CHURCHLIFE (1 THESS. 5:12-28) Lesson 10 forSeptember 8, 2012
1 THESSALONIANS 5:12-28 OUTLINE Ourattitudetoleaders(12-13) Leaders’ attitude (14-15) Positive Christian attitudes(16-18) Our attitude to the Giftof Prophecy (19-22) Calltoholiness(23-24) Greetings and finalblessing (25-28)
OURATTITUDETOLEADERS (12-13) “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13) Paul usually named elders in every church he planted (Acts 14: 23) The Church’s leaders in Thessalonica were inexperienced and it looks like some members didn’t accept their warnings and despised them. Paul says that brothers and sisters must recognize, respect and be quits with their leaders “for their work’s sake” (compare with 1 Corinthians 16:15-18; Hebrews 13:17); that is, because they are working for the Church.
LEADERS’ ATTITUDE (14-15) “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15) After indicating which attitude brothers and sisters should have to their leaders, Paul explains the attitude leaders must have to their brothers and sisters:
POSITIVE CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES (16-18) “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) “God is concerned with the whole life of His children, but He feels especial concern for their spiritual health. He wishes Christians to be happy, prayerful, and thankful. Our failure to cultivate these traits represents a failure to fulfill the divine will” (SDA Bible Commentary, on 1 Thess. 5:18) Think on the things you can thank God for. Include them in your prayers and rejoice at them. God wants you to live happy and to be grateful (Colossians 3:15)
“Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelings—as much a duty as it is to pray. If we are heaven-bound, how can we go as a band of mourners, groaning and complaining all along the way to our Father’s house? Those professed Christians who are constantly complaining, and who seem to think cheerfulness and happiness a sin, have not genuine religion. Those who take a mournful pleasure in all that is melancholy in the natural world, who choose to look upon dead leaves rather than to gather the beautiful living flowers, who see no beauty in grand mountain heights and in valleys clothed with living green, who close their senses to the joyful voice which speaks to them in nature, and which is sweet and musical to the listening ear—these are not in Christ. They are gathering to themselves gloom and darkness, when they might have brightness, even the Sun of Righteousness arising in their hearts with healing in His beams” E.G.W. (The Ministry of Healing, cp. 18 “Mind cure”, pg. 251)
OUR ATTITUDE TO THE GIFT OF PROPHECY (19-22) “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22) “Quenching the Spirit”. We do this when we ignore or resist the work of a true prophet. Accepting what is said but misinterpret or misapply it. We can approach a prophetic message with an open mind but apply what is said inappropriately to the immediate situation. Giving prophetic authority to persons or writings that have not received the gift from God. The church must be continually vigilant, testing everything in order to see whether the prophetic message builds up the church. The Thessalonians didn’t want to listen to those who claimed they had the Gift of Prophecy; they were afraid of being deceived by false prophets. Nevertheless, they were preventing the Holy Spirit from working through true prophets with their attitude. There are various ways to undermine the gift of prophecy : Note : When Paul says “test all things”, he is talking about the signs of the Spirit (true or false ones). We cannot use those words out of context as an excuse to try forbidden or negative things.
The Bible is clear about identifying a true prophet: He/She must confess Christ in his/her life and words (1 John 2:22-23; 4:1-3) His/her teachings must agree with the Scriptures (Isaiah 8:20; Acts 17:11; Galatians 1:8-9) The result or the fruit of his/her teaching must be “good” (Matthew 7:18-20) As the Adventist Church, we have the privilege of the prophetic ministry of sister Ellen G. White. Through her life and teachings we can identify her as a true prophet. Read her books.
CALLTOHOLINESS (23-24) “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6) “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24) Paul is not writing a study on the human nature, but he is assuring the believers that every part of their lives will receive the influence of the sanctifier power of God. Just like the Thessalonians, we can be sure that God will complete the sanctifying work He has already begun in us, because of His power and faithfulness.