“For we know, brothers 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 with deep conviction.”
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5a
“The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia – your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead – Jesus who rescues us from the coming wrath.”
1 Thessalonians 1:8-10
“The sixth Angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God.”
For anyone who is born again there is a deep awareness of the power of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to save or to condemn. The Apostle Paul certainly understood this. The conversion experience which is described in Acts chapter nine and then which is testified to twice more in Luke’s description of the early years of the Church bear’s eloquent testimony to the power of the gospel. Here was a man opposed to everything Christian, arrested on the Damascus road and turned into a powerful evangelist when he met Christ.
Paul did not just have his own experience to rely upon here. Time and again he had encountered the same power in the Gospel confronting a person and bringing them into a vibrant faith in Christ. It is this which he gives thanks for as he begins his first letter to the Thessalonians. This gospel has come to the Thessalonians with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. As the Word of the Gospel was preached among them it began to do a deep work of conviction and conversion that ended up delivering them from the darkness into the light of the Lord’s Kingdom. Describing his own conversion Paul recounts the words of the Lord Jesus Christ to him in Acts 26:16-18.
“Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
Paul believed that the Gospel of Christ crucified was the power of God to save anyone who believed it. He was so convinced of the power of the Gospel that he preached it to all who came under the sound of his voice. He prayed that his preaching would impact all who heard him. He not only prayed himself, he encouraged others to pray as well.
Paul was not the only Apostle to believe in the power of the Gospel of Christ and to link that power with the prayer of the Church. Repeatedly in the book of Revelation John links the spread of the Gospel with the symbolic prayers of the saints which God answers with warnings, calls to worship, and judgment.
I don’t know about you but these texts of Scripture call me to believe that the Gospel preached has the power of God to convert anyone who will believe it. Therefore I must witness and preach in faith. I must also be committed to a growing prayer life, calling on the Lord to rescue all who hear. That is my calling; it is also yours as well. Do you believe that the Gospel is the power of God to save?