“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:13
Scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16
Paul praises God that the Thessalonians received his preaching as the Word of God and he could say that because he saw evidence of the Word bearing fruit among them. The Word of God was at work in their lives.
How do we receive the Word when it comes to us from the pulpit each Lord’s Day again? The preached Word comes to us through the human agency of preachers, but it is God Himself speaking to us and every time we hear Him, He demands a response. Isaiah reminds us that the Word never returns empty or void; it will accomplish the purpose for which God has sent it (Isaiah 55:11).
God’s purpose in preaching is to call men and women out of darkness, into His marvellous light. Our souls are rescued for all eternity through the preaching of the Word. It is the instrument of the Holy Spirit to create faith in the hearts of God’s elect, but because the Word “works”, it can also have a devastating effect. The preached Word softens the heart of the child of God, but it also further hardens the heart of him who refuses to hear and respond in faith and repentance. That lays a tremendous burden upon preachers, but no less does it place an obligation upon the pew sitter.
The Thessalonians could be at ease; they received the gospel with joy. How about us? How about you? What is your attitude toward the preached Word on Sundays?
Suggestions for prayer
Ask God to open your heart to joyfully, gratefully receive His Word. Thank Him for regenerating your heart, enabling you to respond favourably to the preached Word.
Rev. Mark Zylstra is an emeritus minister of the United Reformed Churches in North America. He and his wife Corrie, live in Smithville ON and their home church is Wellandport, ON URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.