1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, “The Gospel is Powerful.” (Part 2)

The gospel isn’t just an intellectual message to consider.  The gospel isn’t just an idea to ponder.  The gospel is so powerful that it upends every part of your life.  The gospel is disruptive. 

Verse 5 is talking about a people whose life has been upended by the gospel to such a degree that the people in the city ignite in a mob, and drag them out of their homes in anger.  The gospel is powerful.

For me, I grew up in Dallas, TX and I didn’t grow up going to church, but in Dallas there are churches on every corner, so there were people talking to me about the gospel, and for me it was always an intellectual exercise.

I would say, “Okay, you believe that God became flesh, died on a cross, resurrected from the dead, and because you believe that is true, you believe you are eternally forgiven?”  They would say, “YES!!”  I would bust out in laughter!  BWA-HA!  It was an intellectual exercise.

When I was like 10-13 I had this super religious grandmother that I would see twice a year, and twice a year she would come into our rooms and see posters of Motley Crue, this is 1985, “Shout At the Devil.”  Ozzy Osborne eating bats on stage.  Iron Maiden, Run to the Hills, with Eddie.  It was awesome!

My super religious grandmother would see these posters, hear this music, and she would make us all sit in a circle and pray, but it didn’t mean anything to us.  It was an intellectual exercise. 

But, then one day someone shared the gospel with me just like I had heard many times before, and they explained to me that the gospel isn’t just information to consider, but the gospel has come to upend every part of your life. 

You see, in the beginning I was investigating the gospel, and at some point the gospel began to investigate me.  The gospel exposed my limitations.  The gospel exposed my fears, my inconsistencies. 

The gospel exposed brokenness, and my need for a rescuer, so that I went from a person that was making fun of Christians to standing next to those Christians in worship.

That’s why in verse 5 the Apostle Paul uses the phrase “Our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power.”  The word “come” is an active verb, because the gospel “comes with force.”  The gospel walks into the room, and flips tables.  The gospel grabs you.  The gospel sifts you.  The gospel dismantles you. 

The gospel deals with you in such a way that you can’t help but respond to the gospel, because the gospel forces you to ask questions about yourself, and questions about life like:

  • What are you doing with your life? 
  • What really matters in life? 
  • What is going to last in life? 
  • What will make a difference in life?”

I think this is why I am so hopeful about the chaotic climate of our day.  Right now the fragility and frailty of life is being exposed. 

Before 2020 we thought we were so strong.  We just assumed we would have football, friends, movies, food, vacations, but now the structures of life are being exposed for how quickly they crumble. 

The curtains of life are being pulled back, and men, women, and children all over the world have to be asking, “What’s going on?  What are we doing?  What really matters?”

Do we really think the next president is going to be the answer?  Do we really think a march, or a protest, or a petition is going to bring the transformation we long for?

Right now, can you imagine how many hearts and minds are reflecting on the purpose of life?  Can you imagine how many lives are going to be grabbed by the gospel, but you must see the power of the gospel in your own life, and that is an invitation for every one of us today.

There are no age limitations to the power of the gospel.  There are no ethnic preferences, or social considerations to the power of the gospel.  There are no political bias, or financial hurdles that can keep you from engaging the power of the gospel, but we must be clear that the gospel comes to upend every part of your life, and demands that you throw down every part of your life to Jesus completely.