1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
Work of faith, labor of love, steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ - all of these are a result from real encounters with Jesus.
“God's salvation does not come in response to a changed life. A changed life comes in response to the salvation, offered as a free gift.”
You cultivate your passions by what you focus on and what you feed on
Feed on the Word of God.
If you’ve not done the Purple Book, finish it this summer. If you’ve done it before, do it again to sharpen your focus on the foundations of the faith.
...how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
“An idol is something that we look to for things that only God can give. Idolatry functions widely inside religious communities when doctrinal truth is elevated to the position of a false god. This occurs when people rely on the rightness of their doctrine for their standing with God rather than on God himself and his grace. It is a subtle but deadly mistake…. Another form of idolatry within religious communities turns spiritual gifts and ministry success into a counterfeit god…. Another kind of religious idolatry has to do with moral living itself… Though we may give lip service to Jesus as our example and inspiration, we are still looking to ourselves and own own moral striving for salvation…. Making an idol out of doctrinal accuracy, ministry success, or moral rectitude leads to constant internal conflict, arrogance and self-righteousness, and oppression of those whose views differ.”
“Have you heard God's blessing in your inmost being? Are the words, "You are my beloved child, in whom I delight" an endless source of joy and strength? Have you sensed, through the Holy Spirit, God speaking to you? That blessing- the blessing through the Spirit that is ours through Christ- is what Jacob received, and it is the only remedy against idolatry. Only that blessing makes idols unnecessary. As with Jacob, we usually discover this only after a life of "looking for blessings in all the wrong places." It often takes an experience of crippling weakness for us to finally discover it. That is why so many of the most God-blessed people limp as they dance for joy.”
Timothy J. Keller, Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters
Second City Church - The Macedonian Call - Cole Parleir 2018