Summary: We can preach the gospel, but only the Holy Spirit can convict people of their sins.
I’m teaching verse by verse through 1 Thessalonians. The name of the series is “Finding HOPE in a Hopeless world.” Today the message is entitled, “The Gospel According to You.”
We use the word “gospel” a lot. We talk about gospel music, but there are different kinds. There’s black gospel music, southern gospel music, bluegrass gospel music, and even country gospel music. We pass out gospel tracts. And when we want to convince someone we aren’t lying we say, “It’s the gospel truth!” And in Tyler, our ministry in the public schools is called Gospel Village. Our English word “gospel” comes from the Anglo Saxon phrase, “God spell” which means “the word of God.”
The word in the New Testament is euaggelizo, which gives us our English word “evangelism.” It means “to proclaim good news.” Although we mostly use the word gospel as a noun, over half the time it appears in the New Testament, is as a verb. So with God’s help, I’m going to gospel you today. I was gospeled when I was nine years old; and I’ve been gospeling folks for over forty years. At the end of this message I hope you’ll feel good and gospeled!
Our church is in the midst of a gospel transformation. A few weeks ago, our adults started a great Bible study entitled, “The Gospel Project.” We generally refer to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as the four gospels. But the gospel is found on every page of the Bible. The gospel is the story of God’s redemptive plan. God is in the process of redeeming sinful humanity to Himself. You and I are part of God’s gospel project.
1 Thessalonians 1:2-6 (quickview) . “We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”
I first heard a little poem about the gospel when I was a teenager. It’s been adapted in many forms, but here’s the adaptation by Leroy Brownlow:
The Gospel According to You
There’s a Gospel according to Matthew;
To Mark, Luke; and John too.
There’s another gospel many are reading...
The Gospel according to You.
Many read not the words of the Bible;
I will tell you what some of them do...
They are reading the book you are writing...
The Gospel according to you.
You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day;
By the deeds that you do, by words that you say.
Men read what you write whether faithfulness or true;
Say, what is the gospel according to you?