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Sermon #5628

A Gospel of Power

A Sermon on 1 Thessalonians 1:5


1 Thessalonians 1:5 ESV KJV
because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. (ESV)

Sermon Description

“The test of anything that claims to be Christian is the test of power.” In this sermon on 1 Thessalonians 1:5, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones teaches that whether we are speaking of the church or of the individual Christian, the test of authenticity is the test of results produced by divine power. The gospel had been delivered to the Thessalonians in word, but it did not come in word only. The gospel came with divine power to bring about results. The results included repentance of sin and pagan idol worship to the service of a living and true God. Furthermore, this gospel power was accompanied by the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit took the words of the gospel and made them effectual in the lives of the Thessalonians and all true believers. Dr Lloyd-Jones identifies that the apostle himself brought personal conviction and assurance that was so authentic, the power of God in his message was unmistakable and effectual. What is the test of authenticity for the church and the Christian? It is the test of the gospel of power.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon begins by introducing 1 Thessalonians 1:5 as the main text. The verse states that the gospel came to the Thessalonians not only with words but with power, the Holy Spirit, and deep conviction.
  2. The sermon then establishes that the test of anything claiming to be Christian is the test of power and success. This is true for both the church in general and individual Christians. While this test can be dangerous if misused, the final test for the church and Christians is the test of power and success.
  3. The sermon examines the church in light of this test. While the church speaks many words, its words seem ineffective and the number of Christians is decreasing. Judged by the test of power, the church seems to be failing.
  4. The sermon then examines individuals in light of this test. While the gospel has come to individuals through words, the question is whether there is power and success in individuals’ lives. The gospel came to the Thessalonians not only in word but in power.
  5. The sermon identifies the problem as not being with the world, since the world has always been the same, but with the presentation of the message. There are two questions: what is the word, and how is it communicated?
  6. The sermon examines what the word is that Paul preached to the Thessalonians. The word is the gospel, the good news of the one true living God, who is to be served and obeyed. This God will judge the world, and the only escape is through believing in Jesus, who delivers from God's wrath.
  7. The sermon then examines how this word is communicated. Mere words are not enough; there must also be power, the Holy Spirit, and deep conviction. Paul preached with power, the Holy Spirit, and deep conviction, not to please people but to please God. The Thessalonians received this word not as human words but as God's word.
  8. The sermon describes the results of the word being preached with power. The Thessalonians turned from idols to serve God, received the word with joy from the Holy Spirit, and became imitators of Paul and the Lord despite persecution. The change in the Thessalonians was so great that their faith was proclaimed everywhere.
  9. The sermon concludes by asking whether the word has come with power to the listeners. Without power, the word is of no value. The sermon exhorts listeners to seek God until the word comes to them with power and joy from the Holy Spirit, enabling them to forsake all else to serve God and await Jesus's return.

Sermons on the Gospel

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.