Summary: 1st in the series, "Left Behind: 1 & 2 Thesalonians." Examines the evidence in our lives that we are God’s Chosen
If your happy and you Know it—ILLUSTRATION
As Paul writes this letter of encouragement to a church He had started just a few years before, he begins them by addressing them as ones “Chosen By God” and he notes several ways that their lives demonstrate that they are chosen. I’d like to suggest that if we are chosen of God that these same things should be evident in our life
If You’re Chosen and you know it then your life will surely show it in these ways:
3-4We continually 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. 4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,
How do we know you were chosen by God? Because you trusted in Jesus. Because of your faith.
One minister suggested that the Gate of salvation could be thought of as bearing the inscription “whosoever will may come” but once you pass through the gate the inscription on the other side reads “Chosen by God.”
But it is clear enough that those who belong to the Lord will demonstrate it by their confession of faith—by trusting not in their own works but in the work of Christ upon the cross to pay the price of sins so that they might have the gift of eternal life.
But it doesn’t stop there—all those who put their faith in Him demonstrate their faith outwardly. Which means that the second way the Chosen ones show that they are chosen is by their…
6You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
Because they welcomed the message with Joy, they trusted in Christ, Because they trusted in Christ they followed Him.
When we receive the awesome gift of eternal life and freedom from sin, the natural response is to say thank-you Jesus. Jesus says, “show me your thanks by following me.”
It doesn’t mean we contribute to our salvation, it simply means our salvation shows in the way it changes us—specifically our behavior.
The new heart he places within us sings out “To be Like Jesus”
That in turn gets us noticed by others. Which brings us to the third way our status as the chosen ones shows…by our
7-8And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8The 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,
Because they were radically changed by Christ, others noticed. Both in and outside the church.
Bill Hybels—Becoming a Contagious Christian.: Authentic Christian faith is contagious. God uses contagious believers to infect other folks with the profound truth of the good news of Jesus Christ. Retired U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Charles Krulak tells of the time when he as a nonbeliever first came in contact with a contagious believer. In a speech delivered two years ago, General Krulak said,
“Thirty-five years ago I was a young second lieutenant just graduated from the Naval Academy. I went down to Quantico, Virginia, home of the basic school where officers learn about honor, courage, and commitment. I shared a room with another officer named John Listerman. John was a wonderful human. He exuded goodness. John was a Christian. That meant nothing to me other than Gee, what a nice guy. I guess this Christian stuff must be pretty good.
Upon graduating from basic school, John and I went to Camp Pendleton, California, where we joined the same battalion preparing to go to Vietnam. And I saw another side of John Listerman: He was a tremendous leader--aggressive and technically proficient. was a Marine’s Marine.
On a December morning in 1965 John and I went to war. John Listerman’s war lasted one day. We were on patrol moving down a trail through the jungle. We came around a corner in that trail, and we ran into an ambush. John took the first round, a 50-caliber round right in his kneecap. As his kneecap burst, the crack was so loud it sounded like a mortar exploding. It threw him up in the air. As he was dropping, the second round hit him right below the heart and exited out his side.
“I was wounded also but nowhere near as badly. I saw John about 30 meters away on his back, his leg blown off. I crawled up to him, and I wanted to say, "Are you okay? Can I do anything?" but before I could do that, his head turned to me and he said, "How are you doing, Chucker? Are you okay?" I said, "Yes, John. I’m okay." He said, "Are my men safe?" I said, "John, your people are okay." At that point he turned his head and looked to the sky and repeated over and over, "Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for caring for my people. Thank you for caring for me." I was dumbfounded.” John Listerman and Charles Krulak were evacuated. General Krulak later became a Christian.” [Citation: Linda M. Gehrs, Oak Park, Illinois; source; General Charles Krulak, from a message given at the Wheaton, Illinois, Leadership Prayer Breakfast (October 2000)]