Monday, December 7, 2015
“You copied us and the Lord Jesus. . .you accepted the message with joy. . .you became an example to all of the believers. . .the message rang out from you. . .your faith. . .has gone out, too. . .it went everywhere.” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8 IEB).
What do you and I have that others would want? I’m not talking about your house, your car, your salary, or your boat. Would others want our complaining? Would they cherish our negativism? Would others want our speech? What about our attitude? Would others want our deficiency in love?
I watched the news conference by the two lawyers for the Muslim man and his wife who murdered his co-workers at that office party last week in California. Both lawyers spoke of the couple being quiet and soft spoken. There isn’t anything wrong with being quiet or soft spoken, but would we want to embrace their religion? Would we want our actions to copy theirs? Is that the attitude Paul is talking about when he wrote the Thessalonian saints?
As I listened to those lawyers refuse to refer to the couple as murderers or terrorist, and attempted to blame his co-workers, the entire “conference” became disgraceful and reeked of hypocrisy. Yet, isn’t that same attitude sometimes expressed by Christians?
Paul found that shortcoming in Peter and put a stop to his hypocrisy rather than sugar coat it (Galatians 2:11-15). Some in the Pergamum congregation believed sexual immorality was permissible and influenced others to engage in it with them. Sardis had some who did not walk with Jesus and were defiled (Revelation 3:1-4). Were these folks in the saved body of Jesus? Yes. God tells us they were. But, why would anyone want to restore that? But, we do, don’t we?
Were the brethren in Thessalonica exceptional and unlike any other group of Christians, then or now? Exceptional? Yes. However, in the sense of being perfect and never having any shortcomings, “No”! Carefully read both letters! We aren’t perfect either, but we can grow up!
“Therefore, put away all evil, every trick, hypocrisy, jealousy, and any kind of slander. Be like little babies who have just been born: Yearn for pure, spiritual milk, so that you may use it to grow up for salvation.” (1 Peter 2:1-2 IEB).