A Quiet Ambition - 1 Thess. 4:9-12
1st Thessalonians 4 at this week. I was asking the other pastors and I asked others to pray for me because I did not know where to go. I like many other things coronavirus kind of derail plans that we already had laid down. So this morning I felt like the Lord was basically thinking about how do how does the bible address our situation? How does the bible address where we are right now my heart much on my mind in recent days. And so I wanted to bring it to your attention and talk through it this morning. So alone.
1st Thessalonians chapter 4 and we're going to be looking at verses 9 through 12. All right 1st Thessalonians 4 912 this is what the word of the Lord.
Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write for you yourself have been taught by God so loved one for that and being what you are doing to all the brothers about Macedonia, but we argue Brothers to do this more and more and to aspire to live quietly and to mind your own Affairs and to work with your hand as we instructed you so that you may walk properly before Outsiders and be dependent on no one.
father as we consider your word and we think about what it means to love one another we think about a quiet life at something to Aspire to and we think about God our our task in this world and how we might best accomplish it. I pray that you would give us Direction and not just for the current days, but all the days to stretch before us for all the days that your church WIll face until Christ comes again. Lord I pray that we would walk in wisdom we would walk in peace that we would walk in uprightness and then we would watch the clearing your good news. Pray that we would not be swept away by Future got to pray that as we think about returning to normal.
We long for that and I pray that this is the right. Not crazy, but we honoring you no response to David today.
Obviously coronavirus has giving given us a entirely new situation to look into coronavirus has produced for us a great challenge. I asked the people of God has given us an opportunity to rise to the occasion and to be the people that got it in and it may pass without the people of God noticing without the people of God responding to it in a way that would honor our state and so this morning I want to look at this particular concern for how is it that we ought to live in light of our current reality? And I think that this package is particularly for that group of people had not been christ-followers long have a lot of opportunity to grow in their face before Paul had to leave and so he's riding to them in a situation that says here's to the bare minimum base Foundation that you need in order to accomplish what God has for you. It's important to recognize that this is not the full picture right? We have to balance all the scripture with the rest. And so this morning as we look at this passage, we need to understand it in light of the rest of God's revelation. We need to see it as being a part of what we are called to do. But we see that it resident with what God has called the first thing the attention to hear in this brief passage is he's talking about how do we live a life that honors Christ in light of our surround. I need to just got done talking to them about that and talk to them about sanctification about sexual Fidelity. He's talked to them about Holiness honoring God rather than man. And now he says concerning brother who love you have no need for anyone to write to but in typical Paul Bashi, are you going to say you've been taught by God how to do this? You've been taught by God how to love one another if you're already doing that for all the brothers got my brother's to do this more and more as we set this in light of the rest of scripture. We have to understand what is not the most important characteristics that we love real people that got the part in her life is the most important characteristic of Christ call. We can have all sorts of dreams. We can aspire to all sorts of Great Heights of relationship with God personally of action for God in this world, but if we neglect to love people we have missed what God has for us to do is the highest point. Today is in the midst of our current situation. Are we loving real people? And that Maps the first word love. Do we love and what is love?
It's not a series of butterflies are blooming motions love in the biblical sense love in this.
Is a willingness to lay down our lives. for the needs of those around Love laying down our lives for the people around not just the idea of people. I like the idea of more than I actually like it. He's got a laughing at me. I don't know if you're laughing at me at home. Right. It's so much easier to fall in love with your perfect image of what a person should be instead of loving the person who's actually in front of him. Now coronavirus has given us an opportunity to think about it was I was I in love with the idea of a person or was I love with the person I thought of you spent a unprecedented amount of time with the person that you play on YouTube some of you have spent more time in the past four weeks with the people in your house and you have in the entire year for eBay. Are you in love with the real person? Or were you in love with the idea real wish you were there? And that's what rice. Christ who the Bible says I am still willing to come and to love them. Are we loving the real people that God has put that's the question before us this morning and whatever you're doing in Love Hewitt.
It's a look at your own life and say what are those moments for myself as a Christ follower where I am actually sacrificing myself for the sake of those around do that more hands picture sell at love for real people that have a Hallmark. I hope of residents that we would love to just immediately. Here's what I want you to do spiders live a quiet life. do a lot of people to love the brothers more and more aspire to live a quiet aspiration where ambition and white ambition is usually something that's meant to push you. It's meant to lift you up if it's something that you're looking for. Personally, this is why he follows love the real people in your life with an Aspire to live quiet. A quiet life is a life that is not lived for its own snake. This ambition is not a personal ambition so much as it is a ambition of blessing others desire a quiet like now, this is become much in Vogue today in response to an incredibly busy and Incredibly incredibly fractured World many people calling for us to return to a simple life and that is sometimes painted in agrarian terms, right? If you read Wendell Berry, which I would recommend reading Wendell Berry return to the land. You have a whole lot of bread. Do you have to hold slow food movement pushing for a quiet life, but I'm afraid that's not what Paul is talking about when he was talking about. I don't think that's because I quiet.
Does a slower light benefit you does an agrarian life benefit the person he has absolute. but that's not what. He's just said I want you to Aspire to love. The real people in your life more and more. He's not shifting now and saying take care of yourself. So often our focus on moving away from the busyness of the world is a focus on what does it what does it benefit me self care is one that I find incredibly detrimental to the Christian ideal.
I don't know. I think it's elk are as it is currently being promoted in. Our culture is a poison that is deadly to the Christian. You cannot follow a gospel of self-care at the same time following the one who died on a cross for since he did not commit on behalf of people who hated you afraid even as he was dying father forget the exact opposite of a self-care life of a got to get some me time life of a I got to fill my cup first before I can minister to others laugh now, is there a balance here? Absolutely. Is it possible to burn yourself out thinking that you're serving others by just continually cutting yourself off at the knees. Absolutely. That's not what he's talking about. But that's also not what self-care is focused on self-care is focused on an old mystery overseas said this on Facebook.
When do we switch from self-care to others care? What if we missed by taking care of our own? We missed love for those around love the real people in your life more and more love those in need around you more and more aspire to live a quiet life. Not a self-care quiet life. Not a mess out of my way or the highway by some people have got it in their heads that the way to create. This quiet life is just a tune everybody out.
I spent way more time on Facebook then it's healthy for anybody to spend on Facebook in the last 4 weeks right as as the church has moved so much our ministry online. It's in the frankly. I've been looking for an excuse to get out of for the last year. I'm grateful for the technology, but I guarantee you as soon as this stuff is over and we're able to resume person in two-person meeting. I'm going to be off Facebook for awhile. You won't see. Because I'm in that time when I seen that I've seen so many of these toast. Putting out an opinion and seeing if you disagree with me just unfriend me. I don't need you in my life. I don't need that kind of negativity.
Since when is that the quiet life just shutting down any voice that would have us shutting down any perspective. It doesn't agree with mine Wyatt Paul is calling us to hear what that is kind of like, is it my way or the highway going to the people around me? Don't matter Only Ivan opposite of a quiet those around. It's not a my way or the highway life that shuts out those who would dare oppose us. as a matter of fact, I think it would it won't come if he is not a quiet life is not anyting any life is defined by anything other than Christ would not be living the quiet life. You're attempting to set up. It's not the life that Paul is calling us to the light that Paul is calling us to is a life that is defined by the example and practice and teaching of Christ as such as a quiet life with all this talking about First and foremost the kind of Life did Jesus smoke which in part was one that was based on a deep awareness of the sovereignty of God Jesus right heavy praying in the garden not my will but thy will be done. He teaches his disciples. Why is it so quiet life is first and foremost one that is based on a submission to the sovereignty of God. The right of God to declare to a business how you must live and no other way. A submission of our own desires submission of our own opinions to that submission of our own to God's rule, but it's also a quiet that is also a deep awareness of God, but it is not a light that puts on blinders. Focus on the task at hand focus on what we want to accomplish and ignore the people around us is focused on and deeply aware of the needs of those self promotion in favor of self-forgetfulness acting for the good ones self to the detriment of the good of others instead of preserving our way of life is there for serving our Fortune instead of preserving. Musician it seeks to maximize the benefits gained by those around them. Quiet life is a life that is constantly acting different moving to the country and becoming Farmers. It's not moving overseas and preaching the gospel. Is Allah the same God you are sovereign you've made me the way you've made me you've given me the opportunities that you get a new you. Send me the fan.
And I am going to submit to your pool and I'm going to honor You by loving and that's with an ex parte. We're all going to aspire to live quietly. A life is consistent with loving God and loving others and then the net part I love to mind your own Affairs now, depending on what translation you're reading from. You may have their mind your own business. That is a very biblical everybody expert everybody is an expert on the economy. We all have these opinions and me feel like the world simply must Have my thoughts on this subject simply must hear what I am thinking at this moment. I think that runs contrary all instructions is one in which we mind our own Affairs. We don't want to get involved. Just so others see us getting
we want to be those who get our involvement Kennedy defect change and Bless the people around but if I get involved in controlling others To sway others or just to be heard to make sure that we're not forgotten we ought to reject that out of hand mind our own business. Don't fall in love with the drama. A social media engagement on my biggest fears. They coming out of this time the church will gather back together and will it forgotten how to interact with real people and it will start interacting When We Gather is the church physically how we've been interacting digitally you're wrong and I'm right. No you're wrong. I'm right. No, you're an idiot know. That's not minding your own business speaking for the sake of Christ can be lured by your words speak now. If there is a possibility that Christ gospel the Christ character would be impugned by you speaking. Mind your own business. That's what Paul is saying. I'm not trying to control others.
That's really the part of so much of our modern society is based on Gathering attention for ourselves being the ones who received the spot so much of the New Testament is the focus on deflecting that Spotlight Max Pro.
We just left detention. We don't demand attention.
living the life that Christ would leave if he were me that is the business of the Christian as a we have to walk through our days carefully. Watching our steps that we not lose sight of things that we not lose sight of Christ making sure that we are focused on glorifying Christ in what we do. How do we do that? How how in the world? Can we do this live this quiet life that looks like Christ. How do we mind our own business? All is good. What you do mind your own Affairs work with your hands work with your hands. Now. This is a troubling passage to those of us who do not work in a career that utilizes our hands this lad well for the last I will tell you how long it take me a lot longer than But for the last several weeks I've been working on a chicken coop. We have chickens. We recently expanded our flock and they need more space and you know, what I found is getting to build something with my hands. Even though it's slow and even though I'm not that good at it. It has been an incredible. It's been an incredible to work in his field in which primarily is a mental field that you're writing or speaking or you're when you're working in a field that requires looking at a screen.
No, I don't think he's saying all of us need to go be Carpenters if that was the case. We have a lot of really unsafe buildings being. Some of us are simply not cut out for that kind of work not gifted for that. Work with your job. He's carrying on with the thought of minding your own business work with your hands would have been the primary missionary for the gospel preacher of the gospel. Maybe that's what he was talking about. The programming it could be.
Canino Road and Edition on somebody's ass it's whatever it is women. Enjoy men rather than are you doing what you're doing or how Christ as an able to provide for your family that where you just complaining about it. I used to fall into this trap a lot of complaining about the work I half rabbit.
Work was not a result of the Fall work was there before the ball work is good. It is a gift from God in Ecclesiastes. The writer says that we have to use our skills are ability our hands our brain. We should enjoy it and get done.
Is artwork creating. So that we can bless others or is it merely a means of consuming that we might less ourselves? I think one of the things that is deadly to a Christian understanding of work is that we would be primarily those to work. What do I do I suffer through the work week so that I can get to the weekend. That is the farthest thing from a that is a mess instead our perspective about to be I work to enjoy my creator.
I work to glorify Christ. I play to glorify Christ. Whatever. I do I seek to glorify Christ. Right. We don't want to be those who earn money in order that we might consume goods and services. We want to be those two in our work are creating a blessing for the others that we are creating a want to add value to our labor rather than simply Mark things up. What are the things that has happened in the modern economy is that there has been the goal of making money making money has become the goal. And so one of the easiest ways to make money. Vitamin for eyes turn around and sell it at a higher price not adding any value along the way. Now you can add value to buy something one place over here bring it to people who don't have it over here and sell it to them and make a profit that's adding value to a product. They could not get before.
Information economy. We have taking somebody else's creation and staying here and not pay me double what I paid for. It is not within this perspective of working with your We want to add value to others by what we bring to the table rather than simply marking up a product at the end of writing articles or we are making lunch or we are working in a factory or we are teaching at a college whatever it is. Not a burden.
We finally want to be Steward in rather than 40. Stewarding rather than board, right? The goal is not simply to obtain a mass of money is not simply to lay up a bunch of possession for his sake and for the sake of the people around us not simply add up treasure for ourselves more than anything else when we work. We are seeking to Steward what God has given us. We are not simply forwarding for our cell with you. I want you to love one another more and more. Here's how you do it you aspire to live a quiet Life by minding your own business and by working with your hands. What happened? Why does Paul say to do that so that so that you may walk properly before out so that you might walk properly before Outsiders. I'm afraid that one of the reasons that the church in America has lost its appeal is because we simply look like our culture instead of being different from and that is repulsive to me. What's the price for when they want to see their price followers are know what they want to see you something different.
Brothers and sisters this ought not be so.
Our culture we ought to be setting a standard we ought to be demonstrating in cry. The life in Christ calls us to which is meant to be an attractive. Come to me. All you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you
Is our light reflecting a attractive rest are we showing people who are quiet life or they just seeing more of the same film. Is that what they're saying? Were they saying something different? We should not have any cause to slander the gospel and how we live our lives. There should be nothing in how we work. There should be nothing in how we speak. There's nothing in our food cause people to reject Christ on anything other than price. We know that Christ will be a stumbling block Christ will be a point of contention. We should not have anything to eat. Is there has to be a stumbling block in somebody's approach to the gospel Let It Be Christ and not me. Levi kreis call and not mine lifestyle. Not only that but walking properly before Outsiders memes are life is not just not repulsive. It's not just walking in a proper way before The Outsiders is it we would be drawing people. is there would be something in the way be something in the ambition to Keyhole something in the in the words that we The people would sent a laugh. Do people with said this is so different from what I see in the culture in Texas, so it may not be popular. I'm listening to a book right now all alone on the wall rock climber Alex Honnold.
But here's this guy who has dedicated his life. rock climbing and he lives in the fan and he travels around the world just climbs the craziest thing a middle-aged man in a white 22 chickens. Two Goats dogs and cats and there's something very attractive to me about this idea of living in a van and travel.
I can feel that. Something is minorly countercultural. As that lifestyle not by the way that I'm advocating.
There's a pole that takes us away from Christ and they pulled it takes us towards Christ. Our Lives should be said that whether we live in a van and travel the world climbing rocks or we live in my half acre in Utah was a little Farmstead and a fan. I like to be something that people who see a safe regards. External reality that life my want what they do. There's something attractive about that where we draw people to Christ by Our Lives. I think seeing the quiet recognizing this is life has not lived for oneself for Christ. That should draw people to it. Nothing this point everything that I said. Maybe Shannon Lee. It certainly was challenging to me this.
But I want you to understand that living this kind of Life severely limits yourself expression that seek others care not self care that does not promote. Your agenda of others tried to demonstrate Christ did not demonstrate yourself this kind of life.
Do our own growth which would be a limit to us. The result of this life is ultimately personal reader. The result of this kind of life is ultimately personal freedom look like fault in you spiraling quietly because you want to love more. You mind your own Affairs. You work with your hands You Walk This Way to look for the sake of those outside. They might see the gospel. And be dependent on no one. being dependent on so many of us are dependent on What a lot of others so many of us find our worth. In the recognition that we received so many of us depend on the false currency of life and shares and comments. So many of us depend on the recognition of raises at money in the bank and attaboys from the boss.
Pompano Meister aspirations a little while, but you might be dependent person not any other number that we not be dependent on us now. This is not all saying that is Christian.
Did we ignore the body around us that we refuse to accept help at any point that we refused to admit?
It's no that where we got a balance this with the rest of scripture scripture. Very clearly called us to love one another kind of life that I have gifts that meet your weaknesses that you have gifts that me and you serve me. That's not what call me.
What year is it? We would have Rita. If we aspired to this quiet, but you need to provision of something for us from someone else that they can never get. No one can ever provide for us what we truly need not to depend on others. For that the goal is not here independent. right interdependent The goal is not Independence in the gospel. It is interdependence. We depend on one another and fairies not for the things that we ought not to receive the things that the body only how many of us have felt the lack of not Gathering.
Every hand has went up here. I don't know about you. Restart this lack.
clarifies what he needs later at 2nd and 2nd Thessalonians. He follows up and he said what you want to do is each of you work as you are able if a man will not work. Let him not eat our life should not be dependence on others provide
but God is also ordained the church.
And sometimes our needs are the ones being so dependent on no one needs to be balanced. What what we need to hear.
Particularly as those who live in a culture of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps, the self-made man. I'll just leave it here in this is not an endorsement of our lifestyle of radical Independence. What we need to hear here is the fact that we need we are not stuff. Meeting Christ and to those of us for whom it would be a Temptation for us to ask the church to meet me, but it cannot me to ask others to meet me. Cannot definition we need to recognize.
Recalled School dismissal to personal freedom being dependent on no one for the things that we can provide because of Christ gift to structure our lives in such a way that we don't depend depend on others continue which structure I live in such a way that we breathe in and we free ourselves. Juicer into meet me now. How do we know?
how to make sense we have to go back to Christ. This is such a fine line at such a balance in this passage is such a balance of saying how do we carry this out? How do we live for others and not for ourselves? How do we depend on no one and yet depends on the one another's how do we do this? Jesus shows Jesus shows us when he died. And then turns around and let others stories in the gospels is the story of the woman who comes to Jesus with the jar. and anoint Sandman He looks for any Outsiders are starting to think why would you let somebody like this because there was a lot of money.
She says let her alone.
Jesus had to do. Christ set us free. Through his example and through his death on the cross. He sets us free from a self-centered self-sufficiency. That would reject anybody else's claim on my life Christ revealed to us when he goes to defrost shows us what it means what the needs of others ahead of our own desire. But it also sets from living parasitic lives the dross physical emotional and spiritual assessment at the expense of those around us free from that by calling us and giving us Grace in the cross and things you cannot Earnest. You cannot buy this. This is the free gift of God salvation.
Play Set this free by saying to us now go and do the good work that I prepared in advance go and live the kind of life that needs to take the gift. You've been given and give this it does not afford it but shares. East Texas free until Christ demonstrated for in the call that he gets this do not do not live a life of learning. But also do not live a life of demand. It is driven by a holy purpose. To love God love others and make disciples.
When does 6 to benefit those around us instead of benefit ourselves? When does seeks to share the truth of the Gospel?
To reset our expectations to reset our thinking on this one. Just seeing it as something that is about me.