from Lynda Lindsey
But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. I Thessalonians 2:2
And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. I Thessalonians 2:13
For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 1 Corinthians 9:16
The gospel is worthy of bold proclamation; Paul was up to the task. Paul first came to Thessalonica boldly preaching God’s gospel shortly after his imprisonment in Philippi, where he and Silas had been falsely accused, beaten, and thrown into the inner prison, their feet locked into stocks. Paul’s unshakable commitment to the gospel stemmed from his obedience to God’s call. God entrusted His Good News to Paul and Paul honored God’s trust, being prepared and ready to preach courageously in any and all circumstances.
In addition to proclaiming the gospel boldly, regardless of circumstances, Paul demonstrated other authentic marks of a true preacher. Paul preached the gospel to honor and please God, not man, and with genuine love and care for those he addressed. Paul shared more than information, he shared his heart and life and allowed his conduct to demonstrate the validity of his message. Paul, not greedy, not demanding, worked hard among the Thessalonians to avoid being a financial burden. Like a father with young children, Paul gently exhorted and encouraged his friends to walk worthy of God.
The gospel, worthy of bold proclamation, is also worthy of courageous and fearless reception; it requires laying down one’s life. Few are called to preach vocationally, but all believers are entrusted with the gospel, to receive the gospel not as man’s words, but as it is, the living, powerful, life-changing Word of God. Embrace the gospel, imitate Christ, imitate Paul, and spread the Good News. In our own way, in our own communities, the gospel goes forth as we live intentionally for Christ. Walk worthy of God; be prepared and ready. Boldly proclaim, boldly receive the gospel.