The apostle Paul was a man of resilience, a man of courage, one who understood what the Lord had called him to do. After laboring in Philippi, bearing the stripes of a rod across his body, the church was planted. Soon after establishing this church he left to go to Thessalonica. After arriving at Thessalonica, he searched out and found the synagogues. It was there that he labored for three Sabbaths, proving through the Holy Scriptures that Jesus Christ was the one whom God sent into the world to offer salvation to all who would come to Him in faith. By God’s gracious mercy, and through heavy persecution, the church at Thessalonica was planted.
As Paul continued his missionary journey, after he reached the city of Corinth, he sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to check on the church. After Timothy returned, he reported back to Paul informing him that the church was persevering even in the harshest of environments. They were laboring in love, steadfast in their faith, holding to the assurance of Jesus Christ. Therefore, Paul said with a rejoicing heart, “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” As the purity of gold is tested in a furnace to prove the authenticity of it, so was the genuineness of this church’s faith tested in persecution. Has the Gospel of Jesus Christ come to in such a way that you are willing to count all things lost for knowing Him, or has it come to you in word only without any power to subdue your fleshly desires?
The scriptures tell us, “The word of God is living and active and sharper than any twoedged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” The Lord, in His vast wisdom, uses the foolishness of men preaching to save sinners from the fire of eternal damnation. In Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, he wrote, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” Has the gospel of Jesus Christ come to you with full conviction? Has its power convicted you of sin? Do you see the love of God displayed through his Son Jesus Christ hanging on the cross?
Oh, the awakening of God’s holy word when it pierces the lost soul. How its divine power opens the eyes of the heart to see that it has violated the Commandments of an infinitely holy God. How death, judgment, and eternity flash before the eyes, and then point them to see Jesus Christ hanging on a cross crying, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” May the power of God’s living word bring you to the cross today.
“For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” 1 Thessalonians 1:5 NASBS