The gospel is written and defined clearly for us in 1 Corinthians 15:1-3 … "Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,”
The young Thessalonian believers were impacted by the power of God … “For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” How did the Apostle Paul know that the power of God … indeed, came to them? A couple of verses before Paul remembers them in his prayers in (1Thess. 1:3) … “remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” There was evidence of the power of God “work of faith”, “labor of love” and “steadfastness of hope”. These three are fruit of the gospel and evidence of the power of God produced in the life of the believer. They not only possessed the fruit and evidence of the power of God they lived it out. In other words, because the power of God came to them the evidence was undeniable. The evidence of God’s power was so strong the Apostle Paul says in (1Thess.1:6) … “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia”. The Gospel “the power of God” worked in them powerfully that it made them (1Thess.1:6) says, “followers” (mimics) and (1Thess. 1:7) says, “examples” (the correct pattern) to all believers.
Only the power of God in the gospel can change and transform the heart of the unbeliever, not signs and wonders, as the following Scriptures will clarify:
- "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed. - (Matthew 16:4)
- “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” – (1 Corinthians 1:22-24)
- “For the word of the cross (the gospel*) is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” – (1 Corinthians 1:18) *(italics are mine)
- “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” – (2 Timothy 1:8-14)
We must guard that excellent treasure that contains riches of His grace, more valuable than thousands of gold and silver. It is to be kept pure and incorrupt, free from all mixtures of men; safe and sound that it not be snatched away from the churches by false teachers. And because the Apostle knew that either Timothy or any other was sufficient in themselves he directs the keeping of it “by the Holy Spirit”. By the Spirit they are made fit for their work, and will lead them into all the truths of the Gospel; and under his influence and teachings, and by the assistance of his grace, are they enabled to discharge their trust, abide by the Gospel, and stand firm in the preaching and teaching of it to the end.