Our enemy knows the power of the Gospel:
“But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.”
And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. Act 4:17-18
Not surprisingly, he never ceases this same strategy.
Yet, what does the faithful Church do?
Acts 5:42: And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
There is no command here to stop doing acts of kindness.
The fear is this word.
We must not lose this.
The true Church prays with the Apostles,
Act 4:29: “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,”
The Gospel is not flawed.
There is power in the word of the Lord.
This is what happened with the Thessalonians.
They didn’t become believers, then launch a programme.
They became believers, and lived that way.
And when they lived that way, what happened?
“For from you sounded out the word of the Lord”.
From the verb exēcheō (our echo).
To sound out a trumpet, to reverberate like an echo.
And, this is important, what they heard went out in such a way that what went out was “the word of the Lord”.
Not: “they are good people”, “they do good deeds”.
It was distinctly Gospel.
Abram and his family left Ur of the Chaldees to settle in Canaan. Then the Lord told Abram to leave Canaan and leave his kindred, and go to a land that God is showing him.
Here we get that great promise:
and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
What had Abram done?
What was it about Abram that made God choose to talk to him?
And why would God bind Himself to massive promises to prosper Abram?
Well, it’s simple, isn’t it?
Because He can.
Because He’s God, and if He wants to, He can.
So, why does He do it?
The Puritan Thomas Goodwin in the 17th century encourages Christians to “consider that God, in choosing you, not only loved you, but delighted to love you. It was not barely an act of will that He would choose some, He cared not whom, as being indifferent about it; but it was an act of love, and not of love only, but of good pleasure and of delight, too. . . . God rejoiced over you from everlasting, in His intentions to do you good, with His whole heart and His whole soul.”
And just how does He express this love?
But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Christ says: Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, John 15:16
Don’t doubt it for a moment.
... it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. Romans 9:16
God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ,
(by grace ye are saved;)
1 Thessalonians 1:3 says that love labours.
The Greek implies toil, or troublesome labor.
Fatigue, difficulty, persistence.
Consider a loving person: do they not work hard? Or a mother! She toils and wearies herself for her children! This is the Biblical example –
For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. 1Thessalonians 2:9
Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord. Romans 16:12
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Hebrews 6:10
It is a very simple equation. Faith works by love -
Galatians 5:6 - For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.