1 Thessalonians 4:8
He therefore that despises, despises not man, but God, who has also given to us his holy Spirit.
I. THAT THE CHRISTIAN MINISTER IS SPIRITUALLY COMMISSIONED TO EXHORT MEN TO HOLINESS. "Who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit." The apostles were endowed for their special ministry by the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost. Though miraculous gifts are no longer bestowed, Christian ministers are nevertheless called and qualified by the Divine Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:20).
II. THAT THE MOST FAITHFUL EXHORTATIONS OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTER MAY BE DESPISED. This is done when men reject the word spoken, refuse to listen to it, neglect to meditate upon it, and decline to enter upon the course of holy living with its counsels. This conduct shows —
1. The voluntary power of man. He can resist the truth, or accept it. He is responsible for the exercise of all his moral powers; and, therefore, incurs guilt by any abuse of those powers.
2. The blinding folly of sin. It darkens the understanding, perverts the will, petrifies the affections, and banishes the good that elevates and saves. To wilfully reject the overtures of righteousness is to relinquish eternal life, and to doom the soul to spiritual death.
III. THAT TO DESPISE THE FAITHFUL EXHORTATIONS OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTER IS TO DESPISE GOD. "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man but God." The contempt of the true minister does not terminate in his person but reaches the majesty of that Being by whom he is commissioned. To disregard the message of an ambassador is to despise the monarch he represents (Luke 10:16). As the edicts proclaimed by the public herald are not his own, but the Prince who gives them authority and force; so the commands published by the divinely commissioned minister are not his own, but belong to Him whose will is the law of the universe. It belongs to God to reveal the law, it belongs to man to declare it. The exhortation, whether uttered by a Moses, or by a Simeon Niger, is equally the word of God, to which the most reverential obedience is due. To despise the meanest of God's ministers, is an insult to the majesty of heaven, and will incur His terrible displeasure. Lessons:
1. The Divine commands concern man's highest good.
2. Take heed how ye hear.
3. To despise the Divine message is to be self-consigned to endless woe.
Parallel VersesKJV: He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.