Summary: Paul urged the believers in Thessalonica to follow the example he had lived before them, walking in a way that would glorify the Lord, revealing the transformation they had received. We too have received this mandate - to walk worthy of our calling.
Continuing in the Faith
1 Thessalonians 2: 10-12
We have set aside this day to honor our graduates. We are proud of each of you and the commitment you have shown to reach this milestone in life. No doubt, your journey has been difficult at times, requiring much effort and devotion. Your hard work and commitment has paid off, as you have reached the goal you began to pursue many years ago.
This is an exciting time for each of you, but it is also a critical time as well. Your life will change following graduation. Many of you will pursue further education, and some may even enter the workforce. Whatever the case, life will be much different. You will enjoy freedom that you have yet to experience. You will be called upon to make decisions for yourself, without the benefit of a parent being there all the time. With these new found freedoms, also comes great responsibility. You are no longer children, but young adults. I wish you all continued success, and I pray you will remain committed to walking with the Lord.
Our text today is a fitting passage for a graduation service. Paul wrote to young believers in Thessalonica, and challenged them to continue in the faith. While he was unable to be there with them, he sought to remind them of the great truths they had learned. He desired the church to continue for the Lord, even in his absence. Certainly that is my desire for our graduates, and all believers. As we go about our daily lives, we face situations that require our response. We do not always have the benefit of being in the presence of fellow believers. Even then, we must remain committed to the faith and our Lord.
With our graduates in mind, I want to examine the lessons of truth Paul shared as we consider the challenge of: Continuing in the Faith. First we notice:
I. The Example of Paul (10) – Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe. While Paul never claimed a life of sinless perfection, he had sought to live faithfully for the Lord. The church had witnessed his life, and Paul desired them to imitate the example he had provided them. As believers, whether young or old, we too need to imitate the great example Paul left for us. We discover, he had lived:
A. A Life of Holiness – Paul had walked before the church, and the world, in a manner of holiness. This was not something he developed while at Thessalonica; it was a way of life for him. Each day Paul lived, he sought to live holy before God. He lived a separated life from the world – a life totally set apart to God. His life was not dictated by the pleasures of sin, and he sought to walk with God each day.
You would have to agree that we are in need of those who will live holy before the Lord. Holiness cannot be pretended. We either live for God or we don’t. Many see folks who claim to love the Lord on Sunday, but their lives don’t reflect that love throughout the week. We need to be separated, set apart unto the Lord. Graduates, I urge you to seek a life of holiness.
B. A Life of Righteousness (10) – He also lived justly. That literally means “righteously, properly, and upright;” dealing righteously with both God and man. Paul was just and right in all his dealings. He always treated men fairly and compassionately. He sought to treat them as he wanted to be treated and as God would treat them. He saw them as God saw them.
We too must seek a life of righteousness, living upright before God and men. Our lives must reveal the grace and love of the Lord. We must see others as Christ sees them, loving them as He loves them.
C. A Life of Blamelessness (10) – Paul also sought to live unblameably. He desired to live “blameless, without cause for censure, above reproach.” Phil.1:10 – That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Sincere has the idea of “judged by sunlight; without wax.” Phil.2:15 – That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.
The world closely watches the lives of believers, seeking any means for accusation or reproach. We must all seek to live our lives above reproach, blameless before the world. That doesn’t mean we will never be accused, but when we are, we have lived in such a way the accusations will not stick. Guard your testimony before others. If you tarnish your reputation, you will hinder your ability to be a witness for Christ.