Pastor Aaron Romans 8
Jerrold Stouder Preaching/Job
FCA @ Awtrey
Missy & Ted Job
Text – 1 Thessalonians 5:8-15
We’re going to look at pretty much a list of commands today. The Bible is ingeniously written, using parables, poems, narratives (stories), principles and sermons to teach us many points without having to be a list. Such as, “Do do this, don’t do that, do not speed, do drive safely, do not cheat on your homework, do study hard for tests…” It would get tedious quickly, so the Bible gives us principles rather than instructions for the most part and that is how it is authoritative on every thing it talks about.
The Bible isn’t a science book, but when it talks about science, it is authoritative and correct. It isn’t a history book, but when it talks about history it is flawless. It isn’t just a list of morals, but the morals it describes are impeccable.
There are very, very few absolute truths.
For example, what color is the sky? The sky is clear, the refraction of light makes it look blue.
Is Alcohol always bad?
The only absolute in the universe is God. He is the Truth, his name is True. He is good, he is God, and we are not. Everything he created started out good, but through sin everything has the potential to be used for bad.
So instead of following a list of rules, God gives us guidelines to follow, he is equally concerned with our motives as with our actions.
For example, what is the 6th Commandment? Thou shalt not murder…yet what does Genesis 9:6 say?
Genesis 9:6 Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
The motive changes whether it is sinful or good. So God doesn’t give us hard and fast rules to live by, but an example in his perfect sinless Son. Just like looking in a mirror to determine how you look, so is looking into the law the way we know if we are righteous or not.
And are we? No, we’ve broken all 10 of the 10 Commandments, in spirit if not in flesh, and were utterly lost, sold into sin, when Jesus Christ died for us and we have obtained salvation, being justified by faith. So how then should we live?
1 Thessalonians 5:8-15 Since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
v. 8 Since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
What’s a breastplate? It is a piece of body armor that covers your upper torso, it protects all of your vital organs. The Bible uses various organs to describe our emotions, one of the reasons these are so named is where God has put our feelings, for example, has anybody ever had “butterflies in your stomach”? Did you really have butterflies, or did it just feel that way? But the feeling is in the stomach, right? The Bible describes this part of our body as our compassion. Similarly, our heart is the center of our emotions.
In protecting these two parts with the breastplate of faith and love, we are able to continue living for God, belonging to the day, remaining serious in our sanctification and ministry.
Say someone comes along and says, “We’ve proved evolution, absolutely, definitively, therefore the Bible is false.” Because the Bible cannot stand with evolution, they are entirely contradictory, either the Bible is right or evolution is right, because God is a God of completion, man caused death, and evolution is contradictory to the Bible in so many ways there is no way to reconcile the two. So, somebody comes along and says, “We’ve proved evolution, absolutely, definitively, therefore the Bible is false.” If you don’t have faith in God and the Bible, then you might think, “Oh no! I’m believing in vain, if I can’t trust the Bible, who can I trust?” But if you trust the Bible, then you can say, “Yeah, they’ve tried that before and it’s always been a bust, evolution is false, the Bible is true, God created the world complete a little over 6000 years ago.” Then you ask, “So what’s your proof?” And they’ll come back with something stupid like, “We’ve found a tooth in Africa that comes from our earliest ancestor and it dated to 9 Million years ago…” And you look at the tooth, and say, “Obviously this is your tooth, see, the one you’re missing, yep it’s this one.” Faith will make all the difference in how you are approached by things like that, always have the presupposition that the Bible is true, and it will always turn out to be correct, no matter how much someone thinks they’ve disproved it. Love will put your faith into action and you will become effective for every good thing that is in you for the sake of Christ.
Here's the Video we talked about
For our helmet we put on the hope of salvation. The helmet covers your head, the place of the intellect. God wants you to know that you are saved, the Bible is replete with tests for determining if you’re actually saved. If you’re not absolutely sure you’re going to Heaven, then you are probably not, so please see me after class or give me a call or shoot me an e-mail or ask your parents or Dave Snyder, because God wants you to know. The helmet of the hope of salvation will allow us to intellectually fight for the faith and defend ourselves and the church from attack.
Hebrews 13:6 We can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"
Something Paul does a lot is mirror the beginning of his letters with the end, he does it here.
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
The directions to come relate to how they are to be imitators of Christ, which was how Paul started the Epistle, but first he reminds us of the Gospel, which he had given also in chapter 1.
This is what we have faith in, what drives our lives, and where our hope comes from:
v. 9-11 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
The wrath that we stored up didn’t just go away, but Christ absorbed it on Calvary’s cross, therefore we are reconciled in his death and saved in his life. So now we are confident that whether we are alive or dead, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
The natural response to this is to tell people about it, and to encourage them and build them up to likewise tell more people about it. So then Paul jumps into some basic rules.
v. 12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
This one is pretty straight forward, love your pastors, and esteem them for their work towards eternity. Truly there is no more important job than that of shepherd of Christ’s flock, he is the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for his sheep, we ought to be imitators of him.
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
Respect them even in their admonishing of you, admonishing means correcting. In this, you should be reading your Bible so that you know if they are teaching sound doctrine, and so you can tell that they are being biblical.
Proverbs 27:5-6 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
When we correct you, it’s not out of malice or to make you feel bad, it’s to lead you in the truth. Speaking of shepherds, a real literal shepherd carries a staff, one of the reasons for this is to poke the sheep to get them to go where they need to go. Sheep are stupid, as the shepherd is driving them to water or pasture, they will sometimes get on pretty worn trails, where other sheep have been, and those sheep have to use the bathroom.
A sheep gets thirsty, sees liquid, and drinks it. It’s the shepherds job to hit it with his staff so it keeps going so that it gets to the good water. The same with your pastors, you might think you find happiness in varying things, like video games, or television, or in popularity, it’s their job to point you at Christ and say, “There is something infinitely better and it’s my job to get you there.” It’s not that they don’t like you, it’s that they love you that sometimes there is admonition and rebuke, if you realize that they have your best interest at heart then it will be easy to love them.
But remember there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, so constantly be testing what you hear against the truth of scripture. The worst thing that can happen to a congregation is when the wolf puts on shepherds clothing.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.