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1Thessalonians, Chapter Two, Lesson Two

BOUND IN CHRIST            Page 2
V. 5 (cont'd.)

** Paul is going to delineate for us three specific ways we are not to speak forth the gospel. Here in verse five, what is the first method or style of evangelism we must avoid?

Preaching or speaking the gospel "with flattering speech"... This first area of avoidance for the approved saint of God, is perhaps among the most difficult.

** What does it mean to flatter someone?

Webster: "to praise excessively, especially from motives of self-interest (hypocrisy)". Webster goes on to say, "to raise hope by false representations"

The word used here by Paul for flattering speech is kolakeia and literally means, "to falsely build up or flatter".

** Why is this such a difficult thing to avoid?

We do not want to offend our family, friends, neighbors or strangers on the street, who do not know Jesus Christ. We hope to win them over with pleasantries, so they will then be open to the gospel.

** What is wrong with that approach to evangelism?

It sets aside the preeminence of God's truth, and replaces it with our fleshly efforts. Let's watch the approach Jesus used. All see - Matthew 15:1-14

** So, should we go blazing along calling sinners hypocrites and not worrying about offending them?

Absolutely not! What we need is a balance.

cf. Romans 9:33 - "a rock of offense"
2Corinthians 6:1-3 - "giving no cause for offense"
Ephesians 4:15 - "speaking the truth in love"

So we do not puff people up with compliments, hoping they will feel good about us and receive the gospel. Nor do we try to offend them, which in turn would discredit the ministry. We simply tell it like it is, based upon the authority of God's word, with an attitude of love and if they take an offense; it should only be based upon their rejection of the truth.

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