1 Thessalonians 2:13
And we continually thank God that in receiving the word of God from us, you did not accept it as the word of men, but as the true word of God--the word now at work in you who believe.
Sermons
A Due Reception of the GospelC. Simeon, M. A.1 Thessalonians 2:13
A Happy Ministers' MeetingC. H. Spurgeon.1 Thessalonians 2:13
Converted by the Word1 Thessalonians 2:13
Experimental Evidence to the WordJ. Cumming, D. D.1 Thessalonians 2:13
God's Word and Man's; Their Relative EffectW. Baxendale.1 Thessalonians 2:13
God's Word and Man's; Their Relative ValueW. Baxendale.1 Thessalonians 2:13
God's Word Intelligently ReceivedMaurice C. Hime, M. A.1 Thessalonians 2:13
God's Word Prayerfully ReceivedDer Glaubensbote.1 Thessalonians 2:13
God's Word Soul Quickening1 Thessalonians 2:13
Hearing and Receiving the WordG. Swinnock, M. A.1 Thessalonians 2:13
Inspiration of the Spoken WordJ. Hutchison, D. D.1 Thessalonians 2:13
Life-Giving Energy of the Word of God1 Thessalonians 2:13
Receiving the Scriptures as the Word of ManArchbishop Tait.1 Thessalonians 2:13
Receiving the WordE. Brown.1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Authenticity of the ScripturesA. Barber.1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Correct Estimate of Gospel TruthG. Barlow.1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Efficacy of the Word of God and the Way of Receiving ItE. Cooper, M. A.1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Gospel Message: its Instrument and ReceptionWeekly Pulpit1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Logic of LifeW. L. Watkinson.1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Power of the WordS. T. Coleridge.1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Preaching of the Word and its EffectsJ. Benson.1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Right Reception of the GospelG. W. Humphreys, M. A.1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Thessalonian Reception of the TruthT. Croskery 1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Unity of the BibleBp. Huntington.1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Word and its WorksG. Swinnock, M. A.1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Word of GodW.F. Adeney 1 Thessalonians 2:13
Response of the Thessalonians to the Proclamation of the Gospel by Paul and His CompanionsR. Finlayson 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16
The Effects of the GospelB.C. Caffin 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16
The apostle had spoken of his own part in the work of grace; he now speaks of the manner in which his converts accepted the truth. "Ye are my witnesses; now I am yours." His immediate ground of thankfulness was that they had received, not man's word, but God's, and that the Word was so thoroughly efficacious. "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received not the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God."

I. THEY APPRECIATED THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WORD OF MEN AND THE WORD OF GOD.

1. They first heard it no doubt with interest and docility of spirit. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." The Word was not read but heard in the preaching of the apostles; it was no discovery of their own mind.

2. They received it as an external fact made known to them by man.

3. They welcomed it with the inner acceptance of faith. It was "mixed with faith in them that heard it" (Hebrews 4:2). It was "the joy and the rejoicing of their heart" (Jeremiah 15:16).

4. Their glad acceptance of it was conditioned upon its Divine origin. It was not man's word, representing a new speculation in philosophy or ethics; it was "the Word of God" (Romans 10:14). It was therefore

(1) an infallible Word;

(2) bearing the impress of Divine authority;

(3) and therefore to be received with reverence and love.

II. THEY MANIFESTED THE POWER OF THE TRUTH IN THEIR LIVES. "Which effectually worketh also in you that believe."

1. This effectual operation is conditioned upon their faith. "The Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it" (Hebrews 4:2). The gospel is only to the believer "the power of God to salvation" (Romans 1:16).

2. Its power was manifest in quickening, enlightening, sanctifying, and comforting under all afflictions and persecutions. - T.C.







For this cause also thank we God
(text and ver. 14): — Paul unbosoms his heart to the loving Church at Thessalonica. He knew what it was to be worried by others, but found rest when thinking of them. The most tried ministers have some bright spots. In setting forth his joyful memories of Thessalonica, the Apostle gives us a sight of three things.

I. MINISTERS GIVING THANKS. "We also thank God." Ministers are not always weeping, though they often do so. They have their time of thanksgiving, as Paul had.

1. This followed upon sore travail (see ver. 9). As we sow in tears, we reap in joy.

2. This was backed by holy living (vers. 10, 11). Unholy ministers, will have scant cause for joy.

3. It prevented all self-laudation. To thank God is the opposite of glorifying self.

4. It was of a social character. "We" — Paul, Silas, and Timothy — "we hold a fraternal meeting of joy when God blesses us among our beloved people."

5. It was of an abiding character. "Without ceasing." We can never cease praising the Lord for His goodness in saving souls.

6. It cheered them for further service. They wished (ver. 17) to visit the friends again, and further benefit them. What a mercy for us all when God's servants are glad about us! Their joy is in our salvation.

II. HEARERS RECEIVING THE WORD. "Ye received." Not all receive it. How badly do some treat the gospel. Not all receive it as did the Thessalonians, for —

1. They received the Word of God; they heard it calmly, attended to it candidly, considered it carefully.

2. They received the Word of God with a hearty welcome. They accepted it by faith, with personal confidence and joy.

3. They did not receive the word of man. It is well to keep the doors locked in that direction. We cannot receive everything; let us reject merely human teaching, and leave the more room in our minds for the Lord's word.

4. They did not receive the gospel as the word of men. Their faith was not based on the clever, eloquent, logical, dogmatical, or affectionate way in which it was preached.

5. They received it as God's revealed Word, and therefore received it with reverence of its Divine character, with assurance of its infallibility, with obedience to its authority, with experience of its sacred power.

6. They received it so that it effectually worked in them. It was practical, efficient, and manifestly operative upon their lives and characters.

III. CONVERTS EXHIBITING THE FAMILY LIKENESS.

1. They were like Judaean Christians, the best of them — in faith, in experience, in afflictions.

2. Yet many of them as heathen began at a great disadvantage.

3. They had never seen the church of God in Judaea, and were no copyists, yet they came to be facsimiles of them.

4. This is a singular confirmation of the Divine character of the work. The same Lord works in all believers, and in the main the same experience occurs in all the saints, even though they may never have seen each other. This similarity of all regenerated men furnishes a valuable set of experimental evidences of the Divine origin of conversion. Let us not be daunted by opposition, for at Thessalonica Paul was persecuted and yet triumphant. Let us rejoice in the effects of the Word everywhere.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The population of Thessalonica consisted of two diverse classes — Greek and Jew — the one representing the philosophy of Paganism, the other being the custodian of the truths of revelation. Among the Hebrews, Moses was recognized as the head of their system, and his words were profoundly venerated; and the Gentiles were not less devout and ardent in their admiration of Plato. The gospel impinged on these ancient and revered institutions. The followers of Moses and Plato were compelled to admit the higher authority of the apostolic message. They formed a correct estimate of it when they "received it not as the word of men," etc.

I. THE GOSPEL IS SUPERIOR TO ALL HUMAN WISDOM. Human wisdom is —

1. Limited. The greatest mind is imperfect in its knowledge, and restricted in using what it knows.

2. Changeable. Aristotle said, "There is no difference between what men call knowledge and mere opinion; therefore, as all opinion is uncertain, there can be no certainty in human knowledge."

3. Unsatisfying. Another great thinker said, "Nothing can be known; nothing, therefore, can be learned; nothing can be certain; the senses are limited and delusive; intellect is weak; life is short."

II. THE GOSPEL IS ESSENTIALLY DIVINE.

1. It is authoritative. When God speaks, unbelievers may well be filled with fear. His Word comes with the majesty of its own innate power. It bends. the ear to attention, the mind to faith, the heart to reverence, the will and conscience to obedience.

2. It is immutable. It is "the Word of the Lord that liveth and abideth forever."

(1)Its promises are sure.

(2)Its threatenings will certainly be executed.

3. It is complete. There is nothing to add, nothing to subtract. It contains the fullest revelation of God, of man, of eternal issues, such as can never be found elsewhere.

4. It is worthy of universal credence. "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater." It is to the everlasting commendation of the Thessalonians, and of millions since their day, that when they heard the Word of God, they "received it not as the word of men," etc.

III. THE GOSPEL IS EFFICACIOUS IN TRANSFORMING CHARACTER. "Which effectually worketh also in you that believe." As the planet receiving the light of the sun is transformed into an imitation sun, so the believing soul, receiving the light of the Word, is changed into the image of that Word. Whatever the Divine Word prescribes, that it works in us. Does it prescribe repentance? — it works repentance; faith? — it works faith; obedience? — it works obedience; knowledge? — it enlightens to know. Its transforming power is continually demonstrated. It makes the stingy generous, the profane holy, the drunkard sober, the profligate chaste. Faith is the vital force that connects the soul with this converting power.

IV. THE CORRECT APPRECIATION OF GOSPEL TRUTH IS MATTER OF CEASELESS THANKSGIVING TO THE PREACHER. "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing." No disappoint ment is keener than that of unproductive labour. Some of the choicest ministers of God have had to mourn over comparative failure. Think of the anguish of Jeremiah, when the Word of the Lord, which he declared, was turned into daily reproach and derision; and of Ezekiel, when he wept over rebellious Israel! But the joy of success is inexpressible; and the full heart pours out its thanks to God. "They joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil." Lessons:

1. The word of man, while it may charm the understanding, is powerless to change the heart.

2. The correct estimate of gospel truth is to regard it as the Word of God.

3. The Word of God is efficacious to the individual only as it is received believingly.

(G. Barlow.)

Weekly Pulpit.
I. THE GOSPEL IS A MESSAGE FROM GOD TO MAN. A message is a special communication, directly sent by one person to another, affecting matters of immediate interest. It is in this light that the gospel was regarded by its first preachers. They were ambassadors for Christ to men.

1. The message is special. Creation and Providence declare the glory of God, His power, wisdom, goodness. They have spoken with a thousand tongues, but they have not told us all. Their speech could not convey to the heart of man the hidden thought of the gospel, "But the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul."

2. The message has been directly sent. At sundry times, and in divers manners, through dream and vision, by the prophets, the communication was made at first, but in these last: days He has spoken to us by His Son.

3. It demands our immediate attention. The answer is to be made by return. We must not turn away from Him who speaketh from heaven.

II. THAT MESSAGE IS CONVEYED BY HUMAN INSTRUMENTALITY. This is so obvious as to require no elucidation; but in the special light of the text it demands the closest attention. Touching this, St. Paul said to the Corinthians, "And my speech and my preaching was not with the enticing words of man's wisdom," etc. The preacher must be so impressed with the solemnity of his position as to make his own glorification impossible. This was a charge made by the Redeemer against the Pharisees, "Ye receive glory of men." The hearer must also rise above many of the peculiarities of the messenger to the message itself, "See how ye hear."

III. THE MESSAGE, WHEN RECEIVED IN FAITH, EXERTS AN IMMEDIATE INFLUENCE. "Which also worketh in you that believe." The whole soul is moved to action.

1. There is a response to its call. "Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief."

2. There is a conformity to its demand. "Take up the Cross, and follow Me."

3. There is a realization of its peace. It is a message of mercy offering peace and joy to the believer. "Peace be unto you."

(Weekly Pulpit.)

I. WHEN MAY IT BE SAID THAT THE WORD, NOT OF MEN, BUT OF GOD, IS PREACHED —

1. Negatively. Not —(1) When doctrine evidently false is preached, or such as is condemned in Scripture, as, e.g., some branches of the Socinian, Antinomian, Pharisaic, and other doctrines.(2) When doctrine is preached which is not contained therein, and, therefore, at best, doubtful — speculation, mysticism, etc.(3) When trivial doctrine is preached, and such as Scripture lays little stress upon, such as kneeling or sitting at the sacrament.(4) When uninteresting doctrine is preached, and such as, how, ever important at another time, and to another people, does not particularly concern those to whom it is delivered;" as when Christian perfection is preached to a drunkard, or the promises of eternal life to the impenitent.(5) When the preacher is influenced by sinister motives — as by a view to wealth, or ease, or honour, or when his own practice contradicts his doctrine and gives the lie to it; for then, it appears, he does not believe it himself.

2. Positively.(1) When, like the first teachers of Christianity, the preacher has no worldly advantages to expect, but rather suffering; and when his conduct shows that he firmly believes his own doctrine, and that it has a powerful influence upon his heart and life.(2) When it is evidently scriptural, and therefore true, important, and of particular concern to those to whom it is declared. And, above all, when it is declared by the Scripture to be essential to salvation. It is not a sufficient objection to this that the doctrine is clothed in language neither elegant nor pure, without any proper arrangement of ideas, in a manner neither engaging nor affecting.

II. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THEIR RECEIVING IT, NOT AS THE WORD OF MEN, BUT THE WORD OF GOD?

1. Negatively. It is not received as "the Word of God, but as of man," if received with inattention, irreverence, unconcern, unbelief, or with after neglect and disobedience. Not that the word even of man may not be attended to and heard with much respect, belief, and obedience; but if what is really the Word of God be not attended to, believed, and obeyed, it is evident it is received only as the word of man.

2. Positively. It is received as the Word of God if received with fixed and serious attention. Shall not the creature attend when the Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer speaks, and we know that He speaks to us? — with deep reverence, self-abasing humility, lively concern on account of the interest we have in the things revealed; assured faith as to the truth, importance, and suitableness of what is spoken; fervent prayer, since we cannot understand the Word unless we are taught by God's Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:11); sincere gratitude. What a blessing to have God speak to us! — ardent love of the truth, though it may condemn and distress us, though it be "quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12); a meek and patient mind (James 1:19-21); a firm purpose of obeying the will of God (James 1:22).

III. THE EFFECTS PRODUCED BY IT WHEN THUS RECEIVED. "It effectually worketh in you that believe." Amongst its happy effects, are repentance, viz., illumination, conviction, humiliation, hatred of sin, and change of life (Acts 2:37; 1 Corinthians 14:24, 25; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10). Confidence, and peace with God (Romans 10:17; Romans 5:1); regeneration (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23); a lively hope of immortality (2 Timothy 1:10, 12; Titus 1:2, 3; 1 Peter 1:3); a spiritual and heavenly mind (Colossians 3:1; Philippians 1:20); and deadness to the world (1 John 5:4); love to God and man (1 Thessalonians 3:12); this love is humble, resigned, zealous, obedient (1 Corinthians 13:4; John 14:15, 21, 23; 1 John 5:3); benevolence to all men; the Word of God, showing that all are the workmanship of one Creator, under the care of the same Divine providence, and the subjects of the same call in the gospel: a meek, gentle, and long-suffering mind towards all: a merciful, sympathizing, and liberal mind: a sober, temperate, and pure mind (Titus 2:11, 12): a watchful and serious mind (1 Thessalonians 5:4-9): the Word of God, revealing serious and awful things, should create a corresponding temper in us: a courageous and brave mind (2 Timothy 1:7, 8): a growing and progressive conformity to Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 3:17).

(J. Benson.)

They are the Word of God on several grounds.

I. FROM THE MAJESTY AND SUBLIMITY OF THE STYLE IN WHICH THEY WERE WRITTEN.

II. FROM THE GREAT AND HOLY DESIGN OF THEIR DIVINE AUTHOR, AND THE HARMONY OF ALL THEIR PARTS.

III. FROM THE CHARACTER OF THE SACRED WRITERS. They lived at different times and in different parts of the world; their adversaries were many and mighty; they had no worldly advantages; they relate their own imperfections; they were either good or bad men.

IV. FROM THE TESTIMONY OF GOD HIMSELF. Miracles — prophecy, the evidences of which increases the farther it goes.

V. FROM THE SATISFACTION WHICH BELIEVERS OBTAIN FROM THE INWARD TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. The inspiration of the sacred writers was supernatural and extraordinary; that of believers is extraordinary, but not supernatural.

(A. Barber.)

I. THE DESCRIPTION OF THE GOSPEL — the Word of God.

1. It was given by God to the World.

2. It reveals to us His will in the salvation of ruined man.

3. He has commissioned His ministers to publish it.

II. THE ACT OF RECEIVING IT.

1. Hearing it as the Word of God, and not merely as the word of man.

2. Listening to it with attention.

3. Accepting it with the fullest credence.

4. Taking it wholly in all its parts.

III. THE EFFECT IT PRODUCES.

1. It works a complete conformity to the character of Christ.

2. It supports the mind under all the difficulties and trials of life.

IV. THE GRATITUDE EXPRESSED FOR IT.

1. Because it is all the gratuitous work of God's Spirit.

2. Because the safety and happiness it confers and ensures.Reflections:

1. Have we received the gospel?

2. Are we bringing forth its fruits?

(E. Brown.)

Ministers and hearers are alike responsible, the one for preaching and the other for receiving. The Word of God is not to be trifled with. It is either a savour of life unto life, or the reverse.

I. THE DESCRIPTION GIVEN OF THE WORD.

1. As to its Author.(1) It is not the word of men. Men are employed as instruments for making it known, but it is not a "cunningly devised fable" of theirs.(2) It is the Word of God in truth.(a) Such was the gospel as preached by the apostles (1 Thessalonians 2:2; Galatians 1:11, 12; Matthew 10:20).(b) Such also is the Written Word — the Bible. Men wrote as they spoke, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).(c) The same may be said of the Word as preached by true ministers now. They claim no inspiration, but if their teaching be founded upon and drawn from the Bible it is "in truth the Word of God."

2. As to its effects. The Word is not only the channel of Divine revelation, it is the instrument of Divine quickening. The Spirit not only inspires it, but conveys Himself with it. Thus the Word is made effectual (1 Peter 1:22, 23). Hence it is called "the rod of God's strength," a "fire," a "hammer" (Psalm 110:2; Jeremiah 23:29), and the converter of the soul (Psalm 19:7). It works effectually in —(1) Producing conviction of sin. The Spirit does this with His sword (John 16:8; Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12).(2) Binding up the broken heart. It reveals the way in which the sin of which it convinces may be forgiven.

II. THE MANNER IN WHICH IT OUGHT TO BE RECEIVED.

1. With attention, because of its importance.

2. With reverence, as coming from a holy God to sinful men.

3. With humility and teachableness, making the requisite effort to understand it, and when understanding it receiving it without question.

4. As God's appointed instrument for the conversion and edification of our souls.

(E. Cooper, M. A.)

I. HEARING THE WORD. The temper of soul in the Thessalonians was so great a favour that Paul thought he could never praise the Author of it sufficiently. He knew his spiritual children could not but thrive when they received their meat in such a manner as the Word of God. It is the speech of Senaclaeus concerning Diarius the martyr — "Methought when I heard him speak, I heard the Holy Ghost Himself preaching to me." Truly the want of this hearing is one main cause why the Word of God doth so little good. The devil is very diligent at duties: he is every Lord's day the first at church. The children of God never gather together but Satan is among them. His great design is to render this engine of the Word fruitless, whereby the strongholds of His kingdom have been battered and broken down. Therefore, as a jailer will sometimes let his prisoners have their hands and feet at liberty so long as the doors of the prison are barred that they cannot run away, so he will let men have their hands at liberty for some acts of charity, and their feet at liberty to walk in some paths of virtue, so long as he can have the doors of their ears and hearts locked fast that they cannot get from him. He knoweth that Christ waiteth at the outer door of the ear, that He might thereby come to the inward door of the heart, and deliver the poor captives out of his hands. For this cause, it it be possible, he will keep the street door shut; he will hinder men from hearing as in God's presence; he will find them other work to do than to hear. It may be he will get them to play and toy, or to talk to their pew fellows, or to be reading, or to have their hearts in their own houses, while their bodies are in God's house; or as a child, though they are at their book, he will make them look off, if but a butterfly come by; he will set them about some business or other, unless they are serious as in God's sight, that they shall never have so much leisure as to hear even when in church. Yet did they but believe the invaluable worth of their souls, the consequence and weight of their unchangeable estates, what a searching time the hour of death will be, and what dreadful things will be seen at the day of judgment! Good Lord, how would they hear! The minister need not then call them to attend to the Word of God; they would of themselves give it their ears, and minds, and hearts, and think all too little for it.

II. RECEIVING THE WORD. The Word is a salve of sovereign virtue. Some talk of the weapon salve that it heals at a distance: but the Word will not; it must be applied to the sore, or it will never cure. The Word is seed; preaching is the sowing of this seed; application of it to the heart is the harrowing of this seed into the earth. If the seed be thrown on the ground and not harrowed in, it can effect no harvest. It must be received. A good hearer is said to eat the Word (Jeremiah 15:16; Proverbs 9:5). It is not the bread in the cupboard of the Bible, or on the table of a sermon, which will nourish the soul, unless it be by application of it, eaten and taken into the stomach; the glass of wine in the hand will not make the heart glad; the precious promises in the ears will not rejoice the spirit; they must by application be drunk down, then they will refresh and comfort the conscience. Faith is both the mouth to receive in, and the stomach to digest, this spiritual food. It is worthy of observation how frequently the Holy Ghost attributeth the famous effects and heroic acts of the Word to this commander-in-chief, under whose courageous and wise conduct it warreth. The Word fighteth boldly, and worketh miraculously under the banner of faith (Romans 1:16). If the threatenings and curses of the Law are preached, faith is to them as the powder is to the bullet, causing them to make great havoc upon the lusts of a man. Faith turns stones into bread, and helpeth the Christian, like Samson, to fetch meat out of the eater. If the precepts and commands of the Law are preached, faith is the eye to see the equity in them, and the excellency of them; and faith is the hand to put them into practice. If the promises and comforts of the gospel are preached, faith is to them as induction to a minister; and gives him actual possession of them, making them his own. Faith in the threatenings causeth humiliation; faith in the precepts causeth subjection; and faith in the promises worketh consolation. If at any time thou goest from hearing both dead and undone, thou mayest say to faith as Martha did to Christ, "If thou hadst been here my soul had not died." The unbeliever, like a man in a swoon, shuts his mouth against those life-recalling cordials which are before him in the gospel. Other sins wound the soul, but unbelief, like Joab, strikes under the fifth rib, and kills outright. So it cometh to pass that the Word is preached to many, but not to their profit. They hear the minister as chickens hear the hen; the hen calls them to come to her; they lie scraping in the dust, and will not hear her, till the kite cometh and devoureth them. But when the Word cometh with power the soul heareth it, as Peter heard the cock; he goeth out and weepeth bitterly when he hears of the boundless mercy he hath deserted, the matchless misery he hath deserved, and the infinite love he hath abused. When we are hearing, like the Thessalonians, our souls must be changed into the similitude of the Word, that it may come to us with power. As the working of physic kindly and well commendeth both the physician and body of the patient, so the powerful operation of the Word doth highly applaud both the skill of the Saviour and the state of the soul. It is written of Philetus, a disciple of Hermogenes, that, going to dispute with St. James the elder, the apostle preached Christ to him so powerfully, that he returned to his master, and said to him, "Majus abieram, Christianus redeo;" — I went forth a conjurer, but am come back a Christian. Oh, how happy will it be for us, whatever our end in going to church, yet when we return, we may upon good ground say, "We went forth proud, but are come home humble! We went forth bond slaves of Satan, but are returned free men of Christ! We went forth carnal, malicious, and obstinate sinners, but are come back spiritual, gracious, and heavenly saints!"

(G. Swinnock, M. A.)

I. THE RECEPTION OF THE GOSPEL.

1. There is something in the source of the Word which claims our reverential regard. It is not the word of man, but of God. Yet the word of man claims to be heard. The utterances of the wise and good cannot be disregarded without blame; how much more the revelations of the supreme intelligence and goodness.

2. There is something in the intrinsic importance and manifest adaptation of this word which gives it claim to our regard. It speaks to our deepest wants and longings, and unfolds the "unsearchable riches of Christ" for their satisfaction.

3. There is something in the truthfulness of God's Word which gives it certainty. Man yearns for certainty, and is unhappy till he find it. He cannot find it in philosophy and speculation, but he can in Him who is "the Truth," who reveals Himself and speaks in the Word.

4. There is that in the nature of this Word which gives it authority. Mere human teaching has always wanted this: but the Word like its Author "speaks with authority, not as the Scribes."

II. THE OPERATION OF THE GOSPEL. To be effectual it must be received, but being received it works —

1. The conviction of sin. To leave us in our spiritual slumber because of the unpleasant sensations of the awakening were false mercy; but the power which rouses conscience is beneficent.

2. It leads to reconciliation with God. There can be no happiness while the soul is estranged from God. The Word brings us back by revealing the fulness and sufficiency of redemption.

3. It sanctifies the heart (John 17:17). Pardon is not sufficient by itself. The Christian life is progressive holiness. The Word quickens holiness and promotes its growth.

4. It supplies consolation in time of trial.

(G. Swinnock, M. A.)

The following strikingly interesting story was lately related to me by the Lord Bishop of Derry: During Lord Lyndhurst's last illness, he received a visit from Lord Harrowby. The latter's eyes happening to fall upon some books popular among infidels, Renan's "Life of Jesus" among others, which were lying upon a table by the side of the sick man's bed, and had evidently recently formed the subject of his reading, he expressed in his countenance no inconsiderable amount of distress and disappointment. Upon this Lord Lyndhurst, who observed this change come over him, assured him that he need not be in the least degree alarmed, for that he had studied with the utmost care both sides of the question (and never was there an abler and more expert judge of the nature and value of evidence, no matter how entangled and conflicting such evidence might be, than Lord Lyndhurst), and was accordingly perfectly acquainted with all that had been urged against as well as for Christianity, but that (observe, I pray, his beautiful conclusion), his belief in the mission and resurrection of Jesus Christ had never been even for one second shaken.

(Maurice C. Hime, M. A.)

Dr. Schauffler, the missionary at Constantinople, relates the following story: A Turk of Thessalonica bought a Bible and read it diligently, lie was asked what he thought of the Bible — if it was a book like other books. "No," said he; "this is a book which man could mot have written. God must have written it Himself." "Have you not also found that Christ must have been the Son of God?" He shook his head. On his next visit he returned again to the subject, and said, "When I visited you last I could not answer your question truthfully from my heart. That Christ was the Son of God was the only point I could not believe. I went away to my closet and prayed for light, that I might believe; and in answer to my prayer that I might know Christ as the Saviour of the world, light broke on my spirit, and since then I have believed."

(Der Glaubensbote.)

A lady who was present at the dispensation of the Lord's Supper, where the Rev. Ebenezer Erskine was assisting, was much impressed by his discourse. Having been informed who he was, she went next Sabbath to his own place of worship rehear him. But she felt none of those strong impressions she experienced on the former occasion. Wondering at this, she called on Mr. E., and stating the case, asked what might be the reason of such a difference in her feelings. He replied, Madam, the reason is this, last Sabbath, you went to hear Jesus Christ, but today you have come to hear Ebenezer Erskine.

A native minister of Madagascar, who has since been an assistant in the revision of the book of Genesis, attributes his conversion entirely to his having accidentally met with a small scrap torn from a Malagasy Bible. While walking past the spot where the Memorial Church of Ambantan-kanga now stands, he saw upon the ground a small scrap of printed paper. Taking it up, he found that it was a mere fragment of the book of Psalms. He began to read, and was especially struck with one verse, which speaks of the power and majesty of God. He could not get rid of the impression it made on his mind, that the God revealed in the Bible was the true and living God. He accordingly sought out a Christian, and inquired about the faith they possessed. The result was that he accepted Christ as his Saviour, joined himself to the persecuted company of believers, and endured with them privation and loss for Christ's sake. He has now been for some years a native pastor, and is a most zealous and godly man. What other word is so full of life-giving energy as this? What other book can so change men for time and for eternity? Surely, this is God's book.

I. THE OCCASION OF PAUL'S THANKFULNESS.

1. The manner in which the Thessalonians received the Word of God.

(1)As proceeding from God's love.

(2)As sanctioned by His authority.

(3)As assured to them by His truth and faithfulness.

2. The manner in which it operated in —

(1)Their conversion.

(2)Their subsequent support.

(3)Their progressive sanctification.

II. THE GROUND WHICH MINISTERS HAVE FOR THANKFULNESS WHOSE LABOURS ARE SO BLEST.

1. For the people's sake.

2. For the Church's sake.

3. For the world's sake.

4. For the Lord's sake.Learn —

1. Whence it is that the Word preached is so generally ineffectual to any saving purpose.

2. How it may be made effectual to the good of souls.

(C. Simeon, M. A.)

I. THE RIGHT RECEPTION OF THE GOSPEL (1 Thessalonians 1:5).

1. They listened to it not as the word of men, but as the Word of God. Paul refers to the danger of listening to the gospel as if it were the word of men. How many treat it as merely the preacher's message.(1) Man's word is mixed with error and should be sifted; but in God's Word there is no error.(2) Man's message may not concern us, but God's Word is of momentous importance. When its infallibility and worth are realized, you will —

(a)Listen to it with reverence.

(b)Feel its authority.

(c)Rejoice in its preciousness.

(d)Be impressed with a due sense of responsibility.

2. They received it in faith, "Also in you that believe." This is the only way in which it can be received. Hearing is not receiving it, nor an intelligent comprehension of its nature and relationships. Not until a man accepts Christ as his Redeemer and Righteousness is the gospel received. It should be thus received because of —

(1)Its inexpressible importance to us.

(2)The infinite love of God in the Word of His grace.

3. It follows that in thus receiving the gospel as the Word of God —

(1)They dismissed from their minds all prejudices and preoccupations (Acts 17:5).

(2)They heard with personal application.

II. THE EFFICACY OF THE WORD WHEN RIGHTLY RECEIVED. It will have an effect, but what each must choose.

1. The mighty power which the Word had on those who believed, "Which effectually worked." By means of it they were —

(1)Convinced of sin.

(2)Made new creatures in Christ Jesus (James 1:18).

(3)Sanctified (John 17:17).

2. The explanation of this effectual working — because they believed (Hebrews 4:2). In proportion to our faith will be our profit from the Word.

III. THE THANKFULNESS. INSPIRED BY THIS RIGHT RECEPTION AND EFFECTUAL WORKING OF THE WORD. Paul felt, thankful because of —

1. His sympathy with the Lord Jesus in His work and triumphs "He shall see of the travail of His soul," etc.

2. The blessings realized by those who received the Word. The liberator feels joy in freeing the slave; the physician in making the diseased healthy.

(G. W. Humphreys, M. A.)

I wish to point out the evidences of the faith of Christ in its effectual working; that it is the Word of God is declared by its practical working; its Divinity, its validity, its preciousness are alike evidenced by its action and consequences in the experience and life of all those who truly receive it. Its practical working shows that it is no cunningly devised fable, but the very truth and power of God. There are three grand tests.

I. IN CIRCUMSTANCES THE TEST OF TRUTH IS UTILITY. A belief is not shown to be true because it works to the profit of one man or a few men, or because it works to the profit of many men during a limited period; but a belief is shown to be true if it works to the profit of vast masses of men, in all kinds of conditions, through one generation after another. That which uniformly tends to the enrichment of society is manifestly in harmony with the law of the world. Now, I am bold to affirm that the faith of Christ will bear this test. It vindicates itself by stimulating life, enriching it, adorning it.

II. IN CHARACTER THE TEST OF TRUTH IS BEAUTY. What is false in doctrine and ideal will tell in deformity, weakness, incompleteness of character. What is true in doctrine and ideal will illustrate itself in nobility of character and life. Beauty is the splendour of truth. Here again Christianity finds attestation in the logical life. Proof that Christ brought the eternal doctrine was seen in His own personal perfection. He. who was the Truth was the Beauty. And the same splendour of character has been revealed in all generations of Christ's saints. But it is objected that these characters are not what they are in beauty by virtue of Christianity. Some sceptic said of Sister Dora, "She's a noble woman, but she'd have been that without her Christianity." But we cannot accept that. Could we accept it if a man were to say of a great golden sheaf of wheat that had brought forth a hundred-fold, "Yes, it has grown on ploughed land, it has been manured, weeded, watched, but it would have grown just the same on a prairie"?

III. IN CONSCIOUSNESS THE TEST OF TRUTH IS HAPPINESS. If a man's faith gives him joy of the very highest kind — a joy altogether pure and unselfish, a joy that is intelligent, a joy that promotes the growth of the moral nature, a joy that persists through change and sorrow — I say that in such gladness he finds one of the strongest proofs of the divinity of his creed. It is a matter of the first import that a faith makes myriads nobly happy. Now, the logic of life once more accredits the faith of Christ — it makes its disciples truly happy. (John 14:27). Those who rest in the great doctrines of Christ share the peace and joy of Christ. Just as the eye is delighted with the lustre of the sun shine, the ear with the concord of sweet sounds, the nostril with the fragrance of the flower, so the soul is delighted with the truths revealed in Jesus Christ (John 15:11).

(W. L. Watkinson.)

The "Word" here is the spoken in contrast with the written Word (1 Thessalonians 1:8), the Third Gospel which, it has been conjectured, had possibly been entrusted to the keeping of the Thessalonian Church. The bearing of the text on the doctrine of the inspiration of the spoken Word of the apostles is very evident. This effectual working, this energy which is ascribed to the Divine Word is seen in its revealing to men, both what they are by nature and may be by grace. It is, as it were, the mirror which, as legend has it, can alone stay the basilisk. That creature which neither fire nor sword can overcome, is destroyed at once so soon as, the mirror being set before it, it sees itself and its hideousness. The corruption of the natural man dies when it sees itself in the mirror of God's Word. Not only so, that Word is also like the fabled mirror, which, the longer it is gazed upon, transforms and beautifies the beholder, till at last it reflects to all who bend lovingly over it the perfected beauty of holiness. Such an all transforming energy pertains to God's Word in the experience of all who believe.

(J. Hutchison, D. D.)

"Word of God" is one of the most common, ancient, and accurate titles of the Bible. It is a name to be specially valued because it carries with it the doctrine that the Bible is one whole, has one Author, subject and object, and as the text states, works with like power in all who receive it.

I. IN ANYTHING THAT HAS ORGANIC UNITY, ALL THE DIFFERENT PARTS, HOWEVER MANY AND ALIKE, ARE YET SO RELATED AS ORGANS THAT EVERY ONE OF THEM IS ESSENTIAL TO THE INTEGRITY AND COMPLETENESS OF THE WHOLE.

1. This needs illustration.(1) In the human body there is a wonderful variety of parts as to substance, form, colour, size, etc.; but you cannot take away a bone or vein, etc., without effecting the unity of the body. The Mind that created it made every smallest part with reference to every other part.(2) In a heap of sand there is no such unity of parts or purpose, One particle has no necessary relation to others. Take away one or twenty of these separate grains, you make the heap smaller, that is all.(3) The same difference can be traced in the different states of a tree. The organic law of vegetable life makes every portion of a tree — bark, wood, sap, leaf — from the root to the topmost twig, one whole, in spite of the diversity of the parts. But cut the tree down, saw and split it, and then lay the pieces together, no matter how regularly — the unity is lost. But, again, take the same pieces of timber, shape them in a particular way so as to fit them for each other with other materials according to the design of our mind so as to make a building. Here we have unity again, though not of life. You look at the house or temple and say it is one thing.

2. These examples make it plain what organic unity is in any production of the mind whether of God or man. Remember, however, two qualifications —(1) While every portion is essential to the completeness it is not said that it is essential to the life of the thing. A tree will live with some of the branches or roots cut off. A body will live after amputation.(2) All the parts are not of equal importance.

II. THE BIBLE HAS THIS UNITY. It came from one Spirit, as one whole, with one design. Every part has vital connection with every other and with that design. You cannot tear any portion out without vitally hurting the integrity and authority of it as one Book. Hence it is what it is declared to be, the indestructible" Word of God." If it has not this unity, then human reason may take it to pieces, like the useless links of a broken chain, and sit in judgment on each one, and throw any one away, This experiment has long ago been tried, but the Church has held the Bible fast, and kept it one.

III. IN WHAT DOES THE UNITY OF THE BIBLE CONSIST.

1. Not in the absence of variety or diversity in the parts. No book ever written approaches it in the diversity of its contents. It is not like the unity of a Doric column, a blade of grass or a single portrait; but rather like the unity of nature in the variety of her manifestations and operations.

2. Look at this diversity as bringing out the unity by contrast in a striking and impressive light.(1) The division into two Testaments stamped with the characteristics of two unlike dispensations having centuries lying between.(2) There are more than threescore books with almost as many writers.(3) These volumes were produced in states of society utterly dissimilar and appeared at unequal intervals stretching over 1,500 years.(4) The history covers between three and four thousand years, is in three distinct languages, all dead.(5) Notice the diversities of style, chronicles, biographies, poems, statistics, songs, treatises, predictions, etc. Each author has a stamp of his own, clearly defined from the rest.

2. Yet after all it is one Word. This unity is —(1) a unity of doctrine. As to the being, personality and providence of God the Father; as to the history, character and offices of God the Son; as to the nature, gifts and works of God the Holy Ghost; as to man's origin, sin, recovery and destiny; as to his regeneration, redemption and retribution; as to the constitution and glory of the Church; as to holiness of life and the communion of saints, this book teaches by all its voices, substantially the same thing everywhere.(2) Of history, proceeding straight from the first man, by the chosen nation, expanding afterwards into the broader family all visited with "the Light" and all regathered before the throne, it is one perfect historic whole.(3) Of prophecy and its fulfilment. The predictions run on from that early one on the threshold of Eden, through different parts of the volume, including much special and minute foretelling, till the mysteries of another life are foreseen in Patmos.(4) Of types and their answering realities. One portion will tell us about men, places, acts or ceremonies of which we do not see half the significance till we read on to a distant part of the record.(5) Of one living Person who harmonizes these arguments in Himself. Central to all this wondrous universe of Scripture signs and symbols stands the Saviour's Cross, with unbroken tables of the broken law leaning against its feet. Jesus is its inward life — making it the Book of Life to us — as much as the blood in the veins is the life of the body. In conclusion notice two difficulties.

1. You say that you cannot see the connection of some parts of the Bible with its principal object. There are passages and even books so apparently detached from the main drift that you cannot trace the links which join them with the rest. This is just what might have been expected in a message sent by God to a short-lived and ignorant child, but meant also to be for all time, lands and conditions. If certain pieces of mortar and timber from a building were brought to you, you would confess that you could not see what relation they bore to the structure. A young child sees no use in half the things that the grownup world deems quite necessary to keep society safe and strong. Could you see as the inspiring Spirit sees you would confess that either to the narrative, or moral impression, or spiritual power, directly or indirectly, to some past, present or future, this very part was an essential contribution.

2. You say that some parts are unedifying. To you, perhaps, but not to differently constituted persons, nor even to yourself if you sought more prayerfully.

(Bp. Huntington.)

I remember in Archbishop Magee's book on the Atonement, allusion to a commentary on a very difficult text, which seemed to the person who was handling it certainly to contain the doctrine of our Lord's pre-existence and divinity, The man who found this a hard nut to crack had no other way of solving it except by saying that probably the old apostle had dictated one thing, and his amanuensis had written down another.

(Archbishop Tait.)

There is gold in the rocks which fringe the pass of Splugen, gold even in the stones which mend the roads, but there is too little of it to be worth extracting. Alas, how like too many books and sermons! Not so the Scriptures; they are much fine gold; their very dust is precious.

(W. Baxendale.)

A clergyman had prepared a certain sermon with great care, and had reason to hope that it would be attended with a great blessing, for which he had sought with earnest prayer. The sermon was preached with great effect, and he came down from the pulpit full of hope. A widow stopped him on his way to the vestry and begged a word. "Ah!" he said to himself "it is coming as I expected. I thought it would not be preached in vain." Then to the woman "What part of the sermon struck you most, the beginning or the ending?" "Well sir," she replied, "I do not know much about the beginning or the ending; but you said 'God so loved the world that He gave,'" etc. The doctor was struck to the heart. All his fine words forgotten, but one of God's words made effectual.

(W. Baxendale.)

When I read Romans 9-11, to that fine old man, Mr. — , at Ramsgate, he shed tears. Any Jew of sensibility must be deeply impressed by them.

(S. T. Coleridge.)

It is well known that the Earl of Rochester was for many years an avowed infidel, and that a large portion of his time was spent in ridiculing the Bible. One of his biographers has described him as "a great wit, a great sinner, and a great penitent." Even this man was converted by the Holy Spirit in the use of His Word. Reading Isaiah lift. he was convinced of the truth and inspiration of the Scriptures, and the Deity and Atonement of Christ. On that atonement he rested, and died in humble expectation of heavenly happiness.

In order to appreciate this come with me to some sequestered glen amid the hills of Scotland, to the patriarchal occupant of a lonely cabin, where you may behold the grey-headed man, amid intermingling smiles and tears, bending morning, noon and night, over one book, "the big ha' Bible." Let us ask him, "How do you know that that book is the Word of God? You never read the 'Evidences' of Paley, the 'Analogy' of Butler, the 'Credibility' of Lardner, the eloquent 'Demonstrations' of Chalmers; how came you to believe it?" "Come to believe it," would the peasant say, "I have felt it in my heart and conscience to be the Book of God; it has taught me the truths I never knew before; it has given me a peace the world could never give; it has calmed my beating heart; it has stanched my bleeding wounds; it has kindled within me the love of God, and the hope of glory. Not the Book of God! I am convinced of it as I am that I am here a living man."

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

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