1THESSALONIANS 1:1-10 (NIV – UK)
1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.
The Thessalonians’ Faith and Example
2 We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place where your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. 9 For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a 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 wrath that is coming.
TURNED TO GOD FROM IDOLS
There is no doubt that a number of the Gentiles in the church in Thessalonica would have previously worshipped idols- probably different gods and inanimate objects. That might be a long way from our experience for some of us but there is one thing for sure – all of us have worshipped idols at one time. That idol may have been money, power, success, another person – maybe another god or maybe even the stars and astrology. An idol is anything we put in the place of God in our lives.
When the ‘message of the gospel’ came to the Thessalonians (v. 5) the very first thing that needed to happen is that they needed to turn ‘to God from idols, to serve a living and true God’ (v. 9).
Notice that there was a choice involved – the Thessalonians needed to turn away from their old ways and turn to God. Notice also that a turning to God involves more than just words – they turned ‘to serve the living and true God’ – it was a whole-life thing – an ongoing commitment.
The very same applies today. What God requires of us is to respond to the Gospel of his Son Jesus by turning away from our old idols and turning to God. And it’s also a response that is required of us in an ongoing sense. Every day we can fall into the trap of placing idols in the place of God – even if we have turned towards him. But if we are to truly serve him, we need him to be in the place of honour in our lives.
There are many practical ways we can make sure we are saying ‘no’ to idols in our lives. Starting the day by praying and perhaps reading a bit of Bible is one very easy way.
Question: Can you think of any idols in your life? What steps could you take to remove those idols? Can you think of any ways you can invite Jesus into your daily routine?