Summary: As Christians, this may sound counter-productive to ministry! However, Paul lets us know that sometimes it is better to be seen than heard!
Some time ago, I was presented with a challenge! A lady within my home congregation said something about a sermon she had never heard. She said that she had attended church since she was 6 and never, EVER heard a sermon on this scripture! Far be it from me to back down from a challenge! So tonight I want us to look at I Thess. the fourth chapter and evaluate an important lesson in life that all of us, from the youngest to the eldest, can take to heart and apply. I have entitled this sermon The Quiet Life, and as we are about to find out, there’s nothing easy or silent about this way of living!
READ I THESS 4:11
I. THE QUIET LIFE
Today, the phrase "quiet life" suggests one of rest, or silent. But we as Christians are suppose to exude zeal and passion for the Christ we serve, right? Taken literally in our terms, being "quiet" is in conflict with proclaiming the gospel. Let’s look at it this way:
(Reference Steven Dow’s Illustration on Aqueduct)
In our language, the word "quiet" refers to sound. However, when the Greek is investigated, we find a much broader range of meaning. When we look at the ways that this Greek word is used, we see an underlying theme of tranquility of spirit. So quiet doesn’t mean we sit in our pews and become bumps on logs. We must remain faithful to Christ and serve Him however we can, or else be destroyed by our idleness.
Who better than Paul himself to demonstrate this quiet life in action. In Acts the 17th chapter, Paul went to speak to the Jews of Thessalonica and several formed up a mob to get him. (READ ACTS 17) Rather than fight, he went on to the next city. Just a few verses up in verse 10, look at what happened. (READ VERSE 17:10) What do we see here! Not once, but twice, the very city being wrote to about the quiet life attacked Paul. Notice that Paul doesn’t slam them around, call them names, point fingers, or attack their character. In love, he demonstrates resolve that more Christians need to exhibit in this modern time. Instead of undermining them, he seeks to build them up and motivate them to action!
Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and when exercised, our lives will be characterized by an inner strength and peace that Paul is referring to here. People should be able to see Christians as being at peace in times of conflict, not given to outbursts of anger, criticism, or violence. The first reaction to conflict should be one of strength and direction. Love will always open more doors than anger or exorbitant emotion. Passion is essential if we are to be solid Christians, but there are also three little letters that can come before that word that can make a world of difference. When Jesus saw the multitudes, what did He feel? COMpassion! If we are to seek the quiet life, we must first seek compassion for God’s desire in our life, the needs of others, as well as for our own needs. Does this give us free reign to correct everyone we see making mistakes? Paul warns us to...
III. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
Paraphrase: Keep your nose clean and keep it out of others lives! This also sounds a bit contrary to the gospel, doesn’t it? How can we tell others that they have a sin problem if we don’t get into their business? There is a difference here between showing concern for an individual’s spiritual needs and becoming a “Busybody,” seeking nitpicky excuses to get involved in the lives of others. Yes, we should watch out for one another’s welfare. Yes, we should also seek to help each other overcome our weaknesses. And, no, we can not make these words sound like we shouldn’t seek to reprove, rebuke or restore an erring brother!
Just as in the case of Paul and the Thessalonians, he saw that a spiritual need was there and it needed to be corrected, and thus he writes them. Did he seek to intimidate them or embarrass them? Did he go to a committee to back his actions up? No! He confronted them on his own and in the Spirit, and reproofed them accordingly in love. Now I know that most of the time, we don’t seek to cause problems or blast someone. But, I know in my own past that I am guilty of this as well. If we can get too involved or too passionate about service over self-control, we end up pushing people further away than they were when we started. This goes for Christians as well as the lost. What happens when someone who works for the kingdom makes a mistake? If it is the first time, do we A) bring it before the Church publicly, B) talk about it behind the individual’s back, or C) pull them to the side and privately and in love speak about the problem? According to Matthew 18:15 and Acts 18:24-28, the answer is C.