As we turn the corner into chapter two of 1 Thessalonians, we find Paul recalling the way he and his team engaged in their ministry to these people. It was good. It had been bad. But they were bold.
The effect of his team’s work in Thessalonica was good. Paul wrote:
“For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain.”
There was much fruit in the work that they had done. Many believed. Their faith was thriving despite their challenging circumstances. They came and bore fruit in Thessalonica. And the fruit was good.
While their ministry impact was good, their immediate prior experience was most certainly not. Paul recalls:
“But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know,…”
Paul and his team had left Philippi, still stinging from the unjust and illegal beatings they had received, under compulsion from the embarrassed and fearful city leaders that had administered those beatings. While they had offered apologies, they still asked them to move along (Acts 16.35-40). There was good fruit in Philippi. A church was planted there. But the circumstances were bad.
So how did these men, on the heels of their bad experience in Philippi, manage to bear such good fruit in Thessalonica? Paul explains it:
“…We had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.”
There it is. They had seen God bear fruit through their work in the midst of the hardship in Philippi and that experience made them bold to continue despite the conflict going on all around them.
This missionary team bore GOOD fruit despite their BAD experience because it fueled a BOLD passion to carry on this work.
Their REAL LIFE FAITH reach THE GOOD despite THE BAD and empowered THE BOLD work they were called to do.