Archive for January 21st, 2021

1 Thessalonians 1:4-7

In 1 Thessalonians 1:4-7 Paul reminds us that God loves us and chose us. The two things go together. When we love someone, we naturally choose them. “For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” Barclay explained “The phrase beloved by God was a phrase which the Jews applied only to supremely great men like Moses and Solomon, and to the nation of Israel itself. Now the greatest privilege of the greatest men of God’s chosen people has been extended to the humblest of the Gentiles.”

Paul makes clear that the gospel is not a matter of mere words. In modern culture there is an overflow of information or entertainment that often only amounts to mere words. Yet the Gospel is more than words, it also has power. The message of Jesus Christ has power. It has power for miracles; power for wonderful signs from God; and best of all, it has the power to change minds, hearts, and lives. Calvin wrote “Some take the word power to mean miracles. I extend the word to apply to the spiritual power of doctrine… It is the living voice of God, inseparable from its effect, as compared with the empty and lifeless eloquence of men.”

The power of the Gospel comes through the Holy Spirit, a living Person, who works within the hearts of those who hear God’s Word and truth to convict, to comfort, and to instruct. When someone merely speaks, it is a matter of word only, but when the Holy Spirit works through the Word, spiritual impact happens and lives are changed. As the Holy Spirit worked among the Thessalonians, they responded and became Christ Followers. Paul challenges the Christians there to become disciples and to follow as imitator of Paul and his ministry partners as they together followed the Lord. He wants them to imitate their life.

What was the result of being chosen? “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.” Paul saw definite signs that said, “These Thessalonians are God’s chosen.” In a sermon on the passage, Charles Spurgeon found four evidences of being chosen which were:

  • The Word of God coming home with power (our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power).
  • The reception of God’s Word with much assurance (and in much assurance).
  • The desire to be like Jesus (you became followers of us and of the Lord).
  • The existence of spiritual joy in spiritual service (in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit).
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