Mature Loyalty to God
1 Thess. 5:23 -28
I am big on loyalty. I think my generation is generally big on loyalty. For me, this is even more true as we come to Christianity. I believe that Christians should be loyal to Christ. They should be loyal to their church, they should be loyal to their beliefs. And this loyalty should be growing into a point of maturity or completeness.
1. The . . Call for Mature Loyalty. v 23
A. Mature Loyalty Through . . Sanctification. v 23 a
1. Positional Sanctification. *
1 Corinthians 1:30
30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, NAS
1 Corinthians 6:11
11 And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. NAS
11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, NAS
10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. NAS
Col. 3:5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. NAS
Titus 2:11-14 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. NAS
James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your
hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. NAS
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. NAS
B. Complete Loyalty Through Spotlessness. v 23 b
2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be
diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, NAS
Eph. 5:27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory,
having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy
and blameless. NAS
I go to an Internet site of a Presbyterian pastor in North Carolina. His name is David Leininger and recently I read an illustration that he used that was a personal experience. When he was in Seminary, he was in class with only six students. The professor knew all six of the young men and knew they were good students.
So the professor said, "what do you think about if we just settled the grade problem right now and I give every one of you an "A". From now on, you know you have an A and we'll just have fun and enjoyment as we study."
He related further that the professor decided not to go ahead and do
that but then he likened that to what Jesus has done for us in Christ.
He said, "when we are saved, we are given the A. And then the Lord says,'all
right you're saved, that's settled, go on and live the Christian life.'
And this has a relationship for us that enables us to in love and in freedom
live for Christ. In sanctification and in spotlessness.
I have been given a "A" by the Lord. It is also called being saved.
I have the desire to measure up to His Standard.
2. The . . Capability for Mature Loyalty. v 24
A. Power In the . . Faithfulness of the One Who
Calls. v 24 a
"Faithful is He who calls you, . . . "
B. Power In the . . Faculties of the One Who Calls.
v 24 a
". . .and He also will bring it to pass."
Do you remember the story of Daniel in the Lions den? Listen to the words of the king to Daniel.
Daniel 6:20 And when he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?"
Daniel replied " Dan 6:21 Then Daniel spoke to the king, "O king, live
forever! 22 "My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they
have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; NAS
Our God is able. He has the faithfulness and the power to accomplish
3. The . . Companionship for Mature Loyalty. v 25-28
A. The Praying Companionship. v 25
" Brethren, pray for us."
B. The Passionate Companionship. v 26
"Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss."
1. This is a custom of that culture but not in ours.
One of our pastor's, Jerry Dowdy, has been to Belarus on two occasions. He showed the pastors some slides about it and pointed out one man who is a rather robust Russian man. He said "this man insists on greeting you with a great big bear hug and a juicy kiss." He said "I know that the man means well and he is so thrilled to recognize a brother in Christ from a different nation. He's just so happy." But he said "where it is their custom to kiss it is certainly not ours."
Walking up to a department store's fabric counter, a pretty girl asked, "I want to buy this material for a new dress. How much does it cost?"
"Only one kiss per yard," replied the smirking male clerk. "That's fine," replied the girl. "I'll take ten yards." With expectation and anticipation written all over his face, the clerk hurriedly measured out and wrapped the cloth, then held it out teasingly, leaning forward to receive his "payment."
The girl snapped up the package and pointed to a little old man
standing beside her. "Grandpa will pay the bill," she smiled.
C. A Preparing Companionship. v 27 - 28
"I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
There is a story about some scholars and clergy in England who were banging their collective heads on coming up with the one distinctive that separated Christianity from any other world religion. At the height of their frustration C. S. Lewis walked into the room. "Clive", one of the gentlemen called to him, "Help us figure out this poser. What is the single most distinctive doctrine or fact that separates Christianity from any other religion?"
Without hesitation, Lewis replied, "That's easy, grace. It's a totally foreign concept to any other faith system."
v 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
* Sub-Points from Wiersbe's Commentary.