"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS"
Our Duty To The Truth (5:19-22)INTRODUCTION
1. The last chapter of 1st Thessalonians is filled with exhortations to
various duties that we have as Christians awaiting the coming of the
a. Our duty to those who serve - 1 Th 5:12-13
b. Our duty to those in need - 1 Th 5:14-15
c. Our duty to ourselves - 1 Th 5:16-18
2. Before Paul closes his epistle with a final blessing and admonition,
he lists another series of exhortations...
a. Do not quench the Spirit - 1 Th 5:19
b. Do not despise prophecies - 1 Th 5:20
c. Test all things; hold fast what is good - 1 Th 5:21
d. Abstain from every form of evil - 1 Th 5:22
-- Taken together, we can categorize these exhortations as "Our Duty
To The Truth"
[What is our obligation to the truth? What does God expect of us
regarding the reception of truth, and that which proves to be error?
From the exhortations in our text, we can say first...]
I. DO NOT STIFLE REVELATION OF THE TRUTHA. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE TRUTH...
1. In Proverbs, we are exhorted to "buy the truth, and do not sell
it..." - Pro 23:23
2. Why is truth so important? In Psalms we learn...
a. God's truth preserves us - Psa 40:11
b. God's truth is a shield and buckler - Psa 91:4
c. God's truth provides atonement - Pro 16:6
3. Jesus taught regarding truth...
a. It provides freedom from the bondage of sin - Jn 8:32
b. It is the means by God sanctifies Jesus' disciples - Jn
-- In view of its benefits, we should never be guilty of stifling
B. THE REVELATION OF THE TRUTH...
1. God's truth was made known through His Holy Spirit - Jn 16:13
a. In Old Testament times, He did this through prophets - cf.
1 Pe 1:10-11 ; 2 Pe 1:20-21
b. In New Testament times, He did this through the apostles and
prophets of Jesus Christ - cf. Jn 16:13; 14:26
2. These inspired apostles and prophets communicated God's
a. Through their spoken word - cf. 1 Pe 1:12
b. Through their written word - cf. Ep 3:3-5; 1 Co 14:37
3. This truth was fully and finally revealed....
a. Completed through the work of the apostles - Ac 20:32; 2 Pe
b. Revealed one time for all times - Ju 3
c. Thus we have that which can make us complete - cf. 2 Ti 3:
4. Today, if we desire to receive God's truth...
a. We cannot look to their spoken word, since they are no
b. We must look to their written Word, i.e., the Bible
c. We must accept God's Word in its entirety - cf. Psa 119:160C. THE SUPPRESSION OF THE TRUTH...
1. Mankind has a history of resisting God's truth...
a. Israel suffered this affliction - cf. Hos 4:1
b. The Gentiles likewise, especially the wise - cf. Ro 1:18-23
2. In New Testament times, Christians could be guilty of resisting
a. By "quenching the Spirit" - 1 Th 5:19
1) Refusing to heed what the Spirit was still making known
at that time
2) Cutting off the revelation of God's truth intended for
b. By "despising prophecies" - 1 Th 5:20
1) Belittling the prophecies being made known through the
2) Refusing to accept what the prophets of God were
3. Today, we can stifle the truth of God...
a. "Quenching the Spirit" through neglecting God's revealed
b. "Despising prophecies" through rejecting the apostles'
[Through neglect or outright rejection of God's Word, we can be guilty
of stifling the truth, and suffer the consequences of not having the
benefits of truth in our lives. To avoid being misled by false prophets
or false interpretations of God's word, we need to...]
II. EXAMINE ALL THINGS BY THE TRUTHA. CLAIMS OF TRUTH NEED TO BE CHALLENGED...
1. As Paul wrote: "Test (prove, KJV) all things" - 1 Th 5:21a
a. This is not quenching the Spirit nor despising prophecies
b. But a recognition that not all claims to be from God are
2. As John wrote: "...do not believe every spirit, but test the
spirits" - 1 Jn 4:1
a. For many false prophets have come into the world
b. It is not quenching the Spirit to test what people claim is
a revelation from God
B. EXAMINING CLAIMS OF TRUTH...
1. The Bereans provide a noble example - Ac 17:11
a. They received the word with all readiness (i.e., they paid
careful attention to what Paul said)
b. They searched the Scriptures daily (to see if what Paul
taught was true)
-- This is how the Bereans tested Paul's teaching, for which
they were commended as being "fair-minded"
2. In examining all things by the truth today, we need to...
a. Give people a fair hearing - Ac 17:11
b. Search the Scriptures daily, looking at God's word in its
entirety - Psa 119:160
c. Accepting that which is in harmony with the apostles'
teaching, and rejecting that which is not - cf. 1 Jn 4:6;
["Our Duty To The Truth" does not end with simply believing the truth
and rejecting that which is false, we must also "hold fast what is good"
(1 Th 5:21). I take this to mean we must...]
III. APPLY THE TRUTH IN OUR LIVESA. WITH PROPER ATTITUDES...
1. A prayerful attitude, like David possessed - e.g., Psa 86:11
2. A meek spirit, allowing God's word to be implanted - Ja 1:21B. WITH RIGHT ACTIONS...
1. In deed, not just in word; e.g., our love - 1 Jn 3:18-19
2. We must be doers of the Word (truth), not hearers only - Ja 1:
3. Thereby walking in the truth, which delights those who see you
- 3 Jn 3-4
[Our duty is to hold fast what we find to be true, to practice what we
believe to be true. At the same time, we must also...]
IV. ABSTAIN FROM WHAT THE TRUTH DEFINES AS EVILA. THE TRUTH DECLARES THAT EVIL EXISTS...
1. There is that which is false, that which is wicked - e.g., Exo
2. Those who do evil, do not want to hear that which is true - Jn
3:19-21B. THE TRUTH DEMANDS THAT WE ABSTAIN FROM EVIL...
1. When we are not valiant for truth, we will become progressively
worse - Jer 9:3
2. Therefore we must "abstain from every form of evil" - 1 Th 5:22
a. KJV has "appearance" instead of "form"
1) Leading many commentators to conclude that we must always
abstain from that which may "seem" to be wrong (e.g.,
2) Yet Jesus did things that "appeared" to be wrong; e.g.,
eating with sinners which appeared to be toleration of
their evil deeds - Mt 9:11
b. The Greek word is eidous - "As commonly explained, abstain
from everything that even 'looks like' evil. But the word
signifies 'form or kind.' Compare Luke 3:22; John 5:37, and
see nearly the same phrase in Joseph. 'Ant. x. 3, 1.' It
never has the sense of 'semblance.' Moreover, it is
impossible to abstain from everything that looks like evil."
(Vincent's Word Studies)
c. "'Abstain from every form of evil,' i. e., every sort or
kind of evil (not 'appearance,' KJV). This meaning was
common in the papyri, the Greek writings of the closing
centuries, B. C., and the New Testament era." (Vine's
Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
3. This we do by taking heed to both our thoughts and our actions
a. Thinking on things that are true - Ph 4:8
b. Walking righteously and speaking uprightly - cf. Isa 33:
1. "Our Duty To The Truth" is made clear in our text...
a. Do not stifle revelation of the truth
b. Examine all things by the truth
c. Apply the truth in our lives
d. Abstain from what the truth defines as evil
-- Because of the benefits that comes from knowing and walking in the
truth, we should be careful to fulfill "Our Duty To The Truth"!
2. What about those who do not have a love for the truth?
a. They will be susceptible to the lying wonders and unrighteous
deception of the lawless one - cf. 2 Th 2:9-10
b. Having no love for truth, God will harden their hearts even
further by sending them a strong delusion - 2 Th 2:11
c. Not believing the truth, but taking pleasure in unrighteousness,
they will be condemned - 2 Th 2:12
We must therefore have the prayer and attitude of David regarding God's
"Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of
my salvation; On You I wait all the day." - Psa 25:5
Is that your prayer? Is that your attitude? Are you walking in the
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