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Often when you come to a familiar passage like this you often think, what more can I gain from these words? Haven’t I heard them all before?
1 Thessalonians 4.1-12
Reference: v.1 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. (NIV Bible)
Explore: The other day I preached a sermon on the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25.31-46). This is where the Son of Man returns and separates the nations like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Because those like sheep had given food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, invited in the stranger, given to those needing clothes, and visited the sick and imprisoned they received eternal inheritance. Whereas those like the goats, who had not helped one of the least of these entered into eternal punishment.
This passage would have to be up there with some of the most popular passages to preach on. I think it would have to be beaten by the Christmas and Easter story, and possibly overtaken by the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. However this passage far exceeds the scripture where God instructs the Israelites on how to cleanse themselves from mildew!!
Often when you come to a familiar passage like this you often think, what more can I gain from these words? Haven’t I heard them all before? And then I read these words of encouragement from Paul as he writes to the Thessalonians. He already knows that they are being obedient to his instructions but he continues to urge and encourage them to keep going.
Application: So often we forget to keep the encouragement going. We notice something positive about someone, or their obedience to instruction and we may mention it once or twice. But then we just come to expect that they will always be good. This passage is a great reminder to us to continually encourage and support people through their journeys. A one-off pat on the back is good, but it is so much better if we can continually build each other up.
Prayer: Lord, you sent Your Spirit to be with us always. You are a constant encouragement to each of us. Thank you. Amen.
Who is someone in your life that needs encouragement today?