The Holy Spirit Birthed Church: Acts 17:1-10; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
“1) Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2) And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3) explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 4) And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. 5) But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. 6) When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; 7) and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 8) They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. 9) And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them. 10) The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.” Acts‬ ‭17‬:‭1‬-‭10
Leaving Philippi must have been a bitter sweet occasion for the ministry team. The gospel was widely shared, new friendships were made, a church was planted and physical wounds were healing. Most important, peace was reluctantly made with the adversaries of the gospel. The city magistrates were indebted to them.
Thessalonica represented a fresh start. It had a larger Jewish population than Philippi and boasted an actual synagogue. As was his custom, Paul and the team went into the synagogue for three Sabbaths and used the Scriptures to give evidence that Jesus was indeed the Christ. He also gave evidence of death and resurrection of Christ.
In around 15 days a church was planted. That’s how long it takes for three Sabbaths. According to verse 4, a number of Jewish men, some God fearing Greeks and a number of leading women were “persuaded” to join Paul and Silas. The word means “to prevail by persuasion.” It is a strong word indicating urging people to respond to the gospel. It is seen throughout the New Testament when preaching the gospel. There was a strong urging of people to respond to the gospel.
As was often the case, success for the gospel brought jealousy and opposition. Some leading Jews stirred up a crowd and started a riot. Note the charge against them in Acts 17:6; “… those who have turned the world upside down have come here also.” The gospel was having an impact around the world.
According to 1 Thessalonians 1:3-10, the preaching of the gospel was accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit, full conviction, much tribulation and the joy of the Holy Spirit. The conversions were strong, deep and lasting.
The planting of this church became one of the mighty movements of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. They became an evangelistic church that was actively sharing the gospel far and wide. Some had an Old Testament legacy. Others turned to God from idols and started serving the living God and to anticipate the return of Christ. The church at Thessalonica became a powerhouse for the gospel very quickly. It was an example of a Holy Spirit birthed church.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global