Summary: Paul ended the first letter to the Thessalonians with a grab bag of commands and instructions. These form a basic introduction to Christian attitudes and behaviors. If we can incorporate these simple basics into our lives, we will be very effective in o
A. Children often say some of the funniest things, and yet children occasionally say remarkable or insightful things.
1. Here are some insightful gems from children:
a. “Never trust a dog to watch your food.”
b. “When your dad is mad and asks you, ‘Do I look stupid?’ don't answer.”
c. “When your mom is mad at your dad, don't let her brush your hair.”
d. “A puppy always has bad breath - even after eating a Tic-Tac.”
e. “You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.”
f. “If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse.”
g. “When you get a bad grade in school, show it to your mom when she's on the phone.”
h. “Felt-tip markers are not good to use as lipstick.”
B. Sometimes we make things more complicated than they have to be.
1. Some of the most important lessons and principles of life are simpler than we think.
2. Over 20 years ago, Robert Fulghum came to prominence when his book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (1988), stayed on the New York Times bestseller lists for nearly two years.
3. There are currently more than 16 million copies of his books in print; published in 27 languages
4. Here is his list of the things he learned in kindergarten that he has used throughout his life:
• Share everything.
• Play fair.
• Don’t hit people.
• Put things back where you found them.
• Clean up your own mess.
• Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
• Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
• Wash your hands before you eat.
• Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
• Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
• Take a nap every afternoon.
• When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
• Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
• Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
• And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.
5. Those are very simple yet profound principles for life.
6. And isn’t it amazing that we learn some of the most important lessons in life in kindergarten.
7. If we can just hold onto those life 101 lessons, then we will be much more effective in life.
C. The same is true about our spiritual lives – If we just hold on to the Christian 101 lessons, then we will be more effective.
1. As we turn to our text today from 1 Thessalonians 5, we see that Paul concluded his first letter to the Thessalonians by giving them what looks like a grab bag of miscellaneous exhortations and instructions.
2. Scholars have long debated whether such sections in Paul’s letters reflect specific issues in a particular church or are merely generic admonitions that have no specific connection to the circumstances of the recipients.
3. In my opinion, what we see here is more generic than specific.
4. What I think that Paul was doing was trying to give the young church at Thessalonica some basic guidelines in Christian behavior that covers a number of areas.
5. So I’ve titled today’s sermon “Christian Behavior 101.”
6. Rather than making the Christian life very complicated, we need to keep it simple.
7. Let’s spend some time quickly touching on these basic commands and principles given by Paul.
8. I have grouped them into three categories to help us organize the material.
I. Guidelines for Leaders
A. The biblical section begins: Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you (1 Thess. 5:12).
1. Paul begins by addressing two key factors to the health, growth and maturity of the church – godly leadership and graceful followership.
2. Verse 12 begins with a command for followers to respect their leaders.
3. What is assumed in the verse is the fact that the leaders are being godly leaders.
B. So what are the basics for the behavior of godly leaders?
1. Godly Leaders must Work Hard.
a. The word Paul used here that is translated “work hard” means “to toil, to strive, to struggle, and to grow weary in doing so.”
b. It means to labor to the point of sweat and exhaustion, to work until we are weary.