Walking the Path of Envy
I. The message of God comes to Thessalonica
A. The capitol city of Macedonia
1. about 100 miles from Philippi along the Roman Egnatian Road
a. Amphipolis (about 30 miles from Phil)
b. Appolonia (about another 33 miles)
c. Thessalonica (about another 37 miles)
B. 200,000 people—major Greek city—a free city
C. Had a synagogue
D. Paul's custom
1. reasoning (dielexato)-an open-ended discussion
a. Allowed for serious questioning
b. Pointed toward spiritual things
2. explaining (dianoigw)-to open up completely
3. demonstrating (paratiqhmi)- to point out by laying alongside
E. The response
1. Some were persuaded
a. Some among the Jews
b. A great multitude of devout Greeks
i. Those who attended the synagogue regularly
ii. Including prominent women in Thess.
(a) Social standing
(b) Macedonia was somewhat more matriarchal in its culture
II. The outworking of opposition
A. Some Jews were not persuaded
1. Choosing their flesh over the invitation of the Spirit
2. Forced to react defensively to the gospel
3. One negative reaction to the gospel focused on here: Thessalonica—envy
a. (zhlwsante")-to experience strong jealousy and resentment
b. Same root as our word zealous
c. Has negative and positive connotation—two sides of the same coin
4. In Phillipi it was anger over lost profits—the material component
5. These Jews were choosing to remain in the flesh rather than to receive the life giving message
6. We can choose to walk in the same path
a. Romans 8:1-11—walking according to the flesh
b. Ephesians 4:17-24; 30—we can choose to enter into that again—greives the Holy Spirit
B. Unconfessed envy never remains silent—it will work itself out in the form of resentment
1. Envy causes internal turmoil
2. Envy seeks alliances
a. It's not hard to find those willing to enter into sin
b. Professional operatives for hire in the agora
i. The market place of ideas
ii. Like a lobbying firm in the worst sense
c. Envy is contagious
3. Envy causes outward turmoil
4. Envy attacks those associated with its focus
a. It will settle for less for a time
b. It wants to be satisfied
c. Illustration: Running the perimeter at USNA
5. Envy will reveal its true heart
6. Envy leaves a landscape of disruption and turmoil
7. Envy repels those outside the conflict
C. What to do if you find yourself confronted by envy
1. If someone else's envy is crossing your path—distance yourself from it
a. Give the Holy Spirit room to work
b. Allow God to be your defender
2. If you find yourself walking the path of envy take a lesson from the Berean Jews
a. Contrasted with those in Thessalonica
i. Off the Egnatian way
ii. A much smaller town
iii. A simpler life
b. Grounded in the word—a daily habit
i. Results in an eagerness
ii. (proqumiva") An eagerness, readiness
iii. Not only to hear but to take part—other uses involve a tangible evidence of eagerness
c. Allow the Scriptures rather than the flesh to guide action
Romans 8:1-11 (NKJV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,
4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Ephesians 4:17-24 (NKJV)
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,
18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;
19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But you have not so learned Christ,
21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,
23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:30 (NKJV)
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Proverbs 1:10-19 (NKJV)
10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;
12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit;
13 We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil;
14 Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse”—
15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path;
16 For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood.
17 Surely, in vain the net is spread In the sight of any bird;
18 But they lie in wait for their own blood, They lurk secretly for their own lives.
19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners.