I remember the day, the time, where I was when I learned that President John Kennedy was assassinated. The same is true of the 9/11 attacks and the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.
I recall July 1967 when I attended a Friday night church service at the Southside Baptist Church. Marvin Graham was the guest preacher and my friend Butch Roll had invited me to attend.
I remember the feeble prayer that I prayed, when I told God, “You can have my life.”
It’s good to remember the experience of our entrance into the family of God.
Paul wanted the church he served to recall the time when Jesus “rescued [them] from the power of darkness and transferred [them] into the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1.13).
Like the Hebrew nation, these Gentiles were part of God’s family.
1 Thessalonians 1.4 – For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you.
Phrases like “for we know” are used nine times in this short letter. God works miracles with his church and the church needs to remember his activity.
After the Hebrews had been freed from slavery in Egypt, God told them what it meant to be his chosen people.
— Deuteronomy 7:7-8 –“It was not because you were more numerous than any other people that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples.
“It was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath that he swore to your ancestors that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
Like the Hebrew nation, we have been chosen because of God’s love. We have nothing attractive to draw God’s attention, other than our helpless state as slaves to sin.
Let’s not forget God’s grace and give him the best we have to offer.
How do people leave the domain of darkness and enter the realm of God’s family?
They hear the good news of God’s love in the power of the Holy Spirit and trust their lives to God
1 Thessalonians 1.5 – 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 persons we proved to be among you for your sake.
Gospel preaching requires a preacher. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.'” (Isaiah 52.7).
Good preaching is not enough. Every conversion is an encounter with the Holy Spirit who reveals the need we have for God’s grace. In the end, we receive the word from the Holy Spirit.
During a period of significant growth in the church I served, people asked me how it happened. I told people that several conversions made a powerful impact and we reaped the harvest.
God gets all of the glory when transformed men and women act like one beggar telling another beggar where the bread is.
Such was the influence of the Thessalonians and we pray that this kind of influence multiplies throughout the earth.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage today on YouTube. It can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.