Colossians 3- 1 Thessalonians 5- This is a long one if you are interested in going deep! :)

Was your church service canceled today? If so, maybe, like our church, you can watch your service online.  And since you may have a lot of extra time on your hands, now that much of your busy schedule has been wiped clean, you can watch some interesting videos that I will be including in this blog!

I find it so interesting when God seems to talk to me using a theme that keeps coming up in my daily reading and continues in other areas as well (i.e. YouTube).

It was recommended to me that I should watch a movie called, "American Gospel: Christ Alone"
I did not see the whole movie, which is 2 hours, but I watched a one hour version that was very interesting.  It's a documentary critiquing how the Gospel in America has been diluted down or even lost in the teaching of prosperity or morality.  It's definitely worth watching so here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocHm18wUAGU&t=2747s

I found it interesting that one of the pastors on the film said his goal was to share the gospel in every one of his sermons since he can never assume that everyone in the audience was a believer.  Amen to that!  Remember back in 2 Corinthians 1:13-14 when Paul said as much. "For we do not write anything you cannot read or understand.  And I hope that, as you have come to understand us in part (meaning part of the group gets it), you will come to understand fully (meaning the whole group) that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus"

The documentary also implies that preaching today leans too heavily on morality.  Therefore, since young people feel they can never live up to the moral level that is required of them, they give it all up, accounting for the mass exodus of young people from the church today. I can agree with that too, up to a certain point.

Yet, where does that leave the reading we did this week? In particular 1 Thess. 4; 3-4, where it talks of living a sanctified life, avoiding sexual immorality and not taking advantage of a brother or sister.  Shouldn't sermons be given on "morality" or should those be avoided so that the message of the gospel isn't lost?

I think the answer is found in how Paul knew his audience.  He even let his audience know that some "got it" and some did not.   There is always a mixed crowd! Pastors must remember that a believer and a nonbeliever will hear two different things from the same talk.  Perhaps the audience should also be made aware that there are two messages in the encouraging words given, just as Paul let his audience know.
i.e. "For those of you who don't know....(then lay out the gospel clearly, as the pastor above says he does every sermon, that they can do nothing to earn the free gift Christ gives)....and for those of you who have truly have laid down their own life to follow Jesus....then what I am saying you are probably quoting Paul in your heart, thinking, "that is the very thing I am eager to do." (Gal 2:10)

I loved these of Paul:
 "So then, let us not be like others, who sleep....let us be sober-minded, putting faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet....Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (1 Thess.5:9-11)



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