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1 Thessalonians 5:12-18 (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
September 3, 2021 6:00 am

1 Thessalonians 5:12-18 (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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September 3, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Book of 1st Thessalonians 5:12-18

Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston
Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg

Well, you go call God a liar to His face. I find it easier to accept what He says and accept His invitations that takes away the question marks from my life. I don't have very many question marks about God. He is right all the time.

He is good all the time. Every decision He makes is right. I might not like it, but I know this is true.

I have evidence for it and I accept it. I'm not afraid of heaven. These truths are intended to provide hope and direction for believers and should describe the characteristics of those living in light of Jesus' return. We need to be careful to not allow minor details to be the subject of debate when our major focus should be heaven.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, please open your Bibles to the book of 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 12 as we join Pastor Rick. Well, let's open our Bibles to 1 Thessalonians chapter 5. If you've been following along with us through Thessalonians, you may be eager to wrap up this first letter. But there's too much doctrine.

There's only another 204 words or so left. I would do you a disservice if I rushed through them because there's much critical thought here as I mentioned doctrine. Now, as we have been examining the day of the Lord, the coming of Christ, the wrath, the rapture and all these things, we have to remember that our attitude must not be get them Lord for their wickedness but Lord get them saved. And this is something that we must not lose sight of in these darkening days. Verse 12, 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, Paul says, And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you. Well, now he is concerning himself with church leadership. Having dealt with end times, he is returning to the teachings of church behavior. And first up is that of the pastors. What is the congregation's response or behavior to be towards the leadership that God has established?

And it is very appropriate that this is here. We are amazed often to see some of the behavior in Christians towards their pastors. It's so unbiblical.

It is worldly. It is sinful. It is disgusting many times. Many pastors, they have a hate relationship with their congregation or their committees or their board because they're not free to pastor. It's just this political cauldron, this mess, this junk of Satan. And it's very sad to see.

Thank the Lord we do not have it here. And Paul concentrating now on the local church. The rapture has to do with the universal church. But these principles here have to do with the local church and therefore it expands to the universal church. But the universal church is so spread out, is so something that was not in the first century that it is almost impossible to do business with each other in many cases because the doctrine is so far apart. So if we remove the church from society, what are we left with in that society?

Well, we don't have to go very far back in history to find that out. Or right now, look around the world where there is no church. Look at the behavior of the people, the tribulation.

And that is one of the lessons that is a side dish of the rapture, that once the church is gone, tribulation, great tribulation will be what begins to take place. He says here in verse 12, recognize those who labor among you. A characteristic of a true pastor is labor, hard work. And hard work and also hard work. That's how you pastor.

I don't know of any other way. And I've been taught that from many men who pastored before me. It is a legacy that is a blessing and God fits us for these things. Why are there then so many dishonest pastors? Well, because the pastorate is a good profession for the lazy and it is a good profession for those without a conscience. They can hide.

Why is it that they can hide? Because you have congregations that are lazy. You have congregations that are not responding in their conscience to the word of God and so they empower these people. But if you have a congregation that's into the word, they will vote that person out by leaving. It has been said, congregations vote with their feet. And that is, I think, an accurate statement and not something that's wrong. If it is not biblical, get up and leave.

Don't stay and make trouble because you become the rebel. Even though you may be right in your position, it's not your place to do it in the church. It is God's church.

He is the one that removes the lampstand or lights it and he alone. Remember, King David refused to slay Saul. As wicked as Saul was, as homicidal as he was, David said, God put him on that throne.

God will take him off the throne. And woe to the man who slayed Saul as the Amalekite found out having slayed Saul there on Mount Gilboa. And so these instructions for identifying false and true pastors is something Paul dealt with throughout his writings.

We'll take just a couple of them, one from Paul, one from the Lord himself. First, Paul, since he is the one writing, he says this in Colossians chapter 2, beware. Watch out. Wake up and look out.

That's what that word means. You see, I was a papal boy when I was 12 and when I saw that sign, beware of dog, I knew that they meant business. And it says, beware lest anyone cheat you or bite you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world and not according to Christ. Forget about everybody else is doing it.

Forget about it. They're giving degrees out in this topic. What's Christ say about it? Jesus says this in the Sermon on the Mount, beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing. In other words, they don't come with this sign on, hey, I'm a false prophet.

They come along saying, hey, trust me. And he continues to say, you come in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.

Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? There's a law in creation. There are spiritual laws, there are physical laws. And Jesus is saying this very thing that you'll know that they're rotten and dirty and no good by what you see coming out of that place. It will not match scripture.

And they'll have some line like this, well, you know, we're now in a modern age. Some other screwball line that those who are guilty want to hear and that's why these groups survive. You may say, that's harsh. It's a lot more harsh to stand in front of Jesus guilty of these things, nonresponsive to what he says.

I'd rather hurt your feelings now than see you coasting to a toasting in hell. And that's just how it is in the church and with individuals. And we continue in this first verse. He says, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you.

Well, in Thessalonica that might have been pretty tough business. Remember this church was but about six months old when Paul had to leave. And so everyone in this church was a new convert. And so he had to break with protocol. It is less than ideal to appoint a novice to a position of a pastor or anywhere in church service. You have to first let these be proven.

I'll get to that in a minute. And, you know, someone could have said, well, why does he get to be the pastor? I was saved a day before him. Well, it's not about who wants, it's what God wants. Who's called to do this? Many of you say, thank God I'm not the pastor.

I like my support role. Well, you wouldn't have any pastors without support people. There's a chain of command everywhere in life where there's resistance against chaos. Proverbs chapter 20 verse 3. This is for those who like to go to churches and start fights. Or just start fights, period. In Jesus' name, of course. Proverbs says, it is honorable for a man to stop striving since any fool can start a quarrel. I love that.

You know, I like to embellish, you know, the amplified Rick version. Any moron can start an argument. May it not be you, may it not be me. And so, this attitude that some have.

Well, I'm richer than everybody else around me, therefore I must be smarter, I should be the leader. That's not how God works. God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. And every pastor should be a living proof of that, at least in his own head. Now, don't laugh too hard, I have feelings too.

So, I just don't use them. Anyway, so, less than ideal circumstances in Thessalonica. Necessity forced his hand, which is totally acceptable. He has that prerogative, especially with his position as apostle. An apostle is a pastor and more, and he had the right. When we first started the church here, I mean, we had to break with some protocol, but it's not the ideal. Or else you get nothing done, you will not survive.

In an emergency, I don't mind having laymen work the firehose, but ideally, I'd rather have trained firemen working the hose. And so, that's the kind of idea here. Now, listen to what Paul tells Timothy about pastoring.

And maybe he had Thessalonica in mind. Many years later, he writes this. He says, Not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride, he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. You know, the devil loves to have us be guilty of what he's guilty of. That's what he did with Eve. And that's what he's been doing ever since.

Same old line, same old junk. Why? Because it works.

That's why. He's not a creator. He doesn't have to be. The sinful nature accommodates his deception. And so, Paul says, when you go to put a person in a position of a pastor, he's not to be a rookie. And he goes on and he writes in the same 1 Timothy chapter 3, he says, But let these also first be tested. Then let them serve as deacons being found blameless. This is guidelines for appointing people to the position in the church. And so, you have folks that think that because they're successful somewhere else, whether it's in a church or business or anywhere, when they show up they should automatically be assigned positions of their choice. I think a church that's led by the Spirit does not operate that way.

A church led by the Spirit says we follow these guidelines. You have to be proven. We don't know who you are. You could be, you know, an axe murderer or something.

We want to get to know that so we can run. Well, verse 13 he continues, and to esteem them highly in love for their works sake, be at peace among yourselves. Now let me read that first part the way I think you should see your pastor. Esteem them very highly. Give them loads of money from your wallet. Immediately. Okay, that's just goofy. Then I'll go buy myself a white suit and white patent leather shoes. And change my name to Dr. Billy Saul Hawkins. But back to this. I'm sorry.

You just, it's so obvious. You just wonder how people, you know, little old ladies writing these big checks to these churches because they think that they're getting the word. My grandmother loved the Lord and she fell prey to some of this stuff.

And I was, you know, when I got old enough I didn't go, Grandma, what are you doing? But I tried to gently steer her toward the good stuff. But anyway, esteem them highly. You know, you can have difficulty with this.

You know, the Bible says that the pastors rule the church. We're afraid of that word. We think of dictatorship and tyranny. It doesn't mean that. What happens when there is no order, when there is no rule? You can't even play a game of checkers without rules.

There's chaos. And so we have to not think, not let the devil change our thinking because of what the bad has done. And not be afraid of the facts and embrace them as God's word. Hebrews chapter 13 verse 7, Paul writes, probably Paul writes this, Remember those who rule over you.

He's talking in the church, not in your homes. Who have spoken the word of God to you. Whose faith follow considering the outcome of their conduct. That goes back to what the Lord said. If they have fruit, if they're preaching the word and they're living the life and walking the walk as best as we can try. Then these things apply.

Then he continues in the same chapter, Hebrews 13 verse 17. Obey those who rule over you and be submissive for they watch out for your souls. As those who must give account, let them do so with joy and not with grief.

Well that would be unprofitable for you. I love that. I would question scripture if it did not have such wisdom and correct approach to everything in life. It's a better thing for everything. That's what the word of God is. And where these things are practiced, the congregation is strong and people get saved because of the people in the congregation. We repeat after our kind, sick sheep begets sick sheep. Healthy sheep begets healthy sheep.

It's up to you and it's up to me. We have as much of the Holy Spirit as we want. And that can be a troubling statement because we always want more. And it always seems a little bit far ahead of us. Well that's because you cannot exhaust the spirit.

It's God. 2 Timothy chapter 4, speaking of admonishing and from this position, well we do it through the word. We don't pull you aside and say, hey let me tell you something, that really is an ugly shirt. We don't do things like that.

We come up and we preach verse by verse and let the scripture deal with you. And so that's the great admonishment. Now there are exceptions. There are times when we just had one not too long ago.

They were gone, touched down and gone, hopefully. And you know they have an agenda and it's usually self in Jesus' name. They know Jesus more than you will ever know Jesus and therefore don't tell them anything. And they have to be dealt with and this flock must be protected from these people. And so 2 Timothy chapter 4 verse 2, preach the word.

He's telling Timothy this is what you do as a pastor. Preach the word. Be ready every day. That's what he says.

Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and teaching. I love every part of that verse except the long suffering part.

I don't want to suffer long at all ever. But there's no way around it. Titus, he writes this to Titus. Now Titus was a bit of a troubleshooter. And so he says to Titus, speak these things, exhort and rebuke with all authority.

Let no one despise you. Yeah man, that's pastoring. Listen, the pastor is not looking for authority. He already has it. God has given it to him. And so he's supposed to execute it as a father in a home. Is he looking for authority? If he is, there's something wrong with that home. He has authority.

It's been given to him by God. You moms, are you looking for authority with your children? You've got it for the rest of their lives.

You have authority over those children. I love my mom used to remind her boys, pop you upside your head, I don't care how old you are. And a little bitty thing, okay mom, I wouldn't even think of raising my voice to her or showing any disrespect.

Now when I was a little guy, I tried to pull some of those stunts. And you know, as I've said before, she was notorious for throwing a shoe. She always missed and I think on purpose because she didn't want to hurt us. But anyway, that's not tough love, that's shoe love. And so he says, in love for their work's sake, understand what's going on. See how things work. You know, we understand we don't see traffic cops too much.

Well, I guess when the lights or electric goes out, you see them there. But you know, you understand how they work. And when he holds his hands up and he says, stop your car so you can let others go, you understand what he's doing and hopefully are compliant. And well, the church is no different. It's the same spirit.

It's not this, oh, he's not ruling over me or anything like that. It's the spirit of love and of power and of a sound mind and an environment of faith. And all who believe in the word of God are obligated to understand where God is going with his people. Ephesians 5 17, listen to what he says Paul does. He says, therefore, do not be unwise. And then he says, but understand, that Greek word, but understand, means to put together.

So we could read it this way, therefore, do not be unwise, but put it together what the will of the Lord is. Well, what should he say? Be dumb as dirt, you know, sharp as a sack of wet mice, and just go ahead and live for Christ like that. Is that what he should say?

Absolutely not. He says, you guys need to be sharper all the time. Keep your sword sharp and use it for the kingdom, not on each other.

In fact, if you want to go cutting something up, use it on yourself. That was the lesson. Joshua, before they entered into the promised land, they turned their knives on themselves in circumcision, their covenant. They got right with God and it was painful and this before the battle. Joshua incapacitated his army, just trusting God. Fierce lessons from scripture, not always easy to live up to, but always easy to admire. So he says, be at peace among yourselves. Well, unfortunately, there have been and are and will be many churches stricken by fools so busy vying for a say-so, for fame, for position, that the churches become train wrecks. They keep the cross, incidentally. They keep telling the world, yeah, this is Jesus, yet inside ravenous wolves, piranha, never mind goats, piranha walking around. There's something for Darwin.

But anyway, these things should not be and they should not be accepted. Hosea the prophet, trying to show the people how wicked they were at the time and how much it broke God's heart. Now listen, when God's heart breaks, the next step is wrath. You know, so there may be a long time between the two, but the clock is ticking. God is not a God of wrath as first choice, but he will deal with the wicked. That's a promise.

And if you opt out, well, you know, I think that's harsh and mean spirited and all that. Well, you go call God a liar to his face. I find it easier to accept what he says and accept his invitations.

That takes away the question marks from my life. I don't have very many question marks about God. He is right all the time.

He is good all the time. Every decision he makes is right. I might not like it, but I know this is true. I have evidence for it and I accept it. And I'm not afraid of heaven. I'm trying to live like I've already been there. I'm trying to live as though I've seen heaven and I believe what Jesus says when he tells me. Now, this ain't easy. What is?

What is easy on earth? Hosea chapter 13 verses 2 and 3. Now they sin more and more and have made for themselves molded images, idols of silver according to their skill, and all of it is the work of craftsmen.

Let me just give some commentary there. They're making up things about me according to their understanding and not my revelation. They're saying things about me according to their education and their ability, but they don't care what I'm saying.

I have more ability than they'll ever have. God's not impressed by man's intelligence. So that kind of sets the pace for what we're talking about here.

He continues. They say of them, let the man whose sacrifices kiss the calves, the pagan idols and things like that. Therefore they shall be like the morning cloud and like the early dew that passes away, like chaff blown off from a threshing floor and like smoke from a chimney.

They're going to be zip gone. That's what the Lord is saying. Now that makes more of a spiritual impact than it does anything else. In this church, what we have helping us be at peace, we have the Brute Squad. They gather for prayer in conference room one every Sunday morning and they offer up prayers to the Lord.

And you may not see the impact when it happens, but you benefit from the results. And you find that their prayers are safeguards. They're bouncers. They bounce out of the church the notions of the devil before he even gets an idea. We want him to say, I can't get to them.

I can't get in there. They've got this wall of prayer up. They've got these Christians in there who actually love Jesus. And everything he has to say and want it all. Those kind of people he can't defeat. He may kill them, but he can't defeat them. And so verse 14 he continues, Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.

Why does the world hate Christ with such language like this? Why are they so... Jesus can't come into school. And you know, one of my brothers sent me a picture at one of the universities in town with a rainbow on it on these doors in the university that say safe zone. Safe from what?

The rainbow? I don't get it. It's getting so the weak Christian is going to need a safe zone. Why do they hate us so much? Because their deeds are dirty. Their hearts are darkened.

I don't care what they call it. God has already spoken on these things. Thus saith the Lord, it is take it or leave it.

And just because you get away with it doesn't mean you are going to get away with it in the end. And so I say again, what makes this so repugnant to the world? Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the faint hearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. Now we encourage our fellow believers to be strong when life's hardships are pressing on them.

What should we say? Now, now, be weak. Go ahead and give in. It's okay to blaspheme God when you're hurting like this. You first?

Of course not. Unfortunately, that's all the time we have for today. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As you likely gathered, we are currently studying the book of 1 Thessalonians here on Cross Reference Radio. To learn more about Cross Reference Radio, visit our website at You can download today's teaching or subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing is easy. Just search for Cross Reference Radio in iTunes. We encourage you to place a marker in your Bibles and join us same time, same place for the next edition of Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-08 15:12:44 / 2023-09-08 15:22:48 / 10

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