joyful assurance, the message of salvation, even if new conflicts should result. We have frankly and boldly proclaimed the gospel of God to you in spite of the opposition and the painful struggles which it aroused.
3 For we are not the victims of some deceptive illusion. Our exhortations are not based on error; they are not inspired by murky motives or fraudulent ulterior motives and we have never sought to extract any advantage from you by trickery.
4 God tested us before entrusting us with his Gospel, he judged us worthy of this vocation; if we speak, then, it is with the solemn feeling of our responsibility before him.
We announce the message of salvation as he transmitted it to us, in all simplicity and in accordance with his intentions. We don’t care what men think of it; we seek neither their approval nor their favor.
We do not want to adapt our preaching to their tastes.
Our only ambition is to please God who constantly scrutinizes our hearts: he knows our deep intentions.
5 Therefore, you know very well, we did not come to you with flirtatious speeches and selfish motives, we did not resort to flattery or use our ministry as an excuse to enrich ourselves at your expense. ; God is witness to it.
6 We have never sought favor from the public nor sought glory from men, any more from you than from others. What did human honors matter to us?
7 Certainly, as ambassadors of Christ, we could have claimed it; we could present ourselves to you as important personages, impose our authority on you and support it with all our weight as apostles of Christ.
On the contrary, we have been full of gentleness in your midst, we have treated you with tenderness, as a loving mother takes care of the children she nourishes.
8 In our deep affection for you, we would have liked, not only to announce the Gospel to you, but to lay down our lives for you, so dear have you become to us.
9 You certainly remember, brothers, our labors, our fatigues and our sorrows of that time! Day and night we labored with our hands in order to earn our living and not to be a burden to any of you by announcing the Gospel which comes from God.
10 We appeal to your testimony and that of God: you know how we behaved towards you, dear brothers in the faith, and how our behavior was pure, upright and above all reproach.
11 You will remember that I cared for each of you, one by one, as a father would for his children, 12 encouraging you, consoling you, comforting you, admonishing you, urging you to behave in a worthy manner of God.
I have shown you the path on which you will honor, with your lives, the God who calls you to enter his kingdom and share in his glory.
13 So we do not cease to thank God that when you received from us the divine word which we transmitted to you, you immediately accepted it, not as a human theory, but as a word coming from God. That’s what she really is.
You have accepted it with faith, this is why it acts and deploys in you all its effective power.
14 Indeed, in communion with Jesus Christ, you have imitated the churches of God in Judea and you now share their fate. You had to suffer from your countrymen the same persecutions that these Churches endured from the Jews. 15 These have already put to death the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, they have persecuted us and persecuted us. They do not care about pleasing God and show themselves enemies of all men.
16 They would like to prevent us from speaking to non-Jews to lead them to salvation. In this way they constantly add to their sins. So the wrath of God is already upon them and the judgment will eventually reach them in all its rigor. »
god is light
- A creative act, separation of darkness and light.
- It is the same intention of God through the coming of Jesus that we have just read.
- It is clearly God’s intention for followers of Christ to live with transparency, that there be no shadows in their lives, their relationships, their words.
Transparency and honesty
Here in today’s text, God shows, through Paul, that the gospel must be announced with the same provisions,
- with transparency
- and honesty.
What is the gospel?
1 Timothy 1: 15b
Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the first of them
Paul stands out from hidden motives
We can assume from the reading of chapter 2 that Paul stands out from people who have
- hidden motives in their speech,
- or desires
that go beyond the appearance of their about.
Used to Thessaloniki?
Maybe it was a habit of the time or was there something specific to Thessaloniki?
Reproach made to Paul and his team?
Perhaps also we let it be assumed vis-à-vis Paul and his teammates?
We don’t know
The apostle Paul does not tell us in this chapter the ins and outs.
The proclamation of the gospel must be honest and transparent
On the other hand, and this is what counts, Paul clearly recalls that in the presentation of the gospel, there cannot be
- hidden motives,
Please God not men
She is not there to please men but to please God, that is why God put them to the test before making them His servants.
Moreover, in the process they had when they arrived in Thessalonica, Paul and his team presented the gospel.
They did not arrive by « rolling the mechanics » after the outrages suffered in the city of Philippi.
But encouraged by the Lord Himself, they were able to present the gospel again, even though they knew that again they would certainly face persecution.
Without tricks to flatter the audience,
without desire to profit from the gospel message,
without desire to derive personal glory from it,
without abuse of authority by knowledge or status as apostles,
rather than taking something,
A family attitude
A family attitude that comes from the family of Christ, the Church.
The affection of a mother who gives everything, ready to sacrifice herself for her child, of a father who carries, supports, encourages, advises and exhorts to live the gospel.
They paid with their people day and night.
In short, the fruit of the spirit ( Galatians 5 ).
The consequences are very interesting, what came out of this attitude is that nothing interfered between the message of the gospel and their listeners.
- public speaking,
- or anything shocking that was chosen,
but the word of God.
Clear to see Christ
This is what allowed people
to • believe in Christ
- and see Him working in their lives,
- not adhere to a mood,
- not be crazy about the speaker, the words used, the proposed method,
but really the Word of God which presents
- the gospel
- and the person of Christ.
For what ?
- He alone conquered sin, death,
- He alone introduces us into his family, the Church.
He alone is the common denominator of the Church, whether one is pagan, Jewish or of another origin.
Same lived in Thessalonica as in Judea
- Moreover, the experience of the disciples of Thessalonica, therefore of the pagans, is the same as the disciples of Judea, Jews, who are from a completely different culture.
Both face opposition to the presentation of the gospel: classical, immutable (from generation to generation), cultural/religious aspect that opposes Christ.
But the righteous wrath of God will have the last word as always.
We understood the text
Well here it is!
Gospel brought honestly
Simple, clear text: the apostle and his team brought the gospel without taking advantage of the situation and without frills, being devoted to their listeners. We expected no less…
Well then, have a good Sunday!
Why not ?
But how does this teach us?
But first, we can ask ourselves about God’s intention vis-à-vis this text:
Why has the Holy Spirit inspired this text to come to us?
It seems to me that, unfortunately, it is still relevant.
The gospel always a target
The gospel is always the target of distortion or pretense for ends that are not God’s.
Has the form taken precedence over the message of Christ, Savior and Lord of my life?
Is it because the atmosphere is great that the content is biblical?
Is it because it is on the internet that the content is that of God, revealed in the Bible?
Indeed, is the content really that of the Bible?
“Believe the message I am telling you and you will be rich”.
So, it’s not false, because the orator-gurus fill their pockets to the detriment of their gullible audience!
You understand what is wrong.
The heart of this message is not Christ Savior and Lord, but to become prosperous.
The Social Gospel
It aims to create an equal brotherly community.
We take the example
- of the Gospels,
- of Jesus, this great revolutionary,
- of acts, with these beautiful communities,
by trying to do the same.
But the great forgotten is Jesus.
The most successful aspect that would look the most like it is the initial communist idea, but by wanting to have the fruits without Christ, it resulted in what history has shown us!
The Gospel Can Be Theological
The demonstration is brilliant, biblical: finally we believe in the idea, but not in Christ!
The gospel becomes a pretext
Personally, what’s in it for me?
What do the officiants get out of it?
- Financial: I make good use of it;
- fame: fame flatters me, in the end, the speaker is well remembered less the gospel;
- power: I become the director of people’s conscience in place of the Spirit of Christ;
- make followers, oh sorry, members of our assembly…
- Instead of being an assembly of confessors, we quickly become an assembly of the multitude!
If the gospel for example is presented as a « plus » for our life, but there is no more repentance that pushes us to Christ, Christ would become like the magic wand to « boost » my life, but then, Christ is neither the Savior nor the Lord of my life. Even my burden for souls can take the place of the gospel.
What does it bring me.
The anthropocentric gospel: I am in the heart and Christ is the servant of my desires of my feelings.
Here in the text of 1 Thessalonians, the clue that showed that they were indeed believers like those of Judea was persecution, not hedonism.
Missiological efforts, yes
This second chapter is not saying that we should not make efforts so that the message can be understood, it is missiology.
But message integrates
But that the message of the gospel must remain the same: Christ alone is Lord and Saviour,
- not our desires,
- not social changes,
- not our hidden motives, laudable or not.
Example: the book of Acts
It is also interesting – we read with the Wednesday evening home group the book of Acts – and it is impressive to see that the Holy Spirit wanted there to be many messages from the apostle Paul (the same who writes this epistle):
he does not present in the same way,
he adapts to the audience according to
- their culture,
- their religion,
- their status in society.
But the message is still the same:
1 Timothy 2/5
there is one God and there is also one mediator between God and men: one man, Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for all .
- Let us therefore make every effort to present the gospel with an appropriate and devoted simplicity.
2 Timothy 2/15
Strive to present yourself before God as a man who has proven himself, a worker who does not have to be ashamed but who speaks the word of truth with righteousness .
The original appeals to references in relation to counterfeit money:
- exposing with righteousness would amount to giving real money,
- exposing with other motives amounts to giving counterfeit money.
Related Links / Notes
Series : Epistle 1st Thessalonians
Study Notes are translated from the original French version prepared by the pastor Patrice Berger. The orginal French notes are in « note » form, and are not a direct transcription of the video, however they are quite close the original text preached at the church. The notes provided here follow that form, and are detailed enough to help provide a deep understanding of the texts of the parables.
All services as well as some of the bible studies are streamed on the channel YouTube église AB Renens-Lausanne. Also visit the You Tube channel of the Swiss Action Biblique Youth Groups (JAB Suisse Romande).