A healthy church should be known in the community for its good works and its good people. By nature, it should be overflowing with the truth of the Gospel.
1 Thessalonians 1:8
(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.
If someone really believes in something, I mean if they are really sold on an idea, they tell others about it. They can’t help themselves. If you’ve ever been enthusiastic about your sports team, or if you’ve had real success with a product you’ve tried, you tell people.
The Thessalonians were sold on the Gospel. I don’t mean to bring their zeal down to the level of enthusiasm for a sports team or a new product, but some of us could stand to bring our enthusiasm about the Gospel up to that level.
Paul says they “sounded out the word of the Lord.” “Sounded out” means to “sound as a trumpet.” These people were unashamedly bold in their declaration of the Gospel. There was no self-consciousness about it. To use a sports analogy, their best defense of the Gospel was their strong offense. They had real joy about their relationship with Christ and they were living lives that backed that up.
Their genuine zeal for the Lord was so plain that others saw it as a defining characteristic:
1 Thessalonians 1:9
(9) For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
In other words, people not of the Thessalonian church were going around and talking about the zeal of the Thessalonians. They were that contagious!
As elect people, the Thessalonians understood their moral responsibility to spread the good news of the Gospel. The same God Who chose us “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4) also told us to “Go…therefore, and teach all nations” about Him (Matthew 28:19-20). As I mentioned before, God knew what people would get on Noah’s ark, but he had Noah go out and tell the world: “Y’all come!”
From Noah, to the Old Testament Israelites, to the church today, we are called out to call others. That has always been God’s way with those He saves. God never gives a gift strictly for our own consumption. God always gives us gifts with the intention that we share it with others, and the gift of salvation is the greatest gift of all!
Now, did men like Noah, or Isaiah, or Elijah have great results? No. Did they get discouraged? If they had a sincere burden for souls, they certainly did. But God never allowed them to use their lack of results as an excuse to shirk their responsibilities. He also never allowed them to wallow in their apparent failure. Why? Because we are not responsible for the results. We’re responsible to get the Word out. What people do with that word is between them and God. Was Noah brokenhearted when God closed the door of the ark while millions were on the wrong side of that door? I’m sure he was, but there was no guilt to be borne by him. Like Paul he could say: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). If I can put it another way: “Maybe I didn’t win every round, but I went the distance.”
When you and I enthusiastically share the Gospel the way God expects us to, we’re not going to win everyone we talk to. In fact, we may get far more rejection than acceptance. But winning souls is God’s part. Reaching out to souls is ours. Let’s make sure we all go the distance.