4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. (1 Th 2:4–6 ESV).
Words of flattery – have you ever been approached by someone who makes their living in sales in just a casual conversation and started to feel “handled” as if their interest in you was a setup for a sale? When that same feeling of manipulation comes in a spiritual area it still carries with it that same sick feeling – that if the person can’t get any money out of you, they will soon move on. Paul’s main point in this section is to avoid such as false teachers.
Pretext for greed – if the main point of any one’s gospel is money and how it should leave your pocket and go into theirs – watch out! A major red flag should be flying in your spirit man as a warning to avoid such! Biblical teaching on giving should focus on cheerful and willing generosity to those in need.
Seeking glory – does the minister arrive in a limousine with a security detail of fierce looking men in suits with earpieces? Is the celebrity status of the minister greater than the message they preach? To be famous is not a sin, but to act like a Hollywood diva is. True ministers of the gospel are humble and approachable.
Paul gives us three key things to look for when evaluating ministers. Unfortunately, we have far too many who fall into the above three areas of sin. Beware of false teachers.