September 3, 2016
Read: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Bible in a Year: Psalms 140-142; 1 Corinthians 14:1-20
You became imitators of us and of the Lord.—1 Thessalonians 1:6
“Today we’re going to play a game called Imitation,” our children’s minister told the kids gathered around him for the children’s sermon. “I’ll name something and you act out what it does. Ready? Chicken!” The kids flapped their arms, cackled, and crowed. Next it was elephant, then football player, and then ballerina. The last one was Jesus. While many of the children hesitated, one six-year-old with a big smile on his face immediately threw his arms wide open in welcome. The congregation applauded.
How easily we forget that our calling is to be like Jesus in the everyday situations of life. “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:1–2).
The apostle Paul commended the followers of Jesus in Thessalonica for the outward demonstration of their faith in difficult circumstances. “You became imitators of us and of the Lord,” Paul wrote. “And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia” (1 Thess. 1:6–7).
It is the life of Jesus in us that encourages and enables us to walk through this world as He did—with the good news of God’s love and with arms open wide in welcome to all. —David McCasland
Lord Jesus, may Your words of invitation and welcome, “Come to Me,” be lived out through our lives today.
Jesus’s arms of welcome are always open.
INSIGHT: The church at Thessalonica was comprised of Gentiles who had been caught up in pagan idolatry before they came to faith in Christ. They were zealous in their witness and extended the gospel of Christ to neighboring regions. Paul applauds these believers for their lives of committed discipleship and effective witness to others: “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 rescues us from the coming wrath” (1 Thess. 1:9-10). This congregation exemplified what it means to follow Christ.
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