Not As Pleasing Men

1Thessalonians 2:4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which tries our hearts. 

‘Allowed’ [Greek: dokimazo] test. We were tested and then accounted worthy to be trusted with the gospel. Twenty-one facts about the teachings in this epistle: Not in vain (2:1, 13-20). Preached in mistreatment (2:2). Preached in boldness. Preached in great conflict. Did not use deceit (2:3). Did not foster corrupt passions. Did not use guile. Was trusted of God with it (2:4). Preached to please God, not man. Used no flattering words (2:5). Was not covetous (2:5; Luke 12:15). Did not seek human glory (2:6) and ministered without pay (2:6, 9). Was patient and gentle (2:14). Preached with great affection (2:15). Was ready to sacrifice life (2:16). Worked day and night (2:9). Lived what he preached (2:10) and was complete (2:11). His purpose was right (2:12). Gave unceasing thanks to God for results of the gospel (2:13-20).

‘Not as pleasing men.’ From Galatians 1:10 we have the warning that if we strive to please men we are not servants of Christ.

‘But God, which tries our hearts’ The secret of pleasing God is to have faith in Him because without it, it is impossible to please Him and when we go to God, we must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).

Exhortation

1Thessalonians 2:2-3 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as you know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile

‘At Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God.’ Paul here refers to the events of Acts 16:16-40 when Silas and he were placed in prison and the keeper of the prison and his house became followers of Christ.

‘Contention’ [Greek: agon] conflict, a contest for a prize, a struggle or a battle.

‘Exhortation’ [Greek: paraklesis] translated “intreaty” (2Cor. 8:4); “comfort” (Acts 9:31; Rom. 15:4; 2Cor. 1:3-4; 7:4, 7:13); “exhortation” (2:3; Acts 13:15; Rom. 12:8; 1Cor. 14:3; 2Cor. 8:17; 1Tim. 4:13; Heb. 12:5; 13:22); and “consolation” (Luke 2:25; 6:24; Acts 4:36; 15:31; Rom. 15:5; 2Cor. 1:5-7; 7:7; Php. 2:1; 2Thess. 2:16; Phm. 1:7; Heb. 6:18).

Three marks of true exhortation: [1] Without deceit. [Greek: plane] fraudulence; straying from orthodoxy or piety. Translated “deceit” (2:3); “deceive” (Eph. 4:14); “delusion” (2Thess. 2:3); and “error” (Matt. 27:64; Rom. 1:27, note; Jas. 5:20; 2Pet. 2:18; 3:17; 1Jn. 4:6; Jude 1:11). [2] Without uncleanness. [Greek: akatharsia] whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion (Gal. 5:19; Matt. 23:27; Rom. 1:21-32). We did not minister to your corrupt passions but enforced their mortification (Col. 3:5; Rom. 8:12-13). [3] Without guile. [Greek: dolos] lying, falsity. [Taken from delo], to take with a bait. Translated “guile” (2:3; John 1:47; 2Cor. 12:16; 1Pet. 2:1, 22; 3:10; Rev. 14:5); “deceit” (Mark 7:22; Rom. 1:29); craft (Mark 14:1); and “subtilty” (Matt. 26:4; Acts 13:10).

Not In Vain

1Thessalonians 2:1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain

‘Know our entrance in unto you’ – Twelve times he called attention to the Thessalonians showing what they know of truth: Know what manner of men we were (1:5). Know our entrance unto you (2:1). Know how shamefully we were treated (2:2). Know we did not use flattering language and were not covetous (2:5). Know how we exhorted, comforted, and charged you (2:11). Know that we were appointed afflictions for the gospel (3:3-4). Know what commandments we gave you by Jesus Christ (4:2). Know how to possess your vessels in sanctification and honour (4:4). Know perfectly about the day of the Lord (5:2). Know your true teachers (5:12). Know what withholds that the Antichrist might be revealed (2Thess. 2:6-8). Know how you ought to follow us (2Thess. 3:7).

Note the twelve “Know You Not’s:” That so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death (Rom. 6:3)? That to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are – sin or righteousness; satan or God (Rom. 6:16)? That I speak to them that know the law – the Jews (Rom. 7:1; cp. 1Thess. 2:12-16)? That you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (1Cor. 3:16)? That a little leaven leavens the whole lump (1Cor. 5:6)? That saints shall judge the world (1Cor. 6:2)? That saints shall judge angels (1Cor. 6:3)? That the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God (1Cor. 6:9)? That your bodies are members of Christ (1Cor. 6:15)? That he which is joined to a harlot is one body (1Cor. 6:16)? That your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6:19-20)? That they which run in a race all run, but only one wins the prize (1Cor. 9:24)?

‘That it was not in vain’ – A steadfast congregation was established (Acts 17:1-34).

Your Faith

1Thessalonians 1:8-10 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. 

‘Sounded out’ [Greek: execheomai] to sound forth; publish. From Thessalonica went ministers preaching and confirming the Word of God in Macedonia, Greece, and many other places. Then, too, merchants went from Thessalonica to all parts, taking the news that the people had believed.

‘Your faith to God-ward is spread abroad.’ Their faith and power were matters of conversation among the heathen. If they had manifested only a formal confession of faith without the power they would not have been model saints for other congregations.

‘How you turned to God from idols.’ This shows that these converts were Gentiles who once served idol gods. They turned from these to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven (1:10).

‘Living’ God is here called living in contrast to lifeless idols. He is called true in contrast to the whole system of idolatry which was false in its gods, worship, doctrines, promises, and prospects of eternal life.

‘True God’ – Seven major Christian doctrines here: Conversion – they “turned” (1:9; Matt. 18:3). True and living God (1:9; John 17:3). Against idolatry (1:9; 1Cor. 8:1-13). Jesus the Son of God (1:10; John 3:16). Second coming of Jesus Christ (1:10). Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Salvation from the wrath to come.

‘And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.’ This is the 1st New Testament prophecy in 1 Thessalonians and it is unfulfilled until Christ’s Second Coming.

Unto the Kingdom of God

Colossians 4:11-18 – And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he has a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou have received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.

‘Jesus, which is called Justus’ – Paul lodged with Justus, who is called Titus Justus in some MSS and versions in Acts 18:7. A man that was chosen to be voted on in Acts 1:23. It is not clear whether these were the same or two different men.

‘These only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.’ Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Marcus, and Justus are all mentioned here; no doubt they were all fellow workers of Paul. The last three were of the circumcision, meaning they were Jews. This book was written in about 64 A.D.

‘Epaphras’ – He was a fellow prisoner of Paul in Rome and a minister of the gospel. He was one of the Colossian believers.

‘That you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.’ This seems to be the great desire of the early Bible teachers.

‘Laodicea’ – A city located in Phrygia, a few miles west of Colosse (Rev.3:14).

‘Hierapolis’ – A city of Phrygia near Colosse. It was called a holy city because of its many heathen temples of Apollo, Diana, Aesculapius, and Hygeia. All these gods were worshipped here.

‘Luke, the beloved physician’ Luke, wrote the gospel of Luke and was called the beloved physician because he took care of all Paul’s wounds (2Tim. 4:11; Phm. 1:24); and the “we” portions of Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1 – 28:16). He was a Jew and perhaps the Lucius of Romans 16:21 and Acts 13:1. If so, he was related to Paul.

‘Demas’ – A companion of Paul who later backslid and deserted the gospel work (2Tim. 4:10; Phm. 1:24).

‘Nymphas’ – A Christian of Laodicea who had a Christian congregation in his house. Not mentioned elsewhere.

Beloved Brother

Colossians 4:7-13 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. Aristarchus my fellow prisoner salutes you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom you received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him)

‘A beloved brother’ – is a fraternal epithet among Christians (Acts 9:17; 21:20; 2Cor. 2:13; Heb. 2:11-12; 1Pet. 1:22). From Hebrews 2:11-12 we see that Christ, who is the great Sanctifier, sets apart and consecrates men to the service of God. They who are sanctified or thus consecrated and set apart to the service of God, are all one, in the same family, and are called brethren – that includes male and female (Gal. 3:28), because we represent the male body of Christ just as the nation Israel as the wife of God, in the Old Testament, was representatives as God’s nation. 

‘Tychicus’ – One of the trusted companions of Paul and probably an Ephesian. (Eph 6:21; 2Tim. 4:12; Tit. 3:12).

‘Onesimus’ – A runaway slave of Philemon, a native of Colosse, and converted by Paul in Rome (Phm. 1:10).

‘Aristarchus’ – A Macedonian who was a companion of Paul and a prisoner with him at Rome (Acts 19:29; 27:2; Phm. 1:24).

‘Marcus’ – John Mark is the author of the gospel of Mark. He was the nephew of Barnabas (Col. 4:10) and a disciple of Jesus (Acts 12:12). Paul and Barnabas took him on the first missionary journey but he got homesick and left the party (Acts 12:25; 13:5, 13). Paul and Barnabas separated over Mark when they started on the second missionary journey (Acts 15:33-39). He was a convert of Peter (1Pet. 5:13). He later worked with Paul (Col. 4:10-11; 2Tim. 4:11; Phm. 1:24).

Continue in Prayer

Colossians 4:2-6 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man. 

‘Continue’ [Greek: proskartereo] to be earnest toward a thing; persevere; be constantly diligent; attend to it continually or regularly (Rom. 12:12). If all this would be practised in prayer, it would be easy to: Mortify the members (3:5). Put off the old man (3:8). Put on the new man (3:10). Do the 12 things of note from Colossians 3:17. Submit to husbands as to Christ (3:18). Love wives without bitterness (3:19). Obey parents in all things (3:20). Love the children (3:21). Serve masters as unto God (3:22-25). Be just towards servants (4:1).

Every person struggling with any of the above problems will do well to pray for the grace to help him. Wives should pray for the grace to submit to their husbands; husbands for grace to love their wives and be cured of bitterness; children for grace to obey parents; fathers for wisdom to deal with their children; servants and masters for grace to solve their problems, and all Christians should pray to overcome all selfishness and live right.

‘Prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.’ Eight practices for all believers: Continuing in prayer (4:2). Watching continually in prayer. Giving continued thanks to God. Praying for ministers and their work (4:3). Praying for the success of the gospel (4:3-4). Living Christian life before men (4:5). Using time for God. Being tactful with men (4:6).

‘Seasoned’ [Greek: artuo] spice, seasoning. Let your speech be always spiced and seasoned with answers that will oppose sin and preserve from the corruption thereof. Let it be holy, wise, gracious, Christian, savoury, wholesome, courteous, respectful, desirable, and worthy of being kept in the memory of others.

Children and Fathers

Colossians 3:20-21 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. 

‘Children, obey your parents in all things.’ Ephesians 6:1-3 expand on these commandments: To obey parents and to honour them, with the reasons that firstly it is right; it is a commandment (Ex. 20:12); it is a blessing of well-being and long life is promised. Threefold blessing to those who remember and keep the commandments (Prov. 3:1-2): Length of days (Prov. 3:2, 16; 4:10; 9:11). A long life (1Pet. 3:10-11). Peace (Isa. 26:3).

Parents must teach their children the importance of obedience otherwise they fail God and their children (Prov. 15:32).

‘Fathers, provoke not your children to anger.’ Fathers are not allowed to provoke their children to wrath. They must avoid making sport of them (Prov. 26:17-19); severity, anger and cruelty. Cruel parents generally have rebellious children. Correct them, do not punish them. Punishment is from a principle of revenge; correction is from a principle of loving concern. Bring your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The mind is to be nourished with wholesome discipline and instruction which will bend them toward God and Christian living (Eph. 6:4).

‘Be discouraged’ [Greek: athumeo] have their spirit broken.

Whatsoever You Do

Colossians 3:14-17 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also you are called in one body; and be you thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 

‘Charity’ – Divine love is to be put on as the outer garment and finishing touch to a well-dressed Christian. After putting on the eight other things of Colossians 3:10, one is to put on this outer cloak as the bond of perfectness or as a girdle. It is to cover all, unite all, and bind all together as one. This is true perfection (Matt. 5:43-48; 1Cor. 13:1-13).

‘Rule’ [Greek: brabeuo] to be an umpire; to arbitrate, direct, and govern.

‘Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs’ – Spiritual songs mean those of the spiritual life and the given psalms.

‘Whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.’ Twelve obligations of the Christian life: Seek those things above (3:1). Set affections on things above (3:2) and mortify all sinful members (3:5-7). Put off the old man (3:8-9). Put on the new man (3:10-12). Forbear with all men (3:13; 1Cor. 13:1-13). Forgive all men (3:13; Matt. 18:35). Put on divine love (3:14; 1Cor. 13:1-13). Let peace umpire the life (3:15). Know the Bible (3:15; 2Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17). Teach and admonish one another (3:16). Use the Christian’s power of attorney (3:17; John 16:23).

When we do anything to mortify the flesh we are disobedient to this commandment of doing everything – in word and deed – in the name of the Lord. No selfishness, self-pride, self-gain or self-glory can be done in His name, for all the glory belongs to Him and Him alone (1Cor. 10:31).

With Him in Glory

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory. 

‘When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.’ This is the 1st New Testament prophecy in Colossians (3:4,) and is still unfulfilled. When is not stated, but the fact of it is (John 14:1-3; 1Thess. 4:16). This refers to the rapture.

‘Our life’ – Eternal life is in Jesus Christ (John 17:2-3; Rom. 5:10; 1Jn. 5:11-13).

‘Appear’ [Greek: phaneroo] to make visibly manifest. Translated “make manifest” (3:4; 1:26; John 1:31; 3:21; 9:3; Rom. 16:26; 1Cor. 4:5; 2Cor. 2:14; 4:10-11; 5:11; 11:6; Eph. 5:13; 2Tim. 1:10; Heb. 9:8; 1Jn. 2:19; Rev. 15:4); “manifest” (Mark 4:22; John 17:6; Rom. 3:21; Tit. 1:3; 1Jn. 1:2; 3:5, 8; 4:9); “manifest forth” (John 2:11); “declare manifestly” (2Cor. 3:3); “be manifest” (1Tim. 3:16; 1Pet. 1:20); “show one’s self” (John 21:1, 14); and “appear” (Mark 16:12, 14; 2Cor. 5:10; 7:12; Col. 3:4; Heb. 9:26; 1Pet. 5:4; 1Jn. 2:28; 3:2; Rev. 3:18). Here it means to make Himself visibly manifest to those whom He translates or causes to meet Him in the air (John 14:1-3; 1Thess. 4:16-17; 1Jn. 2:28; 3:2). It is in glory that we shall apear with Him. We must first appear with Him in the glory of heaven before we come back with Him in His glory to the earth to reign (John 14:1-3; 1Thess. 2:12; 4:16-17; Eph. 5:27; Jude 1:24). The word “glory” is used of heaven in 1Timothy 3:16 and 2Peter 1:17.