1 Thessalonians 5: 12-28
Paul ends this letter to the Thessalonians with what seems to be a long list of To-Do's and Don'ts. He undoubtedly considers this list important because he tells us that this is God's will for us. These are probably pertaining to the church setting. Let's look at them:
Respect those that work hard, who are over you in the Lord?
This could mean respecting the folks in charge of the church that we attend. This would be the elders, deacons, etc. These folks do a lot for the church and should be shown some respect for it.
Live in peace with each other?
Don't be a troublemaker or stir up junk. We should do what we can to maintain the peace.
Warn those that are idle?
In the church, everybody has a job to do. There's always something that can be done. Being lazy ain't cool and hinders the body of Christ. If you need a job to do in the church, you can always ask your church secretary. They're usually up to speed on what needs to be done.
Encourage the timid?
Another word for 'timid' is 'shy'. Sometimes folks stand around in the church not helping simply because they are too shy to ask. Spot them and help them get acquainted with the church and its people. Find them something to do.
Help the weak?
This could mean the folks in the church that are not as scripturally knowledgeable of the Bible as you are. It could be our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who have become weak in their faith. We gotta help those people.
Be patient with everybody?
Count to ten when you feel like you're going to freak out on some of the church folks. When your on your last nerve, take a breather. Be patient.
Make sure nobody pays wrong for wrong?
This never solves problems. It only creates a bigger flame in the fire. Do what's right according to what God's Word says. Learning to turn the other cheek could help in this situation.
Always be kind to everybody?
Yep, it says everybody. There are a variety of people that visit churches on any given week. The last thing they want to hear is something negative from a rude church person. That's the perfect excuse for them not to come back. Plus, we should also be kind to the folks we fellowship with every week. It creates a happy place that folks will love to come to.
Be joyful always?
Be happy! There's so much to smile about. If you're saved today, you should be showing teeth. Ain't that enough to bring you joy? Folks need to see it. Especially in the rural area that your church sets in.
Prayer is the way we communicate with God. Keep those lines open and do it often. As a church, we should stay in-tune with the Lord and we do this through prayer. To be effective in the community, we need His guidance to do His will. Prayer helps us realize what it is.
Give thanks in all circumstances?
Has the Lord done something for you recently? Give Him thanks. Even if He hasn't, we should be thankful to Him anyway. I'm sure we'll discover something to be thankful for. It might not necessarily be in material things, but having air to breathe is vital for life. Thank Him for that.
Do not put out the Spirit's fire?
When the Holy Spirit is working in a person or in a church, you are going to see some fruit and some changed lives. If you don't see 'fire' happening around you, it may be smothered with some sinful junk. Poke at it with God's Word. Get that fire going again.
Do not treat prophecies with contempt?
A prophecy is a God-inspired message. It is of the most importance delivered by someone to share with folks that need to hear it. We can't just ignore it or laugh it off. We should compare it to God's Word and apply it if the message is to us.
Just because a preacher says it, doesn't make it true. Test everything that appears to be right with God's Word. That way you'll know for sure.
Hold on to the good?
Always remember the good things the Lord has done. This will help you keep the faith when the troubles come.
Avoid every kind of evil?
The best way to prevent sin from happening is to avoid the temptation. Turn away from it. Don't allow it around you. For the church, don't sugar coat God's Word for the sake of evil. If the Bible says something is wrong, don't allow it in the church. According to Paul, this was God's will for the church. We are all being sanctified by simply living the Christian life. Our ultimate goal is to live like Jesus.
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