Summary: what do we need to do in the army of Christ?
Next week we will celebrate Communion and we will finish 1 Thessalonians, hooray! Today we will focus on v14-15 of 1 Thessalonians 5.
We noted that this letter was not only for the Thessalonian Christians 2000 years ago but for all Christians till Jesus returns to earth. As we anticipate the appearance of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for us, we are to understand and follow the instructions given in 1 Thessalonians.
And so, let us open our Bibles to 1 Thessalonians 5…. Read along with me v14-15….
How important are these instructions? We noted last week that the power of God through the Holy Spirit is available to every Christian as they follow God’s instructions. We also note the emphasis of God’s instructions here in v14; God’s messengers states “we urge you”! Other English translations indicate an exhortation, in other words, Every Christian, not just ministers or leaders, Every Christian must personally take a stand on (commit to) these instructions!
The underlying principle behind this passage is allegiance and order as in the military! You see, Every Christian is in the army of Jesus Christ and there is a battle going on! If one professes to be a Christian, their Commanding Officer is Jesus Christ. Every Christian is to be allegiant to Jesus Christ and order must be maintained! Do we see ourselves allegiant to our Commanding Officer Jesus Christ on a daily basis?
And so, as Christians, what must we commit to, maintaining allegiance and order?
1. Warn those who are idle!
What does it mean to warn? The original Greek narrative here is to counsel with confidence based on God’s truths! Warning is not finger-pointing or pushing our own opinions! To warn as Christians, is to counsel with confidence based on God’s truths! And so, the next time we have an urge to warn someone, are we really confident that what we want to say is based on God's words?
And those who are idle? Again the original Greek text alludes to those who refuse to observe God’s truths! In other words, those who are idle are ignoring Christ’s orders! Doesn't this all make sense? Those who are idle are ignoring God's Words and so they need to be counseled with God's Word!!
2. Encourage the timid.
Encourage means to cheer on! The timid is one lacking in courage or confidence. Do you know any Christians who need encouragement in faith? Yes we are to pray for them, but we also must cheer them on to fight the good fight of faith! Many of you have seen movies in which a battle is about to happen and you see the fear of those who are not confident; then an encourager, a cheerleader comes around to encourage, “they’ll never take away our Freedom!”, “We Will Not Go Quietly Into the Night”, “strength and honor!”
We are to be cheerleaders for Christ and we must also be helpers for Christ.
3. Help the weak.
Whatever the help needs are due to lack of ability (one’s weakness), whether it is spiritual, emotional, mental, or physical, whoever has the ability to help should help; ability of course means you have the resources, time, and capability to help.
And so remember, we should all have an urge to help someone, but before you commit to helping, ask yourself, "Do I really have the resources, time, and capability to help?" If the answer is yes, then help!
And whether it is you who needs help or trying to help someone; we also must remember the next instruction;
4. Be patient with everyone.
Whether you need help or you're trying to help someone, be patient! What does it mean to be patient?
Christians are to be long-suffering for all people! This is so easy to do isn’t it?? – Not! Personally, there are people I just can’t stand; I am then reminded again of my own sinfulness. As mere humans, we cannot be long-suffering to those who offend us, but as Christians we can by yielding to the power of God the Holy Spirit within us!
And as Christians yield to the Holy Spirit, they will also be capable of doing the command in v15;
5. Do not pay back wrong for wrong but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
In summary, our main thoughts should always be,
Since as a Christian I am in the Army of Jesus Christ:
- I am in a battle in which Christ already won!
- I will therefore be allegiant to my commander Jesus Christ!
- I will yield to God the Holy Spirit who empowers me to be a good soldier!
the Full Armor of God gives us specifics on how to yield.
And since many of us like movies, remember that movies are fantasy but we live in the reality of life with sins abound. As Christians we are in a battle against evil which our Commander in Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ has already won! And so, the next time you hear a battle cry in the movies, use it for real life as a Christian by adding “in Jesus Christ!