Background: Paul planted a church in Thessalonica, the capital of Macedonia and a flourishing center of trade and philosophy. While the church was still new and the Christians were still young, there was so much opposition against Paul that he had to leave prematurely. So he sent Timothy to check on them and return with a report. In response to hearing how they were doing, Paul sent them this letter to remind them how and why they became Christians. In essence, he reminded them what a Christian was. What does he say?
Marks: He writes, “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.”  First, they became Christians by the gospel—that is, not by some general message of love or morality, but by the good news of Jesus. Elsewhere, Paul refers to the gospel as “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  Second, the gospel did not come only in words, but also in power. A Christian is someone in whom and through whom the gospel has become a power. 
Choice: Finally, Paul says that they are Christians because he has heard “how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”  In other words, they sensed the totalitarian claims of Christ and understood that the issue was not what they were going to make of him, but what he was going to make of them. They saw that the true choice was not between Christ and freedom, but between Christ and slavery. For they began to see how everything but Christ would enslave them.
Prayer: Lord, May we know that we are Christians by our having received the gospel, by our having been empowered by it, and by our turning from idols to serve you, the true and living God. For we know that it is only in Christ that we experience true freedom. Therefore, increase our desire for you daily and remind us in your Word that we are your children and heirs to your promises. Amen.
M’Cheyne Weekend Reading
We invite you to join us and the Women’s Bible Society to a Lenten Bible Listening Event on Thursday morning, April 10th.
Click here for more details.
 1 Thessalonians 1:4 ESV |  2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV |  Romans 1:16 ESV |  1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 ESV