1 Finally, my dear friends, since you belong to the Lord Jesus, we beg and urge you to live as we taught you. Then you will please God. You are already living that way, but try even harder.— 1 Thess. 4:1 CEV
When it comes to living a Holy Life, I am learning to never say “I have learned”. I find it much more truthful to say “I am learning”. It seems that every time I think I have my mind wrapped around a Biblical concept, God opens each verse a little wider and I see there is more to it than I thought. I am not sure that I will ever graduate from Spiritual kindergarten. I believe that is why Paul carries the theme of learning, teaching, and encouraging throughout the book of 1 Thessalonians. We must continue to study and to mentor others until Jesus calls us home. To me, that is part of the beauty of Scriptures. They just never grow old or boring, Every day, God has something fresh, new, awesome, and wonderful for us to learn and to teach others.
When it comes to the Scriptures, I am learning not to say “I have learned” but rather that “I am learning”. Every time I think I have “learned” something, the Holy Spirit opens up more of the Scripture. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get out of kindergarten. But we all have an innate knowledge of right and wrong. That is a good start, but we have to build from there. The basics of God’s Word is the plan of salvation. Paul is saying there is more to our relationship with Jesus than that. After we have accepted Jesus and our salvation is secure, it is time to start to study Scripture and develop habits that will help us to mature in our walk with Jesus. Meditating on God’s Word, prayer and time alone with God is how we grow. The world is our classroom and the Holy Spirit is our instructor. We can take the short route to the Promised Land by studying and being obedient or we can be like the children of Israel and spend 40 years making an 11 day trip. And, remember, of all of those that spent 40 years making the trip, only two actually got to enter into
the Promised Land. Let us choose to be like Joshua and Caleb. God has prepared us to take the land and it is time to move out.
30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” — Numbers 13:30
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
1 Finally, my dear friends, since you belong to the Lord Jesus, we beg and urge you to live as we taught you. Then you will please God. You are already living that way, but try even harder. — 1 Thess. 4:1 CEV
When it comes to living a Holy Life, I am learning to never say “I have learned”. I find it much more truthful to say “I am learning”. It seems that every time I think I have my mind wrapped around a Biblical concept, God opens each verse a little wider and I see there is more to it than I thought. I am not sure that I will ever graduate from Spiritual kindergarten. I believe that is why Paul carries the theme of learning, teaching, and encouraging throughout the book of 1 Thessalonians. We must continue to study and to mentor others until Jesus calls us home. To me, that is part of the beauty of Scriptures. They just never grow old or boring, Every day,God has something fresh, new, awesome, and wonderful for us to learn and to teach others
29 “The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions. — Deut 29:29 NLT
Mark Twain once said “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”. How true! We are accountable for everything we understand about the Bible and we are accountable to learn and understand everything we can about the Bible. We are also accountable to teach those truths to our children. God has given us the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. As Paul directed Timothy, we are to study and work hard so we can present ourselves to God for His approval.
15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. — 2 Tim. 2:15 NLT
Ephesians 1:9 tells us that God has revealed to us “His mysterious plan regarding Chirst” and in 2 Timothy 3, He tells us what that mystery is:
16 Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith:
Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.
There are still mysteries to be revealed at a later date, but there is enough revelation available to us now to keep us busy learning, understanding and telling it to the world. That is what we will be held accountable for and that is our misssion. If we do this, God will get the glory and that is our purpose int the world — to give God the glory.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matt. 11:28-30 NIV
God has made great promises to us if we will learn to lean on Him. We get so wrapped up in our work and making our own plans for the future, that we have no time left to enjoy today. We carry all this baggage with us all the time, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We say we trust God, yet, we worry when the bank account is low and we feel we have to have weeks worth of food stored in the house. Remember when Jesus sent the disciples out? He told them not to take anything with them, no food, no money, not even a change of clothes. I must ask myself, “would I be willing to start out on a trip like that?” Sadly, the answer is no. We are so concerned about things that we rarely ever get a good night’s rest. We worry about things over which we have no control and a lot of those things never happen anyway. The scriptures above are not meant to be just some “pie in the sky”, future event. They are for now. They are the way we should be living our lives today. We wear ourselves out trying to do God’s job. Just as the Israelis who refused to believe and were not allowed to enter in Canaan physically, we never reach a place to rest here on earth because of our unbelief.
16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. — Hebrews 3:16-19 NIV
When life seems more than we can bear, we have a place of quiet rest prepared for us, near to the heart of God. “Come unto me and I will give you rest”. Come now, don’t be like Pharaoh and spend another night with the frogs.
1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. 3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, — Titus 3:1-5 NIV
When we accepted Jesus as our Savior, we experienced a new birth, not physically, but spiritually. At that time, we are or were new babies in Christ. Just as physical babies have to learn to crawl, stand, and walk before they can run, so we must do that spiritually. For a baby to grow and mature, the baby needs a proper diet along with proper care and training. We need the same things as new babies in Christ. The process of growing up spiritually is called renewal. We are being renewed daily as we are led by the Holy Spirit. The more we seek God’s wisdom and the more we allow the Holy Spirit to influence our lives, the faster we will grow. The physical baby grows physically and in time becomes an adult. At some point, our physical growth will reach its limit, whether it be at four feet, five feet, six feet or more. The spiritual baby grows spiritually and matures. That growth is limited only by our willingness to be obedient and exercise spiritually every day. We will never be totally perfected here on earth. So, we must never think that there is not more to learn. If we reach that point, it is pride not perfection. When we become judgmental of others, we need to be reminded that we used to be like that and to some extent, we are still like that and always will be. Any difference in us and the world is because of God’s great love and mercy, not because of any goodness in us. We need to show that same love to others. To do less is to limit what God can do for us and through us.
40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,and grieved Him in the desert! 41 Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. — Psalm 78:40, 41 NKJV
4 Brothers and sisters, God loves you, and we know he has chosen you, 5 because the Good News we brought to you came not only with words, but with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with sure knowledge that it is true. Also you know how we lived when we were with you in order to help you. 6 And you became like us and like the Lord. You suffered much, but still you accepted the teaching with the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit. 7 So you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Southern Greece. 8 And the Lord’s teaching spread from you not only into Macedonia and Southern Greece, but now your faith in God has become known everywhere. So we do not need to say anything about it–1 Thessalonians 1:4-8 (NCV)
Paul, Silas, and Timothy had planted the church in Thessalonica and it had stirred up the Jews there, as well as the Thessalonians. Paul had been concerned about the young church and wanted to know how they were doing. Because of the unrest there, Paul had sent Timothy to visit with them and Timothy brought back a good report. This was the reason Paul wrote this letter complimenting them and encouraging them to continue in their work. The people that Paul, Silas, and Timothy had witnessed to received the Gospel with joy and were eager to spread the Good News. Their missionary work was reaping quite a harvest as the church there carried on the work of spreading the Gospel in Macedonia and Southern Greece. Are we being faithful in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to others? Are we blooming where we are planted? Are we laboring in the fields that are white with harvest? Each one should disciple one. That is our part in keeping the Word going and God’s church growing.