1 Thessalonians 2:1-4
For yourselves, brothers, know our entrance in to you, that it was not in vain:…
Entrance into Thessalonica. It was not necessary, however, to depend upon foreign testimony for the facts of the case, for the Thessalonians themselves were the best witnesses. "For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain," but an effective living reality, a great and gracious success. The proof of the fact is contained in two circumstances.
I. THE BOLDNESS OF THE THREE PREACHERS, "But even after that we bad suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much conflict." The insulting treatment the apostle had received at Philippi had not the effect of scaring him away, or of leading him to withdraw into Asia, leaving Europe to its fate. Such treatment would have deterred men of a different stamp. His boldness was not mere stoical courage, but based on faith, for he was "bold in our God," and was equal to present perils as well as to past persecutions; for he spoke the gospel of God "in much conflict," caused, as we know, by the league of violence which the Jews of Thessaionica formed with "lewd fellows of the baser sort" against the gospel.
II. THE SPIRIT AND METHOD OF THEIR MINISTRY. "For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile." The matter is exhibited first negatively, and then positively.
1. Negatively. His persuasive exhibition of the truth was not
(1) "of deceit." He was not deceived himself - be had not "followed cunningly devised fables" - neither did he design to deceive others, for he preached the truth as it is in Jesus. Therefore there was all the greater force and fervent and directness in his teaching.
(2) "Nor of uncleanness." There were no impure or sinister ends in his teaching, implying love of gain; nor any disposition to tolerate those subtle forms of temptation which sometimes manifest themselves even under the guise of piety.
(3) "Nor in guile," for he was straightforward and sincere in his methods, with "no cunning craftiness," no maneuvers, no strategy; for they had" renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the Word of God deceitfully" (2 Corinthians 4:2).
2. Positively. The method of his preaching met with the Divine approval. "But as we were approved of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, who trieth our hearts."
(1) The gospel is a solemn trust, a rich treasure. There are many human trusts which men would rather shirk, but the apostle is not unwilling to accept this trust for the good of the world.
(2) He claims no independent worthiness for so sacred a trust. God gave him any worthiness or sufficiency he possessed. "Our sufficiency is of God, who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament" (2 Corinthians 3:5, 6).
(3) He discharged his trust
(a) with a perfect disregard for men's opinions about him (1 Corinthians 4:3);
(b) and with no desire to catch the favor of men. "Not as pleasing men; "for" as of sincerity, as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:17). Not sacrificing truth [o the fancies or prejudices of men in order to secure their favor. If "he pleased men, he should not be the servant of God" (Galatians 1:10).
(4) He had supreme and final regard to the all-seeing God, "who trieth the hearts," who knows the springs of all actions, discovers all artifices, and brings all hidden things to light, lien look on the outward appearance. God "spares all beings but himself that awful sight - a naked human heart." He "seeth not as man seeth." It is vain, therefore, to appear other than we are. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: