One important purpose of the church is to make believers. 

Ultimately, we do that by presenting the Gospel to them.  Of course, there are many things that can (and do) precede the presentation of the Gospel.  For example, no one will hear the Gospel when I present it in a worship service unless they are first brought “here” to “hear” it.  That is why those of us who have benefitted from the Gospel must go out and bring others into the church.
In 1 Thessalonians 1:5, 8, the Apostle Paul reinforces this truth.  The gospel “came” unto the Thessalonians (verse 5) and “sounded out” from them (verse 8).  Every church and every Christian should imitate that pattern.  If the Gospel has come to you, you have a responsibility to present it to others.  Our purpose is to win souls.  Our message is the Gospel.  Our method is just to tell as many people as we can and to get as many people as we can within the hearing of Gospel.
We need to remember that it is the Gospel that initiates salvation.  Paul had confidence that the salvation experience of the Thessalonians was genuine (Verse 4).   He states that he could thank God for these believers (Verse 2) because he was sure they were among God’s “elect,” “chosen.”  Paul didn’t cast doubts upon their salvation.   Rather, he wrote of “knowing” that they had truly received God’s gift of salvation.  How?  By obeying the Gospel.  Therefore they were the “elect” or “chosen” of God.
How could Paul do this?  Because there are only three reasons to doubt a person’s initial salvation: 1) Either they didn’t receive the right message; 2) or they didn’t do what God said to do in order to be saved; 3) or they weren’t sincere in their profession.  Paul’s confidence in the message he preached, and their obedience of faith, coupled with the fruits of their faith was his ground of assurance.
When Paul spoke of their “election” of God, many people get an impression that doesn’t match the Bible message.  Election is not concerned with the MEANS of salvation – that God has chosen some to be saved and others to be lost – that we’re only saved if God pre-selected us by name.  Election has to do with the results of salvation – what we are guaranteed to receive when we come into Christ.  In Ephesians 1:4, the word chosen is the same as election.  Paul doesn’t say that God has chosen some by name to be in Christ (thus a Christian, a saved person), but that he has chosen that all who are in Christ will receive certain benefits or “blessings.” Thus we are the “elect of God,” “his chosen people.”  Israel once held that relationship but forfeited it as a nation by rejecting Christ.  But anyone who surrenders to Jesus and obeys the Gospel will be accepted by God as His children.
When a person obeys the Gospel message of salvation, at that moment they are placed in Christ, and thereby chosen to be holy, blameless, and loved.  Paul could give thanks to God for these believers, knowing that their position in Christ was secure and their salvation irrevocable as long as they continued to walk in The Faith.  Having believed the gospel and surrendering to Christ as Savior, their eternal future was settled to the extent that they continued to walk after the Spirit (Rom. 8:1-2).
Paul’s confidence was grounded in the Gospel he preached (1 Thess. 1:5), and their reception of it (verse 6).  The Gospel is a saving message – A message that makes a difference!


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