The Thessalonians had been idol worshipers—but they had made a 180-degree turnabout. They had broken away from idols and now served the one true God. Not only did they serve God, but they patiently awaited the return of His Son, the risen Lord Jesus.

Here we see the three great evidences of faith: (1) You turn. (2) You serve. (3) You wait for Jesus to return.

You might say, “But Michael, I don’t worship idols. I’ve never bowed down to an idol in my life. This passage doesn’t apply to me.”

Please understand, an idol is not merely a little god fashioned out of tin or stone. An idol is anything—or anyone—that occupies our attention, our finances, and our time. An idol is anything or anyone that controls us. An idol is anything that takes the place in our lives where God belongs. Our idols today might be selfish ambitions, the accumulation of wealth and power, an infatuation with another person, an addiction to a substance or a behavior, or an obsession with pleasure and fun.

Many of us who claim Jesus as Lord and Savior would have to admit that these are idols in our lives. By the grace of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we need to declare that we hereby turn away from these idols, and we turn to the living God.

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for setting up idols in Your place. Reveal them to me so that I may repent and turn away from them and to You. May I joyfully serve Your Kingdom as I await the return of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“With whom will you compare me or count me equal? . . . Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:5a, 9).

*Excerpt adapted from Fearless Living in Troubled Times by Michael Youssef © 2017. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series Until Christ Returns: Living Confidently in Turbulent Times: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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