1 Thessalonians 5:8-20 by Vicki Gabler
Vicki has such a sweet spirit, and has a ministry of kindness and gentleness.
Vicki began by reading 1 Thessalonians 5:8-20 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you are doing.
Vicki told us the Church is to encourage each other, speaking things to help each other. This is a great need in the church, and we all need encouragement. She likened it to running a marathon, when your energy begins to falter, and there are people along the way clapping and cheering. It gives you that extra little bit of energy to move forward. In our race of life we too need that kind of support, to bolster resistance to the things that we are facing.
She encourages us to make people feel important by being attentive to them. If you are talking to them do not be looking around the room to the next person. Listen to the people, REALLY LISTEN, not thinking what you are going to say, but paying attention to what they are saying. Look at the person for that will let them know you really are listening. Vicki also suggested observing people, looking for a quality you appreciate about them. Take time to stop and ask how a person is doing, write them a note or an email.
In 1998 God told Vicki to preach His word, encourage, strengthen, and build up God’s people through His Word.
Vicki shared the chorus of a Bing Crosby song:
You’ve got to accentuate the positive
She said we have to focus on someone’s less than ugly truth. There is always something positive we can find about a person. God wants us to cast off the negative.
Paul wrote the letter to the Thessalonians because they were a young congregation that needed help and encouragement. They were facing persecution and were living in a pagan culture. Because Paul knew there could be potential problems, he wrote to strengthen their faith.
As believers, we are also to encourage new believers. Lift them up, teach, encourage, and make sure they don’t get sidetracked by the things of the world. 1 Thessalonians 5 helps us to help others in Christ.
1 Thessalonians 4:12-13 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
We need to honor our pastors, teachers, leaders, music ministry, secretaries, janitors, Sunday School teachers and all those others who serve Christ. Vicki reminded us that the Lord put them in that position and thus we have to honor and encourage them. They are working to help us on our path. Tell them you appreciate them, seek ways to help out without being asked. Don’t bring every little thing to them, many of the things we want to bring to them we are mature enough to deal with ourselves.
1 Corinthians 16:18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.
She told us pastors and other church works refresh our spirits. And she also reminded us to not think they know we honor and appreciate them. They need to hear us say it too.
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
They do deserve double honor for their job is to labor in the Word. But today pastors and others are expected to do everything in the church from cleaning toilets, to serving in the kitchen, etc. (Heather’s note, Pastor Don will step up and do what is necessary in all these capacities). But to help our elders and pastors, we should step up to help out when we see something needs doing. We don’t always have to run to our pastor, we just need to do it.
Hebrews 13:17 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, for that would be unprofitable for you.
We need to obey those over us.
1 Thessalonians 5:13 tells us we need to be at peace among ourselves. Too often the Church is quarreling and picking over little things. This grieves the Holy Spirit when we fall into stupid arguing. When offenses arise, handle them Biblically. Don’t gossip and spread slander. Vicki shared about someone who took offense and yelled rather than talking and straightening out the situation in love. When someone takes offense, or offends you, pray for that person that God will help them sort out the situation.
Ephesians 4:29-32 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
We are to pursue peace -which means to run after.
Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.
All means all, not just some, but be patient with all, patient with the unruly, idle, disorderly, those walking on dangerous ground. Not to yell, but quietly instruct, nicely tell, and be patient. (Heather’s note, remember how hard some of the lessons we had to learn were.)
Isaiah 35:3-4 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”
A weak Christian, a baby Christian needs help in their walk. It can be a weakness in the physical, in the spiritual or in the mind. Pray for them. Be observant and talk with them to know where their weakness is, so you can walk alongside them and be a help. Let them know you care and God cares. Be a help to them.
Romans 15:1 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Take attention off of ourselves and focus on others, helping others with their weakness and infirmities. Lift them up in prayer.
1 Corinthians 13:4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.
Love is patient. We have to make the choice not to act impatiently with someone. Practice patience. Plan ahead so that you can stay calm in situations. As we begin to practice patience, God will provide those who will help us to practice it.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
Do not do evil for evil. Do good.
Romans 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
Give a blessing back instead of doing evil. Blessings are like water on fire.
Romans 12:21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
These are spiritual exercises we do for ourselves. Godly exercises always lead to a God honoring life.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
No matter what our circumstances look like, we can rejoice because God is still on the throne. Our joy comes with our prayers and thankfulness – it does not fluctuate with circumstances. In the midst of a problem, our natural inclination is to lash out. If we rejoice in the Lord, He will help us to restrain ourselves from lashing out and He will show us the light at the end of the tunnel.
We are to pray always, that doesn’t mean it always has to be on our knees, but we can inwardly pray throughout our day. We can keep an attitude of prayer. Vicki spoke of bullet prayers, which are small short prayers. Prayer also includes listening for God. Find a place to be quiet and listen for what God has to say to you. We are also to give thanks.
Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Make lists of what you are thankful for. Vicki suggested making an alphabetical list of things you are thankful for. It is good to fall asleep thanking God. God did not create evil, so be thankful for God’s goodness in our lives. No matter the situation or circumstance, find a way to be thankful. If nothing else we can be thankful for WHO GOD IS. We also need to remember that God will use all things for good. We know God even if we don’t know all about a situation.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit.
Whenever His ministry is stifled, it quenches the Spirit. We are not to ignore or toss aside the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some churches never teach their members they have spiritual gifts. Those churches are weak and impoverished. We are fortunate that Pastor Don encourages us to use our gifts, and to operate in the spirit. He expects us to get busy doing what the Spirit is prompting us to do. Some churches deny spiritual gifts and it can cause division in the Church. Some Christians choose to smother their gifts, and that hurts the Church and the Body of Christ and the Holy Spirit. We are not to stifle the gifts in anyone else, and are to encourage the gifts of the Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.
Never scoff at a prophet. There are two ways prophecies work – Foretelling which is telling what will come to pass and Forthtelling which is what a person does when he teaches the Word of God. We do need to test what is told to us to make sure it agrees with the Word. Ponder the prophecies in our heart to see what is being said to us.
Vicki told us that Leon Forte told her a prophecy, talking about the lion of Judah. She never thought about that, but later in a church in Florida, during communion she was very upset that the members were chit chatting, laughing, and not respecting God. She yelled at the members telling them that they needed to respect the house of the Lord and not gossip, laugh and joke during the communion service. If you knew Vicki you would know that yelling is not her normal way of dealing with a situation, it was a godly anger, a Lion of Judah kind of anger. And it was met with respect afterwards, for the members realized they were in error.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Hold fast to what is true, noble, just and pure. Think about these things. Look for the lovely. (Heather’s note, Pastor Don often reminds us that we cannot think two thoughts simultaneously.)
1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from every form of evil. Do not despise prophecies.
Not just some evils, but EVERY form of evil. In this day we are surrounded by evil. We are like boats in water. We can’t avoid the water, but we don’t have to sink in the water. TV, radio, books, movies all bombard us with evil. We have a choice what we bring into our lives. We know our temptations.
Jesus wants us to be a light on the earth through us. We need to walk the love walk, walk out the love of Jesus and be the voice of Jesus. Our tongue can be used for evil or good. We need to speak words that are edifying, filled with the fruit of the Word of God. There is life and death in the power of the tongue.
1 Thessalonians 5:5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness
We need to act as children of the light.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation
For some people, we are the only Jesus that they see.
We then closed in a prayer from 1 Thessalonians 5.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Amplified And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah). Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you].
Vicki is always a blessing when she teaches. Praying this helps you in your walk.
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