“For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake”
as you know
Paul appeals to their personal knowledge of his gospel team. They knew that the gospel team came to them in “word,” “power,” “the Holy Spirit,” and “much assurance.”
what kind of men we were among you
Paul’s team lived in harmony with the message of the gospel. This is an appeal to the Thessalonians and us today. People whose lives are consistent with their beliefs are appealing.
The word “kind” in the phrase “kind of men” means sort. The gospel team lived their lives with integrity. They were more than show. God transformed the lives of the communicators of the gospel as well as the Thessalonians. Not only did the gospel team convey a convincing message, but they also lived consistently with that message when they were at Thessalonica. The Thessalonians saw clearly their manner of life. What you are speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.
The word “were” means became. The transforming power of the way the gospel team came with their message revolutionized the messengers themselves. God enabled them to be what they were not before they came to Thessalonica. God changed them as they shared the gospel. General Eisenhower illustrated leadership by putting a string on the table and saying, “Pull it, and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and will go nowhere at all.” We lead people by example.
Credibility comes from the word “credo,” meaning “I believe.” Credibility means people believe your message because of your integrity. If you do not believe the messenger, you will not believe the message. People expect those who proclaim a message to stand for something and have the courage of their convictions. If we are not clear and convinced about what we believe, others will not believe us either.
What we are speaks so loud that people cannot hear what we say.
God expects us to live lives of high caliber. What caliber of Christian are you? Are you a shallow soul? Christians are transformed people. There is an attraction to that.
“So the men marveled, saying, ‘Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’” (Matthew 8:27).
Paul’s gospel team was of high quality. They wore well. Against insurmountable opposition, they persisted in living lives of excellence before others. The team was quality merchandise.
Many people use quality as an excuse for not going aggressively after as many people as they can for Christ. There is no choice between quality and quantity in ministry. Quality refers to the kind of product we are and the kind of end product we want to produce. Quantity is the extent we want our ministry to reach. We do not have to choose between quality and quantity. When we go fishing, we do not ask, “Do I want quality or quantity?!” We want to catch the biggest and as many fish as we can! Christians want to win as many people as they can to Christ, and we want them to become as much like Christ as possible. Quality produces quantity.
A ministry full of genuinely changed people will attract many others to the ministry. People who possess transformed lives and manifest maturity will draw those without Christ. If we do not draw the lost to our group or us personally, is it because we do not demonstrate good quality of life to them? If our lives do not match the gospel, we will not draw people to us.
“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…” (Philippians 1:27).
If the quality of our lives does not match the gospel, it will be like switching positive and negative cables on our car battery — the sparks will fly.