1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 ESV
“For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.”
When we answer the call of God on our lives, and when we go where he sends us, and we say what he gives us to say, it doesn’t have to be just on days when we feel well, and when we are not being faced with any difficulties, and when we are feeling encouraged. It can be right in the middle of disaster, when our inclination in our flesh is to retreat, to run away, and to escape from all the pain and suffering. And yet we press on in the strength of the Lord, trusting that he will give us all we need to keep going.
For it can be right in the middle of sadness, when all we want to do is to just crawl up in a ball and cry out our pain to the Lord Jesus, that the Lord calls us to write or to speak his words and to show his love to others. For our obedience to the Lord is not conditional upon our circumstances or on how we feel at the moment. Our obedience to the Lord needs to be there no matter what is going on all around us, and regardless of how we feel. And sometimes that is when God uses us the most in other people’s lives.
1 Thessalonians 2:3-6 ESV
“For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 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. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.”
We live in a time of massive deception, even within the gatherings of the church (or what is falsely being called “church”). We live in an era when so much of the church has gone the way of the world and they are marketing the church to the people of the world just like they would any other business. And so many of them are following marketing schemes and goals and plans in place of following God’s plans and purpose for his church. And so many of them are engaging in trickery and mind manipulation, too.
One of the methods I have been noticing much of late, and for the purpose to deceive the people, is the use of what are called “misimpressions.” So, what they do is that they cleverly blend the lies in with the truth, but the lies are disguised to where they sound like truth, and to where they are not easily discerned as lies, for they are indirect lies, and so they are difficult to spot and to prove. So they are more like subliminal (hidden) messages within another message, which are intended to give misimpressions.
But when you know the hidden messages that these liars and deceivers are giving out these days, because you hear them repeated over and over again from multiple sources, you learn to recognize the key words and phrases, and so you are able to discern these hidden messages. But, again, they are so cleverly inserted in with the truth that they are very hard to prove, since they are indirect lies in the form of misimpressions. But please be aware that these exist, and please pray to be discerning of these hidden lies.
And, honestly, it appears that people like Paul, who do not use deception and mind manipulation and trickery, are rare these days. For if you could listen to sermons from multiple preachers from various church denominations and locations, you might begin to see a pattern with regard to what they are teaching and with how they are presenting what they are teaching. For many of them are following the same methods and messages which they are getting, not from the Scriptures, but from marketing strategies.
But if you are one who is teaching the truth of God’s Word today, you are likely being largely ignored, rebuked, rejected, and called “legalistic” or “judgmental” or “unkind,” etc. For it appears that the majority of people today are flocking to liars and to deceivers, and they are being encouraged to reject the truth tellers. So truth is now being called lies, and the lies are now being accepted as truth. So someone like Paul today would not “draw in large crowds of people from the world.”
But we are to be more like Paul, and we are to be like Jesus. Yes, we are to be kind, but kindness should never involve telling lies, for lies are never kind. And any attempts to trick and to deceive others is a lie, not the truth. So, even if we are rejected and cast aside and falsely accused for doing what it right and for refusing to do wrong, we must keep on in doing right, which includes calling out those who are liars, because they are more concerned about pleasing other humans than they care about pleasing God.
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 ESV
“But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”
We can be tenderhearted toward others and still speak the truth in love. For, as one who nursed all four of her children, I understand the analogy here. The thought here is that we should love the people we minister to so much that we will make certain that they are well nourished spiritually. We will not feed them anything that is fake or of inferior quality or that is not of God and of his word. We will give them the pure word of God without compromise of truth so that they will get the very best that God has to offer them.
And just like a mother who will lay her life down for her children, we need to share with others the pure word of God for their own sake regardless of how we get treated in return. We need to do what is right even if everyone else is doing what is wrong. So, we must speak the truth in love even if it gets us hated and rejected in return, and even if others think ill of us, and even if they think we are meanies or that we are being judgmental or whatever. For we must give them the truth and never the lies.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.