Who Should We Honor?

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 ESV

“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.”

Now, who is this talking about? This is not talking about everyone who calls himself “pastor” or who has the title of “Reverend” in front of his name. Too many charlatans and wolves in sheep’s clothing exist in today’s modern market-driven “churches,” which are not the church, the body of Christ, but which are businesses of men which are being marketed to the world, but which have some true believers in Jesus attending their gatherings.

So, for us to follow this directive, number one we need to be just the body of Christ following Christ and not men in their deceitful scheming. We can’t be this mixture of the world being led by men of the world who are following what the world is telling them to do. That is not the church, and those are not the men this passage of Scripture is talking about. The men that this passage is referring to meet the biblical requirements for overseer.

These are men who are teaching the truth of the gospel, that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. They are teaching that we must repent of (turn away from) our sins and that we must, by the grace of God, and in his power and strength, walk in obedience to our Lord Jesus in doing what his word commands that we must do. And they are those who are exercising true biblical disciplines for the body.

So, this in no way is referring to men in positions of pastor within the institutional market-driven and flesh-driven “churches” (businesses) of today here in America and in other nations. We are not to esteem men who are following after other men and their marketing schemes, and who are running the church gatherings like any other business being marketed to the world. And we are especially not to esteem those who are diluting the gospel.

“For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.” Phil. 3:18-19

And the Bible directs us that we are not to make God’s house, which is (us) the body of Christ, into a marketplace. We are also not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, which is what the institutional church is, a bond between the body of Christ and the world and the state and big business. And it is being run just like a business. So, we are to come out of “Babylon” so that we do not share in her sins and in her punishment, for her sins are piled high to heaven (Jn 2:13-17; 2 Co 6:14-18; Rev 18:1-5).

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 ESV

“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.”

So, for us to follow this whole passage we need to be in a biblical setting for what we call “church.” We need to be gathering together with the body of Christ for mutual encouragement where we use the gifts God has given to us in the assigned roles he has for us to help the body of Christ to maturity in Christ and to not be led astray by men in their deceitful scheming with their false doctrines of salvation and with their man-made religion.

And then we need to be going out into the world with the truth of the gospel, not bringing the world into our gatherings and thus altering both our gatherings and the gospel in order to attract the world. We aren’t supposed to attract the world to us, but we are to tell them the truth of the gospel that they must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness in the power and working of God in their lives, as they cooperate fully with God in his work of transformation in their lives.

So, who are we to respect and honor? Those who are following the Lord Jesus with their lives, who are walking the walk and who are not just talking it, who are living in moral purity, who are students of the Scriptures, and who are themselves following the Lord in obedience to his commands. They should be people who are sharing with us the truth of God’s word and not this modern cheap grace gospel which does not put sin to death.

We are to respect and honor those who are bringing to us the truths of the Scriptures and who are admonishing us to walk in holiness and righteousness and who are teaching biblical principles for godly living, whether or not they are in positions of authority over us, or whether or not they go by any particular title. Now we don’t have to obey those not in biblical authority over us but we can still show them honor.

And please don’t give honor to those who are not living holy lives, above reproach, who are just following other men and their marketing schemes and their books, much of which do not teach the truth of the gospel and which incorporate all sorts of humanistic philosophy and worldly thinking and worldly practices. Be those who test everything against the Scriptures and make sure you are following people who teach the truth and not the lies.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 ESV

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”

And don’t shut out those who are truly following the Lord Jesus with their lives just because they don’t fit with today’s modern marketing schemes and just because they are teaching the full gospel and not this half-truth (false) gospel which does not teach dying with Christ to sin daily and walking in righteousness and holiness in obedience to our Lord’s commands. Don’t follow men in calling the Lord’s servants hyper-religious or crazy.

Don’t join in with the charlatans who are calling the Lord’s servants teachers of works salvation. Don’t quench the Spirit of God by stopping up your ears when you hear the words “obedience” and “repentance.” But test everything against the word of God. But do this in biblical context of what the Scriptures are actually teaching. For many false doctrines come from Scriptures taught outside their context and twisted to say something else. Be people of truth!

For the Scriptures teach that for us to be in Christ, by faith in him, and to have our sins forgiven, and to have the hope of eternal life with God, we must have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we must have been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And then we must daily die to sin and to self and daily follow our Lord in obedience to his commands.

For if we don’t, and if we continue to live in sin, making sin our practice, deliberately and habitually doing what we know we ought not to do, living for sin and for self, and we do not walk in obedience to our Lord in holiness and in righteous living, then we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God. For Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (Matt 7:21-23). So, please take this to heart.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s