Summary: We are tempted every day to do what is abnormal for a Christian. Instead of loving one another, we are tempted to snap at those around us. Instead of growing, we sometimes want to withdraw. Instead of living to please the Lord, we often get overly busy, d
Family Life, Family Love
Intro: During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director what the criterion was which defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.
"Well," said the Director, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."
"Oh, I understand," said the visitor. "A normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup."
"No." said the Director, "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"
-Well, I don’t know if you consider yourself normal or not, but in our passage today Paul lays out some normal expectations for followers of Jesus. And yet we are tempted every day to do what is abnormal for a Christian. Instead of loving one another, we are tempted to get grouchy and irritable and snap at those around us. Instead of growing, we sometimes want to withdraw from others and become ingrown. And instead of staying focused on living our lives to please the Lord, we often get overly busy, distracted, and caught up in everybody else’s business. Sometimes we even get lazy, expecting others to cover for us while we do our own thing. Most of us have been guilty of some of these at one time or another, so I don’t think they will be completely foreign to us as we look at them today.
-As we do life together as part of God’s family, we want to be sure we are loving and living the way He wants us to live. Let’s take a look at what that means.
1. God teaches us to love fellow believers
1 Thessalonians 4:9 Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.
-This is a family love Paul is talking about. He uses the word philadelpia, which refers to a brotherly or sisterly love. Unfortunately, we’ve all seen families where there wasn’t a whole lot of this to go around. But in God’s family that should not be the case. Why? Because God teaches us to love each other!
-Romans 5:5 God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Love is the result of being changed and led by the Holy Spirit. Love is the first fruit of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22. When we call on the Lord and ask Him to forgive us and become the leader of our lives, the Holy Spirit comes and lives within us. As human beings, we were created for the presence of God! Paul calls our bodies temples of the Holy Spirit. Together we are the temple of the living God!
-No wonder there is a supernatural change that takes place when we receive the grace and forgiveness of God! No wonder the Bible describes us as new people! God’s presence changes us and one of the first things that should change is our ability to love.
-Maybe you were driven by anger and you had a chip on your shoulder, but when you came to Jesus you found that fostering a nasty attitude was not in keeping with the life of God inside of you. That doesn’t mean that every angry thought just went away. But hopefully, you began to use what the Holy Spirit had put in your heart instead of stirring up the bile that was part of the old you.
1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.” Our ability to love changes when we receive the love of God!
-So this is why Paul can say, “I don’t even need to write you about loving one another, because God teaches you that from the git go!” Now, I believe that Paul is using a literary device to encourage them in a positive way while also clearly reminding them that they have a moral obligation as a Christian to love one another. What he is saying is that it is the responsibility and privilege of all believers to be like their Daddy (God) and to show love to the rest of the family. But we can’t stop there! Paul takes it even further in v.10, which brings us to the 2nd point.
2. God wants our love to keep growing
1 Thessalonians 4:10 And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.
-How could the Thessalonian Christians love their spiritual family throughout the region of Macedonia? They had suffered persecution themselves because of their faith in Jesus. Perhaps they had been able to pray for and give encouragement to other believers in nearby cities. Maybe they had collected an offering and had shared it with those in need.