Date: 24 April, 2018
Text: 1 Thes. 5:15-22
Title: Living the Good Life
According to Collins dictionary, the phrase, "Living the good life" means that they are living in comfort and luxury with few problems or worries.
That definition is almost Biblically correct.
If you changed your ideas of "comfort" (comfort of the Holy Ghost) and Luxury (God's gracious provision) you would have a good definition for the Biblical good life.
The good life would be the blessed life of those who are following that which is good.
GOD WANTS YOU TO FOLLOW AFTER THE BIBLICAL GOOD LIFE.
15 .....but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
IT IS THE GOD BLESSED LIFE of Psalm 1
Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
To have the good life - YOU MUST FOLLOW THE GOOD. How to live "the good life" THAT IS BLESSED OF GOD?
I. Have a good spirit. (Be providentially optomistic)
16 Rejoice evermore.
exp. To rejoice is to be of good cheer. We are to rejoice in Jehovah!
Nehemiah 8:10 .....neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
ill. Working as a counselor and having to motivate team spirit. We had to come up with our own cabin cheer and perform it on a weekly basis with our cabin. We also had team cheers. When you cheer you are not supposed to be frowning and you are supposed to be excited! We were seeking to motivate a GOOD TEAM SPIRIT! Inevitably you would have a bored frowny person who had a very perceptable bad spirit! You always hoped it wasn't your whole cabin/team.
note: A bad spirit really effected the performance of the team and the enjoyment of the activity.
exp. God COMMANDS US to have a good spirit about life. (The good life isn't found in a grumpy attitude.)
ill. Team from Grace Baptist in Taylorville. Man in the wheel chair. He was a large man and I got to push him around Stirling Castle and around Edinburgh. I didn't mind - because he had a really good Spirit. He didn't complain. He enjoyed what was going on around him. He was thankful.
question: God says to rejoice evermore - in contrast - Have you ever thought about how much we complain?
1.) About the weather.
2.) About our health.
3.) About traffic.
4.) About our schedule.
5.) About our food.
6.) About our problems.
7.) About our work.
exp. Do you know it may be as easy as rather than complaining - just rejoicing in God with those same things.
app. The good life is in rejoicing in God. How excited are you about God and what God wants to do in your life? Do you have the good spirit God wants you to have?
II. Have a good relationship. (talks with God)
17 Pray without ceasing.
exp. Always be in an attitude of prayer and inclined to go to God.
ill. At Bob Jones we had a place called the dating parlor. Where couples could meet up and "study" together. There was an unserious side (game tables) and a serious side (sofas.) The DP would close at 10:00, guys would hurry back to the dorm and to call their girlfriends on the landline. Then first thing in the morning they were meeting for breakfast. Why? Because they were in "love" and had a very important relationship going on. When you love someone you want to constantly speak with them.
Men who have experienced the good life - pray.
ill. Daniel wouldn't miss his prayer time for anything.
Dan 6:10 - Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
ill. David - Psa 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
ill. Jesus - Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
ill. Man who set record holding up Dinne Stones for 34.58 seconds. One stone weighs 318.5 pounds and the other 414.5 pounds - "James said lifting the stones is not about how strong the grip is, but is about pain management when holding that kind of weight for so long. During training, his weights got heavier, he held them for longer, working on his grip and practicsing yoga for pain management and breathing techniques."
exp. I've got a cheeky answer to his pain - just put the stones down. Obviously he was challenging himself to hold the stones up - THERE IS NO PRIZE FOR YOU FOR CARRYING YOUR BURDENS.
NOTE: Don't turn to yoga or seek pain management. Go to God in prayer - set your burden down.
how?- 1Pe 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
ill. Trust fall at the Wilds - camper falls backwards off a raised platform into the outsretched arms of his cabin - with the hope that they will catch him.
app. Are you too burdened to enjoy the "good life" which God wants you to have? Don't "try praying" pray and let God take your burdens away.
III. Have a good attitude. (of gratitude)
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
exp. Ingratitude is contrary to Christ.
Luke 17:12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
exp. Only one of these men pleased God - he was the man who was grateful to God.
note: "In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
exp. Really? In every thing? Not just the good things? Even when I am being tested? (IT IS THE WILL OF GOD?) WOW!
ill. Thinking about this message when returning from Beatsons for the second time without the window stain which I had gone there to get. 1st time - closed, 2nd time - not in stock. I thanked God although I didn't know why. At B and Q - got 10 year instead of 5 year. Returned items of equal value which I needed to return and didn't pay anything.
ill. We had a family share a story with us - they were supposed to be on a flight but someone had forgotten to bring their passports, they were upset at each other and having to wait at the airport. Then it got real quiet in the airport as everyone started to watch the news. The plane that they had missed had just crashed killing everyone on board.
app. How grateful are you to God? What have you thanked Him for today? Has he not done much already for our benefit? Are you a thankful person. An ingrateful person will not know the good life.
IV. Be a good fire.
19 Quench not the Spirit.
exp. The Holy Ghost came at Pentecost in the appearance of "cloven tongues of fire." God says, "Don't put out the fire of God's Spirit."
note: The Holy Spirit is the person of the Godhead who resides in you if you are saved.
ill. At men's camp it was difficult to get the fire started because of rain the day before. We had just started the fire and someone suggested burning cardboard boxes. The problem is that boxes smother "quench" fire. They choked it of oxygen which it needed to burn.
question: What quenches God's Spirit? A spirit contrary to His own. It chokes the outflow of God's spirit.
Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.
28 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.
29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Exp. You won't grieve the Spirit of God if you crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts.
app. Are you a good fire (letting God's Spirit burn through you?) You won't be able to experience the good life God intends without HIS POWER HELPING YOU to pray, to rejoice, to give thanks, to live obediently - THE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO IS GRIEVE YOUR BEST HELPER.
V. Be a good listener. (Getting the message from God.)
20 Despise not prophesyings.
def. Despise - to view as contemptable.
ill. It the rich old lady looking down her nose at the beggar child.
exp. Prophesyings is this. It is me standing up here teaching God's Word. Prophesying is Bible reading (personal Bible study.) What is your spirit towards God's Word. Do you despise it?
ill. God's messengers are often despised by those who despise God's Word.
1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
1Co 4:10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
Students who despise studies - will fail.
Young men who despise the law - will lose their liberty.
Young people who despise their purity - will reap youth pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted disease.
People who despise health warnings about drugs, alcohol and cigarrettes - will reap death.
THOSE WHO DESPISE GOD'S WORD WILL REAP SORROW IN LIFE AND ETERNITY IN HELL.
app. If you despise it - YOU HAD BEST REPENT AND EMBRACE IT. You'll never know the good life of God without being a good listener to God.
VI. Have good tastes.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
exp. This does not mean to sample sin.
Romans 16:19 ...but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
exp. We are to test it with God's Word and only do that which you know is right.
Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
ill. NYPost "In 2010 at a friend's party, strapping 19 year old rugby player, Sam Ballard swallowed a garden slug as a dare. Sam contracted a rare disease - lapsed into a coma for 420 days and became a quadra palegic.
exp. What Sam didn't know nearly killed him and drastically affected his life.
App. Do you know today that what you are listening to, watching, friends with, social media, games, etc IS GOOD?
The good life is for those with GOOD AND GODLY TASTES.
VII. Have a good testimony.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Exp. When evil shows up - don't be there.
Pro 22:3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
ill. Gideon's 300 men - God chose them based on their alertness to danger.
Judges 7:5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.
6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.
7 And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.
exp. How alert are you to the danger of wickedness? Are you VERY GUARDED in your life or very casual.
ill. Immodest statue that my youth pastor and I were embarrassed to get our picture in front of and hearing him say, "My son thinks Americans are very prudish."
exp. Only a fool is careless in a battle against a great enemy. You will not know that good life if you are tripped into sin at every corner and have a lousy testimony. RUN FROM THE PRESENCE OF SIN.
Are you living the Biblical good life? Good spirit, relationship, attitude, fire, listener, tastes, testimony? THAT IS THE GOD BLESSED GOOD LIFE!
Living in comfort OF THE HOLY SPIRIT and luxury (PROVISION OF GOD) with few problems or worries.
Be reminded this morning that God commands us to "follow that which is good."
Do you have a good spirit? (rejoicing)
Do you have a good relationship? (praying)
Do you have a good attitude? (of gratitude)
Do you have the good fire of God's Spirit? (Or have you choaked Him out of your life with sin?)
Are you a good listener to God? (Or do you despise His message and messengers?)
Do you have good tastes? (Godly)
Do you have a good testimony? (Staying away from the appearance evil?)
Surely we can see this morning that this is the way to the good life which God has for us! FOLLOW THE GOOD!