Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1
April 6, 2014
1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:
2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.
3 For our exhortation [was] not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
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 trieth our hearts.
5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God [is] witness:
6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor [yet] of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
1901 ASV Translation:
1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entering in unto you, that it hath not been found vain:
2 but having suffered before and been shamefully treated, as ye know, at Philippi, we waxed bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God in much conflict.
3 For our exhortation [is] not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
4 but even as we have been approved of God to be intrusted with the gospel, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God who proveth our hearts.
5 For neither at any time were we found using words of flattery, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness, God is witness;
6 nor seeking glory of men, neither from you nor from others, when we might have claimed authority as apostles of Christ.
- I. Our Entrance In Unto You.
- A. This is a matter of serious significance for the Thessalonians.
- 1. This "entrance" was first mentioned in 1:9 as evidence of the amazing impact of the Gospel in Thessalonica. The word itself is used in five texts of the New Testament.
- a. This word is used in Acts 13:24 to refer to the "coming" of Jesus into the world.
- b. It is used in Hebrews 10:19 to refer to the believer's "coming" into the holiest place of all by the "blood of Jesus".
- c. It is used in 2 Peter 1:11 to refer to the abundant "entrance" into the everlasting kingdom.
- d. All of these references to this "entrance" are tied to enormously significant "places to be".
- 1) Jesus "entered" into our world after the preaching of John's "baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins".
- 2) By faith in that "repentance leads to forgiveness", a person can "enter into the holiest of all" so that he/she is in the very presence of God in a way that is greater than, and beyond, the concept of divine omnipresence which has little, to nothing, to do with any kind of "interactive, interpersonal, presence" (Acts 17:28).
- 3) Having entered into the very presence of God by the blood of Jesus, a "believer" is promised "an abundant entrance" into the everlasting kingdom of the Lord's Christ, which has to do with being in the Kingdom in a conscious, bodily, sense.
- 2. At issue is the impact of this "entrance": it "has not come into being in vain".
- a. Paul's point is that God was behind this impact.
- b. A "vain" entrance would have been one that yielded little to no fruit for the Gospel.
- 1) "Vanity" implies purpose/intentionality being frustrated.
- 2) This "purpose/intentionality" was to bring people into God's salvation.
- 3) According to 3:5, this "vanity" thesis is crucial in Paul's heart and mind. Clearly, he expects that the tempter will attempt to thwart the impact of his labors.
- 3. Paul's claim is that "you yourselves know" these facts.
- a. It seems highly likely that Paul wants the Thessalonians to remember what it was like when he and his associates "entered" into Thessalonica.
- 1) This "you know" is repeated in 2:2 (and in 2:5 and 3:4), implying a significant reality.
- 1) Telling someone that they "know" something is tantamount to two things: it forces "recall"; and it disallows "dispute".
- 2) This strongly implies that Paul anticipates some ambivalence about the truth of the Gospel after the fact.
- b. Paul's anticipation of some level of ambivalence is solidly "biblical" in that it is "automatic" to the reality of "belief" that the "belief" will be tested to see if it will "settle" into the "heart" of the "believer".
- 1) At issue in every "test" of faith is this question: does the "believer" consider the truth "believed" to be a sufficient support to sustain the inevitable "cost" of believing?
- a) It is impossible for "faith" to be "cost free": everything "believed" puts all opposing alternatives into the category of "delusional vanity".
- b) When the "benefits" of the previously held "beliefs" are suddenly revealed to be now considered "delusions", a battle is waged over whether a person still wishes to "believe" what now makes them "delusions" and eliminates their "benefits". At this point, the issue is not whether the "belief" is "true"; it is whether one is actually convinced that the "benefits" are really "delusions". The "lusts" that sought those benefits are potent and the war is waged at the level of "cost" (i.e., "sacrifice"), not "truth".
- c) That the battle is waged at the "lust" level, and not the "truth" level, makes the outcome significantly critical. When "lust" overrules "truth" disaster looms in the inevitable future.
- 2) God is not interested in "temporary confidence" for one reason: it does not provide the foundation for the alteration of the experience of the person so that he/she can enter more fully into the benefits of "Life".