Last week we saw that the Thessalonians conversion to Christ was authentic.They turned from idols to serve the true and living God.They were imitators of Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke and they were examples to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.In 1:5 Paul said, “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.”Paul says that they gave the Gospel, this morning we’ll see exactly why, what, how, who, when, and where the Gospel is to be preached.
Please read 1 Thes. 2:1-6.
Why preach the Gospel? Is the Gospel that Paul preached still relevant for today? 2:4 says that Paul was entrusted with the Gospel. In Romans 1:14 Paul said, “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.” Obligation comes from the word that means, one held by some obligation, bound by some duty or one who has not yet made amends to whom he has injured. In Acts 22:4 Paul said, “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons.” Look at Acts 26:10-11. Paul’s obligation to the Greeks and barbarians was because he was entrusted with the Gospel. Entrusted comes from pistis. Paul was firmly convinced that the Gospel was true. He knew he has the answer, knew that the answer must be given, “Both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.” Those terms apply to all people. Paul knew that the Gospel, “Is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1:16) Remember that these men just came from Philippi where they suffered and were mistreated yet they were not deterred from the Gospel message. Paul and the others gave the Gospel, “Not 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.”
What is the Gospel? I don’t want you to think everyone knows the answer to this question. Check out 1 Cor. 15:1-17. Here are the three main points of the Gospel. Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures. His death was predicted in the O.T. He was buried according to v. 4. Since He was buried, He must have died. On the third day after His death, He was raised to life. Again, this is according to the Scriptures. According to vs. 5-8 Jesus appeared to many after His resurrection. These appearances prove that He defeated sin and death. The death, burial, and the resurrection.
What are the results of believing the Gospel? V. 2 says, “Hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.” Believers stand in, are saved by, and hold fast to the Word, the Gospel. Those who don’t hold fast really didn’t believe it; they believed in vain, they weren’t really saved. Back in 1Thes. 2:1 Paul said, “For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain.” It wasn’t in vain because of what the Gospel did for them. They turned from idols to serve the living God. Their faith was authentic. 1Thes. 1:3 says they had a, “ . . . work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.” They mimicked Paul and became examples to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. Their actions demonstrated true faith and conversion. Jesus preached the Gospel too. E.g., Matt. 4:17, 5:17, John 3. He preached about repentance. He said that He would suffer and rise again on the third day just as was written in the Scriptures. Repentance is part of believing the Gospel. In Mark 1:15 Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” If there is no repentance, there is no true conversion.
Acts is a tremendous account of the power of the Gospel. In Acts 1:8 just before Jesus ascended to heaven He said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Throughout Acts, power and witness are connected. In 1 Thes. 1:7, Paul speaks of their example to those in Macedonia and Achaia. In Acts 1:8 Jesus said, “You shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” In Acts 2:22-42 Peter gave the Gospel to the Jews in Jerusalem. This was 50 days after the crucifixion in the same city. Peter spoke at Pentecost to many of these same people. Look at Acts 2:37-42. “This” in v. 37 refers to the Gospel that Peter just preached to them. He told them of their sin to repent and to believe n God. They knew Christ had died because they killed Him. Peter quoted Scripture from the O.T. knowing these people would be familiar with it. He explained that the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell believers was promised by the Father and sent by Christ after His ascension. In Acts 3:12-26, Peter preached of their sin, they put Jesus to death, but God raised him from the dead. He called for them to repent and believe so their sins would be wiped away. A changed life is the result of faith in Jesus.
What about the Gospel today? Acts 3 revolves around Peter’s preaching about repentance. Do you use the opportunities provided by God to be a witness? Paul preached to the Gentiles in Acts 17 and 26. Gentiles didn’t have a working knowledge of the Scriptures. This same thing could be applied to those outside the church today. Paul spoke of God being the Creator of the world. He also spoke of God judging the world and the need for repentance. Belief and acceptance in the Gospel produces change. Turn from darkness to light. It provides for forgiveness of sin. It produces inheritance with others sanctified by faith. It exhorts us to excel still more in sanctification. Jesus, Peter, and Paul all preached and believed the Gospel – the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. What is being preached today? Is anything being added to the Gospel? Is anything being left out? Do you hear much about repentance today?
The Gospel has inherent power.It is not the messenger, but the message.You don’t have to be perfect or have eloquent speech.1 Cor. says the Gospel was not preached with cleverness of speech – it is simply the word of the cross – the Gospel. Next week we’ll see the how, who, when, and where to preach the Gospel.