Right now we look at the headlines in the news and we see the need for transformation in our government / politicians, we need transformation in our systems of education, we need transformation in our medicine / mental health, we need transformation in how ethnic and cultural groups relate to one another, and in 1 Thessalonians we are going to see how it is only Jesus that can bring the transformation we long for in ourselves, and in our world.
I don’t mean Jesus as ethereal, hypothetical, heavenly thoughts, but it is Jesus who gives us the perseverance, courage, and power to keep pressing into this world, so that we might taste of heaven, not just in eternity, but we can taste of heaven here on earth. That’s the dream! (Part 3)
The Gospel Is Personal.
Yes, the gospel is a message, and yes the gospel is powerful, but we also need to be clear that the gospel is incredibly personal; because the gospel completely alters the way you understand all of life. Look at verse 9:
1 Thessalonians 1:9, “9 For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God”
Now, we might not resonate with that phrase very much, because we don’t think of ourselves as idol worshippers, but don’t misunderstand, all people worship some type or types of idols on some level.
Some of us worship money; the more money we have the more safe and secure we feel. Some of us worship acceptance; the more friends we have the more loved we feel. Some of us worship power; the more power we have the more in control we feel. These are all forms of idol worship.
In fact, if you look at the riots this summer, not the protests, but the riots, and what happened on January 6th at the capital, the insurrection, not the protest, you are seeing much more about idols we worship than you are seeing about political or social agendas.
You are seeing a people who feel like the things they hold most dear in life are being threatened, and it justifies violence, destruction, and loss of life. It is idol worship!