At the Hub this year, our kids are embarking on a discovery of foundational Christian truths. At the core of doctrine stands the Scripture, the barometer of truth. The Bible comes from God himself through the prophets. It is sufficient in its scope and effective to save and sanctify us.
As imperative as it is to believe in the certainty of God’s Word, there’s much more. God’s word changes its hearers and is meant to be taught by people who have personally experienced this change.
It’s always better to hear about the Bible’s transforming power from someone who knows it first hand than to be sold a bill of goods from hucksters, charlatans, and profiteers. The book of 1 Thessalonians illustrates the link between the potent truth of God’s word and its delivery by noticeably changed men. Paul reminds the church of this.
“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.”
Then he adds,
“You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake” (1Thess. 1:4-5).
Thessalonica was a bustling port city on the beautiful Adriatic Sea. At the crossroads of four major roads, it was commercial, it was cosmopolitan, it was controversial. And it wasn’t Christian.
When Paul and his outlaw band of missionaries came into town, they met with many difficulties, yet they toiled with the gentle love of a parent, ready to share not only their message but their lives.
“But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thess. 2:7-8).
This new generation needs to be exposed consistently to a people whose lifestyle, words and character match the message they proclaim. Even in our imperfections and our sin. Are we patient and full of grace, forgiving and quick to repent, gentle in times of hostility? Do our affections for souls drive us to toil for their good?