Turning from Idols to the Living God (1 Thessalonians 1:9–10) - Radical

Turning from Idols to the Living God (1 Thessalonians 1:9–10)

“For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you. And 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.”
-1 Thessalonians 1:9–10

As you read through First Thessalonians, you will notice at the end of every chapter, there’s a reference to Jesus’ return. This letter from Paul to the church of the Thessalonians is saturated with anticipation of Jesus’ coming.

And I love the way this first chapter depicts this. It’s talking about how the people at Thessalonica had turned to God from idols. They were worshiping all these different idols. And they turned to God to serve the living and true God and to wait for his son from heaven.

1 Thessalonians 1:9–10 Reminds Us to Turn to God

So follow the way this is even phrased. They turned to God from idols to wait for his son from heaven whom he raised from the dead. Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

So when we turn from the idols of this world, the things of this world that vie for our attention and affection and devotion, we’re turning to, yes, the one true God to serve and live in him and to wait for his son from heaven.

So let me ask you a question. Would that phrase describe the posture of your life on a daily basis? Are you living with a sense of waiting in anticipation today for Jesus to return from heaven?

Are you living with that sense of it could be today. I hope it’s today. And this is way we as followers of Jesus are supposed to live every day. We have turned from the idols of this world, fixed our eyes on the one true God and Jesus, his son, and we are longing, waiting, anticipating his return on a moment by moment, day by day basis.

1 Thessalonians 1:9–10 Teaches Us to Serve God

This is the way we are intended to live as people who serve the living and true God. So God we pray today that you would help us to live with this holy, humble, expectant, eager sense of expectation and anticipation that we see in First Thessalonians in every chapter and specifically here in the first chapter.

And all the way to the end of the bible just the cry, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.” We pray that in our lives. We want to see your face. We want to be free from sin and evil and suffering and this fallen world. God, we hate wars. We hate sin and evil and suffering around us.

We long, Jesus, for your return. So keep us, we pray, from getting too comfortable in this world. With giving our attention and affection and devotion to things that are not worthy of our attention and affection and devotion, to idols in this world.

Help us to loosen our grip on these things in this world and hold tightly to the hope of your return. To live with that sense of anticipation on a daily basis because we’re not living for the things of this world. We’re living for the return of your son.

1 Thessalonians 1:9–10 Helps Us to Live to See God’s Glory

We’re living to see his face. We’re living to make his glory and his grace known in the world. And God even as we pray this, we know because we pray for unreached people groups on this podcast.

God for the Pashtun of Afghanistan who are then scattered, some in different countries like Chile and other places around the world. God we know that so few Pashtun have been reached with the good news of your grace.

And we know that this gospel of this kingdom will be proclaimed as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.

So God we pray. We pray for the spread of this gospel to the Pashtun of Afghanistan. To Pashtun that are scattered in other countries. God that people in this people group would be reached with the good news of your grace that they might turn from idols to serve you, the living and true God, and to wait for his son from heaven. To wait for Jesus to come back.

God help us to live in full anticipation of this day even as we’ll read in a place like Second Peter three to “Hasten the coming of that day with lives of holiness and godliness and zeal on mission.” Proclaiming the good news of your grace to people right around us and people groups like the Pashtun far from us.

God, today, transform our perspective that we might live in holy anticipation, that we might live in anticipation of Jesus’ return. And we might live saying all today, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.” In Jesus, in his name we pray, amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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