1 Thessalonians Chapter 5:12-28
(Vs.12-13) ”But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labour among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.”
We know from the Word of God that the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit has placed leadership gifts in the wider Body of the Messiah. These are men appointed to the office of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip the wider body of the Messiah for works of service and to edify the Body. They are called the ascension gifts given for oversight of the corporate Body of the Messiah (Ephesians 4:11-12). In all of the assemblies Paul established he appointed elders and deacons as well. These are permanent appointments for regular ministry even though they are classified as gifts of the Spirit. These are separate gifts of the Spirit than the ones that operate when the local assemblies meet for worship. For example one may have a prophecy or even a teaching in a meeting but not be called to the office of a prophet or teacher.
These other gifts, not designated as ascension gifts, operate within the local Body of the Messiah include the gift of the psalmist being one who under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes spiritual hymns and songs. King David had this gift. Then you have others listed such as serving, encouraging, contributing financially, leadership, and showing mercy (Romans 12: 3-8). Then you have the message of wisdom, the message of knowledge, the gift of faith, gifts of healings, gifts of miraculous power, distinguishing between spirits and tongues, interpretation of tongues. These gifts are given for the spiritual welfare of others in the fellowship to build them up in their faith and according to the will of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-12).
Those who have the responsibility and gifting to shepherd the local assemblies and who are watching over themselves spiritually and staying spiritually alert are to be appreciated because of their diligent labour in the ministry of the Word and of prayer and for their care for the spiritual wellbeing of the flock over which the Holy Spirit has made them overseers (Ephesians 20:28). They are not primarily called to sit on church committees and oversee or control other aspects of administration as they would have deacons appointed to fulfil these tasks. Pastors and teachers appointed to local assemblies are to preach the word; to be ready in season and out of season; to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction because the time will come, and has now come, when even members of the assemblies will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. The pastor and teacher and the elders must be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist and fulfil the ministry to which God has called them (2 Timothy 4:2-5).
Sometimes in a small assembly the pastor or elder or the elders if there is more than one, will have to do practical tasks as well as preaching, however, this is not their main task. Their main task is preaching, teaching, pastoring one on one and regularly visiting the flock and all of their activities undergirded by prayer in the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:1-6). Those who labour with due diligence in the Word of God are to be paid well. As Paul writes; “Elders who lead effectively are worthy of double honour, (the word also implies being paid well) especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and, “The worker is worthy of his wages” (1 Timothy 5:17-18).
We are not talking about those hyper faith money preachers fleecing the flock of their hard earned dollars. Those so called ‘prophets’ and ‘apostles’ that mishandle the Word of God to feed their greedy insatiable appetites for money, fame and power and use their ‘ministry’ as a mask for covetousness. They are an accursed brood, enchanters, deceiving and being deceived, and those who believe their own publicity! These do not know how to rightly divide the Word of God and should go out and get a proper job and earn an honest living! Much more could be said about these conniving charlatans that are a plague within the wider Body of the Messiah today. If you are in a fellowship where the pastor and elders are rightly dividing the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit and where the gifts of the Spirit are being exercised Biblically, then that pastor and the elders are to be esteemed highly in love and supported well financially. If that pastor and teacher and the elders are not rightly dividing the Word of God, even though they exhibit some form or semblance of spiritual power, then find a church that does rightly divide the Word of God and is open to the gifts of the Spirit practiced Biblically. In all of these matters we are to live in peace with one another.
The gift of discerning of spirits is desperately needed within the wider Body of the Messiah today, especially as we will soon enter into the time of Great Tribulation when spiritual deception and seduction will be rampant within the wider Body of the Messiah as foretold by the prophets, the apostles and our Lord Jesus Himself. It has been said that when many come into the church for the worship service that they leave their minds outside in the carpark! The so called Toronto ‘revival’ was such a case! Let’s continue…
(Vs.14-15) “We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.”
“To admonish the unruly;” The unruly are “those who are disorderly and out of ranks” such as one in a lined up rank of soldiers. They are not teachable; they do not follow orders and react to discipline and authority. They are those who deviate from the prescribed order of rule. These who act in this way are to be admonished or warned, not to be judged outright, but warned as a brother or sister that they might be able to function as God intends for them to function within the local assembly. It is for their own spiritual wellbeing and that of others as well as God is not a God of disorder but a God of peace and order as in all of the assemblies within the wider Body of the Messiah.
“To encourage the fainthearted;” is “to console or comfort and to calm down” those who are fainthearted or whose mind is unsettled and who feel spiritually weak or weighed down by a spirit of anxiety. In the midst of the severe persecution and the confusion and uncertainty of some regarding the Day of the Lord and the events concerning it one can understand this feebleness of thinking about these matters in the minds of the brothers and sisters in the assembly of the Thessalonians. Those who are not very brave are to be encouraged to keep on keeping on by faith in the unchanging Word of God and in the fact that the rescue is coming when the Lord Jesus comes back to take them to Himself and to punish those who have persecuted His blood redeemed saints!
“To help the weak;” is “to support, to hold up, to care for, to hold fast, to hold onto another firmly and with a strong grip” metaphorically speaking. The weak are those within the fellowship who have little spiritual strength and vigour, who struggle with a sense of powerlessness and manifold temptations from the evil one, who are sick and without physical strength to resist. These need to be supported physically and spiritually. In the case of the Thessalonian assembly undoubtedly there were those who were weak and tired from the severe persecution and spiritually exhausted and even anxious as to how things would end.
“To be patient with everyone;” to “persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles”, to be patient in bearing the offences and injuries of others, and to be “mild and slow in avenging and to be longsuffering,” to be slow to anger, slow to punish and not to lose heart when things are tough as they were at Thessalonica. In the situation the believers faced at Thessalonica these spiritual admonitions were vital to the spiritual support of the assembly members and that love must be the undergirding of all they did as a fellowship. Their love and care for each other and their united steadfastness as a body of believers against the circumstances they were facing on a daily basis was known in many other fellowships in the Roman provinces and was an encouragement to them as well.
“See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people;” When any fellowship encounters extreme difficulties tempers are frayed and Satan seeks to have a field day seeking to divide the local fellowship because he well knows the principle that a house divided against itself cannot stand. As James writes; “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behaviour his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, and demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:13-18). As Paul also writes to the assembly at Philippi; “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). And then we read…
(Vs.16-18) “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in the Messiah Jesus.”
While God has a plan for every one of His blood redeemed children His will is also revealed in his Word and it is the road map around the Kingdom of God. If we would walk according to God’s will then we must walk according to the road map of His Word. It will prove to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). We may be seeking His will for our life and seeking His guidance, however, if we are not walking according to what He has already revealed in His Word then why should He give us any further guidance? Having said this, Paul now writes about the will of God for the beleaguered and weary and worn saints at Thessalonica who were staying faithful to the Lord Jesus but also feeling the brunt of Satan’s tactics. Paul writes about how to regularly walk in the will of God.
“Rejoice always;” is “to be glad, to rejoice exceedingly and to be well, also having a sense of well-being and to thrive.” This is not possible humanly speaking especially when we are facing trials and tests of one sort or another such as when we are being persecuted to a greater or lesser degree for our stand for the Lord Jesus, or when we are experiencing family conflict, physical sickness, financial problems, opposition from well- intentioned brethren and temptations coming one upon another without letup, and seeing apostasy and spiritual deception raging like a fire through the wider body of the Messiah.
For the Thessalonian assembly to rejoice always must have been very difficult for them under the pressure of persecution unabated and those rumours and reports saying that the Day of the Lord including the rapture and resurrection had come and that they had been left behind. Paul had to elaborate on this in his second letter to them a year later as their thinking by and large was still not clear (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).
James also writes about this joy which is a fruit of the Spirit and a supernatural power from the Holy Spirit. He writes; “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Sometimes suffering can actually be in the will of God (1 Peter 4:19). He allows it to happen in differing circumstances and situations but will never let us go beyond what we can stand. Added to this, we are enabled to comfort others with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. As Paul writes to the Corinthian assembly; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. Rejoicing always is an action of the will, not the emotions, and it is activated by faith. The Joy of the LORD is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
“Pray without ceasing;” is “praying incessantly without intermission.” It is achieved only by praying in the Holy Spirit. Our inner spirit where God’s Spirit is also present can be praying even when our minds are engaged in the daily necessities of life. It is much like breathing in and out. It does not always require words as the Holy Spirit knows what to pray for, how to pray, and will be praying for us and interceding for us according to God’s will. He always knows what should be said and done and can go into situations that we cannot go into (Romans 8:26-27). In John’s gospel the Holy Spirit in the Greek language is the “paraclete” being “one called alongside of another to strengthen them” (John 14: 15-17; 15:26-27; 16:5-15).
We are to pray in every situation, and when we do this we will have the peace of God that transcends all human understanding because it is not generated by the human will but by the Spirit of God fused with our spiritually regenerated spirit deep down on the inside of us. As Paul also writes to the believers at Philippi; “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard (garrison) your hearts and your minds in the Messiah Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).
“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in the Messiah Jesus;” In everything that happens to us we are to be thankful. Rejoicing always and praying without ceasing becomes an experiential reality when we are thankful. We know that God works in all of the changing circumstances and situations we face in life as a born again, blood washed, Spirit-filled child of God seeking to be an obedient and pleasing child to God to the best of our ability with the help of the Holy Spirit. As Paul writes to the assembly at Rome; “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:29).
Not all things that happen to us come from God. Some circumstances are of our own doing because we messed up having given into some desire of our fallen sinful fleshly nature. Some things happen to us which are not our doing but are forced upon us by others. Sometimes we make unwise decisions or miss one of God’s guideposts and for a time seem to be in a spiritual wilderness. Sometimes it may be a prolonged physical problem or a difficult relationship that is not working and God in his wise, Loving and infinite will has chosen to delay the answer. However, in all of these things God works them together for our spiritual well-being and for our good because He knows we really love Him deep down on the inside and want to do His will and because He has called us according to His purpose.
It is not an easy thing to give God thanks in every circumstance we face and sometimes He allows us to experience the same testing of our faith several times over, not to afflict us, but to see us pass the test that we might grow in our faith and become more steadfast in trusting Him no matter how we feel or what our outward circumstances are dictating to us. The believers at Thessalonica were learning to rejoice even in their suffering because they saw the LORD’s end-game which would occur at the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus who rescues us from the coming wrath. And then we read…
(Vs.19-22) “Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.”
“Do not quench the Spirit;” metaphorically means, “to quench, to suppress, to stifle a divine influence.” Now not all spiritual power demonstrated in a man’s ministry is necessarily from God. We know that the magicians of Egypt up to a point by the power of the occult were able to duplicate God’s deeds of power He manifested through His servants Moses and Aaron. We also know that the coming of the man of sin will be preceded by all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders that are working by Satan’s power which Paul writes about in his second letter to the Thessalonian assembly. This is where we need spiritual discernment.
There are three sources of spiritual power that can affect people. Firstly; you have God’s power. Secondly; you have Satan’s power and discernment is needed to see when a person is anointed by God’s power or by Satan’s power. On the day when many professing preachers and so called ‘miracle workers’ stand before the Lord Jesus they will be rejected because even though they may even have worked many and varied genuine deeds of power, healing the sick and driving out demons and even uttered prophecies they will be banished from God’s presence because they never really knew the LORD and did not do things according to His will (Matthew 7:15-23).
The third source of a kind of spiritual power is that latent power of the soul life. It is not from God and it is not from Satan but from the human soul being generated by the mind, the emotions and the will and expressed powerfully through the physical sense gates. It is a power that can move people mentally, emotionally and inevitably get them to do whatever they have been programmed to do. We see the example of this latent soul power demonstrated by actors in movies and live on stage that move their audiences to tears. We see this with rock stars in night clubs and arenas with their loud amplified repetitive lyrics and music that mesmerise multitudes of young people inevitably getting them to act according to their emotional responses and fleshly passions. In multitudes of the mega-church movement and especially in the seeker-friendly, seeker sensitive, feel-good hyper faith money churches, and in many Charismatic churches into miracles, signs, wonders and manifestations of all kinds, we see the same thing happening. Repetitious choruses with loud amplified music and hyping people up emotionally and preaching feel-good sermons about having things good in this world accompanied by one personal prophecy after another with very little or no exposition at all of the Word of God.
Many so called ‘prophets’ and ‘apostles’ operating by this latent power of the soul cannot rightly divide the Word of God and without realising it they mistake the power of the soul moving their congregations emotionally to be the power of the Holy Spirit when it isn’t! Where you see believers and their leaders out of control it is not the Holy Spirit but either demonic power or the latent power of the soul at work that can be released through music and hype artistry and by manipulating people’s emotions thinking it is the power of God they are experiencing.
Now it also needs to be said that there is nothing wrong with amplified modern music in assemblies as all kinds of instruments were utilised in the Temple worship including designated talented and gifted singers leading the congregations, however, even though the worship at times was loud and vibrant and very expressive in outward actions it was always controlled by the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of love, power and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). Choruses have their place as well but how many of their lyrics are Biblically sound? Worship leaders are responsible for the songs they bring to the local assembly when they gather together for worship.
“Do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully;” Prophecies given in a worship meeting or given while praying over an individual is Biblical. Prophesying has its place and this gift of the Spirit has never died away or ceased to operate within the wider Body of the Messiah. Prophecies are to be carefully scrutinised, weighed, tested and discerned on the basis of the Word of God as “the spirit of prophets is subject to the prophets.” Paul writing to the assembly at Corinth in his first letter to them writes; “For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace—as in all the churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:31-33). This can be applied in two ways…
Firstly; the human regenerated spirit of one who is prophesying will be under the direct control of the Holy Spirit. Secondly; the prophecy that is coming out from the spirit of one prophesying will be subject to the discernment of others who have a prophetic gift or have been designated and ordained as prophets in a local assembly. In this matter if God is in control then there will be order because He is not a God of disorder but of peace and harmony when there is prophecies being uttered in a meeting of believers, a practice maintained and cultivated within the corporate Body of the Messiah without exception.
Today we have the completed Canon of scripture but this has not replaced the prophetic gift. Whether a prophecy uttered is for a local assembly or for a single believer it will always be in line with the Word of God and endorsed by the Word of God. Dreams and visions have their place within the Body of Messiah but it is the Word of God that ratifies any prophecy given.
As God Himself says through the prophet Jeremiah; “The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?” declares the Lord. “Is not My word like fire?” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?” (Jeremiah 23:28-30).
If we seek to live on a diet of prophecies, dreams and visions and personal prophecies it will be like eating straw which has no nutritional value. However, if we feed upon the nutritious grain of God’s Word then we will be spiritually nourished. God’s Word is powerful and it is like a fire that will burn up the spiritual dross in our personal lives and in the corporate life of the local assembly. It is like a hammer that breaks the hard and stubborn hearts that resist the genuine power of God and that need to be put back together spiritually. We also need to keep in mind that when we are born again on the inside of us that the LORD does not patch up the old nature but imparts to us a new nature. As the apostle Peter writes; “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Peter 1:3-4).
We are now living in the Laodicean period of the Body of the Messiah. The word Laodicea means “The people’s opinions.” This denotes Luke warmness towards the Word of God and a form of spiritual complacency which is fermented by dreams, visions, utterances and manifestations that are not from the Holy Spirit or endorsed by the Word of God. C.H. Spurgeon, the great 18th Century preacher said; “The Word of God is the iron anvil upon which the hammers of men’s opinions are smashed.” Today in many assemblies people’s opinions are replacing the plain teaching of God’s Word.
“Hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil;” To hold fast is to “to check a ship’s headway” or “to hold or head the ship keeping it on its intended course.” “To hold fast without wavering” and “to keep secure and to keep firm possession of something and not letting it go, or to slip away.” Whatever is good and Biblical must be held with steadfastness of spirit and with a will that is submitted to the LORD. It is to hold firmly, or to grip hold of whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, and if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, to dwell on these things and to make a practice of these things continuously, and the God of peace will be with us” (Philippians 4:8-9).
We are also told; “to abstain from every form of evil;” which is “to hold back, to keep off, to prevent” every form of evil from taking hold of us. Evil comes in many forms both literally and spiritually and we are Satan’s targets. Abstinence from forms of evil is something that is lacking in the spiritual lives of many brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus and all of us who belong to the Lord Jesus need the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to discern evil when it confronts us.
Satan is a deceiver and will make things God does not approve of acceptable to us and spiritually palatable to the tastes of our fallen fleshly nature. We are to stay alert spiritually and know what Satan is up to. He is an angel of light and his servants also masquerade as servants of light especially when you have super apostles and false and deceptive ‘prophets’ plying their unsanctified wares within God’s Temple being the Body of the Messiah.
This is why we need to be spiritually vigilant when it comes to such pastimes such as watching certain movies on the internet that are not wholesome in content or entertain thoughts that are inappropriate for God’s people or the magazines we read that are not wholesome in their content as well. Satan always disguises himself when seeking to turn us aside from following the LORD wholeheartedly. He will always present “grey zones” to us when contrary to this the Bible presents matters either in black of white. Either, what we are entertaining, to think, to say and to do, it is either of the light or of the darkness. There are no neutral zones in the spiritual life of a New Covenant believer. Personal relationships in the local assembly are also to be handled carefully and circumspectly especially when it comes to interacting with those of the opposite sex. It is not that one cannot enjoy the company of the opposite sex, but there needs to be restraint when it comes to physical touching or cuddling. Sobriety in personal conduct and even in the way we dress is also important when considering how it will affect others in the fellowship.
(Vs.23-27) “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren.”
To be sanctified entirely is to be set apart to God in spirit, soul and body. Our inner spirit is where God’s Spirit is spiritually fused with our spiritually reborn human spirit (2 Corinthians 6:17). Our spirit is the control centre of our life also metaphorically called the heart in the Bible. We are to guard our heart with all diligence, for from out of it flow the issues of life and to put away deception from our mouth and to keep our lips from perverse speech (Proverbs 4:23-24).
If our ardent desire is to love the Lord our God with our entire being and our neighbour as we would ourselves then we fulfil all that the Law of God demands because love is the fulfilling of the Law (Romans 13:10). When we were spiritually reborn from above the love of God was shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). The faith which brings us salvation is a faith that works by love (Galatians 5:6).
God wants all of us being our entire being under His control so that He can use us to fulfil His good, acceptable and perfect will in us and for us and through us. When His love is at the control centre everything we think that we say and that we do will reflect that love so long as we walk moment by moment by faith in step with the Holy Spirit and in His strength. God’s desire is that we are found to be blameless when the Lord Jesus comes back. God wants us to be a pure bride for His Son, one that has prepared herself, clothed with the white garments of salvation and wrapped around with the robe of His righteousness. As we continue to walk by faith with a loving and obedient heart, enabled and infused by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be preparing ourselves to meet the Lord Jesus when He returns. God has called us to be set apart to Him and this is a work in process that the Holy Spirit works and superbly weaves into the tapestry of our life every day enabling us to be increasingly conformed to the image of the Son of God the Messiah our Lord Jesus.
If we are walking in and by the love of God we will not be perfect in our intellect, our emotions and our will because we have the old sinful nature within us. We will make mistakes and even wrong decisions, the consequences which we will have to live with but that the LORD can rectify and bring good out of it. He can and does restore the years that the locusts (Satan’s demons) have eaten (Joel 2:25). We will struggle with temptations because of our propensity to sin which we will always have and even there will be those times when our will goes contrary to the will of God. We still have the battle between the desires of the Spirit with the desires of the flesh until we receive our resurrected, glorified, indestructible and immortal bodies at the rapture and resurrection.
However, because God is faithful to His promises He will continue to work in us that work of sanctification to bring us to that point where we will be consistently controlled by the love of God and so long as that love controls what we think, what we say and what we do, we will be entirely sanctified. Having said this, we are to be continuously filled, and empowered with the Holy Spirit moment by moment of every day and to be continuously controlled by the love of God shed abroad in our hearts as this is the key to being entirely sanctified (Ephesians 5:18).
It also needs to be said that even one who is entirely sanctified can also become unsanctified through sin or through not responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It is only as we learn to walk moment by moment in step with Holy Spirit and that by faith and under the power of the blood of Jesus that we become entirely sanctified. Ultimate perfection and deliverance from the very presence of sin will only come when we receive our glorified bodies at the rapture and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:50-53).
Paul puts it this way when he writes; “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).
If we have experienced God’s gracious mercy we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice on the altar of submission to the will of God. It is a holy offering and being a living sacrifice it is to be a continuous one that stays on the altar. A living sacrifice has the capacity to crawl off of the altar as well due to disobedience because we still have to contend with our fallen selfish fleshly nature with its desires and appetites that run contrary to the desires of the Spirit living on the inside of us (Galatians 5:16-18).
Staying on the altar is the basis of all true spiritual worship that is acceptable to God and with which He is well pleased. If God can get control of our bodies with its physical desires and appetites then He also gets the contents as well. Even though we are walking in sanctification we must still be aware that the world will be seeking to squeeze us into its mould which is not patterned after God but after the god of this world Satan. Through the Word of God we can have our mind spiritually renewed and our thought life reconfigured to think God’s thoughts and upon those things that are pleasing in His sight.
Our minds are the spiritual battlefield all of us must endure while we are still living in these bodies. Spiritual warfare can be likened to blood and guts, hand to hand combat with bayonets over barbed wire knee deep in muddy trenches. If we would know and prove that good acceptable and perfect will of God He has for our lives then we must, by the power of Jesus blood, and by the power of his Word, and by the power of the Holy Spirit stay on that altar where God can do that work of sanctification is us that is preparing us to meet the Lord Jesus when He returns. Faithful is He who calls us to live a sanctified life and He will accomplish it!
“Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren.”
The need to have others pray for us is vital to success in ministry. Paul and his fellow workers, Silas and Timothy were well aware of the power of prayer and sought it continuously. Without prayer there will be no power. He also asks them to greet each other with a holy kiss, an act of the culture of these times usually done on the cheek. This signified that as brothers and sisters they were indicating their love for each other and reminded of it by this act. Paul urged that this letter be circulated among all of the assembly members. When we come to the second letter Paul deals in more depth with the subject of eschatology as there was still some confusion among some of the assembly members about certain aspects concerning the last days and what has to happen before the Lord Jesus comes back. These will be dealt with in the next study which will be the exposition of Paul’s Second letter to the assembly at Thessalonica. Please stay tuned to this website!