The Tabernacle Scroll
Now we ask you brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord, and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. [1Thess.5: 12-22 (emphasis mine)]
We often gloss over the clear instructions of Scripture and consequently forsake the blessings that would otherwise be ours. When we read God’s word we need to pay careful attention to the verbs (“doing words”) in each sentence. They give us actions to be performed. Look again at some of the verbs that I have underlined in the passage we are looking at today.
The passage above covers three areas: (1) to do something; for example to respect, hold, live, warn, encourage, help, make sure, pray, give thanks, avoid (2) not to do something; for example put out, treat with contempt and (3) to be (have a particular attitude); for example, patient, kind, joyful.
We also need to understand why Scripture is to be heeded. For example, the Elders (those above you in the Lord) are to be respected because they stand in an office. Respecting them shows appreciation for their work and honours God whom they serve. Disrespecting their office dishonours God. Retaliation (paying back) is never a Christian option because Christians are called to forgive. Again, Christians are naturally happy on some occasions, but the Christian’s joy is not dependent on circumstances because it comes from the finished work of Christ. It is this joy that makes Christians thankful regardless of their circumstances.
We are also exhorted not to have a mechanical attitude towards worship because it discourages the expression of the gifts of the Spirit. However, we are to test everything, ensuring that what is said or done ‘in the spirit’ is in accordance with the truths of the gospel and is led by the Holy Spirit, not some other spirit!
Following Christ is really about dying to self. It is a lifestyle of obedience. Obedience brings God’s blessing and his anointing. But as always, the choice is ours!
What do you choose? Check the verbs!
www.kerysso.org-Preach The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues