Monday, January 21, 2019

Final Instructions

Paul = finishing his letter to the Thessalonians.

Brief/simple - 16 in all.

1st. 8 = neighbor related:
Respect your leaders
Warn the idle
Help the weak
Don't retaliate
Live in peace
Encourage the timid
Be patient with everyone
Be kind

The next 8 = God related.
We did 2 last week - 1 Thess. 5:16-18

Today: = the last 5 - also God related.
1 Thess. 5:19-22

(1)  Don't quench the Spirit
(2)  Don't treat prophecies with contempt
(3)  Test everything
(4)  Hold to the good
(5)  Avoid the evil 

#1,  Don't quench the (Holy) Spirit  
Don't put out His fire (working in you), hinder His work (in you), Resist/refuse His request when He wants to work in you..
Example:  Rom. 1:18 - "suppress" - have to exert some pressure to keep it from happening
Contrast with  2 Tim. 1:6 - "fan into flame" - (do your part)

Twofold Application:  (1)  within you (individual)
                                  (2)  within you all (corporate, context - in the Greek is plural)
Example:  Praise song:  "Holy Spirit thou art welcome in this place"

Question:  (obviously) He is welcome to comfort, heal, encourage, strengthen, etc.  BUT, is He welcome to convict?  confront?  correct?  Chastise?

Question:  How to know it = Holy Spirit? - tears, raising hands, vocalizing, etc. not always a correct indication
Answer  we'll come to that.

#2.  Don't treat prophecies with contempt  
Prophecy = (A)  foretelling = proclaiming a new word (new message)
                  (B)  forthtelling = expounding on an already known word.  ie:  preaching, teaching
Context suggests New Testament office and gift  (foretelling/new word(s)

Are 2 schools of thought on this:  one = this ceased with the Apostles,  other end = should be as common today as it was back then.
Middle ground = On one hand, obviously it is not as it was then, However, should be open to God's wisdom.  He can use this if He chooses.  Compare New Testament healings.

How to apply to us:  We will probably never talk to God face to face, eyeball to eyeball.  God most likely will speak to us through a Medium, whatever that may be:  prophet?  Apostle?  Holy Spirit?  Scripture?
Don't treat God's Word(s)/ Message(s) with contempt!!  ie:  when God speaks ....(whatever the medium) don't disregard, discredit, dismiss, treat lightly!!

Question:  How do I know it's from God?? 

#3.  Test Everything  (context = Spiritual claims, movements, etc.)
ie:  don't be naive, gullible, childish, foolish, non-discerning

New Testament is Clear!!  There will be...
          (1)  False ... doctrines, claims, teachers, prophets, *Spirits*
And,  (2)  Counterfeit - which = dangerous look alikes!!!
   2 Cor. 11:13-15,  1 John 4:1, 5

So:  #3.  Test 
       #4.  Hold  to what's good
       #5.  Avoid that which is evil

BUT still leaves question:  How do I know it's Holy Spirit?  true Prophecy?
Answer is not easy - can't measure in a lab, on a calculator 

#1.  Measure suggested truths by established truths. 
Example:  "this board = 72" long"  - how to test that??
      "       = Eve - opportunity to test serpent's claim?
      "       = Bereans - Act. 17:10-11 - on one hand, "received eagerly" however, "examined the Scriptures!"  They were eager to received from God, but didn't accept the message blindly.

Doing this should develop:
(1)  Maturity - Eph. 4:11-15
(2)  Discernment - Heb. 5:11-14 - by constant use have trained themselves
(3)  Wisdom - Matt. 10:16
Additional tests of orthodoxy, tradition, wise individuals, corporate wisdom

Lump these 5 together + paraphrase 

(1)  Don't hinder God's work, word, message - within you, among you (all)

(2)  Don't be naive   (gullible, childish, foolish)

(3)  Test all spiritual claims

(4)  Hold to the good

(5)  Avoid all the evil

So.......... Paul closes this section with   1 Thess. 5:23-24

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