Studies in First Thessalonians, Video preaching

Fruits of election, Pt2

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:5

Sermon notes

The Apostle lists a series of evidences that these believers were certainly the elect of God. This solid, irrefutable proof of God’s sovereign saving mercy.

  1. The work of the Holy Ghost in power to apply the gospel, v5. The saving power of the Holy Ghost through the ministry of the gospel is evidence of election. Cp 1Jn 4:13. Note that this can only be known afterwards. The effect of the gospel answers the question of election. The question of election cannot be settled in advance of salvation. There is a vital connection here between the sovereign electing grace of God and the preaching fo the gospel. The decree of Divine election is worked out in the lives of sinners through the preaching of the gospel. This answers the foolish objection that the doctrine of election kills evangelistic zeal. Rightly understood, this doctrine is the greatest incentive to take the gospel to sinners! The decree of election is accompanied by the equally Divine command to preach Christ indiscriminately to all men.

This evidence for election is seen to involve the following:

  1. Not in word only. The natural response of man to the gospel is on the level of the word. The Scriptures are just words on a page, the syntax and grammar just like any other book. There is a new view of God’s word here. This vital difference in how the word is considered distinguishes between flesh and spirit, spiritual life and spiritual death. See Jn 6:63, 68 and context v60, 66. See 1Cor 4:20, 2Cor 3:6, James 1:18-21—the effectual working of the word stimulates obedience.
  2. In power. It was an effectual word. It was accompanied by Divine power to effect/accomplish something. Cp Acts 11:21, Acts 16:14, 1Cor 1:24, 2:4-5, Eph 1:19-20.
  3. In the Holy Ghost. The personal work of the Spirit is identified here. It is explicitly His work to apply redemption to those whom the Father elects and Christ died for. Cp 1Pet 1:2, 22-23 (17, 19). Here is the act of regeneration under the preaching of the word. This is the sovereign work of the Spirit, John 3:7-8, Titus 3:5-6. There is a permanent work of the Spirit to be seen here. The Scripture speaks of a limited, temporary work of the Spirit that does not lead to salvation. Cp Matt 13:5-6, 20-21, Heb 6:4-8, Gen 6:3, Acts 7:51.
  4. In much assurance. The conviction that the gospel is true and to be confidently embraced is in view.

If this is a description of my experience of the gospel of Christ then I have cause to rejoice and praise God in confidence as Paul does.

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