Monday, June 30, 2008

SOAP Study - 6/30/08 (1 Thess 1:4-5)


1 Thessalonians 1:4-5

"For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake." (ESV)

"We know that God loves you, dear brothers and sisters, and that he chose you to be his own people. For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know that the way we lived among you was further proof of the truth of our message." (NLT)



"Brothers and sisters, who are loved by God, it is obvious that he has chosen you. Why is it obvious? Because when we came to you with the Gospel it was not only spoken in word but it was accompanied by God's power through the the Holy Spirit and the very fact that we were (are) convinced it is true. Our sincerity in what we believe should be obvious to you for you saw how it influenced our lives as we lived among you."

What is God saying?

We are inundated with messages all the time. Messages appear on bill boards, signs, magazines, newspapers, TV, internet, and so on, but not all the messages are true nor are the people who make them convinced they are true. For instance, the Rockstar energy drink's slogan is "Party like a rock star!!" Do you really think that the makers of Rockstar believe that if you drink their beverage you are actually going to be partying like a rock star? Of course not.

What is true of messages today is true of them yesterday. There were many messages going around during the time of Paul. Some true, some false, some just plain misleading. There were people in the world who's only purpose it seems was to fool others into following some system or religion they invented. Religious messages were prevalent.

Paul says "We know...that [God] has chosen you." That's an interesting message especially since I have been reading the Purpose Driven Life and am starting to gear up for 40 Days of Purpose. God has chosen you. The question is "How do you know?" Paul answers this by saying because the Gospel says so!! Jesus died for the sins of the world. What comprises the world? Everything which means you!!! God chose you!!!

The next question though is "How do I know the Gospel is true?" Paul answers by saying that not only did they speak the Gospel but that God's power seen through the Holy Spirit accompanied it. Now I can sit here and rationalize what that means but I'm just going to say that these spoken words of Paul's actually had the power to transform lives. How do we know this? Because not only were the lives of people changed from hearing the Gospel but the Gospel that was spoke had changed the speaker's lives as well. Paul and his companions had come not to gain a following but to share the message that had changed their lives. They spoke what they believed and it was evidenced through their lifestyle as they lived among those in Thessalonica.

What is God saying to me?

I think there are several things I can learn from this passage. As I said before, we are inundated with messages and obvious messages that we know are not completely believed by those who speak them. Is it any wonder that non-Christians warily look at us? I have a message and it is the Good News (the Gospel) that says "God has chosen you and I know this because He died on the cross for you. Your life has purpose!!" I must speak my message with conviction and allow a continually transforming life to corroborate my message. Most importantly, I have to speak my message knowing that behind it is the Holy Spirit who is God. God has the power to transform lives and has chosen to use me as a tool to do this despite the fact that He doesn't really need me.


Today in men's Bible study we studied 1 Peter 4:1-11. The thing that kept popping out at me was the fact that I needed to have the same attitude as Jesus did when He suffered. Doing what God wants is no the most popular thing in the world, but it is the best thing. I need to live for Christ knowing that my actions may bring suffering. I need to know this so that when suffering comes I won't be surprised and will be able to think with a clear mind during it.

I also need to be prepared to share the Good News with all who will listen. I need to have confidence in the power of God to transform lives. If my life is not going through a continual transformation then I cannot have assurance in the Gospel. It is so important that I continue studying God's word and spending time with Him in prayer. In short, I need to abide in Him (John 15), and what it comes down to is developing an attitude that will help me be the tool God desires to use in telling others about Him.


God, I thank your for the examples of the men found in your word. Thank you for Paul and the passion he had for you. It is seen in everything He writes. I want to have a deeper passion for you. Please develop in me an unwavering assurance in you. Please continue to transform me into the tool you will use to spread your message of love and hope to a spiritually dead world. I pray for those who I come into contact with. May they see your power in the Gospel. May they see my transformed life. May the ultimately see you and come to know you. Thank you for hearing my prayer.

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