Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-24
This passage is really full of meaning here, full of hope and more. It really could be the subject of a few blog posts, but there are a few things I really want to share with you today.
These words come at the end of the first letter to the Thessalonians, and in the NIV are headed “Final Instructions.” This is basically a list of things that Paul needed to share with the Thessalonians. It’s a great list of goals for a Christian. Acknowledge those who work hard, hold them in the highest regard. Live in peace with each other. Encourage the disheartened (sometimes interpreted as “Strengthen the disheartened”), help the weak, be patient with everyone.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. Those last three are wonderful calls to what we should do. We should always rejoice in what the Lord is doing in our lives. We need to pray continually as it’s through praying that we establish and maintain our relationship with God. We need to give thanks in all circumstances. Not just in the good times, but also in the bad times. Romans 5 says that “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope.” So in the bad times, in our sufferings, we should give thanks because we know that it will create character and hope. That doesn’t make it easy, but knowing that gives us hope. Thanking God always gives us hope, because we have God’s love, that “has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5)
Finally, Paul shares this benediction: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” We don’t know when Jesus will come. It’s difficult for us to make ourselves blameless. We must humble ourselves before God and allow him to chip away those things that keep us from being the reflection of Jesus.
My officer shared this video on the Sunday Night service yesterday. There’s all this stuff that we have in ourselves that keep us from being God’s original masterpiece. It’s like those paintings that are hundreds of years old. They need to go through restoration, and the difference at the end is incredible – it is the original masterpiece once again. Are you willing to let God chisel away all the things that have been added to your life, and allow yourself to be God’s original masterpiece once more?
Forever God is faithful. Forever God is true. Forever will his mercy flow to you, and forever will he embrace you, and be willing to restore you. Be faithful, because the one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.
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