1 Thessalonians 1:9–10 (ESV) “For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
I love good preaching. I NEED to hear God’s Word proclaimed. This past Sunday, I had the joy of sitting under the preaching of my good friend Dr. Mike Canham – who teaches at the Cornerstone Seminary in Vallejo, CA.
Mike attempted (and accomplished) preaching through the entire epistle of 1 Thessalonians – noting how each chapter ends with a reference to the 2nd coming of Jesus and how that informs our Christian lives.
As we were in chapter 1, I was struck afresh by the 2 verses above. They contain SO much. An amazing digest of Biblical truth in the most startling economy of words.
First, Paul defines what it means to BE a CHRISTIAN in two foundational concepts. A Christian is one who: a. Has turned TO God, and, b. has turned FROM idols. We have forsaken ultimate devotion to everything and everyone else – for singular and supreme devotion to the true and living God in Jesus Christ.
Second, he describes CHRISTIANITY in two foundational concepts. Christianity is bound up in:
a. SERVING the living and true God, and b. WAITING for His Son from heaven. Living a life immersed in God’s agenda in the world, with a joyful, ever-present expectancy of Christ’s soon return.
Third, he expresses two foundational concepts about this CHRIST we look for. This is the CHRIST we anticipate: a. The One who has RISEN from the dead, verifying the Father’s acceptance of His sacrifice for our sins, and, b. The One who by His death and resurrection has FREED us, from the WRATH of God yet to come upon the entire world.
What a glorious, magnificent and wonderfully easy digest this is for us to use in our evangelism. One need not complicate the issues to take this easily to heart and to be able to reiterate it to others.
Turning TO God FROM idols, to SERVE God in the spirit of EXPECTATION of Christ’s return – this Christ who died for our sins and ROSE for our justification, FREEING us from the judgment to come.
What a glorious salvation this is!