“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. . .” I Thess. 1:5
The gospel is the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ’s death on Calvary, His burial, and His resurrection. This definition is clearly set forth by Paul in I Cor. 15:1-4: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” The gospel involves the virgin birth and sinless life for if Jesus had not been born of a virgin, He would have had the sin nature of Adam and therefore could not have qualified as our sin bearer on Calvary. It also involves His ascension, His ministry of intercession, and His bodily coming back for His own. Also the gospel includes the “sanctification” work of the Holy Spirit which is labeled as Holy Ghost conviction. This is a must for one to be saved. (II Thess. 2:13: “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”) Now the question: “How must the gospel come to one for them to be saved?”
1. In Word.
When I Thess. 1:5 states that “our gospel came not in word only,” Paul was not saying that the Word was not necessary in one’s salvation for it is. But he is saying there is more involved than just the Word. Our Lord in the parable of the sower in Mat. 13 spoke of the seed sown as being the Word of God. If you will examine Christ’s explanation of the parable you will find that only one of the four types of ground brought forth fruit--saved. That was the good ground which had been prepared to receive the seed. This parable lets us know it takes more than just the Word--not Word only but also:
2. In power and in the Holy Ghost.
I put these two together because you cannot have one without the other. Acts 1:8 states: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” The Holy Ghost is the one who empowers. He is the One who makes the preached Word sharp. (Heb. 4:12: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”) Paul declared plainly in I Cor. 2:4: “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” The power on the preached Word makes the soil of the heart good ground so the seed can find lodging.
The Holy Ghost works reproval in three areas. (John 16:8-11: “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”) “Reprove” means to lay blame on someone for the purpose of correction sharply and sternly using evidence at hand to persuade one of the righteousness they really need (not self-righteousness but Jesus who is the righteousness of God; I Cor. 1:30: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”), and convict one of the sin of unbelief--the root problem. This parallels godly sorrow which is a deep, God caused grief over one’s sin which leads one to repentance which is necessary for one to be saved. II Cor. 7:10: “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”)
Without power and the Holy Ghost in one’s experience, all they have is Word only which is another gospel. Paul said if one preaches or receives another gospel, let them go on to hell. (Gal. 1:8-9: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”) Jesus told the Pharisees in John 5:39-40 that they had Scripture--Word only but not Himself. John 5:39-40: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 1:4: “In Him is life.” I John 5:12: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
When the gospel comes in Word, in power, and in the Holy Ghost, a person has had the human instrument cross their path with truth and then they will be able to call on the Lord in truth and be saved. Rom. 10:13-15: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” Psa. 145:18: “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” The gospel comes in Word, power, the Holy Ghost, and:
3. In much assurance.
Assurance means entire confidence. Paul had that. (II Tim. 1:12: “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”) John said you have that too if saved. (I John 5:13: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”) The Holy Ghost bears witness to it. (Rom. 8:16: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”) Isa. 32:17 states it is forever not just a few days. (“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”) Notice our text verse says “much” assurance and that means a whole bunch. This is the opposite of what many say and preach today. I read in one Baptist church’s statement of faith concerning assurance this and I quote, “Many Christian people often doubt their salvation. This, in itself is pretty good evidence that you are saved. Before you were saved you knew you were lost. There must have been some change made or you would have nothing to doubt.” End quote. This is not true. This is a false statement, opposite from what the Bible declares. Our gospel comes with “much assurance forever.” A person does not doubt what God does! Statements such as this one I have just quoted are made to give hope that the one who wrote it and ones who use it for a spiritual prop, are saved. The honest truth is that they will try to give the Lord excuse one day as to why they should enter heaven and the Lord will say “depart from me, I never knew you.& rdquo; (Mat. 7:22-23: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”)
This article is just a skeletal outline of a message preached at New Hope. Also we have a series called the “Road of Light” that explains more in depth this teaching. If you would like the message and/or the series on cassettes or cd’s, just let us know. They are without charge--just for the asking. We love you and care for your soul.
THE PERSUADER - Jan.-March, 2008