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June 14, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

The Power of the Gospel 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; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.”

1 Thessalonians 1:5, Page 1846

       Jesus told a parable about a sower.  As the sower sowed, the seed fell on different kinds of ground.  Some of the ground produced fruit, but most types of ground did not produce fruit.  In this parable, Jesus explained that some people would respond to His message of good news (the Gospel), but many would not.  In fact, He said that most people would enter the wide gate leading to destruction, instead of the narrow gate leading to heaven.

       Paul makes several critical points about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how the Thessalonians received it.  Each of these points deserve our attention today.  Please keep in mind that Paul was thinking about the Thessalonians when he was praying for them.  He had many positive images of them flowing through his mind as he prayed.

       In 1 Thessalonians 1:5, Paul first points out that the Gospel of Jesus Christ came to them in the power of the Holy Spirit with full conviction.  What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  As always, let the Bible answer the question.  In Romans 1:16 (Page 1758), Paul tells us that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.  Therefore, we see that the Gospel brings salvation by faith alone.  In 1 Timothy 1:15 (page 1855), Paul wrote further that “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.”  Paul also wrote: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, page 1764).  Paul commanded us to “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my Gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8, page 1862).   Without the bodily resurrection of Christ, we have no Gospel and we are still in our sins and we lie (1 Corinthians 15:12-19, page 1801).  But with Christ, we will be resurrected to life, but unbelievers will be resurrected to judgment (John 5:28-29, page 1663).

       Second, Paul focuses our attention upon the  the Holy Spirit.  As the third person of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), the Holy Spirit performs many wonderful, divine ministries in our lives.  Remember, the Holy Spirit is God.  He ministers within us to  produce conviction about our salvation.  As Paul said, our salvation rests not upon persuasive words of wisdom, spoken by men, but upon the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:5, page 1783).  The Thessalonians received the Word of God by the power of God convicting them of the truth of the Gospel.  Under the power of the Holy Spirit, we see the Gospel for what it really is, the word of God.

       Third, as preachers of the Gospel, Paul and his friends acted under the power of the Holy Spirit as they brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Thessalonians.  Paul said the Thessalonians knew what kind of men they proved to be among them.  The Thessalonians watched these men, and could see the Holy Spirit working in them.  Paul and his companions worked for the sake of the Thessalonians.  They loved them, and labored for them.

       So, as we review this verse together, with a view towards today, we see that the Holy Spirit takes the Gospel of Jesus Christ and convicts the hearts of some people to receive forgiveness for sins from Jesus.  The Holy Spirit also uses His divine power to help believers live Godly lives as they share the Gospel.  Godly lives must always support the Godly message.

 Application for Today

        Today as I pray, I will think about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life and the lives of my friends.  He supernaturally convicts me that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has come into my life with full power and conviction.  I will look at my believing friends and thank God that you too have the Holy Spirit at work in your life.  I see Him as you live in His love and power.  Will you see the Holy Spirit at work today and be thankful in prayer?


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