Summary: A summer themed sermon that used a lot of sources from Sermon Central.
Are we there yet?
1 Thess 5:23-24
Intro: There’s a handful of movies that if I’m flipping through the channels and see one of them on, I will stop to watch it…regardless of my wife’s protesting. A lot of them are Chevy Chase movies, Fletch for instance. Another one is any of the National Lampoon Vacation movies. The premise: A family goes on vacation, and if anything can go wrong, It does. Much like real life vacations.
Ask: Who here has been on a vacation with a child? No matter how long the trip is, be it 5 minutes, 5 hours, or 5 days…you are bound to here that wonderful question, “Are we there yet?”
Ask: Have you ever asked that same question in terms of the Christian life?
Maybe things are going right for you spiritually, or have been for a little while and you may be thinking to yourself, “Hmm…am I there yet?”. Or maybe it’s the opposite extreme, nothing is going right for you spiritually, you walk is more like a crawl, you feel like your prayers are stopping at the ceiling, and instead of saying “Good morning Lord”, you wake up saying “Good Lord it’s morning.” And with all of this you are wondering, “Are we there yet…and will I EVER be there?”
The fact is, the Christian life is a journey, and it takes time and when we feel like it may never end…to some extent that is true. The life we now have is eternal, so it will never end. But the life in this body, it will come to an end, and at that time the struggle against the flesh will cease and we can become what Christ had intended for us to be.
So, where do we turn when we want to know, “Are we there yet?” The best place to turn is to God and to his word.
Read Text, 1 Thess 5:23-24 and pray.
Intro to passage: Thessalonica was the capital of a Roman province and known as a city of great commerce. The church in Thessolonica was known for it’s faith and charity, but was also known for focusing too much on one tenant of church doctrine: Christ’s return (this is a them touched on in both letters by Paul).
Paul’s purpose in writing this book was to confirm the young believers in the foundational truths, exhort them to live in holiness, and to comfort them in light of death and Christ’s return.
We can see traces Paul’s purpose in out passage today.
First Paul tells us:
1. God is at work in us.
Paul tells us that the Lord is working to sanctify us.
What is sanctification?
Define sanctification, AT Robertson defines it as “to render or declare holy, to separate from things profane” – In and not of, it is presented in the text as a wish for the future.
Something taking place and continuing to take place (open ended)
Difference between sanctification and justification:
Justification occurs at salvation: We are made just by the blood of Jesus Christ, our sins are wiped clean.
Sanctification begins at Salvation: It is the process of becoming more like Christ and ends when we reach the other side.
We are being sanctified “Through and through”, the entire Spirit, Soul and Body. (What is reborn is His, what is eternal is His, and what is temporary is His.”
What does God want from us, everything.
When we release our lives for God to move and work, wonders take place.
Gen 4, Moses questioned God on whether or not the people would listen to him, God asked him what was in his hand. Elaborate…
God is at work in us from day one of our salvation, taking us as clay and molding us into what He desires for us to be. The only thing that could possibly hinder that…ourselves.
Is God at work in your life?
Why not? Have you trusted Him for your salvation? And if so, are you not willing to let go of your life?
So, we know that God is at work for us, but we also find that…
2. We are preparing for eternity.
Spirit, Soul and Body are listed.
Once again, the Spirit is reborn in us at salvation, the body is a temporary shell that we use to relate to this world…but the soul is eternal.
Billy Graham will often preach on the value of the human soul, the eternal part of who we are.
What are becoming here on earth, what God is doing in our lives is preparing us for eternity.
John 10:10, Life more abundantly…life eternal.
Notice, Paul also mentions Christ’s return…so we need to be ready for that event that may bring us into eternity.
A lot of interest in eschatological issues…the end times. With war comes questions about the end times. Issues in Israel also. The Left Behind books have raised a lot of interest.