What a powerful impact a body of believers can have when they speak and live God’s Word. I recall the time I prayed to God for someone to show me how to understand the Bible. I was searching, searching to understand it so that I could apply it in my life. God answered my prayer one day when I was introduced to a group of committed believers who proclaimed the Word of the Lord to me. These disciples not only understood the Word of God, but they believed it. Living the Word individually and collectively, they manifested God’s power!
They incorporated me into their daily activities and imparted unto me their very souls. They held back nothing that was profitable and taught me the Word clearly so that I could apply it and manifest God’s power in my life too. This was not done by just one person. This was a fellowship of believers whose examples helped me live the Word to a greater degree. The words they spoke and the Word they lived reverberated, reaching my hungry heart!
Many were involved in teaching me how to apply the Word of God in areas of my life. Never before had I met a group of people who loved so unconditionally and who helped me understand the Word with such clarity. Applying the Word in their lives, they claimed the more abundant life physically, mentally, and spiritually, which is what God desires for His children. Later I had the joy and privilege to do the same for others desiring to know God and understand His Word.
God’s Word highlights a group of believers whose brilliant examples influenced others to live the Word. From them “the word of the Lord” sounded out.
I Thessalonians 1:7 and 8:
So that ye [the household in Thessalonica] were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith [believing] to God-ward [toward God] is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
The believers in Thessalonica had learned from Paul, Silas, and Timothy and had become examples themselves in holding forth God’s Word! God revealed in this epistle that the impact of their believing walk on the Word had reached even beyond the borders of Macedonia to its neighboring province of Achaia.
When we boldly speak and live God’s Word as Paul, Silas, Timothy, and the Thessalonians did, our believing lifestyle can also have a far-reaching, resounding impact. The Word of the Lord can sound out from our households and provide an example for others to live the Word. To learn more about this, we’ll first consider what is meant by the term “sounded out” in I Thessalonians 1:8, considering two key principles the Thessalonian household operated to have such an impact on others. Next we’ll look at Biblical principles set forth in the first two chapters of Acts, which set the basis for this believing lifestyle seen in the examples of Paul, Silas, Timothy, and the Thessalonian believers. Then we’ll consider specific principles we can apply in our day-to-day living as a body of believers for the Word in our lives to sound out with impact.
In I Thessalonians 1, we see that the Word of the Lord “sounded out” from the household of believers in Thessalonica, having a powerful impact on the surrounding area.
I Thessalonians 1:8:
For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
The words “sounded out” in verse 8 are translated from one Greek word, exēcheomai. This is its only occurrence in God’s Word. This word can be understood as to resound, reverberate, or echo forth. Have you ever climbed to a high elevation like a mountain? I recall a time when I climbed a mountain that was over fourteen thousand feet high. When I stood at the top and yelled “Hello” really loud, do you know what happened? I heard that word repeated many times over as it sounded out and reverberated around the terrain nearby. That is what an echo is. This “sounding out” is a reverberation, a resounding, an echo. That is how God’s Word boldly spoken can reach out.
Because of the Word they spoke and lived, the Thessalonians’ influence reached beyond their local areas. In the context of I Thessalonians 1:8, we see two key principles that the Thessalonians operated to have such a far-reaching impact. One principle they applied was receiving the Word with joy!
I Thessalonians 1:6:
And ye became followers of us [Paul, Silas, and Timothy], and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost [holy spirit].
As a collective body the Thessalonian believers received the Word in much affliction, with joy of the holy spirit. And as stated in I Thessalonians 2:13, they received it not as the word of men….
This is an excerpt from the January/February 2018 issue of The Way Magazine.
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