Fruitful Testimony (1 Thessalonians #2)

Text: 1 Thessalonians 1:5

Full circle of effective Christianity is seen in verses 5-9.  Paul preached the gospel to the Thessalonians with power; they became followers and ensamples to other Christians in Achaia and Macedonia; then Paul saw the Macedonian Christians and saw in them the same manner of Christianity he brought to the Thessalonian church.

Now, what made the gospel effective from Paul to the Thessalonians was the manner in which it was brought.  Have you ever received a package in bad shape?  Maybe it was broken or missing parts, so when you received it there was nothing you could do with it nor was there anything you wanted to do with it.

Gospel can come in word only because the manner of life doesn’t match the message.  Paul says it was the manner of life that gave validity to what was being said.

Accompanied by power

  • So the gospel had a proven effect on their life that made it believable.
    • One of the most famous messengers in history is told in the legend of the Greek messenger who in 490 BC ran from Marathon to Athens after a major battle where the Greeks defeated the invading Persians. Legend claims he fought in the Battle of Marathon and then ran about 26 miles to notify the people of Athens of their victory; he then collapsed and died of exhaustion. The Olympic Marathon, which is approximately 26 miles, originated from this legendary 26 mile run.
    • How messages are sent is powerful and either adds credibility or removes credibility from the message.
  • Power to salvation
    • The Gospel is a power man does not have – Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth
    • Power of changed lives by eliminating sin; by moving from darkness into light.  Personal testimony.
    • Resurrection power – you can’t top that
    • The Gospel has no failure rate – Romans 10:13 Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved
    • There is no such thing as 10 people called upon the name of the Lord, but only 5 of them were saved
    • Success is to accomplish the purpose you set out to accomplish
    • The gospel involves two willing parties and Jesus Christ has already shown himself willing.  Now he invites whosoever will call upon him he will save.
  • Power of judgment
    • The Gospel is a judgment that man can’t make – Romans 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
    • What will come to light in the gospel’s judgment is that man’s disbelief was not due to lack of evidence or ignorance.  Man’s problem was a secret thing called SIN.  The only way you and I come to that understanding is by revelation.  God brings it to the surface and says Look, this is what you’re dealing with.

Accompanied by the Holy Ghost

  • The gospel had also come in the Holy Ghost.  That is the name of the third person of the trinity – the Spirit of the Living God.  When the Lord names the Holy Ghost instead of saying “holy spirit”, he is describing the personal work of the Spirit of God.
  • Who brings a message can be convincing or unconvincing.  It’s one thing to have someone say you won a million dollars.  But it would be quite another to have Ed McMahon and Publisher’s Clearinghouse show up at your front door saying you won a million dollars.
  • A subpoena by the court is different than a threat on the playground.
  • Paul describes the spirit that accompanied the message
    • Kingdom of God is righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Ghost.
    • Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
  • The Holy Ghost describes the personal work of the Spirit of the Living God.
    • Birth – Holy Ghost overshadowed Mary and conceived the body of God, who is known as Jesus Christ.  Demonstrating his supernatural power over the flesh.
    • Baptism – Jesus Christ would baptize his followers in the Holy Ghost as John the Baptist said.  And they would be filled with the Spirit of the Living God.
    • Blasphemy – The Lord Jesus Christ warned the Pharisees that every form of blasphemy would be forgiven except blasphemy of the Holy Ghost.
    • Bible – The Holy Ghost was the presiding personality over the scriptures.  Jesus quotes one of the Psalms and mentions that David said that by the Holy Ghost.  After the Holy Ghost is poured out on people in Acts 2 his primary job is putting scriptures together and adding through the Apostles and Prophets anything that needs to be added to complete the Bible.  Then his work is propagating the words of God through preaching and through spiritual gifts.  The Holy Ghost deals with the communication of God’s words.

Accompanied by much assurance

  • Assurance is confidence.
  • Assurance is the opposite of doubt.
  • It is impossible to grow until you have assurance of salvation.  Listen, if you believe that you can sin and lose salvation, then if you deal with that honestly you’ll spend you’re entire life trying to get saved.
    • Look, a message that has no confidence of the messenger is just noise.  Can you imagine someone coming to you saying I want to show you how to get to Houston.  If you take  181 and go north you’ll end up in Houston.  You ask, are you sure about that?  They say, well, I don’t really know where Houston is, but I think it’s off 181 somewhere.
    • Couple guys knock on door don’t know where they are going but want to tell others how to have the same religion they have.
  • Now, let’s look at how the gospel comes to man in assurance
    • Acts 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
    • Colossians 2:1-2 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
  • Father and son relationship
    • If when I need God the most I question whether He’s even there, where else am I going to turn?
    • If you don’t know God is your Father by faith in Jesus Christ, you’re in for a miserable life of a god who leaves you every time you mess up.
    • It’s impossible to love God and be faithful when everytime something bad happens I wonder if God is punishing me.
  • John said these things have I written unto that you may know that you have eternal life.

Paul said, now these three things describe the manner of men we were among you.  So the gospel was not in word only, but in power, the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance and it was because of the manner of Paul’s life that made his words effective.