Summary: Authentic Christian faith is contagious.
Not only are contagious believers infected by Jesus,
2. CONTAGIOUS BELIEVERS ARE INFECTIOUS FOR JESUS!(5-8)
A. Contagious believers become more like Christ.
Contagious believers are infected with Jesus, and the truth is, contagious believers are infectious—they have an impact on an unbelieving world. So, how do contagious believers infect others with the love of Jesus? Paul told the Thessalonian Christians that their impact on the world was due to the fact that they, “6became imitators of …the Lord.” That is, they became more like Christ every day. Contagious believers become more like Christ, and that is bound to impact the world.
Eugenia Price says, “If Christ lives in us, controlling our personalities, we will leave glorious marks on the lives we touch. Not because of us but because of him.”
The Thessalonians made a glorious mark on the world because Christ lived in them and controlled them. Billy Graham said, “Our greatest need today is not more Christianity but more true Christians. The world can argue against Christianity as an institution, but there is no convincing argument against a person who, through the Spirit of God, has been made Christlike.”
Contagious believers infect the world with God’s love because they are becoming more like Jesus.
B. Contagious believers experience deeper levels of joy because of the Holy Spirit.
Not only are contagious believers infectious because they are becoming more like Jesus, but they are contagious because they experience deeper levels of joy because the Holy Spirit is in their hearts.
Paul speaks with admiration and wonder about the Thessalonian believers: “…In spite of persecution,” Paul said, “ you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
Aren’t you attracted to joyful people? I know I am. “Joy,” said Leon Bloy, “is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.”
Samuel Gordon reminds us, “Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort. Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. He had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross.”
E. Stanley Jones amplifies Gordon’s thought: “The Stoic bears, the Epicurean seeks pleasure, the Buddhist and Hindu stand apart disillusioned, the Muslim submits, but only the Christian experiences joy.”
People want more than mere happiness, they want joy and the only place they’re going to see it is in contagious believers. And, only contagious believers know how others may come to experience it.
C. People notice the difference—and that makes a difference to people!
We do not fully appreciate the significance of being a contagious believer. People notice the difference Christ has made in the life of a Christian, and that makes a difference to people. Paul told the Thessalonia believers that they, “7became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8The word of the Lord has sounded forth from you …. In every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it.” That’s an amazing thing to say!