1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
I think we have all heard a news report when the reporter says, “Credible sources have told us…or credible sources indicate”…and then they go on to report what has been said.
Well, “credible” means that there is “reasonable grounds for being believed.”
And if the source is not “credible”…well you can’t believe them.
Is it important for a politician to be credible?
What about the news media?
What about your doctor?
What about a police officer?
We could go on and on…but I think we all understand just how important being credible or having credibility is.
And that is extremely true for those of us who claim to be Christians.
Many people have a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to people who call themselves Christians.
People see the greed…the immorality…and they hear the lies.
And that is why it is critical…essential that we, as God’s people, be credible.
It is critical for us to be CREDIBLE.
So, let’s look at this passage and let’s learn from the Apostle Paul some things that are essential to our CREDIBILTY as followers of Christ.
Let me begin by setting this up for you some.
Well, some of the brethren are frightened for Paul and Silas’ safety, so they send them out of the city.
All of these accusations were apparently being made to destroy Paul’s credibility…and so Paul writes this letter to counter those accusations.
And the first thing that Paul speaks of is his STEADFASTNESS. Look at verse 2. Paul says:
After we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.
You can go back to Acts 16 and see what happened to Paul and Silas.
But in spite of that…in spite of the mistreatment and the suffering…and in spite of the opposition…they still “boldly preached the gospel.”
And for us to have credibility we must be the same way.
You know, not too many of us get beaten for preaching Christ like Paul and Silas did.
In these situations if we just sit down and quit on God…and some do.
Fair weather…comfort faith…is something any one can have.
If we are going to have CREDIBILITY that people notice…we must be STEADFAST NO MATTER WHAT.
Look at the second thing that Paul speaks of that will give us CREDIBILITY. Look at verses 3-4:
For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts.
The word “error” speaks of “fraudulence”…or “deceit.”
The word “impurity” speaks of a “moral uncleanness.”
And when he says, “by way of deceit” that word literally speaks of “a trick.”
Listen, you can be as sincere as you can be…but if your message is wrong…if it is inaccurate…your credibility will be destroyed.
If your message is wrong…or if you have some ulterior motive…whether it is to promote yourself…or to gain sexual or monetary favors…or to build your own following.
Or if people perceive you as a huckster…you will destroy your credibility.
And look at the end of verse 4. Paul says: “So we speak, not as pleasing to men but God.”
And when the service was over…my brother and I were standing out in the parking lot of the church building…and I wasn’t going to say a word about what had been said.
He would have had much more respect for him if he would have taught the truth…instead of saying what he thought the people wanted to hear.
If you are going to do what pleases people…you will lose respect. .
It is only when you do that which pleases God that you will find CREDIBILITY.
Look at verse 5 and 6.
5 For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed– God is witness– 6 nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.
Verse 5 and the first part of verse 6 are pretty self explanatory. Not much to say. But I want you to notice the end of verse 6.
I know of preachers who have used their position to demand things of other people.
If you are going to have CREDIBILITY with people respect who they are…and their situation…and don’t throw your weight around.
Now, look at verse 7. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. 8 Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.
If you are going to be credible with people…you are going to have to show them that you care.
Paul says here: “We proved to be gentle among you.”
And Paul says that they were as “nursing mothers who tenderly care.”
How much respect do you have for a mother who abandons her baby? Refuses to care for it…feed it?
Listen, it is not enough to tell people you care and that you love them…you must also show them.
If you want to be CREDIBLE, people have to know…and see that you SINCERELY care.
Now, verse 10:
You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; 11 just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, 12 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
If you want CREDIBILITY people have got to see that you want what is best for them.
In this culture, the mother did the nurturing…and the father did the instructing.
Paul says, “We want what is best for you”…not ourselves…but for you.
So here it is. If we are going to have the CREDIBILITY that we must have…that we so desperately need to manifest to a lost world…a credibility that will make us stand out separate and apart from all others so that the Lord can be seen through us, here is what we must do and be:
Steadfast in our faith.
Truthful in our message.
No ulterior motives
No tricks…open and honest.
Pleasing to God…not men.
Not self seeking
Seek what is BEST for others. (Heaven)
HOW’S YOUR CREDIBILITY?
Is it such that it honors God…or does bring shame on Him?