Sermon Notes & References

Worship & Walk

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

February 18, 2018

A. Our Text

    1. A Mother Lode of Sermons

    2. Today’s Theme 1

B. The Attitude of Our Worship & Walk . . . . . . . . . . . 5:16-18

    1. The Diamond Cluster (16-18a)

    2. Their Interrelationship 2

    3. The Divine Incentive (18b) 3

C. The Holy Spirit in Our Worship & Walk. . . . . . . . . . 5:19-22

    1. In His Person & Gifts (19-20) 4

    2. In His Guidance (21-22) 5


1 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22. . . . . . . . . . . . .  Worship & Walk

 

A. Our Text

    1. A Mother Lode of Sermons

        a. it’s about 15 years ago since I last taught from this passage

        b. we spent 5 weeks together on in, in 5 sermons

        c. first, from that 3-diamond cluster on the will of God for you

            (A)    found in verses 16-18

            (B)    diamond #1: rejoice always

            (C)   diamond #2: pray alway

            (D)   diamond #3: thank always

        d. next, from verses 19-20, pay attention to the Holy Spirit

        e. finally, from verses 21-22, discern between good and evil

        f.  and, believe it or not, even in those 5 sermons we had to neglect some of the truths in these verses

 

    2. Today’s Theme

        a. is indicated, but not fully explained by our title

        b. because that could indicate that we are talking about two independent and unrelated subjects: ways of worshipping, and standards for the Christian’s walk, or way of life.

        c. but these subjects are far from unrelated, far from independent

        d. for indeed they are intimately intertwined the one with the other

        e. for that word always, applying to each of the diamonds of worship in that cluster covers the whole of our waking existence

        f.  and our submission to the Holy Spirit of our walk – the way we live – so that we choose the good and reject the evil, is the best expression of true worship – worship that is, in the words of Jesus Christ, worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24): spiritual worship, true worship

 

B. The Attitude of Our Worship & Walk . . . . . . . . . . .  5:16-18

    1. The Diamond Cluster (16-18a)

        a. 16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; …

        b. the constant attitude of these aspects of worship are conveyed in three different words

            (A)    always

            (B)    unceasingly

            (C)   in everything

        c. and when these are put together in this way we see that

            (A)    they are not confined to a specific time of day, nor to a specific day of the week

            (B)    they are not restricted to when we are with a set of people who are sympathetic to them

            (C)   they are not applicable only to the times of joy and blessing, but also to the times of grief and hardship

        d. in short, they take place because you and I are embracing a certain spiritual attitude in the manner of our lives

        e. following is somewhat dated, but … 2

A number of ministers were assembled for the discussion of difficult questions; and, among others, it was asked, how the command to “pray without ceasing” could be complied with. Various suppositions were started; and at length one of the number was appointed to write an essay upon it, to be read at the next meeting; ... which being overheard by a woman engaged in cleaning the room, she exclaimed,

     “What! a whole month waiting to tell the meaning of that text? It is one of the easiest and best texts in the Bible.”

“Well, well!” said an old minister; “Mary, what can you say about it? Let us know how you understand it. Can you pray all the time?”

    “Oh yes, sir!”

“What! when you have so many things to do?”

    “Why, sir, the more I have to do, the more I can pray.”

“Indeed! Well, Mary, do let us know how it is; for most people think otherwise.”

    “Well, sir,” said the girl, “when I first open my eyes in the morning, I pray, ‘Lord open the eyes of my understanding;’ and, while I am dressing, I pray that I may be clothed with the robe of righteousness; and, when I have washed me, I ask for the washing of regeneration; and, as I begin to work, I pray that I may have strength equal to my day; when I begin to kindle up the fire, I pray that God’s work may revive in my soul; and, as I sweep out the house, I pray that my heart may be cleansed from all its impurities; and, while preparing and partaking of breakfast, I desire to be fed with the hidden manna and sincere milk of the Word; and, as I am busy with the little children, I look up to God as my Father and pray for the spirit of adoption, that I may be His child: and so on all day. Everything I do furnishes me with a thought for prayer.”

“Enough, enough!” cried the old divine: “these things are revealed to babes, and often hid from the wise and prudent. Go on, Mary,” said he; “pray without ceasing; and as for us, my brethren, let us bless the Lord for this exposition, and remember that He has said, ‘The meek will He guide in judgment.’ “

After this little event, the essay was not considered necessary.

 

        f.  that illustration was particularly addressed to the central diamond, prayer, but it really holds for all three

 

    2. Their Interrelationship

        a. we talked about these being a cluster – bright diamonds of attitude that light our lives in worship

        b. But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” (Proverbs 4:18 NKJV)

        c. so these three – rejoicing, prayer, thanksgiving – should shine more and more in the way we live to the praise & glory of our God

        d. these three have a common root – faith – for it is faith that should mark in a distinctive way our manner of life

            (A)    for we walk by faith, not by sight—“ (2 Corinthians 5:7)

            (B)    we are able to maintain a constant attitude of rejoicing by faith, on account for our promised future:

                 (1)    Jesus said of those giving up things for sake of God’s kingdom, “who shall not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Luke 18:30)

                 (2)    and Paul echoed with these words “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

            (C)   we fall naturally into prayer – communing with our Lord – since by faith we have known and realised that God answers prayer

                 (1)    Jesus said, “… your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8)

                 (2)    David testified, “This poor man cried and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.” (Psalms 34:6)

                 (3)    Paul assures us that God is the One “… who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,” (Ephesians 3:20)

            (D)   small wonder, then, that we should find ourselves living lives of gratitude, as we see God in everything and everywhere

                 (1)    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 8:28

                 (2)    What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31)

 

    3. The Divine Incentive (18b)

        a. … for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

        b. you may have heard people say, ‘I am seeking God’s will’

            (A)    but God’s will is not too difficult to find

                 (1)    it is clearly made known in the pages of Scripture

                 (2)    as in this verse

                 (3)    or such verses as, “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.” (1 Peter 2:15)

            (B)    sadly, many who say those words are in reality seeking a loophole to do their own will, even though it contradicts Scripture

            (C)   rather than following Jesus’ words, “If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.” (John 7:17)

        c. there are two Greek words that are used for God’s (and our) will

            (A)    those who compile dictionaries are not altogether agreed as to the difference between them

            (B)    however, the first one seems to be linked to the intellect and the determination of God; it is what God deems to be appropriate

                 (1)    expressed that way, God’s will results in instruction to His people to be followed – the Torah, the Ten Commandments

                 (2)    that is not the word used here

            (C)   the second word is linked more to the emotions, and sometimes is translated as “wants” or “desires”

                 (1)    maybe what parents feel toward a grown-up, independent child who is not longer subject to them, for his or her own good

                 (2)    that is the word used here: what our loving Heavenly Father desires for us His children

        d. that we should have the blessing of these – joy, prayer, gratitude – in our way of life as we walk by faith in Christ Jesus, our Lord

 

C. The Holy Spirit in Our Worship & Walk . . . . . . . . . .5:19-22

    1. In His Person and Gifts (19-20)

        a. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances.

        b. it is with respect to this matter of gifts that have resulted in confusion concerning the person of the Holy Spirit (or, as He is called in the older English of earlier translations, the Holy Ghost.

            (A)    some have so over-emphasised these gifts, leading to all sorts of display of emotion and ecstasy as to bring disrepute upon the church of Jesus Christ, such displays as indistinguishable from those of pagan religions

            (B)    others have so under-emphasised these gifts, and the Holy Spirit’s work, as almost to deny Him His rightful place as a Person in our Triune God – so such Christians are much like those whom Paul asked, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” (Acts 19:2)

        c. yet, in one of the earliest statements of faith of the Christian church, dating back to the fourth century, the Apostles’ Creed [#622 in our Praise! book of hymns] specifically affirms our faith in the Holy Spirit

            (A)    I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

            (B)    and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, [and further details] …

            (C)   I Believe in the Holy Ghost; ….

            (D)   and among the answers to the question in the catechism, “What dost thou chiefly learn in [this Creed] is, “Thirdly, in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me, and all the elect people of God

        d. knowing the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit is important for every Christian, for in one sense He is God’s primary Resident within us

            (A)    … the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5)

            (B)    who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” (2 Corinthians 1:22)

            (C)   it is the Holy Spirit who works in us the new birth, as seen from Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, as well as verses such as, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5)

            (D)   the Holy Spirit sanctifies us, that life-long process of making us holy, set apart for God, for “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: …” (1 Peter 1:2)

        e. and, it is the Holy Spirit who equips Christians with spiritual gifts

            (A)    these enable us to walk, have a manner of life, that pleases God

            (B)    these are for His use to serve in the local fellowship of believers

            (C)   you will find these gifts described in 1 Corinthians 12–14

            (D)   they are distributed according to the sovereignty of God the Holy Spirit, not according to our desires: “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” (1 Corinthians 12:11) [the other Greek word, ‘As He sees fit’]

            (E)    the gift of prophesying is the one identified in these verses

                 (1)    this does not mean that such work is on a par with Scripture

                 (2)    the inspiration of Scripture was part of the Apostolic gift

                 (3)    moreover, when one “prophesies” then others with that gift are to pass judgement on what he says (1 Corinthians 14:29ff)

                 (4)    the word prophesy as used in the NT, is literally to ‘speak forth’ – sometimes directly from the Holy Spirit as did Agabus in fore-telling – but more often simply to declare the truth – a thing necessary in the period when the NT was still incomplete

                 (5)    so that the passage in 1 Corinthians concludes ,”Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.” (1 Corinthians 14:39)

        f.  quenching the Holy Spirit

            (A)    has nothing to do with our salvation – that has been sealed by the Spirit already (Ephesians 4:30)

            (B)    but the Holy Spirit is pictured as a fire

                 (1)    “{Jesus the Christ} will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11 NAS)

                 (2)    and on Pentecost the Holy Spirit’s descent upon the disciples was marked by “tongues as of fire” – (Acts 2:3)

                 (3)    quenching is when His work in us is weakened by us

            (C)   quenching is related to grieving the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30)

                 (1)    when our manner of life makes us unfit to be His temple

                 (2)    pouring cold water on fervent Christians

                 (3)    living in unrepentant and unconfessed sin

                 (4)    D. E. Hiebert: “The Spirit's fire is quenched whenever His presence is ignored and His promptings are suppressed or rejected, or the fervour which he kindles in the heart are dampened by unspiritual attitudes, criticisms, or actions.” 3

                 (5)    give the Holy Spirit free course in your life: this brings us to:

 

    2. In His Guidance (21-22)

        a. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.

        b. ‘Check it Out!’ – was the title of the message on these verses those years ago – don’t accept everything you hear!

            (A)    another of the spiritual gifts is “discerning of spirits” (1 Cor 12:20)

            (B)    John begins the fourth chapter of his letter with these words: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1 NAS), going on to tell how to do so

        c. reading the Scriptures – they which were inspired by the Spirit of God – while seeking to understand them through their Author

            (A)    But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13 NAS)

            (B)    will equip us with the “knowledge of good and evil” (not in the negative fashion as our first parents did, but for our good)

            (C)   and, if we allow Him to do so, He will be that Presence in our lives as promised, “And your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21 NAS)

        d. by these things, then, let us so seek to worship God by our walk, and walk so as to give God the praise and the glory. Amen.


Footnotes

Endnotes

1

© 2018 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:

 

              AV          Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

              NAS        New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

              IGNT              Interlinear Greek New Testament, Zondervan Publishing, 1956; as well as other Greek Texts as W&H, Nestle, etc.

              NIV         New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

              NKJV              New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

              Philips     The New Testament in Modern Englis, J. B. Phillips, Geoffrey Bles Ltd

              RSV        Revised Standard Version © 1946, 1952 National Council of Churches of Christ; Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd

              WEY               The New Testament in Modern Speech © 1902, 1912 R. F. Weymouth


Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:


              BM       Biblical Museum, Editor James Comper Gray, ca 1870

              CP   -      Decision, July & August 1962, Open Your Bible, by Dr Sherwiood E. Wirt

              EBC             The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, © 1986 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 49530, MI:

                             1, 2 Thessalonians: Robert L. Thomas

              EGT             The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Hodder & Stoughton; 1903

                             1 & II Thessalonians, by James Moffatt

              JFB  -      Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown; S. S. Scranton & Co. 1872

              Gill       Exposition of the Old Testament, Exposition of the New Testament, by John Gill, D.D.

              Kerux –   The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site, www.holwick.com.

              NCBC –    The New Century Bible Commentary – 1 and 2 Thessalonians – I. Howard Marshall – Wm B. Erdmans

              RWP             Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, by Dr. A. T. Robertson

              TTB      Thinking Through the Bible, Rev’d John McNicol, D.D., © 1944 by the author; The Upper Canada Tract & Book Society.

2

Biblical Museum (1872) Volume IV, page 307

3

Quoted in “Confidence In The Spirit As The Governing Ethos Of The Pauline Mission,” by Don N. Howell, Jr., Trinity Journal 17:2 (Fall 1996), page 203-221; Holwick sermon #6943