“And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God.” 1:8-9
Isn’t that beautiful? The new believers of the Thessalonian church were rapidly spreading the gospel by deeply living it out themselves. I can’t think of a better way.
When I was in college, a church plant popped up in the city and exploded. I showed up to a service and was surprised how stripped down it was. Lines of metal folding chairs in a community center gym, a pull-down screen and a projector shaped the “stage”. The pastor held his open Bible in one hand and never closed it, teaching verse by verse the entire message. I went back, week after week, and watched more and more chairs fill up. I overheard more and more conversation throughout town about this new growing community. For the first few years, the people that filled up the chairs were mostly college students. How do you get hundreds of 21 year olds to completely turn their life towards God, leaving behind the parties and self-indulgent lifestyles? Rely on the gospel. There weren’t programs or church events disguised as parties. Just an open Bible and a sermon anchored by the Good News.
I looked up Acts 17:1-9 on Beth’s suggestion and was shocked that Paul was only with these people a few weeks. His affection for them is so deep, and the impact the gospel made on them was so huge!
“After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! Yes, you are our pride and joy.” 2:19
Just from reading these chapters, I would’ve assumed he had hunkered down and been mentoring them for years, constantly available to field their questions and looming over them, offering constant accountability to point them back to truth.
How do you respond to the gospel?