On 20th of November, Pastor Vincent Leoh gave a timely message of 7 habits of end-time Christians.
Every chapter of 1 Thessalonians concluded with the reference of Jesus’ return, Pastor Vincent shared.
Hence, in closing his letter, Apostle Paul wanted us to know how to live our Christian life, even in the light of Jesus’ return.
#1 Serve Diligently
And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. (1 Thessalonians 5:12)
In this verse, Paul firstly recognise Christian service as labor or diligent service. In light of Christ’s return, Pastor Vincent shared that there are two types of unhealthy responses. Some stayed idle while some slowed down in following God that they became more like the world.
But Paul stressed that we should not lack in our diligence in serving God but be fervent in spirit (Romans 12:11). In fact, ‘if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat’ (2 Thessalonians 3:10b).
How does diligent service look like? A diligent service could be to esteem our leaders very highly in love. We respect our leaders, out of a relationship of love instead of a positional respect, shared Pastor Vincent.
A diligent service could also be keeping peace amongst ourselves. Although disagreements are permitted, we are called to subject ourselves to another in the fear of the LORD (Ephesians 5:21).
Other ways of diligent service could include encouraging people and helping others. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
The unruly in Greek means to fall out of line, the fainthearted refers to those who lost hope while the weak refers to those who weak in faith, shared Pastor Vincent. We are called to exhort and encourage all in gentleness. That is diligent service to God.
Pastor Vincent also shared that patient comes from the word makros, meaning long, and thymos, meaning anger (or passion). Being patient therefore means possessing a very high boiling point or anger threshold, instead of having a ‘short fuse.’
#2 Pursue what is Good
See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
One habit of an end-time Christian is to always look for good instead of evil, shared Pastor Vincent.
Although it is natural for us to seek an eye for an eye, Pastor Vincent shared how we should not ‘render evil to evil for anyone.’
Jesus said, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” (Matthew 5:39). Also, Jesus also said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). In other words, seek the best for others, unconditionally.
That is why one of the greatest commandments given by Jesus is to love our neighbour as yourself (Mark 12:31). If we love our neighbour, we will not gossip about them or do anything to harm them.
#3 Possess a Positive Attitude
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
“Life is 10 percent what happens to you and ninety percetn how you respond to it.”
Lou Holtz, retired American football coach, active sportscaster and motivational speaker
In the bible verses above, Paul talked about the attitudes of end-time Christians, shared Pastor Vincent.
Firstly, we are called to be joyful. Joy is not a feeling but an attitude that comes from within. Happiness, on the other hand, is a feeling in response to an external event, shared Pastor Vincent. Joy can be perpetual but happiness is mostly transient and temporal.
Not only are we called to rejoice, we are to rejoice always. Is is possible? Philippians 4:4 holds the key. This verse says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” When Paul wrote this letter, he was in prison. Yet, he rejoiced because his joy came not from his circumstance but in the LORD.
In fact, so important is ‘joy’ that it appears 158 times in the Bible and ‘rejoice’, 198 times. In fact, in the Greek language, ‘rejoice always’ is the shortest verse in the Bible compared to ‘Jesus wept’ in John 11:35. Attitude is a choice.
Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Secondly, we are called to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Is it possible to pray without ceasing? Prayer basically means communing with God.
One way to commune with God is to set a time to seek Him, like how Daniel seek the Lord three times a day (Daniel 6:10).
Another way is to be aware of God’s presence. Although we may not talk or pray to God, we are always connected to Him in the spirit.
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Thirdly, we are called to have an attitude of gradtitude. But not many people have gratitude. For example, only one out of the ten lepers returned to thank Jesus (Luke 17:11-19). Thankful people are naturally happy people, shared Pastor Vincent. But happy people are not necessarily thankful people.
Why must we be thankful? This is because it is God’s will for us to be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
#4 Live by the Spirit
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22)
‘Do not hold back the work of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19 EXB). When the Spirit tells us to do something, do not pour cold water on Him, shared Pastor Vincent.
All of us must be filled with the Spirit, because nothing can stand in the way of a spirit-filled believer, shared Pastor Vincent.
The Holy Spirit lives in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). Talk to the holy Spirit and asked Him to guide us in every area of your life, he continued. Talk to Him like how you talk to a friend. He is very real, he continued.
In terms of prophecies, we are called to test all of them based on the Word of God. Accept the prophecy if it is aligned with the Word, otherwise reject it, he shared.
#5 Rely on God
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preseerved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)
Sanctification is the work of God, explained Pastor Vincent. God came not only to repair a ‘broken house’ (representing us) but to completely rebuild and refurbish the house, to make us more and more like Christ.
When we accept Christ, we undergo three stages which includes justification, sanctification and glorification.
Firstly, upon accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are justified and declared righteous before God (2 Corinthians 5:21). We are seen as though we have never sin before God.
After justification, all Christians go through a process of sanctification. Santificaiton is when we are being saved from the power of sin. But God make us more and more pure as we surrender ourselves to Him, shared Pastor Vincent. Finally, glorification is when we are saved from the presence of sin.
Pastor Vincent shared how all of us are in a work of progress in sanctification. We are first called to be sanctified in our spirt, soul, followed by our body in terms of progression (1 Thessalonians 5:23). But the world focuses first on the body, followed by the soula nd spirit.
Hence, when the spirit is right, we progress in holiness. When our soul is right, we are joyful. When our body is right, we are healthy. God wants us to be holy, happy and healthy, shared Pastor Vincent!
#6 Read and Obey God’s Word
I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren. (1 Thessalonians 5:27)
Pastor Vincent shared how we must read, study and obey the Word of God faithfully. Only then we can overcome our times and become highly effective end-time Christians.
It is not enough to read the Bible but we are called to study the Word of God. Reading the Word of God, without studying, is akin to drinking milk, shared Pastor Vincent.
For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the wor of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil
Indeed, a baby who has grown up can no longer grow with only milk but they need solid food, shared Pastor Vincent. A young Christian who diligently studies the Bible grows much faster than a Christian who has accepted Christ for 10 years, but not studied the Word.
#7 Love the Brethren, the Family of God
Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (1 Thessalonians 5:25-28)
Paul used the word ‘brethren’ 27 times in his letter to the Thessalonians and 60 times in the Bible. Even in this verse alone, the word ‘brethren’ appeared three times, shared Pastor Vincent.
As Christians, we are not designed to be alone or isolated. But Paul specifically referred brethren as the family of God. That is why we call each other brothers and sisters in the Lord, shared Pastor Vincent. In fact, ‘let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith’ (Galatians 6:10).
We are one big family! ‘If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it’ (1 Corinthians 12:26). Beyond petty fights or arguments, we are still one family, shared Pastor Vincent.
So, here are the 7 habits of end-time Christians who will overcome all trials and tribulations, victoriously and joyously in the LORD! ‘Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful’ (Hebrews 10:23).
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