Called to Be Saints

Primary Text

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Points to Consider

If you are a believer, your primary identity is in Jesus Christ.

  • Sanctified in Christ Jesus.
  • Called to be saints.
  • Call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:27-28, Colossians 3:10-11

In one sense, saints are sanctified at a point in time.

  • Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you. Romans 6:3-6
  • And such were some of you: but ye are washed… 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
  • Anyone in Christ is a new creature. 2 Corinthians 5:17

In another sense, saints are sanctified more and more until the day of the Lord.

  • The Corinthians are sanctified but not yet blameless.
  • And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly… 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

He will present the saints faultless.

  • Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling… Jude 1:24
  • That ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God does this, and he is faithful.



Prove All Things

Primary Text

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

What it Means

Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings.

  • Despise – Count for nothing.
  • Prophesy – Say something by the inspiration of God.

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Don’t just accept whatever is said. Examine, scrutinize, or test it. 

  • If it is good. Hold it fast.
  • If it is wrong. Abstain from it no matter what form it takes.

Appearance is used like…

  • Makes an appearance (shows up).
  • Not has an appearance (looks like).

A Common Misconception

Abstain from all appearance of evil.

If taken out of context, this seems to say: Don’t just avoid evil, but avoid anything that even looks evil. This is not the correct meaning.

Be suspect of sweeping generalizations made from a single verse with no context. 

What is the Harm?

Considering the outward appearance in some cases is wise (1 Corinthians 8:13, Romans 14:16). However, focusing too much on the outward appearance will lead you astray of a very solid biblical principle: Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

Jesus taught that it is what is in the heart that matters, not the outward appearance. (Matthew 15:7-8)

In Context: Matthew 15:1-20. 

Jesus taught that judging by appearance is not righteous. (John 7:24)

In Context: John 7:19-24.

It is wrong to judge our brothers and sisters (presumably by the outward appearance, which is all we can see). 

James 4:11-12

Appearance is subjective. The apostles taught to please God (not men) and focus on the heart.

Galatians 1:10, 2 Corinthians 5:12, 2 Corinthians 10:7, 1 Peter 3:3-4

Avoid the prison of other peoples’ expectations. 

1 Corinthians 4:3-5


Know Them That Labor Among You

Primary Text

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

Background Information

Biblical leaders are stewards, not lords.

  • Matthew 20:25-28 – Servant leaders after the pattern set by Jesus Christ. 
  • 1 Peter 5:2-3 – Not lords over God’s heritage.

   Earthly view of leadership:

  • Focused on making demands.
  • Motivated by force.
  • Hierarchical positions.

   Biblical view of leadership:

  • Focused on accepting responsibility.
  • Motivated by love.
  • Functional roles (may overlap).

Ministry roles are relationships based on what already is.

1 Corinthians 9:2 –  If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you…

Ministry relationships are created by God.

  • Acts 20:28 – The Holy Ghost made them overseers.
  • Jeremiah 3:15 – God gives pastors after his own heart.
  • Ephesians 4:11-12 – Ministry relationships are given by God.

Points to Consider

Recognize the leaders God has put in your life.

Know them – Acknowledge, recognize, have regard for, appreciate, etc. Like John 1:10.

  • Like John 1:10 – Acknowledge, recognize, have regard for, appreciate, etc.

Recognize them by what they are doing, not title and position. Recognize how God is using them in relation to you.

  • They labor among you. They are working to serve, not demanding to be served.
  • They are over you. They have accepted stewardship responsibility, as one who must give an accounting.
  • They admonish you. Admonish is literally “put in mind.” They encourage and warn by giving information and reminding.

Avoid the extremes. Take the middle road of respect.

  • Avoid excessive judgment and criticism.
  • Avoid excessive admiration.

Be at peace among yourselves.

This is one of the best ways you can help leaders focus on what God called them to do.

  • James 3:18 – Peace is necessary to bear fruit.
  • Romans 12:18 – Live peaceably “with all that lies in you.”
  • Hebrews 12:14 – Follow peace with all.
  • Ephesians 4:3 – Endeavor for unity.

Appointed to Obtain Salvation

The Thessalonian church suffered persecution, and these difficult times left them susceptible to misunderstandings about the Lord’s coming. We can all be lifted up by the truths that the Apostle Paul used to encourage them. 

Primary Texts

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Points to Consider

The primary concern is to be ready. (1 Thessalonians 5:8)

The one action item that Paul gave was to live in a way that makes us ready for the Lord’s return. Notice that it is really the same as living for God generally: Faith, love, and the hope of salvation. If you are concerned about the end of your life or the end of time: be sure your life is marked by a work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in the Lord Jesus. 

  • No one knows the time of the Lord’s coming.

See also: 1 John 3:2, Matthew 25:1-13, Mark 13:32-33

God has not appointed us to wrath. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)

The Gospel message is that Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again to save us from our sins. If we live in a way that expresses faith in him (being born again and walking in the newness of life), our life is hid with Christ in God. The church is appointed to obtain salvation in this alone, not the Gospel plus something else. 

  • The Gospel is clearly presented for believers in the Bible. 
  • The Gospel is already completely given in the Bible. 
  • Salvation through the Gospel cannot be taken away.

See also: John 18:20, Galatians 1:6-7, John 10:27-30

You will not get new instructions. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2)

Paul specifically told us that there will be no new and troubling information given about the Lord’s coming, either by spirit, word, or letter.

  • The coming of the Lord is a single event.
  • There is no new threat to salvation. 

See also: Luke 17:26-27, Luke 17:28-30, 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 2 Thessalonians 2:12

The coming of the Lord will be obvious. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)

You will not have to wonder whether it will soon or has already happened.

See also: Matthew 24:26-27