Sunday, November 25, 2007

I Thessalonians 5:16-28


As we close this first letter from Paul, Silas and Timothy to the followers of Jesus in Thessalonica, there are some powerful words of challenge and encouragement to send us on our way. They begin with three commands.

FIRST-16 Rejoice always, This is amazing! NOTE how much we are to rejoice? ALWAYS! Choose to celebrate or rejoice in everything.

SECOND-17 pray continually, NOTE again, how much are we to pray? CONTINUALLY or as one translation says, "Pray without ceasing." When I first read this verse as a kid, I became a bit depressed. But now I understand what is meant by this. We are to be in an attitude of prayer as we meet with others, face the day and retire and night. Praying continually is an attitude of trust in His strength and wisdom and direction.

THIRD-18 give thanks in all circumstances; Give thanks where? IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. Wow, this is where these guys go from preaching to meddling in my life. I am to give thanks or be grateful no matter what the circumstance or situation. Then NOTE, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

They previously gave instructions on how to live life most appropriately and effectively. Now, after listing out these 3 powerful commands which will serve you well as you walk the walk, they list a couple of things NOT to do.

FIRST-19 Do not put out the Spirit's fire. Don't quench the movement of the Spirit in your life. OR, don't say NO, when the Spirit of God within you is saying YES.

SECOND-20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject whatever is harmful. Whether you like it or not, God does do things supernaturally today. I relied on this passage many years ago when some well-meaning, friends of mine began to send prophecies about me that they claimed were from God. Here they are saying not to have contempt on this kind of thing, but test them out. And, in this test, hold on to what is good and reject whatever is harmful. What I like about this is that you will know what is good or harmful.

Then, they close with a great prayer-23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. I love this! May God, Himself, sanctify you thoroughly. May God set you apart for Him and set you on a mission for Him. AND. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. The emphasis is more on the Lord making things happen rather than your great performance. THE ONE WHO CALLS YOU IS FAITHFUL AND HE WILL DO IT.

25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God's people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

This concludes the first letter written to the Thessalonians. Three men walking together were powerfully used of God to impact their lives so that they developed a work of faith, labor of love and steadfastness of hope. And, their transformation in Jesus echoed forth throughout much of Asia Minor. It's a great story that is being repeated over and over throughout the world today. I want to play more of this kind of role in my walk with Jesus and others. I want to be a revolutionary in the name of Jesus. How about you?