God's Instructions

January 22, 2023
Series: Faith

Speaker: Ps Leni Atienza

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Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

As a Christian, we believed that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, and it is His instructions for us, so that whatever circumstances and life challenges may come in us, our life will not only be preserved but moreover victoriously and successful. But sometimes it seems impossible and illogical for us to understand especially when we see and experiencing things the other way around. Like for examples Jesus sermon in the Mount, the Beatitudes in
Matthew 5: 43-44

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”. Impossible? That is why we need God himself, not just His instructions. It is not just enough
to have the instructions (knowledge) but also the strength (grace) to do it. With men is impossible, but with God all things are possible! (Matthew 19:26). This is the reason God gave us His Son, Jesus for in Him and through Him grace and truth came. (John 1:17) having a personal relationship with Him, accepting Him as Lord and Savior we have been born-again in Spirit and in truth, as children of God, been able to understand His words and able to do His will, not by might nor by power but by the Spirit of God. (Zechariah 4:6)

Peter admonish us in 2 Peter 3:18 “Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” Paul echoes it in his writings as well in Ephesians 3: 17-20 “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19  to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.

I pray that the Scriptures we will read and heard today will not just remind us but also carried us throughout the year and years of our life until the coming of our Lord. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
19  Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. 21  Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify [ you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul,
and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is
faithful, who also will do it.

To fully understand God’s words and His will, is to look and study the particular text in its context, to its chapters, chapters into the book, and one book into the entire book of the Bible.
The book of Thessalonians was written by Paul, that which at the time the early Churches is suffering persecutions and yet these are things he wrote to them.
Let me put these text in two categories, first the right attitudes and second the right actions of every true believers in Christ Jesus.

1. Rejoice Always – Be joyful!
It is easy to be rejoicing when we are in the midst of celebration, but when we experienced hardship and tragedy, how can we tell to someone or even to ourselves to rejoice always? It is like adding insult to injury or squeezing lemon juice to a wound! Yet you will find a lot of characters in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation who had experienced difficulties and lost but still was able to rejoice. Job who lost everything, Joseph who was sold as a slave by his
brothers and wrongfully accused led to his imprisonments, David whose life was always put in perilous situation, even Paul himself flogged and beaten many times. And yet this man were all able to overcome their sorrow and hurts. How is that possible?

Philippians 4:4 “ Rejoice in the Lord always again, I say rejoice!
They were able to rejoice, because their mind and heart is not focusing in their situations or problems but in the Lord in whom they trust! Job who wrote “ I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God. (Job 19:25-26 )Joseph hold on to his God-given dreams by faith, He trusted God that His dreams will surely come to pass. David – May my meditation be pleasing
to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. Psalm 104:34 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.- Habakkuk 3:17-18

2. Pray without ceasing (continually) – Be prayerful!
We all believed God answers prayers. His answers are Yes for it is His will and purpose, No, its because He knows what is really best for us, and Wait because He still teaching and preparing us so that we can be able to handle his answers to our prayers. Luke 18:1 “ Men ought to pray always and not to give up! “

Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful!

Three Reasons why we should always pray and not give up!
* For our spiritual transformations because no one who spends time with God in prayer remains the same person. We may approach God as sinner and weak yet after prayer we come out forgiven and strong.
* To make our petitions known to God, not that because God does not know but rather by our confessions of faith, spiritual words spoken to be manifested in our physical life.
We come to Him in needs and we finished with provisions! For anyone who ask, receives!
* To let His kingdom come and His will be done! For through prayers we acknowledge His sovereignty, His divine intervention!

3. In everything give thanks – Be thankful
It is not happy people are thankful, but rather it is thankful people that are happy. And the most contented people are those who are thankful!
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12
Romans 8:28 “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Be joyful, prayerful and thankful at all times always because this s the will of God in Christ for you! – Attitudes of every believer whatever the circumstances are.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7-8
Viral song in Facebook
– Lord I thank you for sunshine, I thank you for rain, I thank you for joy, I thank you for pain. It’s a beautiful day! Sometimes life is good, but then trouble comes my way. But whatever happens Lord, I thank you for this day. And when I’m feeling troubled, I lift my hands and pray that your will be done in the rain or sun, oh it’s a beautiful day! I don’t want to act too high and mighty coz tomorrow I may fall down on my face. I thank you for sunshine, thank you for rain, thank you for joy and thank you for pain, It’s a beautiful day!!!

4. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies.  

-These scriptures are reminder to us in our personal worship with God and also to corporate worship as the body of Christ. The Bible commonly portrays the Holy Spirit like a flame. The idea of “quench” carries the idea of putting out a light of a torch or a fire, it means hindering the works and operations of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our church, by refusing to submit to the teaching of the Word. “quench” the Spirit. Those who usurp the Spirit’s ministry in the
local church throw cold water on God’s work in the congregation.

When there is a division in the body of Christ, I follow Paul, I follow Apollos. It grieves the Holy Spirit how much more when there is a rebellion in the local church against its leadership.
A believer can extinguish the work of the Spirit in the church. Every local church has those who try to stifle the ministry. Some do this by opposing leadership. Others do it by indifference to leadership, Whatever means they may use, the result is that they extinguish the fire of the Spirit. Yet here we are we are looking for the manifestation of God in our midst, but at the same time we act indifferently to one another by passing judgment, acting contemptuously or
haughty, disrespectful and disdainful! Instead of loving, submitting, accepting and forgiving one another.
We quench the Spirit of God when we ignore His promptings and teaching through His word, despising His rebuke and corrections through prophecies and utterance of Truth.

5. Test all things; hold fast what is good. – Discernment
1 Kings 3:9 “give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil.
-1 John 4:1 “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.”
Acts 17:10-11 “for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so”
But examine everything carefully! And what is good? God and His words! His law and His promises, for it is the truth and it never fails, it will remains and stands forever.

6. Abstain from all appearances of Evil-
What is Evil? In general it is the opposite or the absence of Good! Specifically I would say anything that is not of God’s will is evil! As a believer our ways and actions should always reflect God’s working in our lives through obedience, holding fast to His words, His teachings and promises.

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

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