1 Thessalonians 1: The Living Proof
In 1 Thessalonians, it is interesting to see the almost viral nature of early Christian belief. People were sharing that rapidly, and that of course begs the question as to why.
1Th 1:5 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.
1Th 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
1Th 1:7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
1Th 1:8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
It seems to be the case that these people were motivated by the Holy Spirit. They were acting on those convictions, and God was providing the increase. The people in Thessalonica were examples to other people, and those people were excited about what was going on.
I wonder then if that is the wraps that we should be taking in our society today. We are not nearly the minority status that the early church was or face similar persecution, but there are undoubtedly a set of cultural pressures that seem to be similar.
These people were living as examples that others wanted to follow. They were living lives that displayed the evidence of the Holy Spirit, and people wanted to live like that.
Clearly, outreach is a vital mission of the church, but we want to make sure that we remain strong at home. The Christian life is by nature attractive. Following the will of God is the best way to live, so if we do that, people will notice. If the two most important commandments are loving God and loving other people, then it seems to me that a life characterized by those two things will draw people and make them want to be a part of it.
It seems like that was what was happening here in 1 Thessalonians. The Holy Spirit is working, people were living attractive lives, and the Word was spreading. It must of been a very powerful testimony.