for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 1 Thessalonians 1:9 NIV
I had the privilege of participating in Campus Outreach’s first overseas summer missions trip in which I went to Taiwan and others went to South Korea. We taught english to middle and high school students and found opportunities to share the good news of Jesus. My translator chose the english name Moses.
Growing up in the South, I only heard about other faiths through movies, tv’s and books. On this trip, I walked past temples, smelled the incense, saw people kneeling in prayer, witnessed the burning of temple money for ancestral worship, took note of the detailed time to light hosts of candles and saw monks organizing their temple. You could see all of this from the street as we walked our small city.
Moses and I talked about the challenges of becoming a follower of Jesus in his country. He made two statements that I remember nearly 40 years ago. When you share the gospel, it will take a person 91 more times of hearing the message before they decide to become a follower of Jesus. (I still wonder who would keep count like that). He was committed to sharing the life of Jesus again and again. I thought of how quickly we get discouraged if a person does not accept our message through just a few attempts.
Secondly, if the father of the family decides to become a Christian the whole family will soon follow. It reminded me of Paul’s response to the jailer, “you and your whole household shall be saved.” For those of us who have family members yet to be saved, continue to pray and believe that promise for your household.
Paul mentions two words that are the pivot point in changing a religious worldview toward Christianinty – living and true.
Living is the greek word “Zao” meaning to live or living which is connected to “Zoe”. Both words are rooted in the understanding that God is the originator of life. Jesus captures this core emphasis in John 10:10, “the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that the may have life, and more abundantly.” To believe that God is alive and has raised Jesus from the dead changes everything about our future. We serve a living God who is personal and interacts with us.
True is “alethinos” in greek. It has the understanding of that which is made of truth. It connects the facts to the origen of the truth. What is described is true because it flows from the source of the same reality. The word states that God cannot lie. We place our faith in that truth and others that God’s promises of eternal life now and then are present realities that we experience. All other options for salvation are fake, since God’s word of revelation in Jesus is true.
What did you turn away from in order to follow Jesus? Be careful that you don’t just assimilate Jesus into your routines of life. He is LORD. Your true worship is revealed by where you spend your time, how you spend your money, what you lean upon for help in navigating life, and what you sing about. TRUE is authentic in your life when there is an alignment of your speech and actions into one direction
How would others describe your lifestyle as following the living and one true God?
Blessings love y’all