Well, I had this planned for last night but the weather had other plans, it knocked out our power most of the night. So I stewed a little longer over it, not a problem really. So anyway here goes.
Last night our preacher taught on 1 Thessalonians 4, a great passage I must say. I usually take notes, jot down ideas, verse references etc. during the lesson and I’m telling you that the pen never left my hand. God was speaking to me, leading me to speak to you about this. Someone out there must need to hear this. Cause God knows his own and he knows when one of us in need of something. But he doesn’t always say it directly to us, maybe he knows we are too tied up in the situation to hear him, or maybe he knows the message bearer will benefit from the message as well, maybe he just likes to give us something real and meaningful to do, who knows. All I know is he has laid it on my heart to write about this and well I’m not in to disobeying my Lord.
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 1 Thessalonians 4:1
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; Philippians 1:27
That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:12
Our calling is an upward calling, holy and pure, and God makes it very clear to those who will hear him how we as followers of Christ are to present ourselves to the world. We are the Lord’s hands and feet here on earth and we should always bear this in mind and walk worthy of being called to serve our King.
For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:2
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 22:37-39
The Lord himself gave us the two greatest commandments, ones that when we make them the foundation of our lives we will never stray from the path he has set before us. For when we love God with all we are then we live to please our Father in heaven, and when we love our neighbor as ourselves then we will treat one another just as Jesus treated his brethern and neighbors, with love abounding and overflowing. We will also present ourselves to the world as followers of Christ, following in his footsteps, allowing him to change our old stony hearts that wallowed in sin, mire, and misery into tender, pure, overflowing hearts that reflect his love and ways back into the world. That means we not only love as he did but we also act as he did – we reject sin, turn from it choosing instead to follow the one who died to take that sin from us.
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 1 Thessalonians 4:3
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:27Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: Colossians 3:5
As true believers no matter how vile and sinful we were before trusting in the Lord once we allow him into our hearts to work that wondrous change we no longer desire those old lusts and snares. We can resist the temptations the devil once bound us with and stand strong in the power and might of our Lord and Savior knowing that old slewfoot and his vile lies and lusts have no hold on us any longer. We are no longer of this world, but above it. No longer bound by sin, held in it’s chains, a slave to the lies and treachery – we are FREED! Freed by the death of Christ on the cross, bought and paid for by the only one who could love us so much he would suffer, die and ultimately rise from the grave the third day that you and I might be set free, made whole, restored to rightness with God in heaven. That we might accept grace.
That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 1 Thessalonians 4:4
I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. Romans 6:19
We are changed, made new and brought into relationship with God, with his Son, and through this we begin to know right from wrong in the truest sense. Not man’s sense but God’s! We understand how we ought to behave and act, we understand that we live a higher calling, we exist to please and serve God, and his ways are always pure, just and true. He never leads us to fall back into our old paths for the old man is dead and gone, replaced by the love of his Son, cleansed through his precious blood!
Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 1 Thessalonians 4:5
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: Colossians 3:5
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Ephesians 4:17-18
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. 1 Corinthians 15:34
I find the repentance part of our salvation to be the most fascinating. See before I accepted Christ that was the part that kept me from him, my sin, I didn’t want to be told what to do, I was in rebellion, rejecting the only real hope I had. I wanted to continue doing the things I did, Satan had me believing I loved rushing headlong down that highway straight to an eternity in the lake of fire. Even though I wasn’t raised to know God, didn’t go to church, never read the Bible, my parents never prayed with us or for us but it didn’t matter because deep in my heart I knew that there was hope somewhere. For the first 30 years or so of my life I was lost, my soul was under torment as the devil tried to steal it and I was to blind in my ignorance to see what was happening, I couldn’t hear the voice telling me wait there’s a better way, I love you, I can save you. No instead I spent my waking hours in sin and my sleep, well the little of it I got was a foretaste of where I was headed. But finally the sweetest voice broke through the sheer cachophony and I heard the most amazing words I’ve ever heard “It’s ok, I love you, I’ve always loved you and always will. I will never leave or forsake you child for you are mine. I made you because I wanted you, I love you in spite of all you’ve done because I know all you have yet to do, all I created you to do and it is glorious! Will you trust me? Come to me? Let me wash those wounds from sin that are destroying you away, I never made you to suffer and hurt like this, I made you to love and be loved, to bless and be blessed, to share eternity with my Father and I as our own.”
That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. 1 Thessalonians 4:6
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Thessalonians 1:8
I answered that voice, I accepted the most amazing and wonderful gift, allowed the most incredible man who ever lived into my heart to change my life forever. On that day I experienced real love, pure love. Love so breathtaking it broke my rock hard heart of stone, dashed it right to smithereens and replaced it with a heart that brimmed, spilled, with love for my Savior, my Father. I longed to please Him, to be who he always intended me to be, do as he would have me do. I rejoiced as I gave him my heart, all of it. That joy overflowed in me, turned my anger, hurt and fear into love pure and true. Suddenly I was free to truly love others, I knew how to because Jesus had shown me how. Never again would I willfully mislead or hurt a brother or sister in this world, never again would I be led onto that oh so common path of the world to put myself before others, before my Savior. No instead I love, even when they make it hard, cause I know that no sin is worse than my sin and that love is the only way they will ever let the scales fall from their eyes, let Jesus into their lives, have their Damascus road moment. I have to show them the love he showed me.
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:7
For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Leviticus 11:44
I was no longer consumed with hate for the world, hate that disguised itself as lust, as anger, as greed, really it all boils down to hate and I had been a willing slave to it for far too long. But no longer, from that day forward I was set free. I knew whose I was and who I served and it was not this world or it’s prince, not ever again! I knew true love then, selfless love that puts others first, finding the pure joy of serving those the Lord has seen fit to bless me with. Whether it is something as simple as getting up early to back my husbands lunch allowing him a few extra minutes of rest each day, having his coffee ready when he comes in the kitchen, fixing his favorite meal when I know he’s had a busy day. Or choosing to homeschool our son because I want to answer the Lord’s call that we train him up in the way he should go, teaching him to love God with all his heart from the beginning, to hide the word of the Lord in his heart and teach him the ways of God even though we face resistance, persecution, rejection from many in our lives, it doesn’t matter because God’s word is clear that parents are to raise their children to fear him, know him, love him. Mine did not do that and I suffered for 33 years because of their decisions, I will not make that mistake with my precious gift from God, the son he has entrusted into my care to raise for Him. In spite of the way those who should share our joy instead hate it and us I no longer share their worldly feelings, I no longer hate them, I love them, they don’t know the truth, their eyes are blinded, they are filled with stubborn pride but I love them anyway. My heart breaks for their wretched condition, just as the Lord’s does for he loves them even more that I do.
He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 4:8
He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. Luke 10:16
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10
I know now that hating one of God’s children is the same as hating God. God is love, not hate. True he is also just and has shown the world his just wrath when it rejects him, when we spit in his face screaming leave me alone well he will, but we will ultimately regret getting our way. He has judged before and will again one final time, there’s no escaping it, the world will face his judgement for their rejection of him. But I am not the judge for God, vengeance is His and his alone, for he alone searches and knows all hearts. I am just called to share his love that great and glorious news with the lost and dying world in the hopes that they will see and hear truth.
But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. 1 Thessalonians 4:9
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 1 Thessalonians 5:1
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Jeremiah 31:34
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 22:39
As followers in Christ we are called to share the good news and love… love God, love our brothers, love! It’s that simple, and that hard. Cause love isn’t always pretty, easy. Sometimes it’s tough, sometimes it’s hard, it hurts like a surgery that ultimately mends it hurts as it is healing. Love can be like that, it has to be tough sometimes to get through the lies, the sin, to find the heart. But even if we have to show tough love, we are called to show love. Trust the Lord to lead us, to fill us, praying always that we serve and honor him with our lives, bringing him all the praise and glory.
And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; 1 Thessalonians 4:10
So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. 1 Thessalonians 1:7
When His honor and glory are our purpose, our goals then we know we are serving him and that he will bring the increase in our lives. We just have to invite him in, let him be our Lord.
And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 1 Thessalonians 4:11
For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 2 Thessalonians 3:11
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Ephesians 4:28
That way he can lead us and we will live lives pleasing to him, fulfilling the purpose God has for us. We will no longer be consumed with the spirit of laziness, expecting others to do for us what we ought to do for ourselves. We ought instead to work hard, laboring to serve those who can’t labor, working to provide for our families as well as those in need. I think it is clear here that those in need are not those unwilling to work, but those unable to. It’s clear we are to work if we are able, God has given us that ability from the beginning, that purpose that we work with our hands, that we till the soil, provide our bread, etc. He also tells us to be generous with the rewards he bless our labor with too, to share our abundance with those who lack the ability to do the same. If all who are able to work do the work the Lord calls them too willingly, sharing the results cheerfully then we will bless those unable to work with their hands, to till the soil or labor physically and we will show them the love of the Lord.
That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. 1 Thessalonians 4:12
Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. Romans 13:13