Yeah, I know. We’re all tired of wearing masks, but if there’s even a possibility it’ll save lives why wouldn’t you? But, I don’t really want to talk about the masks we wear because of COVID. Today, I’m referring to the masks we all wear when we put on a smile because we don’t want people to know how we really feel inside.
Do you ever take that mask off and let people see the real you? There have been times when I felt like life was crumbling inside, but I put on a smile so people wouldn’t know what a mess I was.
But, I can’t hide that from God. He knows it all. And he loves me anyway. He loved me before I knew him.
As we look into 1 Thessalonians, we see Paul writing a letter to the church in Thessalonica.
4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia – your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead – Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.1 Thessalonians 1:4-10
In verse 4, Paul tells the Thessalonians that they are loved by God; that he has chosen them. God has chosen you, too. The gospel comes not only in words we read off a page, but through the actions we take that cause others to see Jesus in us. The Holy Spirit lives in those who have been baptized and accepted Jesus as their Savior because he died for them on a cross to take away their sins.
We live in a broken world, very similar to the turbulent times in Thessalonica in the time after Jesus’ crucifixion. They were able to accept the message carried to them by Paul, Timothy, and Silas. Turn from their sinful ways and follow them to learn more about the gospel.
We can listen to the constant babble in the world today thrown around by political parties who fuss and argue about the wrong-doing of their opponent or we can turn to the message of love that we find in the gospel. The Gospel is not mere words. It is power! The message of Jesus Christ is power. Power to perform miracles.
Some look at the Bible as a history book, and yes, it contains the history of creation, but it’s so much more than that! It is the Word of God that we can pick up in our hands and read. We can search it to find the answers we seek! When the Holy Spirit works through the Word, a great spiritual work is accomplished.
It doesn’t matter if you feel unsure about what you feel God is laying before you. Be lifted, knowing that He can do a great work within you and you can make a difference to those around you.
That’s what the Thessalonians did. They began to lead others by becoming examples of how to follow Christ. We need to do the same now, right here in the midst of a pandemic, when people are afraid to go outside of their house. We can show how God is love in the little things we do. Helping one another. Showing that we care for others and want to share with them the joy that we have.
Does that mean we are perfect? Of course not, we are still sinners, but when we fall down, we have to remember to get back up, seek forgiveness and continue our work.
When I think of the miracles Jesus performed, the words create a picture in my mind. What a cool thing it would have been to see him perform them! But I still see miracles every day. The person with cancer who has overcome the battle and against all odds it has disappeared over time. People healed just like in the days of Jesus, but it happens through the Holy Spirit who is with us on earth.
The Thessalonians may have followed Paul and his group, but from that they became followers of Christ. That’s what we can do for others to lead them to salvation. Let’s not take for granted the Word that’s available to us. That’s why it’s important that we either learn it by memory or we live it out in our lives for others to see.
The take away from this sermon:
Demonstrate your faith. Keep being an example. God will use you in spite of your mess. You have been chosen by God. Share your testimony.
God’s crazy about you – you won’t know when the wrath comes.
I share my thoughts on these sermons with you because I believe deeply in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If I can make a difference in the life of one person, all the hours I have poured into this blog have been worth it. If you’ve found a glimmer of hope or stepped your foot into a church because you want to reconnect with a God that you’ve fallen away from, my time has been well spent. Many of you don’t comment, and that’s okay. I don’t do this for likes or follows. I know you read it, because many of you have told me so. I hope it’s been a blessing to you. If you are interested in more, you’ll find it at wheregodleads.com.