Freedom House Church and Healing Centre

4 knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; 5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. 9 For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Good day Church, The Lord bless you!

This weekend we had the opportunity to tune in to a little bit of the Winter Olympics. It was a nice diversion from all of the craziness of the world, and a welcomed alternative to all the garbage that is on the television these days. The athletes truly are remarkable, spending years at their craft, grueling hours of training, and then hoping to be good enough to be chosen to represent their respective countries. The ones we see at the Olympics are the best the individual nation has to offer. Think of all the skiers or skaters in the country of Canada, and then to narrow it down to just these few to represent the nation. It is a feat indeed!

Yesterday, at our house church gathering, we were blessed to have little nine month old Matthew, who has not learned to walk yet. But every time we see him, he can do something new that he could not do before, like stand up without holding on to something. And in a few short months he will be walking. The growth and development of a baby into a functioning human being is quite amazing. With the proper teaching and nurturing, he too may become one of the chosen few to participate in the Olympics. We probably all aspired to be great at something, but like myself, didn’t desire it enough to put in the effort needed to become one of the elite few who represent Canada to the world.

Praise God! I have been chosen to represent Jesus to the world, with no prior qualifications or gifting. He chose me because I was a nobody! He loves to take nobodies and make them somebodies! He does it – not me! My job is to allow Him to change me. These Thessalonians were the cream of the crop because they were chosen by God (vs. 4). They were recipients of the Good News of salvation in and through Jesus, and worked on by Holy Spirit (The Trainer) who took the message of grace and opened their hearts to bring conviction, which led to repentance and faith (vs. 5). Now through no works of their own, they are on team Jesus representing the Kingdom of God, which wins every time!

Like young children, they learned how to walk with Jesus by looking to their leaders and role models, (vs. 6a). They even endured the difficulties and trials associated with following Jesus, instead of the gods and idols of the world around them (vs. 6b & 9b). This Thessalonian church was such an exemplary church that they were a witness and example to other congregations around them (vs. 7, 8). You may be wondering why and how this church could be such an influence in such a short time? Look at the words I underlined above:

  1. The word: They were a “word-centered” church – that is they heard the word (the gospel message about Jesus); they welcomed the word into their hearts; they received the word into their very being, and allowed it to transform them; and they allowed it to work in them, to change their lives and actions (see vs. 2:13) (Read Luke 8:4-15)
  2. Holy Spirit: They allowed Holy Spirit to be Lord in the church, bringing conviction to turn from sin, and joy to persevere through the trials
  3. The Godhead: Do you see above how many times the names of God are repeated, including Jesus, Son, Lord, etc. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were intimately involved in this congregation. Their focus was God! They left no member of the Godhead out, but relied on each person of the Trinity to do their part in maturing this flock.
  4. True Repentance:you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God” – they left the practices of the world, and turned wholeheartedly to SERVE the living God. That means they did not live for themselves anymore, but for Jesus. How do we know? Because their decision came with “much tribulation” – they were willing to pay the price of following Jesus. There is always a cost to wholeheartedly following the Lord – are you willing to pay it?
  5. Jesus Focused: This church knew that Jesus would return for them. They were filled with hope, because they knew their suffering would bring a great reward, which Paul describes in the fourth chapter. Jesus would come for them and take them to be with Him forever. When your eyes are on Jesus and His return, you can put up with the trials on Earth.

Friends, I have met many followers of Jesus like are described here! I heard a wonderful testimony from someone yesterday whose experience of coming to surrender her life to Jesus fits the five-fold pattern of this church exactly. Now she is an example to others, who are now choosing to follow Jesus! What great Joy to know that God is not looking for superstar athletes, but little children to mold and shape into great Kingdom athletes who persevere to attain the prize of victory in Jesus. Remember, you are more than a conqueror in Christ!

Joy and Peace in Christ!

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