“For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake“
did not come to you
The word “not” in the Greek implies that this is a downright fact. The following statements about how the gospel came into Thessalonica are facts.
in word only,
The word “in” in the phrase “in word only” expresses sphere. The message of the gospel team is more than oratory and orthodoxy; it is a living, transforming message. The gospel team came, communicating in the sphere of speaking the content of the gospel message.
The gospel came to the Thessalonians first through verbal communication. Verbal communication is an essential element in gospel presentation. Saying “I am living the life before them” is not enough. We can live the life from now to doomsday, but that would not be enough to win people to Christ. We must declare the facts of the gospel.
“…who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved” (Acts 11:14).
Any further content to the gospel message is irrelevant, secondary and inconsequential. We spend so much time approaching people with the gospel that we never get to the gospel message. We spend too much time on means, rather than on ends. Consequently, people do not catch the opportunity to make a decision for Christ. The means is not the end!
We must communicate the gospel with more than Christian life; we must do it with our lips as well, if we are going to significantly advance the cause of Christ.
We need words to communicate the gospel. Today, many Christians never get down to the message. They live the life, but they do not speak the words of the gospel.
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?…” “…So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:14, 17).
If we are going to get serious about spreading the gospel effectively, we must first give people content to believe. We must set forth the gospel in clear terms. The only way to do this is with words. Everything is secondary to the proclamation of God’s saving message. If we spend all of our time on the means and never come to the end, then we will never reach the world for Christ. We can contextualize the gospel into oblivion, but if people never hear the message, they will never embrace the Savior.