Good morning and Welcome to Monday’s podcast. My name is Alan and it is my pleasure to be with you throughout this week. Liam has done a great job, finishing off the letter to the Galatians and making a start on this, the first letter to the Thessalonians. I will be with you all week after which you will have the pleasure of Helen’s company. So not long to wait!
I wonder how lockdown is going for you? Are you locked down or are you still going off to work? Are you self isolating, maybe you haven’t been out for weeks? Do you have family around you or are you living out lockdown on your own? Whatever your circumstances one thing is clear, all of us have experienced some change to our daily lives. And I believe that much of the openness we are experiencing with our neighbours is that we have all been by with the same, universal disruption to our lives. The common experience connects us – it unites us. It will be a ‘do you remember when’ moment in the history of our world.
These are unique times, but coping with Covid is not the only current and ongoing, universal experience of us all. As part of the human race we all share the same need of a saviour – to be rescued from ourselves – to be liberated from our brokenness and our feet set on solid ground.
There is of course a ‘moment’ of salvation but there is also the ongoing battle we all face against the world, the flesh and the devil. Little by little, battle by battle, God is enabling us to overcome the things that bind us – that hold us back. We may not feel that we are making much progress, but he will continue to bring about our transformation.
Today’s passage is 1 Thessalonians 2 verses 1-8. I am going to focus in on verse 4 which reads:
“…we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”
So, If we do face an ongoing battle against the world, the flesh and the devil… then the devil – our enemy – his number one tactic against us, is to get us to believe things that are not true… to believe lies about ourselves and about God.
If I believe that I’m incompetent… if I believe that I’m worthless… if I believe that I’ll never amount to much… then we will never make much progress. These are lies that we accumulate through our family upbringing, our schools and our workplaces, lies that are so easy to believe…
But the truth is that every inch of us has been handcrafted by God himself. We are no random accident, we are not worthless, we have been made in the image and likeness of God… The truth is we are his children, precious, priceless, glorious members of the royal household…
The Bible is the word of God… it reveals the truth of who we are and who God is… and this passage of scripture reveals something of who and why we have been made…
But the truth is that we have been created, tested and approved to carry the precious gospel of Jesus!
So, we have been stamped by the heavenly quality control department, we bear the mark: fit for purpose!
And we have been entrusted with the gospel… by royal decree!
Have you ever been entrusted with something? Maybe at school you were entrusted with the register and your job was to take it to the office. Or maybe you were made a prefect or head girl (do prefects still exist!?) and entrusted with a responsibility. Or a friend has asked you to be their best man and you have been entrusted with the rings.
There is something about being entrusted with a task or something precious that makes us walk a little taller – that brings the best out in us. “Who me? You are giving that to me? You think I can do this? I won’t let you down.”
Think master Frodo and the ring, from ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Being entrusted with a precious object, being given an important task to do, brings the best out of him… in the same way it brings the best out of us. If… and only if we are willing to accept the challenge.
Just like Paul, the Father has entrusted us with his precious gospel. There is no opt out clause… “Jesus I surrender my life into your loving care, except that bit where I have to be your witness.”
Each of us have been tested and approved by God and been entrusted with his gospel. Jesus, the one who entrusted us with hope for the world, He has faith in us. Jesus thinks we are up to the task. Entrusted has the same root word as faith! As we have faith in him, he in turn has faith in us.
So today, let’s walk a little taller – we are an ambassador for the king after all.
Let’s discover those God will lead us to… those who God has given us to serve… those who God has prepared for us to share his love and his message – the gospel of Jesus Christ. The one who died for you and who died for me.
Father, we know that we have less faith in our abilities than you do. Make us acutely aware of those around us who you have sent us to to show and to tell of you our God and our king. Help us to live lives of faith, hope and love and to speak freely of your gospel. In the beautiful name of Jesus, amen.
BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed – God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. Instead, we were like young children among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.