Cloke of Covetousness

1Thessalonians 2:5-6 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as you know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. 

‘Neither at any time used we flattering words.’ We were frank to tell the naked truth. Flattering is characteristic of deceit (Pro. 28:23; 29:5; Jude 1:16).

‘Cloke’ [Greek: prophasis] pretence, excuse. Translated “cloke” (2:5; John 15:22); “shew” (Luke 20:47); “colour” (Acts 27:30); and “pretence” (Matt. 23:14; Mark 12:40; Php. 1:18). He did not use the ministry as a pretence to make a personal gain.

‘Covetousness’  is forbidden (Ex. 20:17; Matt. 6:19-21; Rom. 13:9; Eph. 5:3; Heb. 13:5; 1Jn. 2:15-17). Hatred of it is one qualification of leaders, civil and religious (Ex. 18:21; 1Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7; 1Pet. 5:2). It will damn the soul (1Cor. 5:11; Eph. 5:3-5; 1Tim. 6:9-11; 2Pet. 2:3, 14). It must be cleaned out entirely (Col. 3:2-6). Covetousness breeds the following: Greed and murder (Pro. 1:19; Isa. 56:11; Jer. 22:17); poverty and rebellion (Pro. 11:24); oppression and violence (Pro. 22:16; Jer. 22:17; Mic. 2:2); denial of God (Pro. 30:8-9); injustice (Isa. 1:23; Mic. 7:3); backsliding (Mic. 3:11); deceptions (Matt. 13:22); defilement (Mark 7:21-23); temptations and lusts (1Tim. 6:9-11; 1Jn. 2:15-17); a short life and a fool’s end (Jer. 17:11; Luke 12:16-21).

Examples of covetousness in Scripture: Eve – forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:6); Lot – lands (Gen. 13:10-13); Jacob – birthright and his father’s blessing (Gen. 25:31; 27:6-29); Balaam – rewards (2Pet. 2:15); Achan – money (Jos. 7:21); David – woman (2Sam. 11:2-5); Ahab – vineyard (1Kin. 21:2-16); Gehazi – gifts (2Kin. 5:20-27); The rich fool – security (Luke 12:17); Judas – silver (Matt. 26:15-16); Pharisees – riches (Luke 16:14); Simon Magus – Holy Ghost power (Acts 8:18-23); Festus – money (Acts 24:26); Demas – pleasures (2Tim. 4:10).

‘Might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.’ We might have used our position to get wages from you, for we have that right (Luke 10:7; 1Cor. 9:7-18; Gal. 6:6). We did not exercise these rights.

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