Summary: Expository sermon dealing with attitudes toward one another, circumstances, and the Holy Spirit in the life of the church. Clip from movie "Ice Age" illustrates attutudes toward one another.
Healthy Attitudes for a Spiritual Community
If you had only one minute to tell someone how to help their church be healthy and spiritually vibrant, what would you say? What issues would you address? What would you tell them to do—with only one minute to say it? That’s approximately how long it takes to read Paul’s words in the second half of I Thessalonians 5. He rapidly moves from one exhortation to the next as if someone were standing there with a stop watch saying you’ve only got one minute, Paul. So he packs in one statement after another telling them how to cultivate a spiritually vibrant church.
As many of you know, we at Grace Chapel want to be a community of Real People, experiencing the Real Power of God, and fulfilling Real Purpose in our lives. The emphasis is on the word “Real” because we absolutely refuse to allow religion to replace reality in our relationship with God and with one another.
The blind songwriter, Ken Medema, wrote the cry of our hearts when he wrote these words:
"If this is not a place where tears are understood,
Then where shall I go to cry?
And if this is not a place where my spirit can take wings,
Then where shall I go to fly?
I don’t need another place for tryin’ to impress you,
With just how good and virtuous I am.
No, no, no
I don’t need another place for always bein’ on top of things
Everybody knows that it’s a sham, it’s a sham.
I don’t need another place for always wearin’ smiles
Even when it’s not the way I feel.
I don’t need a another place to mouth the old platitudes
Everybody knows that it’s not real.
So if this is not a place where my questions can be asked
Then where shall I go to seek?
And if this is not a place where my heart cry can be heard
Where, tell me where, shall I go to speak?
Church needs to be a place where people can find God, hear God, grow in God, develop rich relationships with other people, and be encouraged not with superficial platitudes and religion but with love and reality. How many already know that those kind of churches don’t just happen by accident. There are certain principles and attitudes that we must live by to foster long term health and spiritual vitality. Paul lays many of those out before us in our text this morning.
1st He talks about our Attitudes toward ONE ANOTHER in verse 11-15
1 Thessalonians 1:11“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you are also doing.” Those words come after a lengthy teaching on the Coming of the Lord. Your hope and my hope is not limited to this temporal life alone. Everything in your life and my life is moving toward something—toward a great eschatological event called in the Bible, the Day of the Lord. Jesus went to prepare a place for His bride (the Church), the Holy Spirit is at work preparing us for a great wedding day—One day the clouds will break open an the glorious Son of God will descend out of heaven. Let me quote it from 1Thessalonians 4:16 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
In the light of eternity a lot of things that seem real, real big lose their significance. Are you living with an eye toward heaven? Are you living with an anticipation of His return? Just the mention of these things brings courage to our hearts. Guess what folks, when it’s all said and done, we win! For if God is for us who can be against us? We have good reason to be encouraged and a good reason to encourage one another. You will find Paul saying “one another” quite a bit in his writings—because he understands that this thing called Christianity is not designed for us to live alone but in community with others. It is God’s way to set the solitary in families.
Do these two things for one another. Comfort one another. Edify or build up one another. Now we will see more specifically, how we can do that as a spiritual community.
Verses 12 & 13 “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.”