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I THESSALONIANS (18)
Eight Keys to A Happy Christian Life (2)
I Thessalonians 5:20-22
Victor M. Eskew
A. John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
1. Jesus came to give us life (zoe). This is a full and animated life.
2. Jesus wants us to live full, abundant, and happy lives.
B. They key to having such a life is obedience to God’s will.
C. In I Thessalonians 5:16-22, Paul issues eight brief commands, which, if followed, will allow the Christian to live a happy life.
1. In our previous lesson, we looked at the first four commands.
a. Rejoice (I Thess. 5:16)
b. Reach up (in prayer) (I Thess. 5:17)
c. Relish God’s blessings (I Thess. 5:18)
d. Repress not the Spirit (I Thess. 5:19)
2. In verses 20-22, Paul gives four more commands that we will examine in this lesson.
Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.
I. RECEPTIVE TO TEACHING (I Thess. 5:20)
Despise not prophesyings.
A. One of the gifts of the Spirit was prophecy (I Cor. 12:10)
1. Prophesy can be simply defined as “speaking forth the Word of God,” whether past, present, or future.
2. Prophesying was part of the worship of the first century church (I Cor. 14:3).
But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
3. In the assemblies, more than one prophet might receive a message from God (I Cor. 14:29-31).
Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophecy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
B. Paul exhorts these Christians to despise not prophesyings.
a. Strong (1848): to make utterly nothing
b. Thayer: to hold and treat as of no account, utterly despise, to set at nought, treat with contempt.
2. We again are reminded that hearers of the truth of God’s Word had responsibilities resting upon them.
3. Some of the things some are despising, that is, setting at nought.
a. Seeking first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33)
b. Studying the Word of God (II Tim. 2:15)
c. Evangelism (Matt. 28:18-20)
d. Giving liberally (II Cor. 8:1-5)
e. Hospitality (I Pet. 4:9)
f. Modest apparel (I Tim. 2:9)
g. Divorce and remarriage (Matt. 19:9)
h. Withdrawal of fellowship (II Thess. 3:6)
C. NOTE: The minute we hear something God says that we have not integrated into our lives, we need to seek to make application thereof. It is easy to let it slip and make utterly nothing of it.
II. REVIEW ALL THINGS (I Thess. 5:21a)
Prove all things…
1. Strong (1381): to test :- discern, examine, try
2. Thayer: to test, examine, prove, scrutinize, to recognize as genuine after examination
B. Whether it is a message, a belief, a behavior, a practice, or a program, we need to put it to the test.
1. The standard of the test is God’s Word (Isa. 8:20)
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no truth in them.
2. Faith and practice are very personal matters.
a. They are supposed to be based upon truth, not upon something another person tells me is the truth.
b. The Bereans understood this (Acts 17:11).
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
c. The reason we want to test and try all things is given in Philippians 1:10.
That ye may approve the things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.
C. NOTE: How can you hear a 30-40 minute lesson, then go home and test what you have heard?
1. You need a powerful memory.
2. Perhaps it is better if you take notes on the lesson.
3. You could get a CD or DVD.
4. You could go the website and review the lesson again very slowly.
III. RETAIN THE GOOD (I Thess. 5:21b)
…hold fast that which is good.
A. Hold fast
1. Strong (2722): to hold down (fast) :- hold fast, retain, seize on
2. Thayer; to hold fast, keep secure, keep firm possession of
3. Parents of toddlers do all they can to hold fast to their children in stores, parks, and playgrounds (i.e., leashes, bright clothing, bells).
B. The truths of God’s Word are more important than small children. They need to be held fast as well.
1. Calling ourselves Christians (Acts 11:26)
2. Baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16)
3. The oneness of the church (Eph. 4:5; Col. 1:18)
4. Worship (John 4:24): no instruments of music (Eph. 5:19), Lord’s Supper every first day of the week (Acts 20:7)
5. Proper role of the women in the church (I Cor. 14:34-35)
6. Holiness of God’s people (I Pet. 1:15-16)
IV. REFRAIN FROM THE APPEARANCE OF EVIL (I Thess. 5:22)
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
A. Three important words
a. Strong (4190): hurtful, calamitous, ill, diseased
b. Thayer: bad, of a bad nature or condition, evil, wicked
a. Strong (1491): form
b. Thayer: form, figure, shape
a. Strong (567): to hold one’s self off, refrain
b. Thayer: to hold oneself off, refrain, abstain
B. Some examples:
1. Drunkenness (evil) Social drinking (appearance)
2. Cursing (evil) Slang, euphemisms (appearance)
3. Mischievous (evil) Having evil companions (appearance)
4. Fornication (evil) Living together (appearance)
C. This is a difficult teaching for some.
1. The appearance of evil is not evil to them.
2. If it is not evil, then it is okay to do.
3. NOTE: We do not like to deny ourselves pleasures.
D. “The safe and proper rule is to lean always to the side of virtue” (Barnes).
1. Definitely no sin will be committed.
2. Holiness will be kept intact.
3. There is no harm to our Christian character.
4. We do not wound our Christian influence.
A. Anything that is authorized in God’s Word is designed for man’s good.
B. When men implement the things that God says, they live in holiness and purity.
C. Our lives will be filled with happiness if we will put the commands we have discussed in this section of Scripture into practice in our lives.
1. Receive God’s teachings instead of ignoring them.
2. Review all that we hear instead of accepting everything.
3. Retain the good instead of losing it.
4. Refrain from the appearance of evil instead of engaging in it.
D. Psalm 19:8a
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart…