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Echo Evangelique

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7:30pm Bible Study
8:30am Bible Study
Sunday School
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The Motives and the Conduct of God's Messenger

Part 2

1 Thes. 2:8-12

 Key Concepts:

  • The ideal leader is concerned first of all with God’s pleasure and glory.
  • A shepherd’s life should be an open book accountable to his flock.
  • The right pastor or leader is one with moral and spiritual integrity that begins in the heart.


  This epistle of Paul reveals to us what Christ wants His church to be like. He divulged the characteristics of an ideal church as having leaders who are thankful to God for their flock, and leaders and members with the right testimony. We were also presented with some challenges, the challenge to look at our lives as a congregation so that we may know where we stand. Are we the kind of church that impacts its community by turning its backs from idols towards the living God? Or, are we a church with a damaged testimony (1 Thess. 1:9)?  What are the things keeping you from being Christ-like at home, at work, in school? Are we living models of what Christians should be? Are we worth being emulated by others (1 Thess. 1:6)?  As Paul showed us, it takes more than members with great testimonies to have an ideal church. The Thessalonian church was great not only because of the testimony of its members but because of great leaders who lived in integrity and were also concerned for the soul of their flock. Indeed, the ideal church, in God’s eyes, is a church with leaders who forsake self-interests and ambitions to live lives worthy of the gospel of Christ. For a church to be ideal, its pastors and leaders must primarily aim to please God and Him alone (1 Thess. 2:4).

   According to F.F. Bruce, “By the standards of this world, the lives of Paul and his associates, to the very end, were marked by poverty, weakness, disrepute and all sorts of tribulations.” However, Paul and his associates did not measure what they were worth by the standards of this world. Yet they considered their lives as having nothing but yet possessing everything (2 Cor. 6:10). Indeed, Pastors and leaders need to understand that ministry is not about profit, for that’s not what the gospel of Christ is about. Leaders and preachers’ lives need to be marked by poverty and by the love for the souls God has entrusted them with; a love demonstrated by both words and deeds. A love should be made manifest in how the gospel is offered as the preachers and leaders share in the life of the flock. As leaders of this church, our lives need to be marked by holiness, righteousness and by blamelessness. Leaders of this church should not have hidden motives and/or agendas. The only agenda needed is that which brings the gospel to the lost and helps the congregation grow spiritually; so that you, the people of God, may live lives worthy of the great kingdom of glory that God has prepared for those who love Him. As leaders, we must live lives that are like open books so that the congregation may know that what they see is all there is to it. Paul, from the first verse to the seventeenth (1 Thess. 2:1-17), kept saying “you know… remember...recall…” indicating that the people were witnesses to his honesty and credibility. He presents this as a defense of his own testimony because there were naysayers and opponents who were questioning his integrity. How would you defend yourself as a leader? Paul did not have to invent a means of defense. He simply called on the Thessalonians as witnesses, as those in whom he had invested his time. Every leader in this church should be able to do likewise. Pray that you are able to call on those to whom you minister as witness to your testimony.

      The love Paul refers to in verse eight (1 Thess. 2:8) is what motivated him to share the gospel and his own life with the Thessalonians. He did not minister to them in a detached manner. He was involved with them intimately. Ministry should not be about lording over people. The act of sharing needs to go both ways. Leaders need to be held accountable to invest in the people’s lives, as this is what they are called to do. Ministry does not happen on Sunday mornings only. The true shepherd is called to look after the flock. In order to do that, the shepherd must love the sheep and avoid taking advantage of them, that includes finances. Paul acknowledged that the faithful preacher is worthy of double honor and financial support (1 Tim. 5: 17-18). However, he did not require financial support from the young Thessalonian church (1 Thess. 2:9), to avoid the appearance of taking advantage of newly implanted church. Rather, he accepted support from the other well-established church of Ephesus (Eph. 4:16). This concept of forgoing what one is due is foreign to our culture, as evidenced by the many charlatans on TV who are constantly using gimmicks to deprive people of their hard-earned money.

         The remaining verses (2 Thess. 2: 10-12) give us a complete picture of what the shepherd/leader should look like. True godliness involves both what men witness and what God alone sees. The Thessalonians could testify of Paul’s godly lifestyle in their midst which attests to the nature of his relationship with God. And because of having the right relationship with God, he could not only behave rightly but be blameless to the other onlookers as well. Many pastors/leaders have gotten in trouble because of their involvement in schemes. They drag in not only their church members but also others. They then consequently lose their testimony. What are the things that could tarnish your testimony? Can you, like Paul, say that you’ve been blameless? If not, there’s a problem. If you can witness the blameless lives of the leaders of this church, we can praise God for that because we did not achieve it by ourselves but by His grace. If we have not been disqualified from preaching God’s word, we can then glorify Him for His work in our lives. As your leaders, we have come to know that we are nothing without God. And we know for certain that it is in our weakness that His strength is made perfect. For on our own, we would simply fail. Paul lived what he preached. Our prayer, as leaders of this church, is to be able to live out what we preach, otherwise we are hypocrites.  A great father is not a great speaker but a great doer. For your children may fail to do as you say but they will do what they see and know. As your leaders, we seek to live rightly so that you may walk blamelessly, grow spiritually and live lives worthy of this God who’s called you. If we proclaim Christ, if we are admonishing you and we are teaching you with wisdom, it is so that we may present you perfect in Christ. This is why we painstakingly invest in your lives. There is no other goal. We proclaim these truths, admonish and teach you (Col. 1:28); so that in the end God may tell us, “well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master.” 


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