1 Thessalonians 1:5-10
For our gospel came not to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance…
You have passed through a bleak, barren moorland, where the soil seemed sown with stones, and disfigured with stumps of trees, and the only signs of vegetative life were scattered patches of heather and flowerless lichen. After a while you have again traversed the same region, and observed fields of grain ripening for the harvest, and budding saplings giving promise of the future forest. Whence this transformation? The cultivator has been at work. Not less apparent was the change effected in Thessalonica by the diligent toil and faithful preaching of the apostles. We have here two prominent features in the successful declaration of the gospel.
I. THE GOSPEL IN WORD. "Our gospel came unto you in word." In the history (Acts 17) we learn the leading themes of apostolic preaching. It is worthy of note that the inspired apostle grounded his discourse on the Scriptures. Even he did not feel himself free from their sacred bonds. He taught —
1. That the promised Messiah was to be a suffering Messiah. The Jewish mind was so dazzled with the prophecies of the regal magnificence and dominion of Jesus, that they overlooked the painful steps by which He was to climb to this imperial greatness. Out of their own scriptures he proved that the only Messiah announced was to be "a man of sorrows."
2. That the Messiah who was thus to suffer and die, was to rise again. This declared the Divine dignity of His person and was the pledge of the success and stability of His work.
3. That the Jesus who thus suffered and died and rose was the very Messiah promised in their scriptures. The grand topic of apostolic preaching must be the staple theme of the pulpit today.
II. THE GOSPEL IN POWER.
1. In the exercise of miraculous power. The apostles were invested with this, and used it in substantiating the facts of the gospel.
2. In the Holy Ghost — not only in His miraculous manifestations, which were necessary in that age; but in the ordinary exercise of His power, as continued down to the present day — enlightening, convincing, renewing.
3. With much assurance. Literally, "with full assurance, and much of it." "Plerophorla" is from a word that means to fill up, and is used to denote the hurrying a ship on her career, with all her sails spread and filled with the wind. So the soul, filled with the full conviction of truth, is urged to a course of conduct in harmony with that conviction.
4. An assurance enforced by high integrity of character. "As ye know what manner," etc. Their earnest labours and upright lives showed they were men moved by profound conviction — a blending of evidence that is not less potent in these days.
Parallel VersesKJV: For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
WEB: and that our Good News came to you not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. You know what kind of men we showed ourselves to be among you for your sake.