Thoroughness

March 25, 2006 1 Thessalonians 5:23-28

Introduction:
1.  We’re approaching the END of our study: The Disciple Making Church – subtitled: 10 Habits of Highly Effective Churches!
[remember our 2006 Theme: Gearing Up for Greater Effectiveness]
2.  Last week we how a disciple making church is “An Action Oriented Family” [specifically, the 17 verbs that Paul gives at the end of his letter – Christianity is a religion of ACTION]
>  while God is sovereign over all the events of our lives, He instructs us to make certain choices, acts of obedience, specific decisions in the process of our growth and service for Him
3.  If there was a study that fit our theme of Gearing Up for Greater Effectiveness, it would be this one
4. Next week [April 2nd ], I want to wrap up this study by pushing the pause button and answering the question(s):
>  SO WHAT?  Or NOW WHAT? – i.e. what have we learned and what do we need to do about? 
>  How do you as an individual, family, and we as an ABF or as a church need to grow in order to bring glory to God and be more effective in our service of the King!
5.  Then on April 9th, we’ll begin a NEW SERIES: God Wrote a Book
- the Bible is our source of truth, we believe it’s words are alive and powerful – it’s no ordinary book
- but what about other sources of truth that differ with the bible
- why are words that Paul wrote more important than words written by other authors
6.  Some of the studies that we’ll be doing will include:
 Evidence for the Bible You Shouldn’t Ignore [Reliability of the Word]
 Where Did the Bible Come From?  [Inspiration of the Bible -- ]
 What is the Bible Good For?
 How to Benefit from the Bible
 Jesus, the Message of the Bible
- let’s read the closing passage of our study: [READ 1 Thes. 5:23-28]
- this passage reveals . . .


I.  The Plan for the Disciple Making Church: Progressive Sanctification


- Paul’s words really point to the only source of power to obey the last 17 instructions he just gave – or really, all the instructions since 4:1 [read v.1 only] – 5: 22 – or ANY command of God
A.  Who oversees the Plan?
“God is the source of sanctification.  After giving the Thessalonians a series of commands and exhortations that called them to put forth discipline, devoted effort, Paul wanted them to recognize that ultimately it is God who enables believers t obey those admonitions and progress in sanctification.” – MacArthur, 1 Thessalonians
- it’s interesting that the closing remarks are centered around the God of peace (not a god of conflicts, strife, division, but “THE God peace” – the One and only God of peace!
- God’s saving work can best be described by the word peace:
- but Paul isn’t speaking of God’s own peace, but the peace of salvation God provided through Christ on the cross for all who repent and believe in Him
- the redemptive work of Christ (the Prince of Peace) brings sinful man [worthy of God’s wrath] to a place of reconciliation with a holy and righteous God – PEACE WITH GOD IS POSSIBLE!
 Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.
 Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
- the fact the Paul uses the word “Himself” is for emphasis – God doesn’t delegate this process to anybody (an angel, apostle, pastor, parent) – He gets it done by His own actions as He works directly in the life of the believer
Input:  While the God of peace Himself controls the sanctification process, what are some of the ‘tools’ He uses in the process?
 Word of God
 John 17:17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”
Pastor Bill Goode, our former Senior Pastor: “The Holy Spirit of God uses the holy Word of God to conform us to the image of the holy Son of God.”
 People – 1 Thes. 2 –God used Paul in the lives of this church – in just 3 weeks!
Input: Give me an example of how God used the life/admonition of another person to help ‘sanctify’ you [help you to grow spiritually]?
 Trials –
 James 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Input: Give me an example of a ‘trial’ that God used to help you grow and change?
ILL:  My dad’s death on July 27, 1983
Point:  Our growth starts with God and His plan for our lives – He is in control and uses various instruments to help us in the process – the issue is how are we responding?
- that’s why Paul prayed for this church and gave them this closing instruction
B.  What are the specific ingredients of the plan?
1.  Thoroughly Set Apart:  Sanctified
sanctify = to set apart as sacred to God; make holy, consecrate; regard as sacred; purify, cleanse, or to separate from sin to holiness
> Specifically:  to conform a person to the image of Christ!
* there are 3 aspects of this ‘sanctification’:
1) Positional Sanctification (Past) – you were ‘set apart’ in Christ the moment you got saved
 Hebrews 10:10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
2) Prospective Sanctification (Future) – what we will be in the future when the curse of sin is removed and we are sinless in body and spirit for eternity!
 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
3) Progressive Sanctification (Presently) – the process in which believers strive, by the help of the Holy Spirit power, to be more conformed to the image of Christ
 1 Timothy 4:7 . . . discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.
 Eph. 4:22-24 – the put off/put on process
- but we have to remember, it’s the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT which Paul points out in Gal. 5:22-23
- Paul emphasizes the balance in his letter to the Colossians:
 Colossians 1:28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
“Paul’s assertion . . . reveals the inseparable line between human effort and divine power in living the Christian life.  Believers must yield themselves to God and diligently pursue holiness, yet always proceed in the humble dependence on Him.” – MacArthur, 1 Thessalonians
Point:  While we have to be involved in the obedience process [grace allows us to choose], we can’t be sanctified (progressively set apart, or be more like Christ) without the work of the Holy Spirit!
2.  Thoroughly Preserved:  Complete and Blameless in all aspects of their life
 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Paul’s prayer was that God would keep them (preserve them) in the path of holiness until they received their ultimate sanctification
complete = sound, whole, total, with integrity, intact, undamaged
blameless = free from all fault
Q: For what aspect of this was he asking God to do this?
> “your spirit and soul and body”
- time wont’ permit us to go into as much depth on this subject as I’d like, so let me simply say that the two terms (spirit and soul) are used interchangeably in Scriptures
- a possible translation of this passage could be:
May your spirit, even soul and body’ – in which case ‘sprit’ would refer to the whole person, and ‘soul and body’ to the person’s non-material and material parts
- there are a number of references that Paul was a dichotomist (man has 2 parts – material/immaterial parts of man) not a trichotomist (man has 3 parts – body, soul, spirit)
Point: He was praying for every aspect of their lives to be sanctified – set apart and . . ..
3.  Thoroughly Ready:  Timing – at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
- 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 makes it clear that God will make all believers sinless and that we should keep on trying to ‘excel still more’ (1 Thes 4:2, 10) and in 1 Corinthians:
 1 Corinthians 15:50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55 "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
- Sounds like Paul had the idea of ‘gearing up for greater effectiveness’ – always abounding in the work of the Lord!
- ‘at the coming of the Lord’ communicates readiness for the Rapture – this is the 4th time it’s mentioned
- we don’t know WHEN it’s going to occur, but it’s coming – the goal is READINESS!


II..  The Source of ALL Accomplishments by the Disciple Making Church


A.  God faithfully calls you to His plan
call = a divine summons – i.e. God has ordained this plan, He has ‘called’ you to it!
- this is similar to Paul’s words to the church at Philippi:
 Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
- or his words to those at Rome:
 Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
B.  God faithfully accomplishes His plan
- God will accomplish what God wills to accomplish – He is FAITHFUL – He’s the covenant keeping God of Israel
- Remember this: God isn’t finished with you (us) yet
Q: How do we know? – we’re still alive, Jesus hasn’t come back yet – it’s still ‘day’ and we have to work while it is day for the night is coming when man’s work is DONE!
- that’s why we’re having this theme of “Gearing Up for Greater Effectiveness”
> we really believe that what God divinely summons us to do, He will accomplish it for His glory and our good!
WOW – it doesn’t get any better than that this side of eternity!


III.  The Final Requests for the Disciple Making Church


 1 Thessalonians 5:25 Brethren, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. 27 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.
A.  Pray for us!
- Paul, Silas, and Timothy has been faithful to pray for them (1 Thes. 1:2)
- the request is in the present tense, which means he’s requesting an ongoing habit of prayer!
- if these guys needed it, where does that leave YOUR PASTORS – DESPERATE!!!
Input:  What are some specific requests for which you should be praying for your pastors?
[various answers] – let me recommend a few
1) Spiritual growth – that in our efforts to lead our church, that we, too, are growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18 & progressive sanctification applies to your pastors as well)
 Personally; Marriage; Parenting; Pasturing – getting better/more effective at our work
2) Personal holiness – To keep our lives pure and to ensure we are growing in the qualifications of 1 Tim. 3 – and making wise decisions to ensure that process
3) Wisdom – to make good leadership decisions, and exercise wisdom in resolving conflicts
4) Future plans and priorities – as we seek to accomplish what we believe God wants us to accomplish
5) Effectiveness in preaching/teaching the Word
 Ephesians 6:19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,
Summary Verse:
 Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.
B. Show affection for each other: Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss
- greet conveys the intention of a friendly and righteous gesture, not a formal, reserved acknowledgement – for ALL the bro/sis in Christ – even the unruly ones (5:14)
- a “holy” kiss on the cheek – with pure motives among godly friends
- this explains the ultimate hypocrisy of Judas when he kissed Jesus on the cheek – that was something done by FRIENDS! [Matt 26:49]
- eventually people began to abuse that practice, and by the 13th century, the Western church abandoned that custom and went to the shaking of hands or a hug
- in Moldova, they still do the ‘holy kiss’ things – but it’s guys to guys, girls to girls
Point: To show affection to each other –we can do that in a lot of ways!
C.  Submit to God’s Word: Read the letter to all the brethren
adjure = to bind with an oath –demonstrates the importance of getting this done
- as is the case in all the epistles:  The letter was to read so all could benefit from it’s content
D.  Salutation:  Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
Grace = God’s unmerited favor (giving what we do NOT deserved)
“The closing requests Paul made to the Thessalonians match what all dedicated pastors desire from their own churches: that their people pray for them, that their people demonstrate affection to them and to one another, and that their people hear, read, study, and apply God’s Word. The evangelical church now resides in a time when so many people assume that it can accomplish its mission by man-centered methods, programs, and strategies. Those same people minimize the need to seriously and faithfully pray for their pastors, or the necessity to regularly rely on the divine, all-sufficient resources contained in Scripture. It is a lie from Satan that pastors can do without the divinely energized prayers of their people, but it is God’s truth that, through those prayers, He will powerfully enable pastors to fulfill their callings and help build His church.” – MacArthur, 1 Thessalonians
Closing Prayer – NEXT WEEK – review, ask the Q: So what?


ABF Series: The Disciple Making Church #10
Thoroughness  – 1 Thes 5:23-28

Introduction:
I.  The Plan for the Disciple Making Church: Progressive Sanctification
A.  Who oversees the Plan?
“God is the source of sanctification.  After giving the Thessalonians a series of commands and exhortations that called them to put forth discipline, devoted effort, Paul wanted them to recognize that ultimately it is God who enables believers t obey those admonitions and progress in sanctification.” – MacArthur, 1 Thessalonians
Input:  While the God of peace Himself controls the sanctification process, what are some of the ‘tools’ He uses in the process?
 ________________
“The Holy Spirit of God uses the holy Word of God to conform us to the image of the holy Son of God.” – Pastor Bill Goode, FBC
 _____________

 _____________
B.  What are the specific ingredients of the plan?
1.  Thoroughly Set Apart:  _______________
sanctify =  to set apart, or to separate from sin to holiness, to conform a person to the image of Christ!
* 3 aspects of this ‘sanctification’:
1)  Positional Sanctification (_____) – you were ‘set apart’ in Christ the moment you got saved
2)  Prospective Sanctification (_________) – what we will be in the future when the curse of sin is removed and we are sinless in body and spirit for eternity!
3)  Progressive Sanctification (__________) – the process in which believers strive, by the help of the Holy Spirit power, to be more conformed to the image of Christ
“Paul’s assertion . . . reveals the inseparable line between human effort and divine power in living the Christian life.  Believers must yield themselves to God and diligently pursue holiness, yet always proceed in the humble dependence on Him.” – MacArthur, 1 Thessalonians
2.  Thoroughly Preserved:  ____________ and ______________ in all aspects of their life
complete = sound, whole, total, with integrity, intact, undamaged

blameless = free from all fault

3.  Thoroughly Ready:  ______________ – at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ

II..  The Source of ALL Accomplishments by the Disciple Making Church
A.  God faithfully __________ you to His plan
call = a divine summons

B.  God faithfully ______________ His plan
III.  The Final Requests for the Disciple Making Church
A.  Pray for us!
Input:  What are some specific requests for which you should be praying for your pastors?

 


Summary Verse: ____________________

B. Show affection for each other: Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss


C.  Submit to God’s Word: Read the letter to all the brethren
adjure = to bind with an oath


D.  Salutation:  Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
Grace = God’s __________ __________ (giving what we do NOT deserved)
“The closing requests Paul made to the Thessalonians match what all dedicated pastors desire from their own churches: that their people pray for them, that their people demonstrate affection to them and to one another, and that their people hear, read, study, and apply God’s Word. The evangelical church now resides in a time when so many people assume that it can accomplish its mission by man-centered methods, programs, and strategies. Those same people minimize the need to seriously and faithfully pray for their pastors, or the necessity to regularly rely on the divine, all-sufficient resources contained in Scripture. It is a lie from Satan that pastors can do without the divinely energized prayers of their people, but it is God’s truth that, through those prayers, He will powerfully enable pastors to fulfill their callings and help build His church.” – MacArthur, 1 Thessalonians

Closing Prayer!


ABF Series: The Disciple Making Church #10
Thoroughness – 1 Thes 5:23-28
Introduction:
I.  The Plan for the Disciple Making Church: Progressive Sanctification
A.  Who oversees the Plan?
Quote
 Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.
 Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Input:  While the God of peace Himself controls the sanctification process, what are some of the ‘tools’ He uses in the process?
 Word of God
 John 17:17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”
“The Holy Spirit of God uses the holy Word of God to conform us to the image of the holy Son of God.”
 People – 1 Thes. 2 –God used Paul in the lives of this church – in just 3 weeks!
Input: Give me an example of how God used the life/admonition of another person to help ‘sanctify’ you [help you to grow spiritually]?
 Trials –
 James 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Input: Give me an example of a ‘trial’ that God used to help you grow and change?
B.  What are the specific ingredients of the plan?
1.  Thoroughly Set Apart:  Sanctified
sanctify =  to set apart, or to separate from sin to holiness, to conform a person to the image of Christ!

 

* 3 aspects of this ‘sanctification’:
1)  Positional Sanctification (Past) – you were ‘set apart’ in Christ the moment you got saved
 Hebrews 10:10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
2)  Prospective Sanctification (Future) – what we will be in the future when the curse of sin is removed and we are sinless in body and spirit for eternity!
 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
3)  Progressive Sanctification (Presently) – the process in which believers strive, by the help of the Holy Spirit power, to be more conformed to the image of Christ
 1 Timothy 4:7 . . . discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.
 Eph. 4:22-24 – the put off/put on process
 Colossians 1:28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
“Paul’s assertion . . . reveals the inseparable line between human effort and divine power in living the Christian life.  Believers must yield themselves to God and diligently pursue holiness, yet always proceed in the humble dependence on Him.” – MacArthur, 1 Thessalonians
2.  Thoroughly Preserved:  Complete and Blameless in all aspects of their life
complete = sound, whole, total, with integrity, intact, undamaged
blameless = free from all fault
3.  Thoroughly Ready:  Timing – at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
II.. The Source of ALL Accomplishments by the Disciple Making Church
A.  God faithfully calls you to His plan
call = a divine summons
 Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
 Romans 8:28-30
B.  God faithfully accomplishes His plan
III. The Final Requests for the Disciple Making Church
A.  Pray for us!
Input:  What are some specific requests for which you should be praying for your pastors?

1) Spiritual growth

2) Personal holiness

3) Wisdom

4) Future plans and priorities
5) Effectiveness in preaching/teaching the Word
 Ephesians 6:19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,
Summary Verse:
 Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.
B. Show affection for each other: Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss
C.  Submit to God’s Word: Read the letter to all the brethren
adjure = to bind with an oath
D.  Salutation:  Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
Grace = God’s unmerited favor (giving what we do NOT deserved)
Quote