1 Thess. 5:1-11
To which the passage speaks – We live in a world where people find it easy to verbally run someone down. To slander them. Where talking trash defines conversations between people. Where so-called role models when out on the basketball court talk trash to their opponents. That is, to run their opponents down verbally, to discourage them, to slander them to tear them down psychologically in order to disable their game so they can be conquered on the court. This is most evident in the wrestling field. I have friends who love the WWF and so I watched it with them and found that most of the program is wrestlers spouting obscenities about their opponents. Verbally running them down, slandering their name, discouraging them in order to exalt themselves. Now, some will and do say that this is all in fun and game, but our children and even adults pick up on this and mimic them when out in the world. In a certain tv show I watched, a child was told by his parents that talking trash with a bully at school was an alternative to physical violence. I could go on and on and tell many more stories about verbal abuse which people use to discourage and tear one another down.
This type of behavior is what the world is all about but not what Jesus calls His followers to do. We are called to act differently.
Paul will teach us today the LORD’S instruction on this matter as we look at 1 Thess. 5:9-11
The question to us today is what activity are we involved in, encouragement or discouragement, building one another up or tearing one another down ?
Let’s see what the LORD has to say –
1. What is the context ? – They were being persecuted and Paul wanted to encourage then by telling them that those who have fallen asleep in Christ will rise first and then the living. Paul told then to watch for Jesus who appointed us to salvation and life not wrath and condemnation through Jesus our LORD and that we will live with Him eternally.
2. Paul says in verse 11 Therefore – (Because we will be with Jesus together forever we should )
A. encourage one another – Encourage ( para – to the side ; kaleo - call ) take someone to the side to help them. This doesn’t carry with it a negative connotation but a positive prospective. Because of and in light of eternal life with Christ we should say and do things that will spur one another on to love and good deeds Heb. 10:23-25
Ill. – a person who is a believer who never committed themselves to anything asked to help with VBS. What do we say to them ? Do we put them down and tell them no or do we encourage and strengthen them and pray for them ?
3. Paul says in addition to – build one another up : Build one another up ( oikodomio – to build a house ) this does not mean that encouragement and building others up are exclusive one of the other but they go hand in hand.
A. We are not to put others down and talk trash to them but spur them on to love and good deeds Heb. 10:24
B. Say only words of encouragement to build up each other Ephesians 4:29
C. We are to be a spiritual house to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God
1 Peter 2:5
D. The strong ought to build up the weak – Rom. 15:1-2;
E. (following the example of Jesus our Savior and LORD) Rom. 15:3;
f. God gave us gifts and teachers to equip us to build us up – Eph. 4:11,12
g. to be like Jesus – Eph. 4:13
h. total participation – Eph. 4:16
i. there is judgment for saying words that are careless and hurtful and that tear down and not build up Matthew 12:36 ; Romans 14:10-19
Ill. – A person who builds a house does so with joy. They set out on the task with joy and great expectation for the best. They build brick upon brick and board upon board and piece upon piece with great care to build a sound house, one that will not be shaken by any storm, one that will be a blessing and a joy. We are to build the house up, not tear it down. We put nails in and boards up with every loving, kind, encouraging word we utter to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Every time we serve them with love we build brick upon brick building them into a strong house in the LORD.
Appl. Jesus is the head of the Church and the people who are believers in Jesus are the Church and His body. Every time we discourage someone and tear them down we are causing pain and injury to the body of Jesus of which we are all apart. We are pulling out the nails and stripping away the boards of his or her house and making it weaker and vulnerable.
Next time you start to say of your brother or sister in Christ “I wish they would follow Christ the way I do, I wish they would go to church more often and not miss Bible study, I wish they would get their act together” I tell you you need to ask yourself “what am I doing to help them, to encourage them, to build them up in their faith”
1 Cor. 10:23 – not everything edifies
Then you may say it is not my business or it’s not up to me.
4. Has to be in LOVE – this is the reason for encouragement and building others up, the motivation.
5. It was Paul’s desire – Rom. 1:11-12
6. They were already doing this – Paul wanted to encourage them to continue in what they were already doing. To continue to build others up so they can grow to maturity.
What’s your answer ? – are you going to tear down others or build them up ?
Conclusion – we are called to help one another in our walk with Christ, to be one another keepers.