05 June 2010

The How To Manual


How To Manual
1 Thess 5:12-28

What is the one thing that gets overlooked by most people especially men.... when they buy something? A MANUAL!!! This is supplied by the franchisor to his / her as part of the franchise package to provide him / her with step-by-step instructions on how to set up and operate a franchised unit to the specifications and standards of the franchise. Basically a manual shows you how to maintain and use the product properly!

A owners manual shows you how:• To clean you’re electronic properly
• To put your new purchase together (table/entertainment unit)
• Many times of day you are to take your medication
• To install that part correctly to your car or truck
• Maintain and preserve your vehicle so that it runs at its best and last’s for many years to come

Why does everything we buy come with an instruction manual? The answer is simple! It’s important and vital for the purchaser...so that they get many years out of their purchase.....If we didn’t pay attention to the manual we could be in serious trouble!!! Though this might be extreme but it makes my point very clearly! In 1984 an Avianca Airlines jet crashed in Spain. Investigators studying the accident made an eerie discovery. The "black box" cockpit recorders revealed that several minutes before impact a high-pitched, computer-synthesized voice from the plane's automatic warning system told the crew repeatedly in English, "Pull up! Pull up!" The pilot, evidently thinking the system was malfunctioning, snapped, "Shut up, Gringo!" and switched the system off. Minutes later the plane ploughed into the side of a mountain. Everyone on board died. A tragedy that could have been averted if someone paid attention to the instrument panel; if someone had followed the franchises manual of operation!!!! The same principles can be applied to the Christian life.....God has given us a book (a manual so to speak) about what He requires from each and every one of us.  It’s a book filled with 66 letters about His glory and goodness towards His creation. It’s a book that will either guide you to Him or a book that will draws you away from Him “shut up gringo, shut up God." As we come to a close to this wonderful letter that is filled with God's:

• Promises
• Riches
• His sovereign grace
• His providential plan for His elect
• His plan for those who deny His grace and mercy

Paul finishes his letter with a sort of a manual for the Christian life.....”A to do list” of things until that blessed day comes! We have to remember how important the church is to God!

 The church is the most blessed institution on earth
 The church is the ONLY one built by the Lord Jesus Christ HIMSELF
 The church is the ONLY institution He promised to eternally bless “.....that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Eph 5:27
 The church is the institution that Jesus Himself declared “the gates of Hades will not overpower it” Matt 16:18
"Princes, kings, and other rulers of the world have used all their strength and cunning against the Church, yet it continues to endure and hold its own." John Foxe
 The church is a pillar and support of the Truth that God has given us through His word....."Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, there a church of God exists, even if it swarms with many faults." John Calvin

BUT!! We also need to understand also the church isn’t immune to: Difficulties, imperfect people, hardships, persecution, weak immature brothers/sisters and possiblly even unsaved (unregenerate people). But AGAIN!! We as a church need to recognize and deal with and build were building is needed: The weaknesses, imperfections, difficulties caused by sin! Why? Because the church is also faced with very strong opposition from:
Satan and his demons, his human elements (the unregenerate person who is here only to cause turmoil and division among the children of God......Paul finishes this letter by giving us a list of things to do keep a healthy church body as we wait....watch....anticipate the Lord to call us home! Because we need to realize that “if one part of the body is sick........ It affects the rest of the body!” And the first thing Paul says........look at (verse 12).

1. VALUE YOUR PASTOR (V12) you are my responsibility when I stand before the Lord one day!! Heb 13:17 “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” I care deeply for you and this church.......................I need you! I don’t do this for money or a job....................I do this because I care about your soul! I’m not here to win a popularity contest..................I desire your love for God and His church! I don’t find enjoyment in preaching messages that are going to make you upset with me or God. But the Bible says “I’m to preach the whole council of God” Paul says “who diligently labour (spiritual sweat) and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction” (verse 12) Al Mohler said when he talked to a group of pastors “We study, we stand before our people, we read the text, and we explain it, we reprove, rebuke, exhort, encourage, and teach and then we do it all over again, and again and again.” This is my life...............................He called me to you so that we could grow together. Will you help me or will you be against me?....................You have a choice to make.

2. BE AN ENCOURAGER AND COME ALONG SIDE THE IDLE (V14) Paul says “admonish the unruly” “Unruly” refers to: someone who behaving in a disorderly manner, someone who is idle and watching things happen before their eyes.... or someone who has a rebellious attitude towards a person or the church. (2Thess 3:11-13) Paul says “admonish the unruly” warn, or alert someone of their behaviour! It doesn’t mean being judgemental or critical in “I’m better then you mentality."  Rather in a caring kind of warning against danger that lies up ahead if they continue. A great example is found in Act 20:31 “Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”

3. COMFORT THE FEARFUL AND DOUBTING SHEEP (V14)“The fainthearted” literally means the small souled....the worried sheep...They lack boldness to accept challenges whether they required being more involved or new challenges presented by the church. “The weak” the fragile who are in the faith...those who’s faith may not be strong enough to enjoy the freedom in Jesus Christ. “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.” Rom 15:1-2. Paul says “encourage and help those who display this in their lives...come along side don’t stick your nose up and look down on them as second class citizens

4. BE PATIENT AND PURSUE WHAT IS GOOD AND NOT WHAT IS BAD (V14-V15). Display or show genuine longsuffering, grace even if that person tends to irritate you to resentment or anger. We are to show that same patience that Jesus did or does with you and me today! We all know the natural tendency is to lash out or strike back with an even heavier blow (v15) “evil for evil” Listen to this very carefully! There is no place for this behaviour in a Christian’s life at any time. You have no right to retaliate or the right to have personal vengeance on anyone. Paul wrote in Rom 12:19 "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. God is the ONLY one who has that right! You don’t even if you have a legitimate reason too! Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers! Jesus said we are to be gentle as doves among wolves. Seek what is beautiful and worthy for you and for those around you!! Not just the saved but the unsaved as well....Why? Because the world is watching us

5. REJOICE ALWAYS (V16) This literally means “at all times be rejoicing” this is the shortest verse in the Greek New Testament. See joy is the appropriate response at all times even despite your present circumstance. John MacArthur said “truly joyful Christians will always have a deep seated confidence in God’s sovereign love, and mighty power on behalf of His own, and in His providential working of all things according to His perfect plan” Paul talked about his true joy previously in this letter (1 Thess 3:9).

6. NEVER QUIT PRAYING (V17) This is God’s divine mandate (unwavering command by God) to His set-apart children“without ceasing” means “constant” Prayer is not some unending activity of kneeling and intercession; it’s a heart attitude and a way of life! Prayer is a continual attitude a Christian who takes God’s command seriously. The last thing you want to do is take what a holy God says lightly! Especially when He demands...commands you to do something!! Which in this context.....prayer!......Paul says never stop talking to God.......no matter what! Take for example found in the parable of the man who needed bread for his guest (Matt 11:5-10).

7. ALWAYS HAVE A THANKFUL HEART (V18) Do you realize the opposite of this....... is the very essence of the unregenerate heart? Giving thanks to God should be the Christian’s natural response! Shouldn’t it?
When you read this in the context of this letter! We find such great examples through this newly born again church. They were thankful despite what they and Paul were facing “persecution for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This direct and bold statement leaves no room for the Christian to be unthankful! Col 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Heb 13:15 “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Eph 5:20 “giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ," The Christian life should be a constant life that demonstrates your love for Him and your love for others......That only comes by having a thankful heart! Why? (verse 18) This is your sanctification (your practical sanctification)!! What is God’s will for my life?.................ANSWER is found in these 3 verses 16-18!

8. BE SUBMISSIVE TO THE HOLY SPIRIT (V19) How do I do that? By not quenching the Holy Spirit “Quench” means to extinguish...stifle, to suppress, to suffocate. Don’t douse the Spirit by engulfing yourself in deliberate unrepented habitual sin! Paul is saying sin quenches the Spirit’s work in us! Ryrie said “the Spirit is quenched whenever His ministry is stifled in an individual or in church." Do you realize when we quench the Spirit it causes a ripple effect! We grieve the Holy Spirit!..................... “by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Eph 4:30. We must be submissive to the Holy Spirits’ leading and directing in our lives. Paul said further in to the church in Ephesus to continually being filled by the Spirit.....Eph 5:15-18 “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,” When we are submissive to the Spirit................ your cup will overflow with His goodness and understanding in your Christian life. We must submit to Him! We must walk with Him as He is in the light. When we do this.............. you won’t stumble in the areas that He wants you to walk in!
“Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Gal 5:16, again this only comes by submitting to Spirit!

9. TAKE AND STUDY THE WORD OF GOD SERIOUSLY (V20-V21) Peter wrote “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20-21. When God’s word is being preached or read it is to be received with great seriousness!!!Let me ask you! Do you take this seriously?

• This is for our instruction
• This is for our benefit
• This is for our sanctification
• This is for us

Why? Because it leads us to directly to Him and all His glory in Heaven....“Prophecy” in the New Testament is above all meaning to speak the word of God.... Declaring the mind of God as it has been revealed in the Bible keeping with the context of this letter. The Bible says we are to be discerning and testing everything that comes before us
• Is it of God or man?
• Is it true or false?
• Is it authentic or a forgery?

Paul says “examine everything” Test everything to the Scriptures! We must have discernment (the ability to distinguish divine truth from error and half truths......) Act 17:11 “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Hold fast what is good and throw out what is false!

10. OSTRACIZE WHAT IS EVIL (V22) As I said a few weeks ago “Don’t do it” flee from all forms of evil or sinful pleasures. Paul uses strong commands here! “Abstain” means to hold, to restrain oneself from anything that goes against what God says! What is that? Paul says anything that is“evil” anything that is harmful or malignant. Could be even a distortion of truth or moral perversion. Basically anything that will cause you to grieve or quench the very Spirit of God that illuminated the very thing you’ve been saved from the evil from which you came out of. There are too many Christian’s that have one foot in the World and one foot in Christ. They want to see how close they can get to the edge before the fall or worse yet die!John spoke of this behaviour.......“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17. Paul says RUN, RUN, and RUN as far away as you can....because everything that is evil is not of God!!

What is the one thing that encourages a young Christian......a tired Christian........a restless Christian............or someone who is going through a really tough time? To Hear that someone is praying for you! Look at (verse 23-28) Paul finishes his letter by sealing it with a prayer of encouragement for the church..... He calls them God’s people..... set apart by Him............He calls them........ faithful.

Paul started his letter with the word of grace, now he closes this letter the same way....Remember Christianity is grace from the beginning to end! This is my prayer for you and me this morning!!! That we show one another that same love and grace to this body of Christ. Follow the instruction manual that you hold in your hands because it’s what shows you how to function as a Christian: No matter the culture is! No matter what generation you’re from!No matter what the world thinks! THE SUNDAY QUESTION: Are you taking God’s instruction manual seriously in your life? Because it's for you......

2 comments:

val said...
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Eddie Eddings said...

Brother, you should list your blog on my blog today. I wouldn't want others to miss out on the treasures you have on your site!

http://calvinisticcartoons.blogspot.com/2010/06/pastors-elders-bloggers.html

You can share a little about your blog and bless a good number of fellow pastors and readers.