Relationships (1 Thessalonians #14)

Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:7-10

This chapter deals with relationships in light of your relationship with God.  The first part of the chapter is about dirty relationships – fornication.  In these next few verses we’ll see some clean relationships.  And in the last few verses the Holy Spirit explains relationships with folks that have died in Jesus Christ.

Hating God in others (vss 7-8)

  • You couldn’t find stronger language than the word DESPISE.  You can say it with a scowl, “I DESPISE that guy.”  Or you can say it with a smile, “I DESPISE that guy.”  There is no way to make it nice.  It is hatred.
  • Now, nobody here would say you hate God.  But you know what you will do.  You’ll get under conviction from the preaching, or your parents, or your boss will call you lazy because you are, and instead of getting the thing right with God you’ll find fault with the preacher, Mom or Dad, or your boss.
    • God just said your problem is not with the preacher, parent, or boss, your problem is you hate God.  Therefore you despise when God is represented.  You’re given over to your dirty carnal desires and you can’t stand God showing up and disrupting your life.
    • Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
  • God works in other people’s lives on your behalf.  Sometimes you appreciate that and sometimes you don’t.
  • Your relationship with God is lived out through your relationships around you and the people God has put in your life.
    • God said children obey your parents.  So it is impossible to have a good relationship with God and be in rebellion to your parents.  God didn’t say children obey your parents when your parents are perfect.  The fact that your parents make mistakes really doesn’t mean anything to God when it comes to your obedience to them.  Obey your parents because God said so, and not for any other reason.
    • Servants obey your masters.  Employee employer relationship.  You aren’t right with God if you’re an unruly employee.  You be a good employee because God said so, not because your boss knows what he’s doing or not.
  • Careful of your criticism
  • Parent trying to get the kid to take a bath and the kid doesn’t want to take a bath.  It’s like God and his children.
  • Do you serve an imaginary God?  He only exists in your imagination.  And when he shows up in another saint in the form of rebuke or instruction, you immediately dismiss Him.  When is the last time he was able to correct you?  If you can’t remember, then your god only exists within the confines of your own mind.  No outside influences are allowed in.
  • Don’t make God’s conviction about the person
  • Pharisees did that when Stephen preached to them.

Loving God in others (vs 9)

  • The Thessalonians apparently understood brotherly love.  They helped the Macedonians when they were trouble even while they themselves in Thessalonica were being persecuted.
  • 1 John 4:20-21 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
  • It can be amazing how quick we are to criticize and despise brothers and sisters in Christ while embracing the world in our worldly acquaintances.
  • God taught people how to love when He became a man.
  • Love is part of the fruit of the spirit.  That fruit bears more fruit after its kind.  Lemon tree reproduces lemons and that’s all it has ever or will ever produce.  No such thing as evolution physically and no such thing as evolution spiritually.
  • Fruit has within itself the seed containing the blueprints to reproduce that fruit.
  • Jesus Christ modeled love from the Spirit of God and then commanded us to do what he showed us how to do.
  • 1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
  • Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
  • God doesn’t just say love, He tells you how so you don’t go away with the same delusions about love that you came with.

Cliquish Love (vs 10)

  • The Thessalonians certainly loved the Macedonians.  And that was the only group they were loving.  Maybe they didn’t know about anyone else who needed help.  Or they did what we all do is we love the ones most like us – we get cliquish.
  • Don’t forget that God is not limited to your little life.  Other people are being used by God too.  Even if you don’t like them.