In my last post I talked about the true Gospel. I said that it was more than just words, but included the demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit. Why is there so little of the whole Gospel of Christ being presented in our generation?
The same letter of Paul that we looked at last time gives us the answer to this question.
On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
1 Thessalonians 2:4
In the last post we saw that Paul understood the true Gospel as including power, the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, and deep conviction. That might have been surprising to some. But I believe his words in this verse would totally shock many preachers if they understood their significance.
According to Paul, you need to be approved by God to preach this Gospel. Actually it’s deeper than that. He said that you need God’s approval even to be entrusted with this Gospel.
Is this what’s taught in Bible schools? I don’t think so; at least I’ve never heard it taught. In my experience preaching the Gospel is simply coming up with a Scripture for an opening text. Then we apply it to the need for the hearers to “get saved.”
Where’s the power? Where’s the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, and the deep conviction? I believe that there’s too much unapproved Gospel being preached these days. That’s why many have written off Christianity as a dead horse that needs to be removed from society.
How do you become approved to be entrusted with the true Gospel? The answer to this is why there’s so little of it in our generation. It’s not about college degrees or denominational accreditation. No, it’s much deeper than that.
Paul makes it clear that this approval can only come from God. Furthermore, the test takes place in your heart. It’s what Jesus talked about in the parable of the sower.
“Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop — thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”
The test is in your heart – where you hear and plant the Word. This requires time in the presence of the Lord. It means that we have a listening ear toward the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Then, when Gods sees the quality of the crop produced by the Word planted in our heart, He grants His approval. Then we see the manifestation of the Word of God when we present the Gospel. Then the lives of the hearers are changed by that powerful Word from God.
Question: How would churches be different if we sought the approval of God?
© Nick Zaccardi 2014