PREACHING IN POWER, IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND IN MUCH ASSURANCE
In verse 5 Paul continues, “Because our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance, even as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.” The apostles not only preached the gospel; they lived it. Their ministering of the gospel was not only by word, but also by a life which displays the power of God, a life in the Holy Spirit and in the assurance of their faith. They were the model of the glad tidings they spread.
We all should learn that to preach the gospel we must preach in power, in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance. As we preach the gospel, we need to have the assurance that it is a saving gospel. The gospel we preach is able to save others. Before sinners can believe in the gospel, we ourselves must believe it. We must believe that the gospel is able to save sinners. When we preach the gospel, we should look away from those in the audience who may be opposing our message. Looking at them may cause our faith to diminish. Instead of looking at the faces of opposers, look at the gospel. The expression on the faces of the opposing ones is a lie. We must have the assurance that the gospel we are preaching can save even these opposers.
In verse 5 power, the Holy Spirit, and much assurance are linked to the words “what kind of men we were among you for your sake.” It may seem to us that Paul’s writing here is not logical, and we may wonder how the two parts of this verse fit together. This verse reveals that if we would preach the gospel in power, in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance, we must have a life to match this kind of gospel preaching. Our manner of life must match the power, the Holy Spirit, and the assurance.
A careless person, one who does not live Christ, cannot preach the gospel in power, in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance. To preach the gospel in this way, we must first live Christ and have a manner of life to match the power, the Holy Spirit, and the assurance. In other words, the power, the Holy Spirit, and the assurance require a certain manner of life. If we do not have the proper living, we shall not have the power, the Holy Spirit, and the assurance in our gospel preaching, for our manner of life will not match these characteristics.
IMITATORS OF THE APOSTLES AND THE LORD
In verse 6 Paul goes on to say, “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, having accepted the word in much affliction with joy of the Holy Spirit.” Since the preachers were the model of the gospel, the believers became their imitators. This then led the believers to follow the Lord, taking Him as their model (Matt. 11:29).
First the Thessalonians as new believers became imitators of the apostles, and then they became imitators of the Lord. This indicates that we need to be a pattern, a model, for others. The believers do not see the Lord first; they see us first. If we are not a proper pattern or model, it will be difficult for others to see the Lord. Because we are the Lord’s representatives, we need to be a proper pattern. Then others can imitate the Lord by imitating us. This means that through us they imitate Him.
In verses 7 and 8 Paul says, “So that you became a pattern to all those who believe in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded out, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith toward God has gone out, so that we have no need to speak anything.” Here we see that the imitators of the apostles became a pattern to all other believers. They imitated the pattern and then they became a pattern to the believers in the Roman provinces of Macedonia and Achaia.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)