Do Messengers Matter?
So, the gospel is just about the content, the message, the truth from God about salvation. Right?
Well, there isn’t any question that is primary. But the conduct of the messengers is not irrelevant. The conduct and manner of the messengers can encourage good listening, or utterly undermine a good hearing of the message.
When Paul and his co-workers came to Thessalonica, for instance, what if these messengers had been drunk, half-hearted, rowdy and inarticulate? Would that have mattered? Sure. It would have hindered the faithful and effective delivery of the message.
One of the worst things to happen in preaching is for people to want to hear the truth, but the speaker or messenger exhibits behavior that distracts from that desire. The argument I’m making is affirmed by Paul.
“For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 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. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” 1 Thess. 2:1-8