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Receiving the Word

Receiving the Word

Words of Faith 3-12-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Thessalonians 2

    [13] And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.


       Paul opened this letter with warm thanksgiving to God for the way that the believers in Thessalonica had responded to the message of the Gospel.  They had become imitators of Christ as they saw Him in the lives of the messengers that had come to the city.  Now, the apostles gave thanks to God because of the way the Thessalonians had received the preached Word of God and continued to walk by faith. 

      The "Word of God" here clearly refers to the message spoken by the missionaries. This was at a time when the only Bible to reference was the Old Testament Hebrew scriptures.  People were not breaking open pew Bibles or unsnapping their study Bibles.  They did not carry the Torah on their cell phones.  There were no Christian book stores.  The Word of God was being spoken right there among them and now it was being written to them!  They had received and believed.

       The Thessalonians had realized that what they were hearing was not simply the words of some man's wisdom, but a message that had its source in God. The reality is that when Christians share their faith, they do not merely give their particular viewpoint on life as one among the endless variety of human theories. They announce the divinely revealed truth of God, a word from God.  This is world changing.

       Someone has said that the gospel is not the kind of message that man would invent if he could, nor is it a message that he could invent if he would. There was a supernatural truthfulness that was evident in the gospel Paul preached as the Holy Spirit brought conviction upon their hearts.

       The Word of God is powerful!  The spoken Word of God has an inherent power to change lives. The Word of God through the Old Testament prophets was recognized as being powerful and "not falling to the ground" or lacking sufficient power to hit its mark and accomplish its purpose (1 Sam. 3:19).  The Word of God has the creative power of God behind it and in it (Gen. 1:3).  In Thessalonica, the Word of God had changed the spiritual landscape of the city and region forever.  Lives were forever transformed.

        Paul credited the changes in the Thessalonians to this spoken Word of God. Not only had the spoken Word effected changes in them in the past, but it was continuing to change them since they continued to believe it. 

       The word "believe" here is in the present tense indicating continuing action.  We could translate the last phrase to say: "The Word of God is at work in you who are continuing to believe."  The truth of God, like good medicine, will continue to heal sin-sick souls so long as people continue to receive it by faith.

        It is a profound thing to realize that there is power in the spoken or preached Word of God.  This raises more than a few questions for us.

       We are all hearers.  How carefully do we receive the teaching and preaching of the Word?  Are we lackadaisical in this part of life? Do we pray for our preacher?  Do we arrive on time, ready to receive the spoken Word of God?  Do we wait with expectation for the reading and exposition of the Word?  Do we attend to the preached Word with respect or do we pick and choose what we will hear?

       Some of us are teachers and preachers.  Are we careful to bring the spoken Word of God clearly without the confusion of the endless chatter of human thought and theory?  Are we focused on the Word or on self?  Are we careful to let God speak among us? God brings truth through personality, but are we careful not to let personality get in the way?  Are we speaking in faith with the expectation that God will change people through the power of His Word?

         We are all in community.  Are we honoring the voice of God among us so that "The word of God is at work in us who are continuing to believe"? 


        Father God, I surrender to Your Spirit and the power of Your Word.  Make yourself evident through the preaching of the Word in my community of faith.  I lift my pastor-teacher to You and pray for clarity of thought in preparation.  I lift my preacher to You for protection of time and clear inspiration.  I pray for those who will come to hear, that You would prepare all our hearts that we may be continuing to believe.  Do a mighty work among us. In Jesus' name.