Evangelistic Character

True Biblical Character for Evangelists (Evangelistic Character)

1Thess 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

Paul wrote this epistle focusing in part on their work and character among the Thessalonians when they were evangelizing them. What is amazing is that apparently Paul was with them for a short month, and yet he left a vibrant church. This high effectiveness has to be explained by the Holy Spirit working among them, yet at the same time, it is that evidence of the Holy Spirit working through their moral character and life as the Thessalonians saw them.

This epistle reveals that Paul was worried about his own ministry, specifically that he was doing it correctly before God. The assurance that he was doing it correctly is in the gospel he gave, and his own personal testimony. This was reflected in the results of his ministry, specifically the fruit of his ministry as seen in the life of the church at Thessalonica.

Note some things about this. 1:5

1Thess 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

What is revealing about this is that it debunks the modern common idea that we can evangelize and do God’s work, and it doesn’t matter how we are as Christians. Christians with unholy and corrupt lives can work just like anybody else.

No! This is unbiblical. The power of God in the work of God comes not just from the Word of God given out, but from the “manner of man” that the minister is. This personal testimony of holiness is a key in the Word of God taking root in people’s lives.

1Thess 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: 1Thess 1:7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. 1Thess 1:8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

What is remarkable is that Paul probably spent a month here, and this church just exploded into a dynamic work for Christ, and a great tool and instrument for the work of God. This happened because those who planted this work had spectacular personal lives with Christ and this great testimony coupled with spiritual activity produced new converts that wanted to emulate Paul and his band.

1Thess 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
1Thess 2:1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:

What makes me really stand up and take notice here is that Paul was worried that his witnessing to this church would be ineffective because his own personal life might have condemned it to ruin from the beginning. The point is that there is a false gospel given by sinful, lukewarm, corrupt ministers. Paul’s gospel was not like that, and in contrast he had a godly life, the people he worked with had godly lives, and they imitated their mentor.

1Thess 2:3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:

Paul identifies wrong ministers who have the motives of deceit, uncleanness, guile.

G4106 πλάνη plane (plan’-ay) n.
1. (properly) a straying or wandering from the straight path (i.e. a deviation, an error, a bending)
2. (objectively) fraudulence
3. (subjectively) a straying from orthodoxy or piety

I think that very many churches in our day stray from the right path. They bend, not completely give up the gospel, but not act directly in line with it. Deception is seen in churches that have grow oriented programs that deceive people (with children it happens a lot). Some churches give away candy, toys, and other things in order to get kids to come. They act as entertainment centers for adults. But their real focus is not rebuking sin, preaching the gospel, burdening the people with the work of God. How many churches today keep the witnessing, praying, and sacrificing for the work of God to a minimum, not demanding that we as God’s children go wholeheartedly into that? Few would do that at all.

G167 ἀκαθαρσία akatharsia (ak-ath-ar-see’-ah) n.
1. impurity (the quality)
{physically or morally}

I think that many ministers (not all though) have impure motives. They want glory and recognition more than they are concerned about getting the Lord’s work done.

G1388 δόλος dolos (dol’-os) n.
1. a trick (bait)
2. (figuratively) wile
[from an obsolete primary verb, dello (probably meaning to decoy)]
KJV: craft, deceit, guile, subtilty

I think that there is a fundamental error in many ministries and ministers today. That is that they are just not honest. What they say does not reveal their motives. Their motives may be money, to get control, to get some alterior thing that what they openly proclaim to say. This is a great problem.

Luckily, Paul could in good conscience say that he never did any of that.

1Thess 2:4 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. 1Thess 2:5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:

Paul’s motive was to please God, and he kept that open and before himself always. He also made sure that those around him, fellow ministers, the churches he founded, etc, also knew that this was the primary consideration, is what we are doing looked upon favorably by God.

G2850 κολακεία kolakeia (kol-ak-ei’-ah) n.
1. flattery
[from a derivative of kolax (a fawner)]

Paul spoke praise sparingly, only when it was truly due. So many ministers will speak favorably of others in order to get them to support the work they were doing. Often this revolved around getting money, support, and personnel. Paul didn’t do this. His motives were open and clean.

Paul refused to use a “cloak (covering) of covetousness”. What he did was not for money. Money did not manipulate and dictate his actions. He did not work to get rich, protecting those people and sources that would give him the most money.

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Pastor David Cox is a missionary. See my ministry updates here.