1 Thessalonians 2:10-20: What Is Real Success?

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1 Thessalonians 2:10-20: What Is Real Success?

July 12, 2023


1 Chronicles 29Psalm 137Luke 9:51-621 Thessalonians 2:10-20

1 Thessalonians 2:10-20:

How do you determine what is truly successful? What are the signs and marks and evidences of being successful? And what does it mean to be “successful” in the spiritual realm? In this passage there are three surprising evidences of real “success in leadership, at church, and in ministry.

First, leadership that is father-like. Paul describes his ministry among the Thessalonians as being the way a father deals with his own children. That kind of comfort, encouragement, and exhortation – that’s the way that Paul dealt with them. And it is this holiness, righteousness, and blamelessness that Paul reminds them of. They saw this, and they are witnesses to the way that Paul acted among them. Is that how we lead? Is that how we serve our families, our churches, our organizations, and institutions? Do we comfort, encourage, and exhort like a father with his own children?

Second, churches that receive biblical teaching as the very word of God. That is what the Thessalonians were like. They “accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God.” And they did this despite the opposition and suffering that they faced. This is a key sign of a successful, healthy, and God-blessed church: that the word of God is treated as the word of God and received as the word of God. Bible study is not simply an intellectual exercise, but the Bible is studied to receive from God and to hear his word. Is that how we study the Bible? Is the Bible where we go to hear from God? Do we come to listen to preaching expecting to hear from God?

Third, ministry that is focused on the people being served. Paul’s great hope, his joy and crown when he would come into the presence of Jesus, was not any credentials or doctorates or books that he had written. His joy and crown was the Thessalonians themselves, the people he had served and helped spiritually. Is that our focus? Do we focus on the people or the programs? Do we invest in people? Do we spend time with people? People are what last for eternity – invest in people!


Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.


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