Today is our final sojourn into Paul’s letter to the young Christians in Thessalonica. It finishes on a high note where Paul challenges the young Christians with a list of responsibilities that flows form his teaching and all that they have learned. When I was in high school I remember learning in science the theory of causality. This is the relation between an event (cause) and a second event (the effect) where the second event is understood as a physical consequence of the first. In other words, there is an outcome to an event that has taken place. This is ever so true for the follower of Jesus. Surely, having come face to face with a holy God, realizing the horror of our sin, confessing it, repenting of it and asking Jesus to be our Lord and Saviour, we now live very different lives to the way we did when we were outside of Christ. This is the ‘effect’ – a transformation in a way we now live our lives.
Let us not forget last week’s timely reminder that Jesus is coming! What are we to do whilst we wait? What is expected of us as Jesus’ disciples in 2015? Has our mandate – to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded us – changed? I don’t think so! Paul took every opportunity to do exactly this and spent his life proclaiming the good news of Jesus and discipling and baptising people. And so too did the Thessalonian Christians!
In Paul’s final teaching, he lists four areas of responsibility that goes hand in hand with being a Christian. These include responsibilities to our leaders; responsibilities to our church family, responsibilities to oneself and responsibilities in corporate worship. His counsel is brief, to the point and he leaves little room for debate. Paul provides great counsel on how to overcome the malaise of spiritual dryness. Paul also reminds us that we are not in this alone. Whilst we have one another to spur each other on, Paul magnificently brings us back to God and says that He is faithful and that He will empower us and help us to become more holy.
Paul also reminds us that idleness is not an option for the Christian. Timidity and faintheartedness are not characteristics of the Christian. We need to be people of courage, ready and willing to step out for the cause of Christ. We need patience and gentleness as we walk, encourage and support others in our church family who may be struggling with sin and other spiritual and physical ailments. We need to be people who are full of joy, prayerful and thankful for all that God has done for us.