God’s Word at work in believers

God’s Word at work in believers – a sermon by Rev. Ralph Adams on 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

Dennis Prager, of Prager University, once asked atheist philosopher Jonathon Glover this pointed question: “Professor Glover, just say your car broke down at midnight, stranding you in a desolate back-city street. Then, as you step from your car to look for help, you suddenly hear pounding feet in the darkness.  And you see ten burly men coming your way.   Would it or would it not make a difference to know these young men were coming from a Bible study group?” [1]

The question was asked of an unbeliever.  Nevertheless, it implies that God’s Word can be expected to have an effect on people for the good.   And this is Paul’s expectation also as he writes, “… God’s Word [is] at work in you.” (v.13b)

Paul is writing to the Thessalonian church from Corinth, after having been ‘run out of town’ as it were, by hostile Jews, on 2 occasions, first in Thessalonica and then in Berea.  This is the year 51 AD… Gallio is the Roman proconsul in these parts… and it’s some 20-plus-years after the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus.

When Paul was writing, Thessalonica, was a difficult place in which to be a Christian.  Just as some Christians today are undergoing persecution at the hands of those who are fiercely opposed to the gospel, so too were Christians suffering in Thessalonica at the hands of local Jews.   Hence, Paul’s letter was one of encouragement to help these Christians persevere in their faith as they await the return of Jesus Christ.

[1] Robert J. Morgan, Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations and Quotes.  Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville USA.  2000. p.55