Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Thessalonians 2:1-7


We have observed the world-wide blueprint for revolution in chapter one. It all revolves around the power of the few, where Jesus will show up. Now, our attention is turned toward the 3 most vital approaches they used with respect to the followers of Jesus in Thessalonica. These 3 ingredients are universal principles for true persuasion versus propaganda. True persuasion is moving a person toward making a decision with proper reflection. Propaganda is moving people to making a decision without proper reflection. When a person is persuaded, he owns it and embraces a truth for himself. When propaganda is used, the person just goes through the motions without embracing it for himself. What does this sound like? It's Christianity and churchianity at its best! One person standing before the many. This one participator and the many spectators gather together to hear only from one person. There is no interaction, little time for reflection, so, people walk away being propagandized at best.

True persuasion has 3 dimensions to it... 1. ETHOS--ethical appeal, which poses the question of personal trust and and must answer the question, "Can I trust you?" before persuasion will take place.

2. PATHOS--emotional appeal, which poses the question, "Do you care for me?"

3. LOGOS--logical appeal, which poses the question, "Do you know what you're talking about?"

True persuasion occurs when the communicator is able to demonstrate personal trust, genuine compassion and make sense to others. This first one is what i call the ethical appeal. It has to do with the ETHOS of these three men--Paul, Silas and Timothy. Can they be trusted? Are they good men? What was their agenda--really? Listen to how this is described here:

1 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed-God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from any human being, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our prerogatives. 7 Instead, we were like young children among you.

Of the three persuasive appeals, this one is the strongest. It's the demonstration of authenticity and genuineness. In my experience everyone, young and old, is looking for authentic, for the real thing. God's trio demonstrated their goodness and authenticity in six ways:

1. They didn't come across like they were trying to trick them and clearly had pure motives in what they did.

2. They were entrusted by God with the Gospel--this message of good news that was so supernaturally attractive.

3. They didn't try to be people-pleasers, but God.

4. They never used flattery nor did they put on a mask covering any hidden agendas.

5. They were not looking for praise from the people.

6. They approached them with the simplicity of being child-like.

Now, tell me something. How is it possible to trust someone when you are unable to see them up close and personal? How is it possible for you to trust a person you don't know? This takes us back to the power of the few. Within the smaller context is where persuasion is most effective. There is nothing wrong with the large masses who gather for worship and teaching by gifted leaders. It's just not the most effective in persuading people to come along. This is why Jesus used the power of the few as His primary method to turn the world upside down.

Your ETHOS or ethical appeal is the foundation of any ministry. This reminds me of Jesus' illustration of building your house on a rock or building your house on the sand. Without a strong ethical appeal, the only thing you can build is a sandcastle. A sandcastle ministry and lifestyle is sure to fall flat!

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