To better understand Paul’s comments, we should probably remember his ministry to the church in Thessalonica. It was brief, but impactful!
Acts 17:1-10 “After they traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue, as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed them from the scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, ‘This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.’ Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women. But the Jews became jealous, and gathering together some worthless men from the rabble in the marketplace, they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. They attacked Jason’s house, trying to find Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly. When they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, screaming, ‘These people who have stirred up trouble throughout the world have come here too, and Jason has welcomed them as guests! They are all acting against Caesar’s decrees, saying there is another king named Jesus!’ They caused confusion among the crowd and the city officials who heard these things. After the city officials had received bail from Jason and the others, they released them. The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea at once, during the night. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue.”
(1-4) We should live our lives the way Paul did! Even though he faced opposition, he shared the gospel anyway, because he was more concerned about pleasing God than pleasing OR fearing man.
(5-10) Paul also thought through the implications of every action. He could have demanded support as an apostle of Christ, but instead he chose to work to support his ministry. We know from other letters that he was willing to receive support from churches, but usually after he had left. He didn’t want it to seem like he was charging for the Word of God, and he didn’t want to appear greedy. His care (like a nursing mother) shows us the kind of care and integrity our own ministries should display.
(11-16) The church in Thessalonica was faithful even though they were still experiencing the type of persecution that was directed toward Paul. The implications are clear: now that we’ve believed, we need to stand firm in our faith even though we too may face opposition. We understand that those who oppose us will one day face God’s wrath, because they are not rejecting our message, but God’s message.
(17-20) Paul wants to visit the church (they are his children, his hope, and his crown!), but is hindered by Satan. We need to understand that Satan does have power, but only what is allowed by God. God is perfectly willing to use Satan to test and challenge us. May we be found faithful!