Friday, July 22, 2011

1 Thessalonians 1:4-5

For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you;  for 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.   1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 RSV
YHVH has chosen you. Have you ever thought of that before? Do you believe it? He chose Paul who was busy killing and persecuting men and women of faith. If ever you have any doubt that you were good enough for God, then read Paul's testimony in the book of Acts, No one is good enough for God. It is the reason you needed Y'shua/Jesus (but that is the subject of another post). How do you  know if you were chosen? First He will make sure that the gospel comes to you. But it will not come  just with sound or words on a page. It will come with the full power of the breath of YHWH, the Holy Spirit. There is conviction of sin and finally, there is someone to disciple you.

but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.  John 10:2-4 rsv
Chosen: Y'shua said to an assembly of Pharisees, "many are called but few are chosen" Matthew 22:14. At that time he was speaking to the un-chosen, those who insisted that their religious choice and education were more to them than the Messiah in front of them. They saw the splendor of tradition and self-righteousness as far more precious than faith even though, as scholars of the Tanack (old testament) they must have known that righteous deeds, done in our own power, are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6, see end note). Here in 1 Thessalonians, Paul, Silvanus and Timothy are speaking to the chosen who have already shown that they are people of faith, love and hope (verse 3). Of the many who are called in Thessolin'ca, these were the chosen.

The Word: Paul, Silvanus and Timothy brought the Word, the logos (dabar in Hebrew) to the Synagogue in Thessolini'ca. They were not on a book tour, they had nothing to sell, nothing to promote but The Way, the gait, into the kingdom of light. They were here to invite the many in order for the few chosen to discover the gait that leads to life. Y'shua/Jesus is the Word of God, he is also the gait. All who would believe must come through him. Too many look at the Bible as a book of wisdom or a collection of myth with some insight for living scattered in. If this is your opinion of the Word of God, may I humbly suggest that you are not among the chosen? Ask God to show you for sure. The Word of God is alive and speaks to us. But you only know that when you are "born again", when your spirit is made alive.

The Holy Spirit: The chosen have the Spirit of God, his breath, living in them. I do not know how to explain this, I only know that it is true. Even Y'shua experienced a time of being filled with the Spirit of God.
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove;  Mark 1:9-10  RSV
When the breath of God, the Holy Spirit, lives in a believer than the Word of God becomes far more than a book. The Word becomes alive and speaks to us. Maybe it is better to say that we become alive in the Spirit and can now hear and understand the Word.

I remember the moment I became born from above at 21 years of age. No matter where I turned in the Bible, I gleaned fresh  understanding. I struggled to understand the Bible before my salvation. It is almost amusing to read my study notes from that time.

With full conviction: Full conviction comes before you are born again. Those who are chosen feel the weight of sin and despite the shame of it, long for freedom in Messiah. The whole world watched as Casey Anthony stood and listened to the charges against her. There was such tension on her young face. A new look washed over her as she listened to the verdict. Not guilty, not guilty, not guilty. I do not want you to get caught up with how you feel about Ms Anthony, but with your own sin. It is no different than hers in the eyes of God. We are condemned but for the mercy of God. We cannot lie our way out, we are unable to have time off for "good behavior" (good works). We are guilty and we know it if we have been chosen. Unlike Ms Anthony, we have not been pronounced "not guilty" but "guilty". But Y'shua/Jesus stepped up and paid the penalty of our sin.

Conviction will also comes after we are born again. It is one of the tools that guides us on the path of life. It will convict us of sin if need be, but it is more likely to speak to us about living instead of why we are in need of a Savior.

God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son. Why isn't the world at peace? I believe that it is because His love only rests on the chosen. If at this moment you do not believe, it is not because you are not chosen. God still sent his Son for you. Before you will experience the love of God you must come to Him. For those who believe, there is joy, evidence of God's love when it seems that there should only be despair in living. Keep reading Thessalonians. Joy in life becomes evident. Do we who believe cry? If my own pool of tears means anything, than yes, we cry, we feel the pain of life. But we have hope. And more than hope, we have the compassion of the hand of God that allows us to keep walking in hope.

Before Heaven:
Revelation 7:17  For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
And in heaven, where I wonder if I will cry for what was and those who refused to believe:
Revelation 21:3-4  and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them;  he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away."

note: filthy rags absorb menstrual flow. The self-righteous are like a woman longing to present a child to her husband  but without his power to produce a child, all she has to offer is the evidence of her fruitless life. No life (baby) just menstrual rags (pads).

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