Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Commands of a Faithful Commander (church bulletin cover)

There's nothing like a list of imperative commands to get a person sitting up straight and paying attention. Paul writes such a list to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 5:11-22. In these verses, Paul challenges his readers to...
  • encourage one another
  • build one another up
  • respect your leaders
  • be at peace with each other
  • warn the undisciplined
  • encourage the fainthearted
  • help the weak
  • be patient with everyone
  • don't return evil for evil
  • seek to do good for others
  • rejoice always
  • pray without ceasing
  • give thanks in all circumstances
  • don't quench the Spirit of God
  • don't despise prophecies
  • examine things carefully
  • hold fast to what is good
  • avoid evil
Eighteen imperative commands in twelve verses! Such a list can either crush us or inspire us. To be inspired rather than crushed, I find the verses that follow those commands extremely helpful. Verse 23-24 says, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it."

God raises the bar that we're to leap over and then He promises the boost we need to get over it! We must never ignore the commands, but we must also never separate the commands from the promises. This is how God demonstrates His mercy toward us: He calls us to do the impossible -- be holy -- and then He promises to sanctify us completely. The One who calls us is faithful to help us. What hope that gives to those who want to serve Him by obeying every command He gives us!

© 2009 by Ken Peters

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