Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men].
See that none render evil for evil unto any [man]; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].
(1 Thessalonians 5:14-15)
To close this devotional series from 1 Thessalonians, let’s review the six basic exhortations given to us by Paul…
1. warn them that are unruly,
2. comfort the feebleminded,
3. support the weak,
4. be patient toward all [men].
5. See that none render evil for evil unto any [man];
6. ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].
Before we close this series, I would like to remind us of a very important truth… all of these exhortations given by God, through the Apostle Paul, are desires found in the heart of those who love the Lord and all mankind…
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:7-12)
I thought it would be beneficial to take a short time to answer a few questions…
Basic Question #1 – As we went through this series, did you find within your heart a desire to live out the exhortations given to us?
If you said “No”, it is very important that you stop and do an honest evaluation of your spiritual condition. It is very possible that you have never actually experienced the Lord’s gracious, life-giving intervention in your life.
However, if you said “Yes” then it is important we ask another question…
Basic Question #2 – Why do you desire these attributes in your life?
Is it because you would like to be popular with others or, maybe, you would like to receive praise for being a “good guy” or “a sweet lady”?
Or, maybe, you are a business owner who desires to have a good reputation in the community so that your business will increase?
Or maybe, do you want to others to believe you are more “holy” and “religious” than those around you?
To put it simply, do you desire these attributes in your life so that you alone might benefit?
Folks, once again, if you find yourself answering “yes” to any of the above questions, please take the time to be honest with yourself and come to a true understanding of your spiritual condition. By all indications, you have never been made into a new creature through the work of Christ. You are yet ruled by your fallen nature and are yet in your sins.
Could it be that you desire these attributes because you love the Lord and those around you?
This type of love will manifest itself in your life through a desire to please and glorify the Lord and a desire to care and help those who are around you. These desires are unselfish in nature and based upon love. This is a clear indication of a genuine, Scriptural, salvation experience that has taken place in your life.
As we have looked at these questions and the Holy Spirit has shown you that you are not saved, please keep in mind… the Bible clearly presents to us the way of salvation from sin. It is found solely through the Lord Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. This is clearly presented to us in the message of the gospel…
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-7)
It is this same message that must be accepted through repentance and faith…
“And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
What does the Bible mean by repentance? It is a gift that God gives to us that causes great change in our lives. Some of the change includes:
1. A change in how we see ourselves. We no longer see ourselves as good and in need of nothing, finding security in ourselves and the things of the world. We now see ourselves as sinful human beings, who have utterly failed to live up to God’s standards, destined and deserving of eternal punishment for our sins, and without any ability to secure salvation of ourselves or our good works.
2. A change in attitude about the sin we have in our lives. We no longer desire to sin but mourn over it, turn from it, and forsake it.
3. A change in attitude about Jesus. We no longer mock, ridicule and reject Him. We now see Him as our Lord, the One we want to please and the One we want to serve.
These are just a few of the changes that need to take place for us to be the recipients of God’s great salvation.
What does the Bible mean by belief? Other words that mean “belief” include “faith”, “trust”, “acceptance”, and “conviction”. All of these words describe a God-given certainty that we must possess concerning Jesus Christ. We come to know with certainty that:
1. Jesus is the only One from whom we can receive salvation from our sins.
2. Jesus is God Himself come to the earth.
3. Jesus is Lord of our life because He is Our Creator and Our God. It is our responsibility to please Him and serve Him.
4. Jesus, our divine Lord, died on the cross, and in doing so, took the judgment of our sin upon Himself. It was through His death that the wrath of God against all of our sins, past, present, and future was satisfied.
5. Jesus arose from the grave. His resurrection gives us proof that He truly was God in the flesh and that His work on the cross was accepted by God as the complete payment for our sins.
These and many others are the things that we come to know with a God-given certainty about Jesus.
Folks, may Christ graciously intervene in our lives and bring us to a saving knowledge of Him as our Lord and Savior, trusting in who He is and what He has done for us. In doing so, we can know with certainty our sins are forgiven and we are eternally secure in Him.
This ends our look at 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15.