Summary: For things a healthy Christian does.
“The Healthy Christian”
August 9, 2012
“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.
And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”
This is just some good ol’ fashioned instruction in Christian Living. Paul was writing to a church family that he had planted some years before and obviously, he was concerned that they ‘got it’. This entire letter is chock full of some wonderful teaching in Christian living. Then in this section he is wrapping it up. My NIV verse labels this section “Finial Instructions”. It’s very practical. It is very relevant. This is where the ‘rubber meets the road’. Take a look at some of the instruction.
“Respect your Pastor; live in peace with each other; warn those who are idle and disruptive; encourage the disheartened; help the weak; be patient with everyone; make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong; always strive to do what is good for each other; rejoice always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances; do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies (or sermons) with contempt; but test them all; hold on to what is good; reject every kind of evil; be entirely given over to the Lord.”
WOW! That is a lot of good information. You can get an overload from it all. You can be overwhelmed with all this information. It is the will of God. He wants you to be this way. He wants you to be Christlike in these areas.
The good news is ‘we are not on our own’. Notice Paul says, “The one who calls you is faithful, and HE will do it!” Aren’t you glad you are not on your own? This standard is too high for us; this desire of God for us is too much for us in our own strength. But if we will ‘sanctify’ ourselves (or give ourselves to God completely) HE will do it.
This is all good stuff, but the part of this Scripture I want us to think about today is:
“May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Verse 23b, NIV)
“And the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (ASV)
“And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).”
“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ.” (Message Bible)
I want you to clearly see that God is interested in our WHOLE being - not just our spirits. He is also concerned about the purity of our soul (which is our mind and emotions) and our bodies. He wants it all separated unto Him. In other words, He wants to be in charge of it all. He wants you to be pure spiritual; He wants you to be pure in your mind, thoughts and emotions; He wants you to be pure in your body – sexually, habits, what you eat and drink, etc. He wants us to be pure through and through.
I call that “Healthy Christian Living”. “Some people will tell you it doesn’t matter what you do with your body! It doesn’t matter what you do with your mind. It doesn’t matter what habits you have. You just need to accept Jesus as your Savior.” There are a great many teachers and preachers to ‘tickle’ our ears, as 2 Timothy 4:3 says in the KJV. The NIV says, ”to suit their own desires.” And what is it that our flesh wants? What do our itching ears want? To hear that it is okay to do what we want – as long as we invite Jesus into our heart.