Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's not about flattering.

1 Thes. 2:3-5 (ESV)
For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, [4] but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. [5] For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed— God is witness.
Paul packs a theological punch here. “Our appeal,” here he includes at a minimum Silvanus and Timothy. He says this appeal does not spring from error or impurity of any attempt to deceive. It seems somebody must have been leveling these charges at Paul already in the 1st century. It is amazing to me how often people try to discredit Paul, and or just ignore him. His message is controversial. But notice the claim. They had “been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.” This is the crux of the issue either Paul is or he isn’t sent by God. But if he is as he says he was, and I see no reason to believe otherwise from the man who stood down Peter, then we have to take his words seriously. Paul took the gospel seriously, and the words he used to communicate it. He didn’t come and flatter people his one aim was to remain true to God. He didn’t care if he pleased man or not. Really this is pretty freeing for a pastor. Man is to fickle a creature to try to please. It really doesn’t matter what you do. Someone is going to be upset with you. Finally you have to see what it is God wants of you. Be faithful to Him. He is faithful to you, even when you slip and fall into the trap of flattery. It is a trap, flattery. But God’s word is not flattering. This, however, should never be a pretext to just be rude, arrogant, and so forth. Let the message offend without your help.

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