The duty of believers
1 Thessalonians 5:16-28; 10/10/2021; BCBC/IOUC; Rev. Paul Wang
When we believe in Jesus Christ, we become disciples of the Lord, also called believers. Some people forcibly separate disciples from believers, as if being a believer does not have to be a disciple. This is a great misunderstanding. Today we are here to clarify once again that if you believe in the Lord, you will be regarded as disciples of the Lord! Today, we will look at the duty of believers from the personal life rules of the believers, the principles of the church’s faith, and the rules of mutual fellowship. Let’s look at the first point:
Personal life rules
We often say that faith is the beginning of a relationship between a person and Christ. Do you agree? Therefore, belief is first of all personal, which brings up the question of the personal life rules of believers. First, rejoice always. Joy is an important life trait of a believer, right? When you believe in Jesus, you feel sad every day, with worry on your face. Do you think you are believing in the Lord? The main reason without joy is that you did not regard Christ as your only one. You still put your hand to the plow and look back. How can there be joy from entering the kingdom of heaven? The stock has gone up, you are happy! Your son is in college, you are satisfied. Once you lose your job, a car accident, an illness, a death, etc. Then you are crushed! Will it? The essence of joy is the transformation of values, from the world to Christ. Our good is not outside of Him, how can the world’s gains and losses affect our hearts? Our joy is even the best testimony of sharing the gospel, far better than our preaching, right?
Second, pray continually. The essence of prayer is to offer sacrifices to God. Why? Because every time we pray, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are proclaiming the Lord’s sacrifice, atonement, and salvation. In other words, the reason why we can pray to God is because Christ offered an eternal sacrifice once and for all. From then on, we can pray to God everywhere in the name of the Lord! How can such precious grace be missed? Therefore, we must pray more and more, never stop praying, praying everywhere, praying when we are weak, praying when we are discouraged, praying when we are desperate, and praying when we are calm and stable! Because more prayer means more strength, more prayer means more peace, more prayer means more joy, more prayer means more love, more prayer means more forgiveness, and more prayer means more peace!
Lastly, give thanks in all circumstances. Thanksgiving is an attitude, this attitude determines the height of your life. God redeemed us back with a great price, and this great price is God’s only beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Are you indifferent to God sacrificing His life for yours? Don’t you feel it in your heart? The Bible says that,”Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.“ This is the definition of love, this is the interpretation of love, this is the example of love, this is the meaning of love, this is the relationship of love, and this is the gratitude of love! Jin Yong asked, asking what love in the world is, asking people to promise life and death! Love in the world is like nothing in front of God’s love, it is not worth mentioning! Let’s look at the second point:
Church Faith Principles
From the individual to the church, faith has passed the personal life rules and is directly connected with the body of Christ. The church is connected with the covenant of Christ, with the name of the Lord, and with the calling of God. First, the agreement between the Holy Spirit and the Bible. According to logical reasoning, some people say that since the Holy Spirit is greater than the Bible, the Holy Spirit is still speaking today, especially to certain special characters, or this is called the so-called prophet speaking the same status as the Bible. However, what the Bible reveals to us is that the Holy Spirit reminds us of the words of Christ, convicting us, confessing our sins, and repenting. In other words, the revelation of the Holy Spirit does not surpass the Bible. This is the agreement between the Holy Spirit and the Bible for our benefit. Therefore, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit will only be within the scope of the Bible, including the weekly sermons of the pastor, which are all moved by the Holy Spirit. The ministry of the prophet also began with John the Baptist, and became the gift of the prophecy. The Holy Spirit moves believers through the Bible and is the criterion for God’s children to seek God’s will.
Second, the unity of sanctification and witness. Sanctification is the only way for believers, through the testimony we leave behind because we care about the name of the Lord. Everyone must be clear about this, otherwise it will leave a breach and be destroyed and tampered with by Satan. As anecdotal rumors say that the human spirit has been saved, but the soul has not yet been saved. This is contrary to the truth of salvation of the whole person in the Bible and deviates from the truth. We are saved by grace, but also by faith, not by works, lest anyone boast. Whether the soul is saved or not falls precisely in the trap of justification by deeds. Sanctification is a testimony of our efforts on the road of heaven, and there is nothing to boast about. It is true and proper to offer the body as a living sacrifice. Faith is to live out, not the words in preaching. Pastor and minister are not a profession, but a life witnessed on the road to sanctification!
Finally, the achievement of calling and faithfulness. Without God’s call, there would be no beginning of a believer’s life. Every believer who has been called by God is guaranteed by God’s faithfulness. Of course, the premise is that you must be a person who truly believes. The Bible does not guarantee false believers. Jesus would say to false believers: I don’t know you! The virgins who did not prepare the lamp oil, and the servants who did not prepare the dress, would be weeping and gnashing their teeth in the darkness. Do you believe it? Do you sincerely believe it? Are you truly called by God? The Son of God gave his life for you and me. Apart from being sincere and faithful to Him, what else is good to do? Paul said: The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24) Let’s look at the third point:
Rules of mutual fellowship
After Paul finished talking about the personal life rules of believers and the principles of church beliefs, it is time to talk about the rules of fellowship between believers, right? First, pray for each other. Praying for each other is an extension of personal prayer. Without a living habit of personal prayer, intercession for each other would be empty talk. Similarly, having individual prayers without interceding with each other is nothing more than self-centered self-talk. Our devotional sharing is the same. If you only practice your own devotions and don’t want to share it with others, then your devotion may just feel good about yourself. If the Lord does not use your spiritual journal to become a blessing to many people, what good is it? Just like if you earn the whole world and lose your life, what good will it be? Paul is here to invite: Brothers and sisters, pray for us. (1 Thessalonians 5:25) ， is an example we should imitate!
Second, be holy. Paul said: Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:26) The kiss here should be similar to French etiquette (Bijoux), kiss on both sides of the cheek, not a real kiss, the key is to be proper. The communication between believers should also be based on holiness. A male and a female alone must not be in the same room together. This is a principle of getting along with each other for church members. and I believe everyone should know it. Especially today’s social media such as WeChat, especially need to pay attention to the rules of mutual intersection. The church’s advice to everyone is “three people”, that is, when you interact with each other as a group of three people, Be candid and honest without leaving any gaps.
Finally, exhort each other. One is to share the word of God, and the other is to bless each other and speak gracious words. Paul said: I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters. (1 Thessalonians 5:27) The epistle written by Paul is the Bible, the Word of God. Now everyone starts to write devotionals, which can become the content of dialogue and form exhortations between each other. Where is your devotional scripture today? I have learned a little bit from your spiritual journal, and it will help me in my life of old nature! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (1 Thessalonians 5:28) This is Paul’s example of leaving blessings to each other, and it is also a reference for you and me to utter the kind words every day.
Well, dear brothers and sisters, the duty of believers, from personal life, church life, to the interaction between believers, what have you heard? What do you remember? How will you live out the truth?
Let us pray……
1 Thessalonians 5:16-28
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.