Readings for the Day
2 Samuel 21-23, 1 Thessalonians 1
Verses for the Day
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5
"For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction."
Paul spent a relatively short time in Thessalonica, as he planted the Church there. Paul and Silas had spent three to four weeks there preaching in the synagogue. When the Jews started to see converts, they started a riot and tried to get Paul out of the city. After being protected by the believers there, Paul and Silas were sent off in the middle of the night. The book of 1 Thessalonians is one of the earliest written books in the New Testament (Approximately 51-52 AD)
This is why Paul starts out with the verses above. He affirms their reception of the Gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit, which brought about a deep conviction in their hearts. This is why a few verses later Paul says that their reputation spread everywhere in Greece and beyond. The power at work in them produced such a change in them that no one could doubt the authentic nature of their conversion. They were an evidence of Paul's ministry, and showed that the Word of God when preached has power to save. It is the Holy Spirit that takes the Word and makes it powerful to convict and to save.
We can use a lot of words when we preach, but if they are not delivered in the power of the Holy Spirit, there will be no effect. I have heard it said the best form of evangelism is a changed life. We try and argue why the Gospel is true, but a changed life is its proof. No one can argue against a changed life. The Gospel is the only thing that has the power to change lives, because it is the only word that can transform a human heart. And it happens through the dynamic power of God as Holy Spirit, the same powerful Spirit that raised Jesus from dead!!
As God's Word comes to you ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to be transformed by it. Our power as Christians is not through our own self will, or self righteousness, but through the Holy Spirit working in and through us. When our lives are changed by God's word convicting us and changing our hearts and lives, God can use our lives as evidence too. Like the Thessalonians our church can be a model for other churches and lead more people to Christ.