1 Thessalonians 2:7-8
But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherishes her children:…
(text in conjunction with vers. 1-11): —
I. THE TRUST REPOSED IN THE MINISTER OF CHRIST (ver. 4). Other trusts are temporary and inconsiderable; this unbounded in its consequences and spiritual in its effects. In stating the doctrines committed to him by this trust, the minister has —
1. To prepare for the gospel by teaching men their guilt and condemnation as sinners, their accountability to God, and their impotency to save themselves.
2. To tell what is properly the gospel he must explain that salvation begins in the purpose and love of God the Father, is wrought out by the incarnation and obedience unto death of God the Son, and is communicated and applied by God the Holy Ghost.
3. To show the effect of the gospel (vers. 11, 12).
II. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE MINISTRY OF THE GOSPEL IS TO BE DISCHARGED. Besides the announcement of doctrines, much depends on the spirit in which they are announced.
1. Fidelity (vers. 2-5) in the discharge of a trust is the primary quality, without which subsidiary qualities do not deserve the name of virtues. The minister must not aim at pleasing men, but God. Heathen priests and false apostles were notoriously guilty of guile, deceit, impurity. To gain their ends they flattered men and concealed what was displeasing. So, alas! some professed ministers of Christ hide some part of the truth, soften the declarations of God's anger against sin, weaken, if they do not deny, the doctrines of the gospel, pass slightly over repentance, regeneration, separation from the world, etc.
2. Disinterestedness (vers. 5, 6). "Filthy lucre" is the term Scripture employs for appetite for gain in the minister of Christ. He has a right to demand that, preaching the gospel, he should live of the gospel; but the spirit of self-denial which willingly yields its strict rights, and is careful not to appear to drive a trade under the cloak of religion, and "seeks not yours, but you," is ever the distinguishing mark of the true minister.
3. Humility (ver. 6). The man that courts popularity, that frames his doctrines to the fashion of the day or the taste of his hearers, that cultivates the arts of human oratory, has his reward. But the faithful minister exhibits not himself, but Jesus Christ his Lord.
4. Mildness and gentleness of heart. What is there in nature so tender as a nursing mother? Different ministers excel in different graces. Though possessing all in a measure, yet they commonly surpass in some one or more — some in boldness, some in judgment, some in zeal, but the most useful in love.
III. THE CONDUCT OF A MINISTER OF CHRIST AS A RESULT OF THE DOCTRINES HE HAS IMBIBED AND THE SPIRIT WITH WHICH HE IS ANIMATED.
1. Laboriousness (ver. 9). The ministry is a "work."
2. Purity (ver. 10).
(Bp. D. Wilson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: