Sermon Notes & References

Parent-Like Leaders

1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

November 5, 2017

• The 3 terms in Acts 20 for the same church position with differing emphases:

1. E__________, (or presbyter) those worthy of respect and authority

2. O__________, (or bishop) charged with protecting church & its teaching

3. P_________, (or shepherd) providing spiritual leadership & nourishment

 Paul’s in 2Timothy 3 clearly outlines elder & deacon Pre______________

 Five areas in which Paul showed servant-leadership as an example for us:

1. In his Ded_____________ as marked by . . . . .  1 Thes 2:1-2

    a. the Ful_________ of his ministry

    b. his Per_________ in the face of setbacks

    c. his Bol_________ in declaring the gospel

2. In his Dec___________ as marked by . . . . . . .  1 Thes 2:3-4

    a. the Pur_______ & Sin_________in handling God’s word

    b. his passing of God’s Tes________ program

3. In his Des___________ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1 Thes 2:5-6

    a. for the flock’s Enr______________, not his own

    b. for the Lord’s “W_____ D_____”, rather than man’s

    c. for the Lord to R_____, not himself

4. In his Dev__________ marked by . . . . . . . . . . 1 Thes 2:7-8

    a. his Ten___________ (gentleness) to his flock

    b. his Aff___________ (love) for his flock

    c. his Sha________ his life with his flock

    d. his Est________ for his flock

5. In his Dep__________ reflected in . . . . . . . . .  1 Thes 2:9-12

    a. his tireless W_______ (or labour)

    b. his proper Liv______ (or behaviour)

    c. his continuing Inv___________ in their lives

    d. his fatherly Con_________ for his flock

Study references: Paul’s charge to the Ephesian elders - Acts 20:17-28; God’s people-gifts to the church - Eph. 4:11; Paul’s instruction to Pastor Timothy - 2 Tim. 3; Paul’s opponents assess his preaching - 2 Cor. 10:10; Preparation for teaching - 2 Tim. 2:15; Pastoral attitude to material possessions - 1 Tim. 3:3

1 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Parent-Like Leaders


A. On the Subject of Leaders

    1. An Application for the Pastoral Position

        a. we shall be talking of leaders in a wider sense than that of pastor

        b. but this illustration will illuminate our text and introduce the subject

        c. A Pulpit Committee member was getting tired of the number of candidates being rejected. The pastoral search was at a standstill. At the next meeting he read the following résumé:

        d. “Gentlemen: Understanding you need a pastor, I am applying for the position. As for qualifications, I have references of my success both as a pastor and a writer, and of being a good organizer and leader.

        e. “I’m over 50 years of age. I have never preached in one place for more than three years. In all honesty, many have said my sermons are boring, but I stick to the Bible. I don't believe in time constraints and some sermons have gone an hour or more over. In some places I have left town after my work caused trouble. I have also not gotten along well with religious leaders in many towns. I must admit I have been in jail three or four times, but not because of any real wrongdoing on my part.

        f.  “Despite some poor health, I still am very active. My experience has been with small start-up churches, mostly in large cities. I am not too good at keeping records, having been known to forget whom I have baptized. However, if you can use me, I shall do my best for you.”

        g. The board member asked the committee. “What do you think? Should we call him?” They were appalled. “Call an unhealthy, trouble-making, boring preacher? Who was this candidate, anyway?”

        h. He calmly read the signature to them, “Sincerely, the Apostle Paul.”


    2. Parent-like Leaders

        a. a good friend of mine, a former pastor who later spent some years in the juvenile correction system of Ontario, was of the opinion that the parent-child relationship came closest to describing the pastor-people relationship in the local church: Paul voices the same opinion:

        b. in verse7 he writes, “But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.

        c. the word mother is not in the Greek, but the phrase “her own children” shows that is intended

        d. and verse 11, “just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children,

        e. so a good leader should combine the best qualities of parents, a mother and father, in relation to his or her followers


    3. Official Church Leaders

        a. the Bible gives two general categories of Church leaders, and the prerequisites for holding those offices are given in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and also Titus 1:5-9:

            (A)    these categories are deacons and elders

            (B)    some think that the women referred to in 1 Timothy 3:11 designates female deacons or deaconesses

            (C)   in any event, the word deacon means a servant, and specifically one who waits upon tables, so that it is generally considered to be the title of the seven who were appointed in Acts 6 to look after the daily serving of food to the Greek speaking Jewish widows – these were appointed by the congregation themselves

            (D)   the word elder, was a carryover from the Jewish synagogues where the elders exercised the spiritual care of the congregation, and these were appointed by other elders, as Titus was instructed to do

        b. of what did that spiritual care consist?

            (A)    Ephesians 4:11 lists four kinds of gifts

                 (1)    apostles – ones sent – probably including missionaries, as the Bible applies this term to Paul’s fellow-workers, for example

                 (2)    prophets – fore-tellers or forth-tellers – and either might have been meant in the NT period

                 (3)    evangelists – those proclaiming the gospel – either to crowds or to individuals (as the Ethiopian eunuch of Candace)

                 (4)    pastor-teachers – these two are linked closely by a different word for and in the Greek – shepherds and instructors

            (B)    but Acts 20:17ff also throws some light upon the role of elders

                 (1)    while returning to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost, Paul summoned the elders of the church at Ephesus to Miletus

                 (2)    it seems likely that these represented multiple house churches

                 (3)    verse 28 lists some of their principal roles:“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

                 (4)    the term elder itself indicates the possession of the experience that comes with age that can give wise counsel

                 (5)    some were specifically to oversee the church to be watchmen, guarding the flock, perhaps over more than one house-church

                 (6)    others were to shepherd (that is what the word pastor means) the church

        c. that is all to be said today specifically about these offices, although what will be said applies to them equally well.


    4. Servant-Leaders

        a. the thing that marks out the offices in the NT, is the same that marks out every member’s contribution to the body, is that they combine servant-hood with whatever leader-gift they exercise

        b. and this acting like parents to those under your care applies to every servant-leader in the church

        c. indeed, it is to one’s children that these gifts are first practised

            (A)    for some it is to their own sons and daughters

            (B)    for others it is to nieces and nephews

            (C)   still others to those who have adopted them as spiritual parents or grandparents

        d. where do servant-leaders lead?

            (A)    some it is sharing their wisdom and advice in the decisions and the care of the finances of the church

            (B)    others in leading in the music by playing an instrument

            (C)   in working in Sunday School, or in VBS, or in Awana

                 (1)    hearing the clubbers pass the sections

                 (2)    overseeing the game time to teach life lessons

                 (3)    leading in story circle or council time

        e. as you probably know, from the perspective of being either parent or child, servant-hood plays a large part in being a father or mother

        f.  out text shows being a parent-like servant-leader involves

            (A)    our Dedication

            (B)    our Declarations

            (C)   our Desires

            (D)   our Devotion

            (E)    our Deportment


B. Our Dedication. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Thes 2:1-2

    1. the servant-leader’s dedication is here marked by

        a. the fullness of service

        b. perseverance in the face of setbacks

        c. boldness of witness

        d. For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.


    2. the fullness of servant-leadership is evidenced because it is “not in vain

        a. which can be rendered both that it does “not fail of its purpose” and it does “not prove to be empty: lacking in either content or effect”

        b. servant-leadership is concerned with substance, not form

        c. such substance being manifest ultimately by the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:23-24, in the lives of the followers being so served


    3. it is evidenced by perseverance despite setbacks

        a. Paul gives the example in his response to the events in Philippi?

            (A)    beating, imprisonment, exiled from city

            (B)    shameful treatment to Paul, a Roman

        b. he could have avoided future trouble by leaving quietly, but did not

            (A)    for the sake of the testimony of Christ and of his calling, made his defence, then bade farewell to the new church there

            (B)    such a stand encouraged the church to continue in its new faith


    4. the boldness of witness

        a. this boldness is not a human trait but a God-given trait

        b. human response is to give up; God says “Go on!”

        c. it is trust in the Lord God Almighty that produces such boldness

        d. it is conviction in the truth of the gospel that expresses this boldness


C. Our Declarations or Words. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Thes 2:3-4

    1. the servant-leader’s declarations or words are marked by

        a. their purity and sincerity

        b. they are spoken for God’s approval rather than man’s

        c. For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts.


    2. purity and sincerity in handling God’s word

        a. we can take comfort in the fact that Paul does not appear to have been eloquent – his opponents described him in 2 Corinthians 10:10: For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive, and his speech contemptible.”

        b. servant-leaders are not bound to satisfy itching ears, but to give witness by the Holy Spirit to that which they have seen and heard (Acts 4:20)

            (A)    speaking the truth in love, Ephesians 4:15

            (B)    keeping the truth pure, without mixing in human philosophies

            (C)   not to please men: the truth may hurt as much to tell as to hear


    3. passing God’s testing program

        a. the word “examines”, “tests”, or “tries” is of a form describing action commenced in the past and continuing through the present

        b. it is not an “entrance examination” but a “quality control” process

        c. God does not test to bring failure, but as a step in equipping believers


D. Our Desires. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Thes 2:5-6

    1. the servant-leader’s desires are shown by avoiding

        a. coveting (using wrong ways to satisfy our own selves in various ways)

        b. seeking for man’s honour (rather preferring God’s)

        c. exercising authority (for the sake of having power or pre-eminence)

        d. For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed – God is witness – nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.


    2. The servant-leader desires to enrich the followers, not self

        a. one of qualifications for a bishop: 1 Tim 3:3 “not greedy of filthy lucre”, that is, free from mere money-seeking

        b. fine words cannot ultimately cloak hypocrisy


    3. The servant-leader’s desire is for the Lord’s “well done”

        a. seeking man’s praise leads to distort, to twist the message given to us

        b. people’s gratitude is a reward, not the motivation for servant-hood


    4. The servant-leader desires that the Lord rule

        a. “authority” literally means “weight”, as now, “throwing one’s weight around” – how contrary to the Spirit of Jesus Christ!

        b. grasping for power and control will make service vain and empty


E. Our Devotion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Thes 2:7-8

    1. the servant-leader’s devotion is marked by

        a. tenderness to the followers (children, ladies’ group, congregation)

        b. affection for the followers

        c. sharing one’s own life with his followers

        d. esteem of the followers

        e. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.


    2. devotion: tenderness towards followers

        a. best illustration: opposite of force-feeding, think of the often repeated, tiresome effort of caring for a baby – the 2 a.m. feeding

        b. this patience, understanding, an unhurried devotion to the child

        c. a devoted servant-leader follows Christ’s command, “feed my lambs


    3. devotion: affection for followers

        a. AV: “affectionately desirous for you … willing

        b. NIV:” loved you so much ... delighted

        c. NKJV: “affectionately longing for you ... well-pleased

        d. a devoted servant-leader follows Christ’s command, “love one another


    4. devotion: sharing or participation with followers

        a. sharing is not dying, but living, for them

        b. parent-like sharing is illustrated by a mother preparing a meal for her family and then sitting down and enjoying it with them

        c. or, the couple in the restaurant, obviously in love, and the one takes the best portion of their own desert and feeds it to the one beloved


    5. devotion: esteem for followers

        a. a true servant-leader does not magnify a follower’s faults, but their innate worth

            (A)    of each and every individual

            (B)    because Christ so esteemed them as to die for them

        b. & follows the command, “let each esteem the other better than himself”


F. Our Deportment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Thes 2:9-12

    1. the servant-leader’s deportment (how one carries oneself) must reflect

        a. tireless working

        b. proper living

        c. continuing involvement

        d. parental concern

        e. For you recall, brethren, our labour and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.


    2. the servant-leader’s tireless working

        a. the point is not that Paul supported himself

        b. the point is that every effort that Paul made

            (A)    was for the blessing of the flock

            (B)    was to promote the gospel he spoke

        c. our effort as servant-leaders is to be the same


    3. the servant-leader’s proper living - three words to describe behaviour

        a. devoutly: a life lived always taking account of God in one’s actions

        b. uprightly, justly, or righteously: doing that which is fair, equitable and impartial – treating each follower without favouritism

        c. blamelessly: free from exposing oneself so as to be open to accusation by both those in the church and those outside


    4. the servant-leader’s continuing involvement in their lives

        a. this is a 24/7 occupation in which indifference can have no part

        b. exhorting (call beside, parakalew) - to lead, guide, instruct, chivvy into right thought, action

        c. encouraging (narrate beside) - telling the truth and then standing by someone as a coach as they seek to follow it:“You can do it by ...”

        d. imploring (giving a judicial witness or charge) to tell solemnly, as before God, where the person’s responsibility lies


    5. the parent-type servant-leader’s fatherly concern

        a. Protestants rightly avoid calling servant-leader “father”

        b. but, the servant-leader’s ultimate concern is for God’s children, that

            (A)    they avoid the error the servant-leader himself has made

            (B)    they succeed: come to Father God in glory with His full approval


G. Apply All This!

    1. because as each of us are members of the body of Christ, His church, and God has placed us each one in the body just as He desired (1 Corinthians 12:18) so as members we should have the same care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25).


    2. so, although these words in 1 Thessalonians 2 apply to elders & deacons,

        a. yet they also apply in some fashion to every believer

        b. to the mom and dad as they raise their child

        c. to the worker in Sunday School, VBS, Awana, and so on

        d. each one as servant-leaders, using their gifts from God, no matter how humble the task may be, seeking to imitate Paul as he the Lord



© 2017 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:

              AV          Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

              NAS        New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

              IGNT       Interlinear Greek New Testament, Zondervan Publishing, 1956; as well as other Greek Texts as W&H, Nestle, etc.

              NIV         New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

              NKJV       New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

              Philips     The New Testament in Modern Englis, J. B. Phillips, Geoffrey Bles Ltd

              RSV        Revised Standard Version © 1946, 1952 National Council of Churches of Christ; Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd

              WEY        The New Testament in Modern Speech © 1902, 1912 R. F. Weymouth

Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:

              BM       Biblical Museum, Editor James Comper Gray, ca 1870

              CP   -      Decision, July & August 1962, Open Your Bible, by Dr Sherwiood E. Wirt

              EBC –      The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, © 1986 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 49530, MI:

                             1, 2 Thessalonians: Robert L. Thomas

              EGT –      The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Hodder & Stoughton; 1903

                             1 & II Thessalonians, by James Moffatt

              JFB  -      Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown; S. S. Scranton & Co. 1872

              Gill       Exposition of the Old Testament, Exposition of the New Testament, by John Gill, D.D.

              Kerux –   The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site,

              NCBC –    The New Century Bible Commentary – 1 and 2 Thessalonians – I. Howard Marshall – Wm B. Erdmans

              RWP –     Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, by Dr. A. T. Robertson

              TTB      Thinking Through the Bible, Rev’d John McNicol, D.D., © 1944 by author; The Upper Canada Tract & Book Society