“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.”
— First Thessalonians 2:4
For a person to have their sins forgiven is entirely a matter of God’s grace; we simply believe in Christ as the one who died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead, and we are saved. However, if we desire to serve the Lord in the fullest way, that is another matter altogether; there are many lessons that we must learn, and experiences that we must pass through, before we can enter into this blessed service. It is not anything official, or a matter of gaining some degree from a Bible college or theological school; rather, it is a matter of our seeking after the Lord, diligently and faithfully, and allowing Him to deal with us, until He has the confidence to entrust us with His work.
In this regard, the Apostle Paul is surely a pattern for us today. This booklet by Titus Chu begins:
The apostle Paul, in speaking of his service to the Lord, told the Thessalonians, “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” (1 Thess. 2:4). In his letter to the Philippians, he spoke of how the believers in Philippi knew the “proven worth” of his co-worker, Timothy (Phil. 2:22). Paul also approved of him, highly recommending him to the Philippians.
The kind of approvedness Paul mentions in these verses only comes after being tried and tested. If, after being tried, we are found approved by both God and the believers, we can become a source of blessing to the churches, for God only entrusts His work to those who are approved. Because of his approvedness, Paul's ministry and service were of great and lasting value.
There are eight factors that fostered approvedness in Paul: (1) his sincerity and desperation; (2) his clarity of vision; (3) his pursuit of the truth; (4) his desire for fellowship; (5) his living unto the Lord alone; (6) his submission to God’s sovereignty; (7) his fruitfulness and effectiveness; and (8) his ability to teach.
May the Lord use this booklet to encourage so many of His children to seek to be approved in such a way for His service!
Please note, this booklet is an except from the longer work, Philippians: That I May Gain Christ, by Titus Chu, which is also available as an e-book on this store.