“For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit ; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
The Apostle Paul is revered by Christians for many reasons and one of the most
significant is his method of ministry. It is often said Paul communicated (preached) the Gospel with a level of love and integrity like no other before or after. I feel it simply goes to show what a conversation with Jesus on a roadside will do for even the most sinful of us. Jesus Christ was the son of man and the Son of God as such His life exemplified the highest levels of human character and spiritual integrity. If we are to follow His example as messengers, evangelists and ministers we must imitate, as well as, aspire to His character and integrity.
A noted gangster of the past century, said that after he embraced Christianity, he felt betrayed. No one had explained to him that God requires a change in his behavior and ours. He reasoned; “There are Christian athletes and Christian businessmen, why not Christian gangsters?” Also, someone forgot to tell him when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are no longer free to continue living as we did in the world. Our affections and activities must change to reflect the God whom we serve. The term “Christian gangster” is contradictory because the activities of a gangster generally oppose the character of Christ Jesus and everything he represented.
The same demands placed upon converted gangsters are required of all Christians,
especially the messengers, evangelists and ministers of the Gospel. We must be mindful of the fact that whenever the message of our words and the message of our actions conflict, the message of your actions will always win in the market of public opinion. If you speak harshly during chosen moments and act kindly during others, you will be known as having a tough shell on the outside but being a big soft “Teddy bear” on the inside. On other occasions you may speak well but act selfishly, and you will be known as a hypocrite. Unfortunately, there is no accusation made against Christians today more consistently than that of hypocrisy.
Who’s to blame? We are, our lives must support the reality of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ, or the Gospel will not be taken seriously and we will be resented by believers and non-believers. Paul writes: “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 have become very dear to us” (I-Thessalonians 2:8). Unless we are willing to pour our lives, our entire lives, into ministry, our words will mean little. It is better to be thought a Christian and no one will ever know than to open your mouth or behave in a manner that allows the world to know you are not.
“For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness—nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority” (I-Thessalonians 2:5-6). A Christ-like spirit is of inestimable value in carrying out the activities of the great commission; and nothing others can do will prevent the manifestation of the hidden spiritual forces, upon which, after all, our success in everything really depends, as a reputation of hypocrisy and poor moral character. Few things in the Christian life are less
“But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children” (I-Thessalonians 2:7). There is immense power in a Christian with a sound presence of mind. A great saint once said, “Good thoughts are daily bread to him who knows how to speak, when to speak and does so.” The words are filled with truth, wisdom and meaning. Awareness of this simple fact would immensely change the way many of us go about Kingdom work. Instead of vain struggles, we would “sit down” spiritually before the Lord Jesus and let the Divine forces of His Spirit silently work out in us the ends to which we aspire. Especially, the ends that are according to His will.
You may not see or feel the operations of this silent force, but be assured it is always working mightily, and will work for you, if you only let and commit yourself to be carried along by the currents of its power. Christians are known by their spirits, our spirit is reflected in our every word and action. Make a sincere effort to make sure that yours show the character and integrity of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe” (I-Thessalonians 2:13).
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ
- POEM: Before I Was A Christian | by Claudine (upliftingyoutoday.wordpress.com)