*Pastor’s Note: This is the third and last of the three parts of a message I posted on my first website back in the early 90s. I HAVE updated some of the Scripture references and the pictures were added for this posting. Thanks, and God Bless!
“DO NOT despise prophecies.” To many are teaching that this is in respect to the foretelling aspect of the spiritual gift of prophecy. However, that is not what Paul is speaking about, rather, he is exhorting and teaching about respect for the preaching/teaching of the Word of God with authority and anointing, which is the ministry gift of prophecy. That is why this phrase refers to the spoken Word of God. We are not to hold in contempt the preaching or teaching of the Word of God. The written Word should always be our standard of what is true and what is not. If someone teaches or preaches the Word, it is a high calling, but remember it is the Word that gives life and not the speaker. God has shown us in His Word all that we need to know about Him while we are on this earth; which includes the past and the future! You can only know someone intimately the more you know about them, their character and their nature. In His written Word, we have witness to the truth of all that God says, and witnesses to the very character and nature of God as our Heavenly Father. The Bible says that, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17. Belief in what the Father says and does and Who He is, comes from the written and spoken Word of God. Do not despise it if you wish to know just what He has in store for you as His child as well as Who truly loves you beyond measure!
“Test all things; hold fast what is good.” I love how the New American Standard Bible puts this same verse; “But examine everything; hold firmly to that which is good.” This verse is in direct relation with the previous verse. We are not to despise or hold in contempt, but we are also personally responsible for what we accept as “from the Lord.” The Apostle John, later on, in his Epistle, confirms exactly what the Apostle Paul is stating here, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1. This was so foremost on the minds of the Apostles that they all made sure, Christ’s disciples didn’t accept everything blindly. Test what you hear, examine it, so as to verify that what you hear is truly in line with God’s Word. Once it’s been verified, hold on tightly to it!
Again, we must remain in communion with the Holy Spirit who will lead us and guide us into all truth. The Apostle John reiterates this even earlier in his epistle which you can read in 1 John 2:26-27. We can examine carefully by studying the scriptures in the light of what has been told us. Luke commended the Bereans because they searched the Scriptures daily, not to dispute Paul and Silas in their teaching, but to be sure that what they were hearing was true to the written Word. (See Acts 17:11). Just like in this modern age, it is easy to form an opinion of someone based on what another has said. But unless you develop a true relationship with that person yourself, you may be getting a tainted picture of that person. You may decide in your heart that the person in question is not worth getting to know. Wouldn’t it be a shame if that is how we view our Heavenly Father; by the things that some people are saying about Him. If we don’t take the time to get to know the real Father, in spirit and truth, then we’re the ones to miss out. We need to “hold fast” to that which we know is right. Just like a child who has received a new toy, it is almost impossible to wrench it from their grasp. We are to do the same thing concerning the “Truth” of our Heavenly Father.
“Abstain from every form of evil.” Evil is that which brings death and separation from God. It is a chasm between God and the believer that can’t be breached. If we have followed all the previous steps, and we are “walking” with God, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, the Anointed One, is abiding or residing within us. We will know all the subtleties of the evil that lurks our way. Paul said in Galatians 5:19-21, that if anyone practices or partakes of these deeds of the flesh that he lists, they shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. Jesus Himself, said that we cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve that which pleases us and that which pleases God. It has to be one or the other.
Seven short verses, and yet so powerful concerning our relationship with the Father. I hope that you also can see the keys to developing an intimate, personal relationship with your Father. Christianity as said earlier is not just a label, but it is a lifestyle; one that costs the true Christian his life; his life surrendered to God’s all perfect will. No, I myself, haven’t arrived yet. But just like Paul, (I’m) “Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14 (NASB).
Now in closing, look at the next two verses in 1 Thessalonians 5; “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will do it” (verses 23-24 NASB). After all is said and done, it is still God, our Father, who is doing the work in us. It is just a matter of you choosing to let Him complete it. He is already walking intimately with you; won’t you give up and walk intimately with Him?