1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God constantly for this.”
Paul was a walking billboard for thankfulness. In every letter he wrote, it seems, he is always giving thanks to God.
Of course, Paul is using this time at Thessalonica to thank God for how the Gospel came to this dear church. The fact that Jesus perfectly kept the law on our behalf is not a welcome to live as we want, but a call to, in thanks, live as God wills. "Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thess 5:18). Eternity won't be long enough to exhaust our thanks for the forgiving, rescuing, transforming, empowering, delivering grace of Jesus.
Christian, be thankful for lots, but be most thankful for Jesus. In an age where many seek comfort in religious speculations and spiritual ruminations, may we be thankful for the real, historical, space-time assurances of Christ's cross and resurrection. Our sin and suffering are real. We insist our salvation be realer still.
And it is--all because of the risen Savior!
Father, as this day begins and continues, we're SO thankful you sent Jesus to us, and gave him for us. Because the gospel is true, today won't be about making a name for ourselves, striving to impress anybody, or trying to be our own savior. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 2:13b (ESV) “…that when you received the word of God…”
There are all kinds of ways to receive Jesus that have zero effect on your eternity. '
The obvious: Jesus is exponentially more ready to give us grace than we are willing to admit our need and receive it.
There are, at the end of the day, only two responses we can make to Jesus: We can receive him or we can reject him. If you reject Jesus, it is a more serious offense than you think. And if you receive Jesus, it is more of a miracle than you can imagine.
You cannot receive Jesus in bits and pieces, as Savior now and Lord later. To receive Jesus is to put away all our past trophies & refuse all future accolades. It is to bear one title alone: "Recipient of Grace."
Jesus received undeserved suffering that I might receive undeserved salvation. No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter what’s been done to you, you can turn to Jesus and say, “I need you!” And the God of all grace stands ready to receive you.
Father, thank you for another day to experience your faithfulness, receive fresh grace, and love to your glory. May we do so with joy! In Jesus' name - amen.
1 Thessalonians 2:13c (ESV) “…which you heard from us…”
Sometimes you will hear the following: "Preach the gospel at all times, use words if necessary." Well, saying that is similar to saying, "Feed the hungry at all times, use food if necessary."
Christianity is a religion where faith comes by hearing. And faith comes by hearing the word of Christ preached (Rom. 10:14-17), not by looking within or by discovery
Faith is not the inevitable result of knowing about Jesus or even seeing the power of Jesus. Faith is not the automatic result of witnessing a miracle or hearing the truth. Faith is a gift of God by the sovereign work of the Spirit.
If we truly preach the gospel, we will be a sign of division among the peoples: A fragrance of life or the smell of death (2 Cor. 2:15-16). Although we must not seek to be offensive, we must discard the idea that there is some way to preach the Gospel without scandal or offense. We must preach the Gospel to all men. We must invite all to repent and believe. We must encourage those who do and warn those who don't.
Father, all day long, may your voice be the primary one we hear, your glory be the only one we seek & your love be the main one we trust. Father, may your voice in the Scriptures be the most encouraging, compelling, and transforming voice we hear and heed today. In Jesus' name. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 2:13d “…You accepted it…
Many people are so in step with the thinking and the assumptions of the earth that they cannot accept the message of Jesus Christ from heaven. Before you can celebrate and rest in Christ's righteousness, you have to be willing to accept the extent of your own unrighteousness.
The gospel is not that God saves all good people. The gospel is the scandalous news that God saves sinners. There are no good people. There are bad people who reject Jesus and bad people who accept his rescue by faith.
When we accept Jesus “by faith,” that means we know two things:
1. we don’t ever deserve Him;
2. we can’t finally understand Him.
Faith isn’t a closed mind, but faith is open hands.
How Religion Works: If I obey, then God will love and accept me.
The Gospel: I'm loved and accepted, therefore I wish to obey.
Which side are you on today?
Father, don’t let the fool’s gold of our culture, or the lusts of our hearts, to devalue knowing you and the riches of the Gospel. We want to live and stay “smitten” with you. Our hope is in you—not in romance or riches, pain-free living or reputation-building striving. In Jesus' name. Amen.
1 Thess. 2:13e “…not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God.”
Just because there's a church on every corner doesn't mean the gospel is preached on every corner.
Just because a man talks about Jesus doesn't mean he's preaching Christ and him crucified.
Just because a man uses a Bible in a sermon doesn't mean he's preaching the word.
Man is loaded down with guilt because he is guilty. He needs God’s Word to expose his sin and bring him to repentance and faith in Christ. And, sadly, many people do not preach the Word.
The Bible is the word of God, completely true, and without error in everything it teaches. Yet, it's not enough to believe that the Word of God is true. Our faith in the Bible should radically change our life.
Whose word are you trusting---God's or man's?
Father, as I come to read your word this morning, open these eyes to see the glories of my Jesus. Father, if you cannot contradict and correct me with your Word, then I'm worshipping a Sugar Daddy, not Abba Father. Lead us today in your Word, so that we might follow you. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Colossians 2:8 "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ."
Inevitably, man-made tradition claims too much for itself (Mark 7:1-13). We need a Reformation now and then, the upheaval of revival. There's nothing wrong with tradition until your tradition becomes your religion. Jesus broke just about every unnecessary tradition of men in accomplishing his mission, and the religious community hated him for it.
Isn't this why Jeremiah said: ""Our fathers inherited nothing but lies"" (Jeremiah 16:19). Not every cultural tradition is to be celebrated.
Be careful what you listen to. It is our duty to guard the essential doctrines of the Gospel and proclaim them to all: imputation, propitiation, repentance, faith, etc.Check everything against the Scripture. True shepherds won't only address and guard sheep from a high rock, they'll also walk among the sheep and get dirty.
The Spirit provides us with all necessary weapons and armor not simply to stand guard but to assault our Enemy's kingdom. All this through the truth found only in the Bible. ""Be on guard, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong"" Paul (1 Cor. 16:13).
The Bible offers our only freedom from both tradition and fads. Be grateful. There is freedom there!
Father, thank you that you are clear in your Word for us there is truth. We don’t have to make up truth or invent a good story. Thy Word is truth. It is enough. It is what we have by your Spirit to guide us through this world today. Only by a Holy-Spirit-overcome heart can we guard the deceitfully wicked wellspring of life. We praise you for watching over us and taking care of us in this way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Jude 1:3 "Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people."
If we really value something, we will defend it. The challenge of our day is not only to show that what we believe is right, but to defend our very right to be right. And Scripture alone is the foundation and faith alone in Christ alone is the heart of the faith once delivered to the saints. Contend earnestly.
Charles Spurgeon, the famed Baptist preacher said, ""Defend the Bible? I'd sooner defend a lion. It needs no defense; just open the cage and let it out.""
There are lots of ways to contend for the faith. Not using the Bible in a worship service isn't one of them. And, yet, a divisive person divisive about the right things is still divisive. It's possible to contend for the truth of Christ in the spirit of Satan?
We're not the Moral Majority, but neither are we shying away from tough issues. But wherever we have opportunity, we must be willing to defend the faith, defend the truth, and defend Christ. Rise up, O church. Speak and contend and witness.
Father, thank you for the chance to know your truth. That fact alone blows our hearts and minds! We can know the living God by faith in Christ. Thank you also that we have a reason to defend our faith--because it alone is true because you alone are true. We praise you not that we have the truth only, but that we get to share this truth. Embolden us for the mission! In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.