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1 Thessalonians 2:7-9

Mother’s Day 2009

Pastor Robby Roberson

May 10, 2009





But we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.1 Thessalonians 2:7

This is a “nursing mother” (1-1). She is a mother who is moved by tender care. This word is only used twice in the New Testament. It means to cherish (see also: Eph. 5:29):-

For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.Ephesians 5:29

The dictionary defines cherish this way:

“To hold dear; feel or show love for; to take good care of; protect” (Webster’s, pg. 244-  illustration of watching a nursing mother, hold, coo, pet, and kiss their little one; illustration – The disease of Marasmus).

In each of these characteristics I would like to point out that they are also true of God. I am NOT saying that God is a woman or a mother – that is heresy. It misrepresents the revealed character of God. I am saying that God has tender care for His people. Notice how the Psalmist says it:

Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old.Psalm 25:6

Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord; Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.Psalm 40:11

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David When Nathan the Prophet Went to Him, After He Had Gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.Psalm 51:1

Hear me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good; Turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies.Psalm 69:16

Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? SelahPsalm 77:9

Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, For we have been brought very low.Psalm 79:8

Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.Psalm 103:4

Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight.Psalm 119:77

Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord; Revive me according to Your judgments.Psalm 119:156

The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.Psalm 145:9

Notice how this characteristic of God is expressed to Job:

We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.James 5:11

And, notice how important it is to our salvation:

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4

It should also be evident in our lives as the elect:

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering. Colossians 3:12


We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.1 Thessalonians 2:8

Having so fond an 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.1 Thessalonians 2:8 NASB

The figure of the nursing mother is continued. She is not satisfied with nursing the child but interests herself affectionately in all that concern it.  The word is only used here in the New Testament and it means “yearning, dire earnestly.” This is a “term of endearment drawn from the language of the nursery.”

“We were delighted”, is “we were pleased.” It is imperfect tense: we continued to entertain and manifest our affectionate solicitude. We were willing. They were willing to share two things:



There was a concern for the eternal. Therefore, the Gospel was shared (illustration – the burden of Whitefield).




Paul and his associates held NOTHING back! The word here is psuchas. It is the word from which we get our English word psyche. It can be translated “soul, inner self, life, being.” They shared everything! And the reason is clear – BECAUSE YOU HAD BECOME SO DEAR TO US (illustration – Marilyn Monroe)! The word dear is agapetoi – beloved. One evident example of this in watching my children’s mom is when one of them is sick.


How wonderfully the Living God has shared with us the Gospel and His very soul in the person of His Son. It is because He so greatly loves us:


to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.Ephesians 1:6-8

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.1 John 3:1



Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.1 Thessalonians 2:9

The word toil is “laborious toil.” The word hardship is “toil, exertion” 1-3; 2 Cor. 11:27; 2 Thess. 3:8). Paul is saying that they poured out their lives in a laborious toil of exertion so that they could selfless minister to the Thessalonians. When you look at the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 it is interesting how often she is seen as selfless endeavoring for her family.

The Lord Jesus came and exerted Himself. Here is what John said of His work/works:

But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. John 5:36

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.John 9:3-4

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.John 10:25

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”John 10:37-38

Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.John 14:10-11

If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father.John 15:24

I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.John 17:4

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.John 4:34

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.John 19:30

Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,Hebrews 1:3

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:2


Invite every leader to come forward to pray that these very characteristics would be true in their hearts.



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