By Kevin Shrum
Pastor, Inglewood Baptist Church, Nashville
What if you found a treasure that would make you both rich and that would change the world? But it wouldn’t make you rich unless you set free that gift to change the world. This is the gospel (II Corinthians 4:7). The gospel lavishes on us the riches of God’s grace in Jesus Christ, but it must also be shared in order to have its greatest impact on us and the world. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 reminds us of the keys to sharing the gospel.
Persistant, I Thessalonians 2:1-2. Key No. 1 — We must be persistent and faithful in our gospel witness. Sharing the gospel is not a “one and done” project; it’s an ongoing process. Paul noted that he was faithful in sharing the good news with the Thessalonians even when they faced “great opposition”. In spite of the challenges, Paul and his evangelistic cohort remained persistent in sharing the gospel. They were bold, faithful, and consistent in their witness.
Gentle, I Thessalonians 2:3-7. Key No. 2 — Though persistent and bold in their witness, they were not belligerent or caustic. Sometimes we assume that boldness equals brashness. Boldness is like the gentle persistence of the grandmother of one of my church members who described how he had come to faith in Christ. He said his grandmother called him and has brother every Sunday morning to invite them to church. They would say no.
Then she started showing up on Sunday morning. Eventually, they attended church, heard the gospel, trusted Christ and then the rest of the family eventually became involved in church. The gospel came wrapped up in a grandmother’s gentle, bold, and persistent love.
Paul’s gospel witness “didn’t come from error or impurity or an intent to deceive” (v. 3). Nor did Paul use “flattering speech” or “have greedy motives.” Nor did it “seek glory from people” (vv. 2:5-6).
Instead, Paul says he was “gentle among you, as a mother nurtures her own children” (v. 7). Like Paul, we must be bold and persistent in sharing the gospel, but as gentle and tender as a nursing mother. God rarely uses the caustic, arrogant witness to win others to faith in Jesus Christ. God uses the boldness of a humble, persistent witness.
Blameless, I Thessalonians 2:8-12. Key No. 3 — As we share the gospel we share our lives as well. We cannot separate our gospel witness from the witness of our lives. Just as the gospel is blameless and pure, so we, too, must seek to be blameless and pure. Our lives must not obscure the gospel.
This is why Paul noted in verse 8 that when he shared the gospel with the Thessalonians he was sharing his own life. Further, he shared his own life with them in a way that it “would not burden any of you” (v. 9). Paul and his entourage conducted themselves “devoutly, righteously, and blamelessly” (v. 10). Paul notes that he “encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you (them) to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (vv. 11-12).
So, how do we share the gospel? We share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost through faithful persistence, humble boldness, and a purity of heart and life that adorns the good news. In doing so we become rich as does the one who hears and receives the good news. B&R