Reading: 1st Thessalonians 2: 1-8
Verse Four: We speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.
Paul comes to his position as an apostle through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He encountered Jesus in a powerful way and has been a devoted follower ever since. All that Paul does and says he credits to the presence and guidance of God. This comes to him through the Holy Spirit and through his relationship with Jesus. For Paul, his authority as an apostle comes from God. He writes, “We speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel”. Note the plurality in the “we”.
Paul does not work alone. He has a group he travels with and each shares the same goal – to share the good news of Jesus Christ. They have all been entrusted with the gospel. Because of this trust, Paul and his fellow workers are honest and hard-working. They are shining the spotlight on Jesus and His good news, not on themselves. Paul and his fellow believers want to please God alone. What men think of them does not matter.
The “we” that Paul writes of does not stop with Paul and his contemporaries. In Matthew 28, when the great commission was given, Jesus was also speaking to all who would claim a personal relationship with Him. Both Jesus and Paul knew that the work of spreading the gospel was a long-term project. When Jesus said, “therefore go and make disciples” He was and is speaking down through all generations. Jesus went on to say to do so “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”. In the same way that Paul was “approved” to speak the gospel, we too have been commissioned and approved to speak the good news of Jesus Christ.
May we each claim our authority today as people approved by God as we go out into the world to be the light and love of Jesus Christ as we share the good news with all we meet.