Posted by on Oct 18, 2020 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on Chosen

Dear Lord…Thank you so much for your gifts to us of our days in your world. Thank you for choosing us to use our talents here in your world. You know are strengths and weaknesses and we want to continue serving you all the days of our lives. Show us where we can be your voice in our world that needs to hear of your love and forgiveness. Thank you for giving us your peace, your love and forgiveness.

Our message for this week, the 20th week of Pentecost is from I Thessalonians 1:1-10. Paul writes this letter to the people in Thessalonica because he has heard from Timothy how faithful the people in this area has been. You ask…why is this being said?

At one point, Paul was in Thessalonica and had faced persecution from the people. The people had accepted the message Paul was giving them of the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ and what Christ faced. However, they expected that Jesus would return in their lifetime. They were upset as they felt they had missed the rapture and all they thought they would experience within their lifetime.

He now heard from Timothy that the people of this city had changed and were being faithful to what Paul was preaching. He wrote this letter to comfort them, to teach them and to praise (exhort) them to continue in their chosen fellowship with God.

This city was made up not only of a large Jewish population, but also of Romans. Those from Rome were the city administrators who represented Rome. Also within this city were some pagan worshipers. So, it was a really mixed society. In other words, Paul was teaching to both Jews and Gentiles when he was in this city.

In our reading for today, Paul is beginning by stating the letter is not only from him, but from the founders of the church there. His use in verse 1 of the phrase “Grace and peace” combines both Christian words and Greek words, which all would have understood. It also doesn’t discriminate against any certain group of people. All people are included.

Paul is grateful that the people are showing their faith by working with others through love. He is thankful for their active faith, their working faith and urges them to continue to work with the people and to love those they work with. He assures the members of this community church that they were chosen by God and were given the power to work with the people to grow the church by the Holy Spirit.

He remarks that he knows their words have moved past their community into nearby places of Macedonia and Achaia…as well as other areas in which the believers have been and have witnessed to Christ’s love and forgiveness.

Paul says he is thankful for their faith, their love and the hope they bring to others. It is at this point that the work exhibited by the people who originally persecuted Paul, but repented for their actions equate to our actions in God choosing us to bring the gospel to His world.

God has also chosen us to be his disciples. He has chosen us to work with the talents and gifts we have been given. He asks us to work in Faith….that rests in Christ on the cross. He asks us to work in love…in the presence of Christ at the Father’s right hand. And to work in hope that looks to the future…or Christ’s coming for his own.

Paul is emphasizing to the people there, and to us that our work, as with the followers in Thessalonica, comes from faith. Our work is motivated by love for God and love for God’s people. Remaining steadfast in our faith and hope helps ground us for continuing to be His disciples here on earth. Paul is stressing these aspects of a faithful, chosen worker, rather than the numbers produced.

Just as the people of Thessalonica have turned from their former ways to serve the living and true God, so do we. By suffering potential trials and tribulations, they have also become examples to others. Their conversion ministry has made a loud noise in their community and changes were made.

At this point in our lives, we are being asked to look for the ways we, too, can serve God’s people in other, unfamiliar ways. God has chosen us to be his voice in our world. Each of us must pray and be willing to work in the ways God asks us to. We serve our Lord with the love He has shown us. We are grounded in faith as we work, knowing God is always with us. The Holy Spirit is teaching us and we are protected.

How has God spoken to you this week? What has He asked you to do? Who has He shown to you a person needing your love and friendship.

Never forget we are chosen ones to work in God’s world.

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