"Practical Christian Living"

24/05/2015 13:53

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Date: 21 May, 2015

Text:  I Thessalonians 5:14-22

Title:  Practical Christian Living

 

I. We must live right with acquaintances.

            A. Those who are brothers.

            14  Now we exhort you, brethren,

exp. Anytime you read the word brethren (which means brothers) it is speaking about the family of God. What follows this is instruction for believers.

quote: "Familiarity breeds contempt." (I tried looking it up inthe Bible and it isn't there.)

Note: That is not a Bible verse. The following are Bible verses.

ill. Paul has already said in 1Th 4:9  But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

John 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Joh 15:12  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

1Pe 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

1Peter 2:17  Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

1Jo 4:7  Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

1Jo 4:11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

exp. That is just a sample of the many times God commands us to love each other. (It must be important and we must mess up a lot on that if it is repeated so many times.)

ill.  In a home you have unwritten house rules. If you break the rules you are disciplined because breaking the rules hurts the unity and peace of the home.

exp.  We can have a great church "home" if we follow God's rules. So, here are some of them.

                        1. Stand up to those who are in disobedience.

                        warn them that are unruly,

ill. Unruly - is a like a soldier who breaks rank. He refuses to get in step with God's army.

def -  Break Rank - Fall out of line or into disorder; also, fail to conform, deviate.

note: God's expectation for our adherence to His truth is the same. He doesn't have one set of rules for one person and others for those who do not like the first set of rules.

THEY ARE CALLED COMMANDMENTS.

Joh 14:15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.

1Jo 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

def.  grievous - heavy to be carried. (They are not a burden.)

question: When I tell my children not to play in the road and in the car park, is it becaus I am mean and restrictive? Is it because I know how fun it is to play in those places, and I want to keep them from that joy?

exp. God has given us rules because he knows what is in the best interest of our well being and what is in the best interest of His Church.

app.  For us to properly function, we must have the courage to lovingly confront those who refuse to submit to God's rules. God commands us to warn them.

                        2. Encourage those who are tempted to quit.

                        comfort the feebleminded,

exp.  Christian living is not an easy path. It would be an easy thing to throw in the towel and quit.

ill. Adonirum Judson - could have quit after 6 years with no converts. He could have quit when his child and wife passed away. He could have quit in prison. etc. But, he didn't quit and he is the translator of the burmese Bible. Thousands of Burmese have come to Christ because he didn't quit. I wonder how many times, his wife or another godly friend said to him, "Don't quit."

ill.  David Livingstone face recurring fevers and illness, danger and most painfully seperation from family. He had a huge impact for the Gospel and against the slave trade in Africa.  I wonder how often a Christian or brother encouraged him not to quit.

app.  We are all tempted to quit at times and we need to encourage each other to press on.

When is the last time you encouraged another believer to keep on for the Lord? Galatians 6:9  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

                        3.  Strengthen those who are physically weak.

                        support the weak,

exp. Some of the greatest glimpses of God's grace have come through the physical weakness of God's people. But, they were strengthened much by the prayers and support of the body of Christ.

ill. Paul had a physical infirmity that may have been his eyesight. He prayed about it but God saw fit to allow it to remain.

2Co 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

note: But, the church in Galatia cared for Paul when he was physically weak.

Ga 4:13-15  Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.  And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.

app.  What a privilege we have as a church family to support one another when their is physical weakness.

            B. Those who are/or are not.

exp. Paul now broadens the application to include all men.

                        1. Be patient.

                        be patient toward all men.

we could add a lot of....

            1.) Even if they pull out in front of you and drive very slowly.

            2.) Even if they treat our kids unfairly (in our minds)

            3.) Even if they don't give us what we feel like we need and deserve.

question: Have you ever found yourself impatient towards someone?

note: We joke and laugh about it - BECAUSE we really struggle with it. But, Paul commands it.

2 Timothy 2:24  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

ill. I recently had a cyclist pull around me and I got annoyed and beeped my horn. "My wife asked me why I couldn't just be kind." That was a good question. It has stuck with me.

app.  We need to be patient. Jesus didn't get impatient with the disciples or with the pharisees. He rebuked both but he did so lovingly and only when it was needed. He also took a lot of grief from both.

                        2. Be kind.

                        15  See that none render evil for evil unto any man;

exp. If someone does you a bad turn, don't give the same back to them.

note: Our world isn't like that.

quote: "It's a dog eat dog world." "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth!"

ill. Donald Trump "If someone hits you, hit them so hard they never get back up to hit you again."

note: That is our world. But, how different our Lord is.

1Pe 2:23  Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

ill. He is the One who said....

Mt 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

ill.  Our world says, "Count to ten," "Don't blow your top."

note: But, Jesus tells us to say or do something nice , pray for something nice (sincerely) for them.

app.  But, at the very least, we are prohibited from returning evil to anyone.

                        3. Be good.

                        but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

def: Pleasant, agreeable, enjoyable, appropriate....

note: Just because good works do not save - does not mean that we should cease being good.

Psalm 37:23  The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

Matthew 12:35  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things:

ill. The testimony of Barnabus - Acts 11:24  For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.

app. Can people say of you, "He's a good man?" NOT JUST NICE/FRIENDLY/HELPFUL - but good. Oh, are you right with others this morning? We must live right toward others.

 

II. How to live with a right attitude.

            A. Smile a lot.

            16 ¶  Rejoice evermore.

exp.  The wisest man Solomon had a lot to say about the benefits of a cheerful attitude.

                        1. A bright countenance.

Pr 15:13  A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

                        2. A satisfied soul.

Pr 15:15  All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.

                        3. A healthy body.

Pr 17:22  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

exp. Your attitude and your demeanor go hand inhand. Your attitude and your health go hand in hand. 

ill. Marriage counsel at a men's retreat - "laugh together"

2 weeks later my wife - bending the hitch haul -etc. We had a great laugh about it.

app. We need to laugh individually, in our families, in our church and we need to have a happy, cheerful attitude. EVERMORE - at all times. (God said it not me.)

            B. Pray a lot.

            17  Pray without ceasing.

exp.  Don't get out of the position of intercession. 

note: God does not expect you to go to your prayer closet and never come out. He expects you to go to your knees (in your heart) and never get up.

ill.  In our day, we have technology that allows us to communicate with our spouse no matter where we are. I can communicate without ceasing with my wife even though I am away. But, if I tie up the line or leave my phone, I'm unable to call her.

app.  What God desires of us is that - we have our phone with us and the line open to Him. We ought to often find ourselves praying no matter where we are.

            C. Thank a lot.

            18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning           you.

exp. Paul has done it again - He threw in a "in every thing." God's will is that we thank him for every circumstance in our lives. We often forget to thank Him for the good things but he wants us to thank him for the "other things" as well.

ill.  Caleb - 19 years old - type one diabetes - bone and lung cancer.

app.  He can only have such a great attitude because he is able to thank God for the 'bad' and the good.

ill. Job - 2:9-10  Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.  But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

app.  If you want to have a right attitude - Don't forget to thank God not only for the good but for every situation you find yourself in.

 

III. We must live with right actions.

            A. Obey God's Spirit.

            19  Quench not the Spirit.

ill. To quench is to put out the fire! You have to use something that disagrees with the fire like water or sand. They smother and kill the fire. When the fire is out - you have nothing to heat you, cook your food, illumine your path, burn up your rubbish.

app. God's Spirit does all those things when he is active in our life. He warms us up spiritually. He prepares good food for us. He lights up our path. He burns up our rubbish.

But, we can put out His flame! Don't do it. We need the Fire of God's Spirit.

            B. Obey God's Word.

            20  Despise not prophesyings.

note: When God has spoken to His people through a human instrument - God expects His people to listen. WE HAVE A BOOK FULL OF MESSAGES FROM GOD TO US.

question: How do you treat this book?

ill. In countries where the Bible is prohibited, they treasure Scripture. Sadly in countries like ours, the Bible is just another book.

app.  Would your daily routine change if the government confiscated your Bible? Don't despise God's prophetic message to mankind.

            C. Test everything.

            21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

exp.  Test doctrine and test practice. Make sure that is what God's Word teaches and make sure what you do agrees with what God's Word teaches. Once you find good - don't let it go.

ill. Fruit examination at apple orchard - bad apples are discarded and only good apples kept.

app. We ought to test the fruits of our life with God's Word - discarding the bad and keeping the good.

            D. Avoid sin where it is found.

            22  Abstain from all appearance of evil.

ill.  I've recently had people who were not interested in attending an event if someone else was there. If so and so was going to make and appearance, they would abstain from attending.

app. That is the way we need to be about sin. If wickedness is there, we shouldn't be. God wants us to stay away.