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Walk Worthy

1 Thessalonians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  27:56
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In the NFL, there is perhaps nothing more disappointing than to see a number one draft pick not living up to their potential. These young men have a world of opportunity before them, but they squander it by not focusing on the game. This situation is analogous to the one every new believer experiences. Scripture makes it abundantly clear that just as some college players are chosen to play in the NFL out of the mass of college football players, those who are Christians are chosen by God out of the mass of fallen humanity. The difference however, is not that God see superior merit in those whom He chooses, but He choose on the basis of His own free grace and purpose. The Apostle Paul clearly teaches this in Romans 9. Using the example of Esau and Jacob, he writes:
Romans 9:11–13 ESV
though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
This is not an isolated doctrine that appears only in the book of Romans, as we have already seen, the doctrine of election is one of the major themes in the book of 1 Thessalonians:
1 Thessalonians 1:4 ESV
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,
If you believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord it is not because you are smarter or nobler than other people, it is because God chose you before the foundations of the world! This means that each of you are one of God’s number one draft picks! He has chosen you for a purpose, just as a NFL team chooses a college player for a purpose! This is why Paul wants to make sure these new draft picks in Thessalonica live up to their calling. Turn with me to 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12:
1 Thessalonians 2:11–12 ESV
For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
At the end of verse 12, we discover that we have been chosen by God with two purposes in mind:
To Walk Worthy of Our Calling Into God’s Kingdom
To Walk Worthy of Our Calling Into God’s Glory
In order that none of us here today would fail to live up to our calling, let us examine each of these callings carefully.

Walk Worthy of Your Calling Into God’s Kingdom

Paul frequently uses the term “walk.” This is a Hebrew way of speaking of the way a person lives their life. We do this in English as well. For example we will say, “Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk.” So, to exhort, encourage and charge someone “to walk in a manner worthy of God,” is to say “live in a manner worthy of God.”
The first area Paul has in mind is God’s Kingdom.
The Kingdom of God is one of the overarching themes that ties all of Scripture together. The Kingdom of God is the realm of God’s reign. This reign is perfectly realized in heaven and it originally appeared on this earth as the Garden of Eden. There, God created Adam and Eve, as divine image-bearers, they and their descendants were given the task of reflecting God’s glory and extending His Kingdom over all the earth! Of course, they failed in their calling before they even got started by eating the forbidden fruit!
God could have given up on His plan, but in His love and mercy He called Abraham and his descendants to bless all the nations of the world by acting as priests who would represent God and extend his Kingdom rule over all the earth. Again Israel failed, they could not even submit to God’s rule within the borders of Israel. Rather, than priests to the Gentile nations, Israel became their enemy. Paul writes of this in this very chapter:
1 Thessalonians 2:14–16 ESV
For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!
In the midst of all this failure, we read in the pages of the Old Testament about a promised New Adam and New Israel—the Messiah. The Messiah was revealed to us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth! It is no accident that Jesus began His ministry proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Jesus accomplished what Adam (as an individual) and Israel (as a collective group) could not accomplish. This failure of Adam and Israel was planned by God to make it plain that our hope for a better world only lies with Jesus.
In the political turmoil of our day I find this very encouraging. Human efforts have and always will fail! God’s Kingdom is indeed found upon this world—it is found everywhere Jesus is proclaimed as Lord. It is found in His church! In this present age, Jesus is extending God’s Kingdom over all the earth by uniting people to Himself through faith. Moreover, there is a day coming when the evil kingdoms and political ideologies of this world will be overturned and judged. At that time, God’s Kingdom will be fully realized as heaven and earth are united into a New Heavens and New Earth!
It is this Kingdom that you as a believer have become an heir of. At that time...
Matthew 25:34 ESV
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
If you are a Christian, you are no longer an ordinary human being—you are a King’s Kid—you are a prince or princess!
Romans 8:16–17 ESV
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Our present situation is much like that of Prince Charles when he was in the Royal Navy. While he was in basic training he was the lowest of the low within the rank and structure of the Royal Navy, yet it was his navy! Notice the name, Royal Navy. He was and is a “royal,” the navy was and is his! I am sure his mother, Queen Elizabeth reminded him of this many times, especially when his behavior was not very “royal” like!
This is what God, through Paul, is doing to us today in 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12:
1 Thessalonians 2:11–12 ESV
For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
Now that we have these verses before us again, let’s look at the second thing God has called us to do...

Walk Worthy of Your Calling Into God’s Glory

The gospel message is not something that just has relevance in our lives at our conversion, but it has relevance in our lives now and into eternity. When the bible speaks of “salvation” it is speaking of an all-encompassing category for what God has achieved through Christ for His elect. All believers in Jesus have been saved from the penalty of sin (justification), are being saved from the power of sin (sanctification), and one day will be saved from the presence of sin (glorification).
As the God-Man, Jesus is the perfect image-bearer of God. To behold Christ, is to behold the glory of God and the exciting message of the gospel is this: When we are united to Christ in faith we share in Christ’s glory! Paul reminds us of this when he writes:
2 Corinthians 3:16–18 ESV
But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
This is why it is such a waste of potential for a believer to not live up their calling. Now don’t misunderstand me, we are assured in the New Testament that Christ will complete His work of salvation in us. For example at the end of 1 Thessalonians we read these words:
1 Thessalonians 5:23–24 ESV
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. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
The sanctification process will be completed by Christ and all believers will be glorified. However, in this life not all believers enjoy the same level of sanctification and glory, because not all believers “walk in a manner worthy” of their calling.
Again, think of some NFL draft picks who have wasted one or two years because they did not apply themselves to the game as they should. Thankfully, they matured and turned things around, but those wasted seasons were lost forever. Perhaps they would be wearing one or more conference or Super Bowl championship rings on their fingers if they had!
Perhaps this is you. How many years have you wasted by not walking with the Lord as you should. Have you forgotten that Jesus said there are rewards waiting for us in heaven if we faithfully serve Him? What rewards have your forfeited because you did not apply yourselves to your calling? It is true that your “glory days” are literally ahead of you, but that should not be an excuse to waste these days! These days are not days to be wasted—these are days to be giving your God your very best! Walk worthy of God who has called you into His Kingdom and glory!
Let us pray.
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