August 17, 2008

Christian Conduct Checklist

 Lonnie Fritz

People like lists.  When we want to get organized, or need reminders, what do we do? We make a list. God has a number of checklists throughout the Bible.  I believe that 1 Thessalonians 5:12-23 (please take a minute and read the text) contains a great checklist on the proper conduct of a Christian.  It certainly is not an exhaustive list, but one that contains a number of reminders of how and what we should be.

q Appreciate those who diligently labor among you… We might ask whom this would include.  It would certainly include the following:

ü Elders also known as pastors or bishops, whose duty is to watch out for and feed the local congregation – Act 14:23; 20:17,28;1 Peter 5:1-2

ü Deacons, who minister to the needs of the congregation – Phil. 1:1

ü Evangelists, whose ministry is, proclaiming the Word of God to both sinner and saint - Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:5.

ü Teachers, who provide instruction in the doctrine of Christ Eph 4:11

q Live in peace with one another. It is certainly something we all should pursue – “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)

q Admonish the unruly.  It is the Christian’s duty to correct those that are not following the teaching of the scriptures or lead of the elders to get back on track. Paul wrote, “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.” (Col 1:28)

q Encourage the fainthearted and help the weak. From time to time some Christians get discouraged.  God uses people to strengthen them.  The more you encourage others, the more you are encouraged yourself. “Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble” (Heb 12:12

q Be patient with everyone. Even when we are dealing with those who oppose us – see 2 Tim 2:24-26 (patient when wronged).

q Don’t repay evil for evil. When someone does us wrong, it is sometimes hard to keep the right attitude.  Jesus said to deal with it by praying for them – Mt. 5:44-45.

q Seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Romans 14:19 says, “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”

q Rejoice always. When we are joyful, it helps those around us to be joyful. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil 4:4)

q Pray without ceasing. God wants us to always be in the mind to pray in whatever situation we find ourselves during the day, take time to pray. Philippians 4:6- “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

q Do not quench the Spirit - Do not despise prophetic utterances. We might think that this was only instruction for the Christians of the first century, but we also can quench the Spirit today.  We do so by refusing to heed what the Spirit made known or by neglecting God's revealed Word. We also "Despise prophecies" through rejecting the apostles' teaching.  We may also quench the Spirit by not showing the proper enthusiasm for spiritual things as we should.  We can even grieve the Holy Spirit of God by improper living (Eph 4:30-32)

q Examine everything carefully. Hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.  When we look carefully at things, we will find some things are good things – Paul says hold on to these things.  We may also find some things are a form of evil or sin, and those things we must rid from our lives.

The result of the diligent effort of the Christian to follow these guidelines is an incredible blessing and will give us the courage to keep on doing what is right.  “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess 5:23)

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