Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1~10
1 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.2 We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. 3 We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia— your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 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, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead— Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
Since "Conversion" is so closely related to "Repentance", attention should he given to what the Scriptures teach about it.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE WORD CONVERSION?
The Greek word translated "convert" is "epistrepho". It is also translated "turn", and when used in connection with repentance and faith, means "to turn from the wrong way to the right way".
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT?
a. NECESSARY FOR TO ENTRANCE INTO THE KINGDOM
Matt. 18:3 - "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
b. SAVES FROM DEATH
James 5:20 - "Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins."
c. BURDEN OF APOSTOLIC PREACHING
Acts 26: 18-20 - "to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God,. . . First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God . . . "
d. NECESSARY FOR ERASING OF SIN
Acts 3: 19 - "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,. . . "
a. ACKNOWLEDGING THE DIVINE LORDSHIP
Luke 1:16 - "Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God."
Acts 9:35 - "All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord."
Acts 11:21 - "The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord."
Acts 15: 19 - "It is my judgement, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God."
b. TURNING "FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT"
Acts 26:18 - "to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, . . . "
c. TURNING "FROM THE POWER OF SATAN TO GOD"
Acts 26:18 - "to open their eyes and turn them .... from the power of Satan to God .... "
d. TURNING FROM THE "VANITIES" OF "IDOLATRY"
Acts 14:15 - ".... We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God,..."
1 Thess. 1:9 - "how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God."
a. THE APOSTLE PETER
Luke 22:32 - ".... And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
a. THE CHANGE OF MIND (vs. 17)
"When he came to himself" "I perish"
b. THE DECISION OF THE WILL (vs. 18,19)
"I will arise and go to my father" "I will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before Thee".
c. THE PERFORMANCE OF THE WILL (Conversion)
"And he arose" (He left the old life). "Came to his father" (He started the new life).
Study Questions for Lesson No. 4