Church is such a common concept to us in the west. As we read the scriptures about
church, we see church with hindsight whereas the Apostle Paul was writing about it as something new in the world – Christ’s body living and serving together on earth to reveal God’s glory to the world. We forget the fact that the stories written in the Bible about the fathers of our faith had never been experienced before. The hardships that they faced were unknown to them as to what the end results would be. Imagine yourself in Paul’s shoes at the beginning of the church age, presenting the Mystery of God to humanity. Paul is giving us a snap shot of how church is supposed to look like. Not as to its cultural expression, but regarding our attitudes which are the same across every border and time.
1 Thess 5:12 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. 16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. 25 Brothers, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Who are you Lord?
I AM the head of the church. I have knit you together in me to reveal my glory to the world. Every member of my church needs other believers to help them grow, and every member has strengths to help others with. I have placed many different kinds of people from all walks of life and culture together with you for my church to function properly. Each one of you needs to be controlled and empowered by my Spirit so that you can all care for each other as I would have you do.
This is MY church and I have placed some in leadership and some as followers because not everyone has the same gifting. My leaders need my Holy Spirit to guide them as I would guide, so too, the rest of you needs my Holy Spirit to follow in submission as you would follow me.
This is MY church and as I AM the sovereign God of the circumstances that I allow in your life, so I want you to be thankful and rejoice in them. Because even if you don’t understand them, I have a purpose for them in your lives to make you grow in your faith, and to conform you to be more like My Son. They are designed to bring you to the end of your reliance on your own resources and to call out to me (and the body of Christ) for help. If I as your Lord, have given you trials to go through, I want you receive them from my hand with thanksgiving and faith. As the Lord of the church, I have orchestrated these trials and circumstances so that together as a congregation, you will help each other through them.
This is MY Church and I AM the faithful one who will sanctify you and it is my responsibility to make you all blameless together at my coming. In the mean time, whether you are a leader or follower, you are all joint heirs and each of you need my Spirit’s control to stand holy before the eyes of this degenerate world, and to encourage each other with my Words, my Spirit and my presence until I come again.
Church is not something that we “do”; it is something that we “are” corporately. Christianity is not just some religion to get us to heaven; it is eternal life in Christ as a body here and now on this earth which will continue for eternity in heaven. We are eternal spiritual beings in physical form on this earth. If you are bored with church, then I could beg the question of you; why do you even want to go to heaven? Heaven is the body of Christ joined together in worship of our savior and God – Jesus Christ. Church is the physical representation of what we will do forever in his presence.
One exercise to foster a proper attitude now is when you come to church; picture God
sitting on his throne behind the pulpit with his eyes firmly fixed on you receiving your worship with eagerness. Do this and you will have an idea of the purpose of church and heaven. Then as you rub shoulders with other believers, whether in leadership or in the pews, imagine that it is Jesus you are conversing with and /or representing. God created you to live your life joined with all the saints in a lifestyle of worship to God and encouragement to one another in the church. Maybe if this attitude would become predominant in our thinking; we wouldn’t be in so much of a hurry to run off immediately after the service is over to watch the big game on T.V.
That is all for 1 Thess