One may wonder why we don’t see today what the First Century Church saw in terms of revolutionary transformation of people. Going back to Acts 2, three thousand people responded to the Gospel message and were baptized.
In one day!
Paul warned several churches, most notably the Galatians, to beware believing a Gospel contrary to the one that he preached to them. He said that even if an angel from heaven appeared and preached a different Gospel, he should be accursed for doing it. (Galatians 1:8-9) The Gospel is crucial! The Gospel is critical. And the Gospel’s purity is worth guarding.
When Paul preached, he wasn’t giving a motivational speech, encouraging people to live better lives or to merely give passing approval to some truth claims. In today’s Bible reading, Paul applauds the Thessalonians for going “all-in” with the “all-in” Gospel message!
So why aren’t we seeing the same results as centuries before? Either the Gospel has changed or the Gospel being proclaimed isn’t the true Gospel. Well, we know the Gospel itself hasn’t changed. So the only other option is that — by and large — perhaps the Gospel that’s being proclaimed isn’t the true Gospel.
Assuming you have received the Gospel message at some point in your life, how affected by the Gospel are you? Is your faith a roaring fire, burning brighter as you hear the Gospel and preach the Gospel to yourself? Or is your faith smoldering, just glowing embers?
When a campfire dies down, the embers glow, but they don’t produce any flames. If you need for it to burn more, you have to add fuel to the fire and add oxygen to the glowing coals. Sometimes getting oxygen deep into the glowing coals means you have to get down on the ground, with your face right next to the fire and slowly blow at the very base of the fire.
To rekindle your fire, to increase your own response to the Gospel you may need to get on your face before God and let Him blow over you with the power of the Holy Spirit. Maybe then you’ll respond to the Gospel the way you did once before.
This devotional was originally published November 13, 2019.