Friday, December 19, 2008

Sixteen Power Truths in Eleven Verses (#5)

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you are as well.

Over the past few days we have been looking at 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22. In these verses are sixteen powerful, practical truths. This passage of Scripture has been some of my favorite since I was a young boy. Let me share it with you from the English Standard Version of the Bible:

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 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.

We have already looked at eleven of these truths over the past couple of days. Today, let's look at the remaining five:

#12 Do not quench the Spirit-

This phrase is taken from the way of putting out a fire, and the sense is, we are not to extinguish the influences of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Possibly there may be an allusion here to fire on an altar, which was to be kept constantly burning. This fire may have been regarded as symbolic of devotion, and as denoting that that devotion was never to become extinct. The Holy Spirit is the source of true devotion, and His influence is to never be extinguished in our lives.

#13 Do not despise prophecies-

To those who would extinguish the Holy Spirit Paul says: (1) "Do not quench the Spirit." (2) "Do not despise prophecies." The Holy Spirit is often pictured in the Bible as fire. To deny or resist the gifts or working of the Holy Spirit is likened here to quenching the Spirit. Perhaps the most commonly used bucket of water is the ancient saying, "But we've never done it that way before." Apparently, the gift of the Spirit most rejected by the religious crowd was prophecy. We must never reject or despise the workings of the Holy Spirit.

#14 Test everything-

We shouldn't make fun of those who are called to speak for God ("scoff at prophecies"), but we should always "test everything that is said," checking their words against the Bible. We are on dangerous ground if we laugh at a person who speaks the truth. Instead, we should carefully check out what people say, accepting what is true and rejecting what is false.

#15 Hold fast to what is good-

This is just as much a duty as it is to "test everything." A man who has applied the proper tests, and has found out what is truth, is bound to embrace it and to hold it fast. He is not at liberty to throw it away, as if it were valueless; or to treat truth and falsehood alike. It is a duty which he owes to himself and to God to adhere to it firmly, and to suffer the loss of all things rather than to abandon it

#16 Abstain from every form of evil-

Christians cannot avoid every kind of evil because we live in a sinful world. We can, however, make sure that we don't give evil a foothold by avoiding tempting situations and abstaining from every form of evil by concentrating on obeying God. Also, we are not only to abstain from evil, but also the very APPEARANCE of evil. We are responsible for perception and reality when it comes to our Christian walk and testimony.

Well, there you have it. "Sixteen powerful truths in Eleven verses." I love God's Word, don't you? There is so much good stuff to meditate on. I hope you have a great day and weekend enjoying the presence of God. Blessings!

Pastor Rusty