1 Thessalonians 1:5b-7
The rest of verse 5 provides a testimony of who Paul, Silvanus and Timothy were and how we should be emulating that. Not only did the gospel reach the Thessalonians in word form, but by power, the Holy Spirit, and much assurance. Here, we have a three-fold provision. The Thessalonians were to recognize that because of the men Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy were. We, too, can and should have this testimony. There is a saying, “but for the grace of God go I.” There is power in this statement as a testimony of who you were and then who you are now in Christ as the Holy Spirit is upon you with assurance. The power, the Holy Spirit, and much assurance is something all of us Believers have in Jesus. Power doesn’t necessarily mean we have brute strength. We are talking about the gospel here. The gospel message has power, brings the presence of the Holy Spirit and should provide assurance as to its authenticity and to those that accept and claim it. It cannot be stressed enough how powerful the gospel message is. In today’s society, the gospel is often withheld, watered down, or manipulated to fit our changing culture. This is heresy! The gospel stands on its own. It has power. The Holy Spirit is in it. It provides assurance to those who accept it. We shall not change that message in any way shape or form as chains can only be broken by that power. If we do change it, the power is not there, the Holy Spirit is not present, and assurance cannot be attained.
Receiving the word in much affliction pertains to potential persecution that can come when receiving the gospel. Persecution can come in many forms, and it is witnessed throughout our world in various forms. It can simply mean you are shamed or made fun of all the way to imprisonment or loss of life. This is happening currently in various forms throughout our world. It is even heating up in our own country. One can simply see the battle with the church in California and other states and recognize that persecution in our Republic is intensifying. That being said, we have it really easy here in the US which lends itself to a lukewarm church (not local church but church in general). There are countless Christians that must pay with their lives to accept Jesus. The good news is that, typically, the gospel message thrives in persecution which brings what? Joy! This world is not our home. The time we have here is but a vapor. Persecution brings joy which provides an example or testimony to others which then spreads the gospel.