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Sermon #5776

How to Get the Gospel Across

A Sermon on 1 Thessalonians 1:5

Scripture

1 Thessalonians 1:5 ESV NASB 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

We live in a world where the Church is losing influence and people are moving farther and farther from the truth. To confront these negative trends people have put forth solutions to how we can “sell” the gospel better and communicate more as a global church. However, in Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ sermon on 1 Thessalonians 1:5, he reveals the true way we should spread the gospel. Many Christians believe that a new message is needed to attract the masses, while others say that huge, concert-like gatherings are the key to spreading the gospel. Many say that the same old message just isn’t working and must be altered. However, Dr. Lloyd-Jones states that the message is not the problem. No, the message was powerful enough to convert the entire Roman Empire, and the Romans had a society of sin and lust, similar to ours. No, the message is not the problem. The problem is the way we present it. Dr. Lloyd-Jones points to how the early church spread the gospel by apostolic teaching and by the testimony of their lives. Likewise, Dr. Lloyd-Jones urges us to do the same. We must live out the message of the gospel so that others can see the power of God in us. This was the original way that the gospel was spread, and it is the best method for evangelism, even today. With this said, Dr. Lloyd-Jones confronts another problem that is plaguing the spread of the gospel. He states that churches simply aren’t telling the true message of the gospel. Modern evangelists pride themselves in telling the good news of Jesus Christ, but forget to tell people why Jesus came. Without knowledge of their sin, unbelievers may live life thinking they are Christians, while they continue sinning freely. Like Paul, we should not focus on flattering audiences, cracking jokes, or hosting large events, but instead tell unbelievers that they are sinners in the presence of a holy God. Only when we know we are sinners, do we turn to Christ for redemption.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul is writing to the Thessalonians, reminding them of how they became Christians.
  2. Paul says there were two factors in the spread of the Gospel: apostolic preaching and the lives of the converts.
  3. The problem today is how to communicate the Gospel in a way people will understand and believe. Some propose new messages, methods, Bible translations but we must return to the apostolic method.
  4. Paul's message: Our Gospel came not in word only but in power, the Holy Spirit, and assurance. The Gospel is good news about Jesus, who delivers us from wrath.
  5. Paul confronted the Thessalonians about their idol worship and called them to serve the living God. We must all give account to God.
  6. Jesus, the Son of God, came to save us. We await His return to judge the world. This is the Christian message.
  7. The world needs to hear about God's law and judgment. The Gospel starts with God, not man.
  8. Paul's method: His preaching was in the power of the Spirit, not with flattery. The Thessalonians received his message as God's word, with conviction and affliction but joy.
  9. The Thessalonians turned from idols to God, with a work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope. Their faith spread everywhere.
  10. We need the Spirit's power and assurance. We must turn from idols, work and labor for the faith, and spread the Gospel by our lives.

Itinerant Preaching

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.