One of the worst things a person can do is to play or pretend to be a Christian. It has been that thought that has framed my series through the book of 1 Thessalonians. This week, we looked at a portion of the end of the book where the Apostle Paul makes a list for them of things he is thinking about. I called these 15 items in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 little Nuggets of Truth that will help us live an authentic life with other people in the church.
1. Be Appreciative (vs. 12-13a)
It is important that we are always taught about authority and submission because the way in which we submit is always a sign of how we are doing spiritually. In this case, Paul requests of them that they appreciate those that labor over them. How are you doing in submitting to the leaders in your church?
2. Be Peaceful (vs. 13b)
The leaders of churches should be seeking peace with those in the church and those in the church should be seeking peace with those in leadership.
3. Be Warning (vs. 14a)
This is a general call to everyone in the body of Christ that we warn those who are undisciplined or lazy or walking away from the ways of Christ.
4. Be Encouraging (vs. 14b)
There are some who are discouraged or fainthearted, maybe because of loneliness, a hard marriage, a tough trial, or even persecution. They need to be encouraged.
5. Be Helping (vs. 14c)
There are some without strength that need to be helped, maybe because of being stuck in their sins. We need to fight with them and for them.
6. Be Patient (vs. 14d)
Our calling is to be patient with all of the different type of people we come in contact with in our life.
7. Be Gracious (vs. 15)
We should never respond to people based on how they respond to us, but according to how Jesus would respond to them. Forgiveness. Grace. Mercy.
8. Be Joyful (vs. 16)
Always be happy! How does that happen? The only way I can see this happening is that we see the hand of God in all things. Good theology will help the heart to rejoice.
9. Be Praying (vs. 17)
Prayer for the Christian should be like breathing, it happens naturally.
10. Be Thankful (vs. 18)
Nowhere does Paul ever say that there are exceptions to giving thanks. But we are to give thanks in all things, regardless of how we feel.
11. Be Obedient (vs. 19)
We can obey the Spirit of God in our life when we submit to the Scriptures and when we listen to the internal prodding of the Spirit as we live our life by the Spirit.
12. Be Listening (vs. 20)
To despise prophetic utterances would be to disapprove of the truth of God. This has to do with what we do with truth as it is presented. I would say specifically, it has to do with listening to preaching (see my book Helping Johnny Listen for more information on this).
13. Be Examining (vs. 21a)
When we listen to preaching, our first response should be to test it to see if it is true or not.
14. Be Grasping (vs. 21b)
When we find the message we have listened to as accurate, we need to grasp it. Hold onto it. Love it. Keep it. Apply it.
15. Be Rejecting (vs. 22)
If you find the message to be false, get rid of it.
If you want the full explanation to all of these points, you can find it HERE. It was a longer message than normal as you can tell, I had 15 points to get through in one sermon.