a. Their faith, love and hope
b. Their worthy example to others in Macedonia and Achaia
2. To some degree, the condition of the church may have been due to the diligent and caring nature of Paul's ministry while with them - 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
3. But it could not have happened without their willingness to receive the word of God
a. Preached to them by Paul, Silas, and Timothy
b. Which they received as the word of God
c. Which worked effectively in them - 1 Thessalonians 2:13
A. LIVING, POWERFUL, ABLE TO DISCERN
1. The word of God is no dead letter - Hebrews 4:12
2. Just as Jesus' words were both spirit and life - John 6:63
B. PRODUCES FAITH
1. As we hear (or read) it, it is able to develop faith in our Hearts - Romans 10:16
2. This it does through the evidence it presents - John 20:30-31
C. HAS POWER TO SAVE
1. For it contains the gospel, God's power unto salvation - Romans 1:16-17
2. Which is able to save our souls - James 1:21
D. CAUSES ONE TO BE BORN AGAIN
1. By the word of God, He has brought us forth - James 1:18
2. For the word of God is an incorruptible seed, by which one is born again - 1 Peter 1:22-23
E. KEY TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH
1. We grow by virtue of the word of God - 1 Peter 2:2
2. Just as newborn babes grow by virtue of their mother's milk
F. HELPS TO OVERCOME SATAN
1. John praised young men who overcame Satan through the Word of God - 1 John 2:14
2. Of course, Jesus overcame Satan by appealing to the Word - Matthew 4:1-11
A. MUST BE RECEIVED WITH FAITH
1. For it works in those who believe - 1 Thessalonians 2:13
2. For it is God's power unto salvation to those who believe - Romans 1:16
3. For it does not profit those who do not receive it with faith - Hebrews 4:2
B. MUST BE RECEIVED WITH MEEKNESS
1. The word must be received in meekness if it is to save - James 1:21
2. For such is the person God is willing to guide and teach - Psalm 25:9
C. MUST BE RECEIVED BY DOERS
1. Not just hears of the Word - James 1:22-25
2. It is in obeying the Word that our souls are purified - 1 Peter 1:22
D. MUST BE FERVENTLY DESIRED
1. Like newborn babies longing for their mothers' milk - 1 Peter 2:2
2. For the one who meditates on it day and night is truly blessed - Psalms 1:1-3
E. MUST ABIDE IN US
1. If we are to be strong, and overcome the wicked one - 1 John 2:14
2. If we are not to sin against God - Psalm 119:11
1. Is the living, powerful Word of God effective in our lives?
a. Is it producing faith, saving us by causing us to be born again?
b. Is it producing spiritual growth, manifested by overcoming Satan, living holy lives whether we are young or old?
2. If the Word of God is not making a powerful impact in our lives, could it be:
a. We are not receiving it with faith and meekness?
b. We are not receiving it with the intention of obeying it?
c. We have not fervently desired it, so that it cannot abide in us?
d. If such is the case, then we haven't taken the Word of God seriously.
e. We have treated it no differently than the word of men. May the church of the Thessalonians always serve to remind us how we ought to receive it: "you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe." 1 Thessalonians 2:13
-- Don Treadway, August 2009 --