You became imitators of
bothus and the Master, accepting the message in great persecution, yetjoy of the Holy Spirit. Hence you became an example to all the believers in Macedon and Achaia: The Master’s message has echoed out from you, not only into Macedon and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone out everywhere. Hence we’ve no need to speak of it, for they give us the news about what sort of reception we had from you, and how you turned to God—from idols you slaved for, to a living, genuine God—and expect his Son, whom he raised from the dead, appearingin the skies, Jesus, our rescuer from the coming fury.
—Paul, Silas, and Timothy,
If the Holy Spirit causes a community to authentically turn to Jesus, we’re gonna see good fruit. That’s a given. He’s gonna indwell their lives, he’s gonna lead them to do as God would have them do, he’s gonna push them to follow Jesus. And for the most part, people are gonna respond positively to the good fruit. As people always do when they see authentic love, grace, joy, kindness, and patience. Only people who are utterly selfish and bitter would object to this sort of thing.
And in Acts, that’s kinda what we saw: The synagogue leaders, outraged at how people were more interested in Jesus than them. They created a ruckus. But according to the apostles, all they ever heard about the Thessalonians was positive news. Opposition and persecution—which finally drove Paul and Silas out of town—hadn’t silenced that church in the slightest. They were still following Jesus.