by Rob Parlante
1 Thes 1:8-10
In the 1st Chapter of 1st Thessalonians, Paul starts by writing that He is thankful for the believers there and that He is making mention of them in his prayers. He is thankful that they have received the Gospel of Grace, that they have been made spiritually alive by putting their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He further mentions that they have received the word of the Lord with joy of the Holy Spirit, and the Gospel is sounding forth from them. These new believers are evangelizing the areas around them, and Paul has no need to say anything. The Holy Spirit is working in their lives. Paul finishes by saying that they turned to God from their idols to serve a God who is alive and true and genuine, and that they now are waiting for the return of Jesus from heaven, being rescued (Raptured) from the wrath to come (Tribulation), and while waiting for Jesus to return they will experience the privileges and rewards of their new life in Christ, by Christ drawing them to Himself. Wow, what a great description of the power of the Gospel of Grace transforming lives. Pagan’s worshipping idols, turning to the living and true God, being transformed, exchanged, made spiritually alive, now out of love serving God, being drawn to Christ who is in them, being used by Christ living through them, while patiently waiting for Christ’s second coming. It doesn’t get any better than that in this life does it? Let’s read 1 Thes 1:8-10,
1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 (AMP) 1Th 1:8 (AMP) For not only has the Word concerning and from the Lord resounded forth from you unmistakably in Macedonia and Achaia, but everywhere the report has gone forth of your faith in God [of your leaning of your whole personality on Him in complete trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]. So we [find that we] never need to tell people anything [further about it]. 9 For they themselves volunteer testimony concerning us, telling what an entrance we had among you, and how you turned to God from [your] idols to serve a God Who is alive and true and genuine, 10 And [how you] look forward to and await the coming of His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, Who personally rescues and delivers us out of and from the wrath [bringing punishment] which is coming [upon the impenitent] and draws us to Himself [investing us with all the privileges and rewards of the new life in Christ, the Messiah].
The ability for the Thessalonians to experience the power of the Holy Spirit and the privileges of their new life in Christ in the passage hinge on one word. It hinges on the word turn. The Thessalonians turned from idols to the only living and true God. They turned to the only living and true God who gives them spiritual life. The only living and true God who provides a way for them to be made spiritually alive. Without turning, there is no change, or exchange of an old spiritually dead life for a new spiritually made alive life. One turns by putting their faith in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of one’s sins. This turning is described in this passage as leaning of one’s whole personality on Him in complete trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness. It all starts with and depends on turning; will an individual turn to the living and true God, or will one remain looking for spiritual life in idols (things of the world) as the Thessalonians once did?
What’s an idol? Smith’s bible dictionary describes an idol as an image or anything used as an object of worship in place of the true God. I like to say all men have a God shaped hole in their hearts that only the living and true God can fill. All men try to fill the hole with various types of idols that they think will satisfy their need of love, acceptance, value, security and worth. Man tries to fill the hole with idols, and they will never satisfy. This attempted filling can take many forms in today’s society. Looking to money to satisfy, jumping from relationship to relationship to feel loved, looking to ones career for value and security. All this attempted filling leaves man empty, never satisfied and searching. The only way to fill this God shaped hole is with God. In other words turning from idols to the only true and living God. Receiving Christ into ones heart, becoming spiritually alive, and trusting in Christ to meet all our needs. Turning from idols which we think can satisfy, to the true and living God who can only satisfy.
If you want to stop the never ending cycle of searching, attempted filling and emptiness; turn to the true and living God. If idols had the ability to give spiritual life and meet your needs they would. Stop searching and experience Christ as your life.
Turn from your idols to the Living and True God
If you would like to learn more about the truths described here, come join us at Grace Christian Church, currently meeting at the Freehold VFW, every Sunday at 9:30 am.
In Him, Rob Parlante – Elder / Grace Christian Church