Summary: Shares how we may need something more than we now may be experiencing and how to get it.
March 16, 2014
Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, Grace and peace to you.
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere.
Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”
As I was reading this Scripture in my morning devotions this week, it touched me in a way it never has before. These were some awesome people. Notice some of the things Paul says about them. 1. Their work was produced by faith. 2. Their labor was prompted by love. 3. Their endurance was inspired by hope. That’s pretty awesome. But it continues. 4. They had POWER! 5. They had JOY! 6. They were a model to all the believers in that area. 7. They were missional. They received the gospel with power – but they also shared it with power. 8. Their faith became known everywhere. 9. They had turned from idols to serve God and were waiting and anticipating the return of Christ. They were a pretty awesome church! They were a pretty awesome group of people. They were spiritual; they were active; they walked the talk. They were living their lives in such a way as to please God, chapter 4:1 says. They were a loving people, chapter 4:9 says. What a wonderful Church this was! They seemed to be on fire for the Lord! They were going and sowing and growing! Praise the Lord!
But something was still lacking in their faith. Something was missing. These wonderful people needed something more. Paul went on to say,
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified...” 1 Thessalonians 4:3
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
These people would put most of us to shame. Their work, their faith, their dedication was awesome. But they needed something more. See, you can do all these things; you can do awesome works; you can look pretty good – and still not be fully surrendered to the Lord. You can do great and awesome things; you can work miracles – and still hold back from the Lord. You can still be unsurrendered and still serve God. Jesus said,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7:21-23
WOW! You can call Jesus your Lord; you can preach in His name; you can cast out demons and do lots of miracles in Jesus’ name – and still miss it? How is that possible? Because there is power in the name of Jesus. It is never us and our skill or power that does these things. It is always Jesus. Jesus will always be true to His name and Word – even if flawed and warped people use them. But the one who enters the kingdom is the one who ‘KNOWS’ Jesus intimately. It is not the part time Christian who makes it – but the one who is ‘all in’. It is the one who puts evil doing away from Himself, through God’s help, that will be found worthy.