These verses before us speak of a total commitment to God on the part of the Thessalonian believers. Their transformation of character and conduct was complete and irreversible. Whereas they once served idols, now they served the "true and living God." These believers had done an about‑face.
Anyone who is familiar with driving in a large metropolitan area is acquainted with those large street signs which show an upside‑down letter "U" with a red slash through it meaning absolutely no "U" turn. In St. Louis there is a residential neighborhood off of Olive Blvd. composed of large, well‑kept, stately mansions. At the end of that street there is no exit and upon an ivy‑covered brick wall is a sign which reads, "U‑Turn Absolutely Required!" There is no way to keep going the way you are‑‑you must do an about‑face.
That sign teaches us a contemporary parable. Christian commitment begins with an authentic conversion. The word "conversion" means "to turn around." A U‑turn is absolutely required. Rather than running away from God in willful independence and disobedience, we must turn around and move toward Him in acceptance and responsiveness. When we do, God receives us with the outstretched arms of love, forgiveness, grace and peace. This is what the Thessalonians had experienced. Because of their conversion they were now committed to the "true and living God."
vv. 8‑9a "For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God‑ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you ... "
v. 9b " They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,"
v. 9c " ... to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven,"
ILLUS. A pig and a chicken were in a spirited debate over their respective value to mankind. The hen clucked with an air of superiority, "I'm of more value to man then you. Why, the eggs I lay are high in protein and other food values. They are compact and have an infinite variety of ways in which they may be served." "That may be true," oinked the pig, "but from you men only require an occasional offering. I have to be totally committed!"
John 12:26 "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour."
To serve the living and true God a "U‑turn" is absolutely required!