TEXT: 1 Thessalonians 5:19-24
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
— PRAYER —
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 350 messages in this series.
This is message #351 titled, Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks, Repeat, Part 16.
Charles Spurgeon said, “We must leave no inlet for sin, but stop up every hole and cranny by which it can enter. There is need of great care in doing this, for when our very best is done sin will find an entrance. We must follow the measures which common prudence teaches us in earthly matters. We must drive out the cold by keeping up a good fire within. The presence of the Lord Jesus in the soul can so warm the heart that worldliness and sin will be expelled, and we shall be both holy and happy.”
From this passage, we are looking at several commands for believers in light of our theme of prayer. We have considered the importance of not quenching the Holy Spirit, the command to “despise not prophesyings,” and the command to put all things, especially “prophesyings,” to the test — “prove all things.” Today, we are looking at verse 22 which reads, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” The Greek word translated as “abstain” means: to hold one’s self off from or to refrain. The “appearance” is the external or outward form of something. As believers, one of our goals ought to be to live in such a way that no one can even accuse us of looking like we are engaged in evil.
Regarding this verse, Warren Wiersbe said: “Paul emphasized balance in Christian living: the negative—’Abstain from all appearance of evil’ and the positive—’And the very God of peace sanctify you.’ Some churches only preach the negative, and this leads to lives and ministries that are out of balance. Sanctify simply means ‘set apart for God’s exclusive use.’ There is positional sanctification; we have once and for all been set apart for God. There is also practical sanctification, a daily dealing with our sins and a growth in holiness. All of this will culminate in perfect sanctification, when we see Christ and become eternally like Him. Expecting to see Jesus Christ is a great motivation for holy living.”
It is easy for us to accept our “positional sanctification” in Christ. Once we are saved, that is sealed. We can rejoice in that, but we should not rest in it. We must put all of our effort in practical sanctification — dealing daily with our sins — even the “little sins.” Daily, we must resist temptation. Daily, we must pray, “Lord, deliver us from evil.” Daily, we must be aware of our surroundings and discerning about the people we interact with so that we abstain from even the appearance of evil.
Abstaining from the appearance of evil is important not only for our personal spiritual life, but for our testimony before the world. Often when we seek to present the Gospel to others, we will only gain an audience if our personal reputation is intact. This is not to say that we must be perfect, but by God’s grace, we ought to strive to live in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ whom we profess to follow. Our daily prayer ought to be, ‘Lord, help me to abstain from the appearance of evil.’
Anne Steele wrote:
Alas, what hourly dangers rise!
What snares beset my way!
To Heaven O let me lift my eyes,
And hourly watch and pray.
How oft my mournful thoughts complain,
And melt in flowing tears!
My weak resistance, ah, how vain!
How strong my foes and fears!
My gracious God, in whom I live,
My feeble efforts aid,
Help me to watch, and pray, and strive,
Though trembling and afraid.
Whenever temptations fright my heart,
Or lure my feet aside,
My God, Thy powerful aid impart,
My guardian and my guide.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.