by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: I Thessalonians 2:1-12
I. I was talking with a young man the other day. He wasn’t certain what God wanted him to do in regards to school and career.
A. I finally realized that he wanted someone else (God) to make his decisions for him.
1. The idea that God left him to make up his own mind is something he has a hard time understanding.
B. God does tell people what He wants done. Not on a day-to-day detailed list of everything in their life, but because He has plans that need to be implemented.
II. Commands set boundaries - Genesis 6:11-16
A. God told Noah to build an ark. The type of wood, size of the vessel, construction plans and even the sealer to be used was specified in detail
B. We know that Noah did just as God told him - Genesis 6:22
C. If Noah decided that use pine pegs, installed a larger window, switched sealers because pine tar was too dark, he would have violated God’s commands.
D. But Noah would not have violated God’s command if he used a hammer to pound in the pegs or used a brush to apply the pitch
1. Since God told him to build, the use of tools was implied in the command
2. Changing the types of tools used would not violate the command.
E. Every command creates boundaries
1. It limits choices
2. But within the boundaries set, it allows choices to be made
III. God says what He wants to say
A. God used to give commands by various means - Hebrews 1:1
1. He talked directly to men, such as Noah, Moses, and Samuel
2. He used dreams and visions
3. He wrote on a wall in Daniel’s day
4. He spoke through other men, prophets
5. He had His commands written down
B. But today He has chosen to speak only through Christ - Hebrews 1:2
1. It doesn’t mean He couldn’t do the other means any more.
2. It means He has reasons to go this route
3. But how, since Jesus is now with God? - Ephesians 1:18-21
4. Jesus speaks through his chosen apostle’s writings
a. They were given aid in remembering - John 14:26
b. They were sent to teach - Matthew 28:19-20
c. Paul, like the rest, taught it all - Acts 20:27
C. This is why the Bible contains
1. All that makes a man complete - II Timothy 3:16-17
2. All things that pertain to life and godliness - II Peter 1:3
D. Nothing more is needed because the task was completed - Jude 3
IV. How do we determine what God wants you or I to do?
1. The disciples were to teach us to follow God’s commands - Matthew 28:20
2. So a direct statement is important to follow - I Thessalonians 4:1-2
3. Example: the partaking of the Lord’s Supper is a direct command - I Corinthians 11:23-26
B. Approved examples
1. We are commanded to follow the examples given - I Corinthians 11:1
2. We are expected to see them as a pattern to follow - Philippians 3:17
3. Example: The first day of the week was when the Lord’s Supper was taken - Acts 20:7
C. A necessary implication or unavoidable conclusion
1. Some things are not directly stated, yet you are left with an inescapable conclusion that it was so
a. Example: Exodus 20:8-10 doesn’t directly state every single Sabbath day, but you know that it is implied.
b. The same is seen with the first day of the week for the Lord’s supper in Acts 20:7
2. Jesus expects his followers to use their heads - Matthew 16:5-12
a. The disciples made a false conclusion
b. Jesus rebukes them, not for reasoning, but for coming to the wrong conclusion
3. An example of making a necessary conclusion - Acts 11:1-18
a. There was no direct command from God, but Peter followed what was logically the only possible answer
b. Remember that we are to follow the approved examples
4. Argument about the Old Law was based on a necessary conclusion - Hebrews 7:11-17
D. These authorized acts set boundaries
1. God doesn’t tell you whether to apply for a particular job, but He does tell you not to lie.
2. He doesn’t dictate the exact person to marry, but He does tell us about the kind of people who make good and bad spouses.
E. Authorized acts also have limits as to whom they might apply
1. The command for wives in Titus 2:4-5 would not be properly applied to husbands
2. Commands given to the Israelites are not necessarily given to Christians - Jeremiah 31:31-32
V. God’s commands are not optional
A. Not to be changed - Galatians 1:6-10
B. True followers are obedient - John 14:15 (notice the if)
C. Hold fast to sound words - II Timothy 1:13
1. Those are words God wanted taught - I Thessalonians 2:2-6
D. Are you obedient to the gospel message?