“For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain“
Evidently, Judaizers outside the church of Thessalonica leveled charges against the legitimacy of Paul and his gospel team. They tried to discredit them. They said that they were in ministry for personal profit. Paul reminds the Thessalonians that the gospel team came to them with the integrity one year previously (verses 1-12). In the first six verses of chapter two he makes his motives clear.
The gospel team managed ministry as stewards of God’s will (verses 1-6). In this chapter, we find a great model for ministry, an ideal minister of the gospel.
For you yourselves know, brethren,
The word “you” is emphatic in the Greek. The Thessalonians knew personally how Paul’s team came into Thessalonica with the gospel (1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2:1, 2, 5, 11; 4:2). The word “know” occurs repeatedly throughout this chapter. The Thessalonians knew this gospel team intimately.
that our coming to you
The Thessalonian Christians knew of the “coming” of the gospel team. When the gospel team moved into Thessalonica, no one knew anything of the gospel. They never heard the life-transforming gospel message. Paul and his team went where the fish were. They took the initiative in evangelism.
If we are going to advance the cause of Christ, we must go where the fish are.
Most of us find it fruitless to fish in our own bathtubs. We have to go to the fish; they do not come to us. As a rule, few fish come to church; few non-Christians move outside their element. God expects us to take the gospel wherever He places us, in life, school, work or neighborhood. We must take the initiative and make the contact.
Many times our contacts with non-believers are unproductive. We go away and they say, “What a nice person.” We receive their personal praise, but it is without eternal benefit. If they reject Christ, they go into a Christless eternity. Contact with the lost can only be effective if we declare the gospel to them.
Many Christians never share their faith. Their Christian community is simply a country club for them. They love to fellowship with believers, but do not like to connect to non-believers, because that is too uncomfortable for them. They find comfort in the presence of Christians.
What do you do with your contacts with unbelievers? Do you express the gospel with your integrity and personality? Do it with your vocabulary and your style? That is many times more effective than taking them to an evangelistic meeting. God entrusts us with the gospel. We need to bring our conversations around to the fact that Christ died for our sins. That is a wonderful product to sell. Are you concerned about the message?
We are witnesses for Christ whether we know it or not, for better or for worse.