I like people, and I get to meet and interact with lots and lots of people, in many different spheres. Often, I’ll meet someone and they’ll be like “oh yeah, I’ve heard about you!” And, my next question is always, “Really? What did you hear??” Because I really want to know!! It’s so interesting to hear what has most impacted others about you, or what their main impression of you was/is — sometimes without even having met you! We can’t control what other people think about us… but the truth is SOMETHING rings out from your life, and people will hear it! If we are willing to acknowledge that, then the next question is: what SHOULD be ringing out from our lives? Let’s see what the Apostle Paul had to say about his friends in Thessalonica:
I Thessalonians 1:8 And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, 9 for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God. 10 And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven-Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.
I see five distinct attributes listed here in praise of the church in Thessalonica. They should be instructive to us we seek to be built into Jesus’ victorious church in this hour of history.
1. The Word of the Lord (v.8).
Is the Word of the Lord ringing from your life? Are you known as one who obeys His higher standard, and speaks His Word and His Truth? More often than not, I wonder if we are known for speaking our own words and opinions. Let it be God’s Word that comes out of your mouth and life, and what others hear “ringing” from us, His people, everywhere we are! what rings far and wide from our lives, individually and corporately, is his Word of Truth!
2. Faith (v.8)
The people of God in Thessalonica were known as a people of FAITH. They believed in more than their eyes can see… a God who is bigger and better than we have seen yet. There is always more! Is our reputation as a people of great FAITH? Oh, let it be so!
3. A Wonderful Welcome (v.9)
Don’t you want people to talk about how kind, friendly and welcoming you are? That should be the loud, lasting impression we leave with others…because what it says to others is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE… “You are Loved!”, which is exactly what Jesus would say!
4. Turning away from Idols (v.9)
Can you be a people of unconditional love and warmth but still reject the empty ways of the world and its idols? The Thessalonians believers were KNOWN for how they had turned from all the empty things, to what? The Living God! It’s a pretty great trade… to repent of everything dead and empty and turn to the LIVING God — because He gives ABUNDANT life! The promises of the things of the world are empty… they have nothing to give us.
5. Looking forward to the coming of God’s Son (v.10).
Are your eyes on the sky? This one seems the most odd in some ways, doesn’t it? I mean, yes, we all believe that Jesus will return. But, are we longing, expectant, excited about this in such a way that it defines who we are, and what others know about us?
Hmmm. I actually wonder if this is the key that brings the other four into proper focus. The believers here must have believed they would see it! They were looking forward to it! They were anxious to see the Day of His Return! And, this was almost 2000 years ago! How much more real, urgent and excited should we be, since that Day is that much closer?!? Our eyes really should be (figuratively) on the sky!
Later on in chapter 5, it says that Paul did not even need to write them about the timing of the Lord’s return. It says this:
4 But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. 5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. 6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded..
Did you know that we should NOT be surprised when the day of the Lord comes? We should be longing, waiting and expectant; always ready. Stay alert and clear-headed! Keep Your Eyes on the Sky. Do you know that you can’t be “too heavenly-minded to be any earthly good”? It’s not possible! A person with their mind/thoughts set on Christ and His Kingdom is the most good on Earth (see Colossians 3:1)… so, keep your eyes up! He is coming soon! Let the message of His coming ring out from your life!
What do you do to stay watchful, waiting and expectant of Jesus’ second coming? Let me know in the comments on this blog post!