In the middle of my weekly Bible study a few days ago, a light clicked on in my head in the beginning verses of First Thessalonians. While the leader of the study continued talking, my mind sort of took a detour to fully digest what it was I had just heard. My eyes focused on one of my Bible scribblings. There was a box I had drawn around 1 Thessalonians 2:8. “. . . we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
The witness of Paul to this brand new church was so much more than, “Here’s the Truth. (yawn) Take it or leave it.” True Evangelism, as I had written next to this impressive verse, is certainly grounded in the truth of God’s Word. But beyond the words of the Gospel, is the changed life it leaves. Paul’s old way of life had been transformed by the power of God that day back on the road to Damascus. Now within him lived the love of God and the commission to share that love to all who would listen. He was compelled to pour out to these strangers and new believers a level of sacrificial love that said, “This is the kind of love my Savior has for you!”
We, like Paul, have so much more to share than just words, even deep Scriptural truths. We have the love of Jesus that needs to be set free. Loving the unlovely, giving up time we consider so dear, and keeping our hearts on souls rather than things . . . That is the foundation of sharing the Good News.
Back in chapter one, these new believers are described as being models (1 Thes. 1:6,7) of this new life in Jesus for miles around. They had caught (by faith) this Christ-filled life. For them, it was not merely a new religious belief or pattern of living, but the love of God within them humbly proclaiming to all who would listen, “I was a lost sinner, and now Jesus is my Savior!”
The question before me is simply, Does the love of Jesus shine so evident in my life that the Good News I speak of is irresistible? The Love of Jesus and the words of His Gospel . . . are they at the root of my daily actions, conversations, and priorities?
There is the saying, You reap what you sow. But more than a saying, it is from God’s Word. “. . . A man reaps what he sows.” (Gal. 6:7) When the love of Jesus is overwhelmingly obvious in my life, the words I share will be used of God to create another who is unable to keep from sharing from their heart that same love that was shown them and now lives within them. Sow a salvation in Jesus that is effortless and cheap, and you may wind up with a new witness just like yourself. But sow it in sincere Christian love that knows no limit, and you could be used by God in producing a “model” Christian.