Dec 10, 2017 – Set Apart and Growing
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: 1 Thessalonians
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 (ESV)
12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
25 Brothers, pray for us.
26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.
27 I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Jesus calls us to a distinct life where we are set apart and grow (“sanctification,” v23).
I) This is God’s will.
- vv16-18 rejoice, pray, give thanks (always) – God’s will (4:3 “the will of God, your sanctification”)
- vv12-22 – pictures of a new way of life
II) It won’t be easy.
- v15 – doing good, not repaying “evil for evil”; v14 be patient; v21 be discerning
III) God will do it.
- v23 “may God Himself sanctify you…”
- v18 “will of God in Christ Jesus”
- v24 He is faithful, He will do it
Questions for Reflection
- How would you like your life to change? What challenges are there in making these changes?
- Jesus calls us to be set apart to live lives with a new focus and purpose. Is that appealing to you? Scary? Confusing? Do you believe you have stepped into the Christian life fully and are striving to live within the coherence of God’s ways? Are you skeptical about taking that step, and if so, why? Do you have one foot in the Christian world, but not fully in – if so, why?
- Do you complain in all circumstances, speak to yourself in grumbling, do you always see what you don’t have? What keeps you from rejoicing, praying (speaking to God), giving thanks? What steps can you take to see things in a new light? How does understanding God’s purpose in your life being sanctification help you discover good even in hard circumstances? How do you form the habits of rejoicing, praying and giving thanks at all times?
- Why do you want to repay evil for evil (when the desire comes to “pay back”, what motivations are there, what are you experiencing)? How do you do good consistently? How do you do good, but not be controlled by fear, perpetuate injustice, or ignore evil? Is there a way to work against evil without embracing the agenda or tactics of those who do evil?
- How can you be sanctified by faith? How can you trust God in a way that leads to your being proactive to do what He delights in? How do you maintain confidence in God? What does it look like to be responsible but recognize you need God’s strength?
- God’s will for his people “in Christ” is that they rejoice, pray, give thanks? How is being “in Christ” essential to this?
Prayer of Confession
Our Father in heaven, while you are wise and good and invite us to live lives that lead to peace and joy, we are so skeptical, cynical, fearful and self centered that we resist fully embracing you and your ways. We do not live at peace with all people, we are not patient, we are not discerning, we are not persistent in doing good. Forgive us for envying when we should be thankful, for grumbling to ourselves when we should be praying, for complaining when we should be rejoicing. We ask that you would sanctify us completely, with thanks that in Christ we can trust you to continue your work in us. Amen.