Sermon -01-06-2008 - Guidelines for 2008
NORTHEAST HOUSTON COMMUNITY CHURCH
Sermon – Guidelines for 2008
Scripture: 1 Thess 5:14-23
We are in another year given to us by our God. What resolutions and how many have you made only to forget and to break. The first clues that you will forget and or break is that many will not even write them down.
Why then do we go through the exercise of saying them? I think it is because it makes us feel good and demonstrates good intentions.
There are list of resolutions that are already written for us along with many other for every year and even every day. Today I want to present to just one set found in 1Thess 5:14-23 for your consideration. To encourage you.
Paul opens this message to the church at Thessalonica with an exhortation.
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.
Exhort = to urge strongly. He is speaking to brethren = fellow Christians (followers of Christ). This does not apply to nor is expected of Non-Christians.
1. Warn the unruly – Those are people that are disruptive and think that God’s rules and expectation do not apply to them. They make their own laws even modifying or ignoring God’s laws. Warn them.
2. Fainthearted – those that are losing hope. We are to be an encouragement to them. Every time our name is mentioned in prayer isn’t that encouraging. We are to do that for others so that they know it. Look around you, everyone you see needs encouragement of some kind. Let us make sure that when people come to NEHCC, guest and members alike will find encouragement. Encouragement is different from patronizing. (Pretending to be flattering and encouraging but not meaning it in the heart.)
3. Uphold the weak – those around us that are not as strong as us physically, financially, emotionally, intelligently or as confident as we are. To uphold is to step up beside. We uphold them against others that may tend to talk about them or bring them down.
4. With all we are to be patient as God has been patient with us. We all have faults and we all as Christians are a work in progress.
Patient: 1: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint 2: manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain 3: not hasty or impetuous.
James 1:3-4 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. NKJV
Patience is a product of faith through testing. Sometimes the tests are subtle and sometimes the tests are right in your face. Either way if we exercise faith knowing that God is in control, that things will work out, and that God only wants the best for us, patience will develop. We will have patience to wait on God, and we will have patience with others.
15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
Do not return evil with evil. We are going to have people mistreat us, misunderstand us but as Christians we are to respond differently than the way the world responds. Seek that which is good for us and for others. Being upset is not good for anyone, carrying a grudge is worse for us than for the person we are carrying a grudge against. Let provocations go (example –road rage).
Sometimes we get so upset about something that may be an honest misunderstanding on our parts or theirs. (Has that ever happened?) Have you ever felt that someone was upset with you and you did not know the reason why? If I turn that statement around would you have ever been guilty of being upset with someone and they had no idea why? I ask you, who is that good for?
It is probably the worst example of pride, deceit and disrespect. Know this that God is not pleased.
Look how the problem spreads. First it is the person that initiates the evil or is perceived to have done so. Then there is the person to whom the evil has been done to or perceived it to have been done to them. Then it is the people (ALL) that are around or know if it. If we seek to pursue that which is good for all everybody wins. Grudge holders are being used by the devil.
16 Rejoice always,
Phil 4:44 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
One evidence of rejoicing is on your face in the form of a smile. How does a smile get there? It can get there because you heard a funny story; that is an external stimulus. It can get there because you had a pleasant thought; that is an internal stimulus. People who go through life only smiling when they have been externally stimulate are people that are not very comfortable to be around. You really don’t know if they want to be there.
Compare that to a person that as soon as you make eye contact there is a smile or at least a pleasant look on their face. Doesn’t that make a difference? We love a smile at the checkout counter, a smile from the doctor, a smile from our parents, our children and our Christian brothers and sisters. If you are not in the Lord then it becomes hard to rejoice.
17 pray without ceasing,
Phil 4:6-7 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. NKJV
Who does not want peace of mind? Prayer, supplication and thanksgiving will guard/protect the heart and mind of the Christian.
I don’t know about those that only go to God in prayer when things are going bad. Some people are anxious about everything (extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear about what may or may not happen) and the Word of God say, “be anxious for nothing.”
If you find yourself getting anxious about certain things and you feel you just can’t help yourself, then get away or leave those things or people alone.
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I know that some things may be out of your control, but most things are in your control. Whatever the case give thanks to God for this is His will for you.
It may be God’s will for something we call bad, happen to us , but I may be His way of getting your attention to get you back on the right track.
Have you ever wondered why it is a good thing for you to be burnt if you touch a hot stove? First you will make every effort to get away from it before you get hurt badly; second you will stay clear of it in the future. Thirdly you will approach it or tell others to more carefully. And fourthly you will be able to warn others of the danger. I think you can make that application to life. So even when hurting things happen to us; they are for our good.
God has made it clear that it is not His will that any should perish.
2 Peter 3:9…but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. NKJV
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
Quench - b: to put out the light or fire c: to cool suddenly d: to cause to lose heat or warmth
Don’t “diss” the Holy Spirit. Don’t cause the spirit to lose His affect on you. We do this by ignoring the right to do the wrong. Don’t ignor the will of God to do our will our way.
20 Do not despise prophecies.
Prophecies are words from God. Some prophesies can be changed and many are conditional. They come first as a warning and then as judgments. If you respond first to the warnings you can miss the judgments. Some people do not go to church because they cannot stand the warnings and judgments in the word of God.
In the battles of life, as in all battles, there are always at least two plans; the plan of your enemies to destroy you and the plans of your allies to bring victory. You cannot have victory without knowing either plan but to know both plans victory will be a lot easier.
21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.
Eph 4:14-15 4 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, NKJV
Don’t be swayed by every wind and doctrine. Test them and that which is good hold on to it.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; NKJV
In the late 1970's there were over 600 major Christian denominations in the United States alone. One religious website estimates that today there are around 34,000 Christian groups in the world and over 1,200 Christian denominations just in North America. Many of these teach mostly truth, but have allowed a small amount of untruth to become doctrine. Others look pure on the outside, but are far from the "original" on the inside. It does not matter to the Devil, he just doesn't want people to get to know the Lord and so he will do anything to lead people to believe his lies about God.
22 Abstain from every form of evil. NKJV I like the KJV 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
It is not good enough to just be right we have to look right. We very seldom get to see beyond the surface of things. Our judgments and opinions come largely from what we see on the surface.
When I was in sales, I often had to have lunch with clients and sometimes those clients were women. Someone walking by could assume I was cheating on my wife. Even our innocent acts can cause others to question our level of Christianity.
Now the normal response we give to people that think like that is, “I don’t care what they think, I know I am not doing anything wrong. Let them think whatever they want.”
Well let’s look at the response and ask WWJD. Matthews gives us an indication as to what Jesus would do.
Matt 17:24-27 24 When they had come to Capernaum,* those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, "Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?" 25 He said, "Yes." And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?" 26 Peter said to Him, "From strangers." Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. 27 Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money;* take that and give it to them for Me and you." NKJV
Rom 14:21 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.*NKJV
We do not live our lives by the rules of others, but by the rules of God for the glory of God.
1 Cor 10:31-33 31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. NKJV
If your life is all about you then we can say, “Let them think whatever they want.” But if we want to live our lives to the glory of God and to build His kingdom then that requires a different attitude.
If we promote the attitude of “let them think whatever they want to think” it will not be long before our attitude will be “Let God think what He wants to think will become evident by our willingness to do before God that which is displeasing.”
At every Christmas people try to put things together without reading the instructions and many times that which they are trying to put together becomes broken or does not work right. Life is the same way. Read and study the instructions.
The Word of God is the instruction manual for a life pleasing to Him and always best for us.
John, Romans, Proverbs, Acts to start.
|New Year’s Resolutions |
of Joseph, Son of Jacob
|1||Get pants of many colors to go with the coat.|
|2||Get rid of the T-shirt that says “I’m Dad’s Favorite.”|
|3||Don’t fall for the old “we’ve got a really neat pit to show you” trick.|
|4||Never listen to the boss’s wife.|
14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve* apostles with Him.
15 Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;
16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."
17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves;
18 for I say to you,* I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. NKJV
Suggested 2008 Resolutions
1 Thess 5:14-23
1. Warn those who are unruly.
2. Comfort the fainthearted.
3. Uphold the weak.
4. Be patient with all.
5. Do not render evil for evil to anyone,
6. Always pursue what is good both for you and for all.
7. Rejoice always
8. Pray without ceasing
9. In everything give thanks
10. Don’t be swayed by every wind and doctrine.
11. Test doctrine and that which is good hold on to it.
12. Abstain from all appearance of evil.