1 Thessalonians 2:1-2
For yourselves, brothers, know our entrance in to you, that it was not in vain:…
Outsiders testified of the success of the gospel; and the apostles could confidently appeal to the converts in confirmation of the report. "For yourselves," etc. Dr. Lillie observes: "Paul's entrance was no easy, random, careless matter — not at all an affair of rhetoric or ostentation — no holiday diversion or intellectual pastime; but a fact of the utmost gravity for him and for that renowned city — a crisis, an epoch in the history of both." We trace in their ministerial endeavours four essential elements that are ever found in all successful preaching — boldness, sincerity, gentleness, moral consistency. Consider, first, their boldness.
I. THIS BOLDNESS MANIFESTED IN THE EARNEST DECLARATION OF THE TRUTH. "We are bold in our God," etc.
1. Bold in their conception of the Divine origin and vast scope of the gospel, and its adaptation to the wants of man, they were not less hold in its faithful proclamation. Their deep conviction of the supreme authority of the truth gave them unusual courage. We see the same spirit in Paul, when his fearless words roused the ire of Festus, shook the conscience of the thoughtless Felix, or swayed the heart of Agrippa. We see it in Elijah as he rebuked the sins of the wicked Ahab or threw the baffled priests of Baal into maddening hysteria — himself the while unmoved and confident. We see it conspicuously in Him whose burning words assailed every wrong, and who denounced the leaders of a corrupt Church as "serpents!" "generation of vipers!"
2. "With much contention" — amid much conflict and danger. This kind of preaching provoked opposition, and involved them in great inward struggles. The faithful messenger of God fears not the most violent assault from without: but the thought of the fatal issues to those who obstinately reject and fight against the gospel fills him with agonizing concern.
II. THIS BOLDNESS NO SUFFERING COULD DAUNT. "Even after that we had suffered before," etc. They had come fresh from a city where they had been cruelly outraged. But their sufferings only deepened their love for the gospel, and inflamed the passion to make it known. A German professor has lately made experiments with chalcedony, and other quartzose minerals, and he has demonstrated that when such stones are ground on large and rapidly revolving wheels, they exhibit a brilliant phosphorescent glow throughout their entire mass. So is it with the resolute worker. The more he is ground under the strong wheel of suffering and persecution, the more intensely will his character glow.
III. THIS BOLDNESS WAS DIVINELY INSPIRED. "In our God." It was not presumption or bravado; but tire calm, grand heroism of a profound faith in God. The prophet Jeremiah, in a moment of despondency, decided to "speak no more in the name of the Lord;" but when he could say, "The Lord is with me as a mighty terrible One," his courage returned, and he obeyed implicitly the Divine mandate — "Thou shalt go," etc. Similarly commissioned, Paul once exclaimed, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Endowed with the like spirit Luther uttered his noble protest at the Diet of Worms — "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise; God help me!" Lessons:
1. Boldness is indispensable in attacking the evils of the age — not in the mass, but in detail.
2. Boldness acquired only by studious and prayerful familiarity with God and His message.
Parallel VersesKJV: For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: