1 Thessalonians 2:4
But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God…
I. THE GOSPEL IS A TRUST.
1. The gospel is of great value. If property is put in trust it is presumably valuable. We carefully guard what we prize highly. God's message of reconciliation is a charter of liberty, a covenant of grace, a promissory note of future blessings.
2. The gospel needs to be guarded and administered. It is in danger of being lost, forgotten, perverted, and corrupted. Trustees are required in order to preserve it in its integrity and to give it forth to those who need it.
3. The gospel is entrusted to men. There are those who are put in trust with the gospel. Men are to trust God; God also trusts men. He confides in the honor and devotion of his people. As the steward is entrusted with his master's estate, the servant of God receives a trust of the rich treasures of the gospel. The treasure is committed to earthen vessels. Thus does God honor his children and use them for his good purposes.
II. THE TRUSTEES OF THE GOSPEL ARE CHOSEN AND APPROVED OF GOD. God called the prophets, and Christ called the apostles. Every true Christian minister is called of God. The Church is God's chosen company of trustees of the gospel. Christian nations are providentially appointed for its custodianship. Certain qualifications are required in the trustees, in order that they may be approved of God.
1. They must hold the truth themselves. "Not of error" (ver. 3). The first requisites are an understanding of and a belief in the gospel.
2. They must live in accordance with the truth. "Nor of uncleanness." The trustee of the holy gospel must be a regenerate man. Otherwise his conduct will damage the gospel which he holds.
3. They must be honest in the discharge of the trust. "Nor in guile." No self-seeking, double-dealing, or men-pleasing can be permitted in the trustees of the gospel. They must be sincerely devoted to the truth that is entrusted to them.
III. THE TRUSTEESHIP OF THE GOSPEL IMPOSES IMPORTANT DUTIES.
1. The gospel must be preserved in its integrity. The trustees are not permitted to tamper with the trust. We have no right to add to or to detract from the gospel as it is given to us in the New Testament. It is a matter of honor that one who holds office in a Christian Church should net avail himself of the advantages of his position to advance private views which in any way militate against what is contained in the gospel charter on which the Church is founded. The New Testament is a trust-deed, and its provisions must be studiously observed, or the trusteeship implied by any active work in the Church must be resigned. Any other course is dishonest.
2. The trust of the gospel must be discharged for the benefit of those for whom it is designed. The trustees must study the interests of the beneficiaries. Trustees of the gospel are teachers of the gospel. This truth of God is not to be wrapped up in a napkin, but made use of for the good of mankind. The Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God that ultimately the Gentiles might receive those oracles from their hands. The Church is entrusted with the gospel that she may convey it to the world. The trust of the gospel carries with it the obligation of undertaking missionary enterprises.
3. The trust of the gospel must be discharged to the approval of God. It is his trust. He will call the stewards to account. Their aim, therefore, must be, not to please men, but "God which proveth our hearts." - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.