Do You Hear the Echo?
The church at Thessalonica had a very special place in the heart of Paul. He arrived in that city from his prison experience in Philippi, and, as his custom was, he entered the synagogue to tell them about the risen Christ. Many of the Gentiles who were part of the synagogue audience became believers. However, the popular reception of the gospel was short lived, and within three weeks, Paul’s life was in such danger that the infant church, in order to save his life, sent him away.
What happened after Paul left is a picture of what could and should happen in every congregation everywhere. They continued to grow in their (1) work of faith, (2) labor of love and (3) patience of hope (1 Thess. 1:3). They grew in “faith, hope and love!” What is even more remarkable than their personal growth is their evangelistic spirit in getting the gospel to others. Paul described it in this way. “For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth…in every place” (1 Thess. 1:8). They were not content to be isolated in their worship assemblies. They sounded out the word near and far.
The words “sounded forth” are so interesting to study more deeply. The tense of this verb indicates an action which did far more than just happen in the past. It includes past action, but the emphasis is on the fact that the effect of that action was so powerful that its impact was strongly present. It was as powerful in the present as in the past.
This same concept is shown when we see that the root Greek word used is echos, from which we get our word echo. It is used in the Bible to describe the sound of the ocean when the waves are crashing on the shore (Luke 21:25). Such sound can be heard hundreds of yards away. It is used to describe the “echo sound” of the trumpet which was heard at Mt. Sinai (Heb. 12:19). Its impact was such that it filled their hearts with fear.
This word used to describe the church in Thessalonica is even stronger. A prefix is added to the root word to indicate that the sound was not just there, it echoed out. It echoed out not just in a limited area but echoed out to the world in every place.
What does this have to do with us? Our theme this year is “I’m NOT ashamed,” and the emphasis for this month is “I’m NOT ashamed to spread the gospel.” Do NOT be ashamed to encourage others to give sacrificially to spread the gospel. Do NOT be ashamed to do everything you can to help.