1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
We get to close out I Thessalonians now to then move into II Thessalonians. I am going to take a majority of this from the Wiersbe Bible Commentary. I like how it summarized these verses.
1 Thes. 5:12 – Brethren. This was a favorite term of Paul that he used 27 times in Thessalonians and over 60 throughout his writings. Wiersbe notes, “It is tragic when believers neglect or ignore the local church. No family is perfect and no local church is perfect, but without a family to protect him and provide for him, a child would suffer and die. The child of God needs the church family if he is to grow, develop his gifts, and serve God.”
The next section lays out our, as church members, responsibilities in our family.
1 Thes. 5:12-13 – Family Leadership: God has set up the family unit to honor Him. He is to be our focus with the father as the head of the home, mother standing with him in love and cooperation, and children obeying their parents. Society greatly kicks against this truth. Lots of men will use this to lord it over their home as an excuse to do what he wants when one day we will stand in judgement in how we led our homes. Women will fall into the lie they must be independent and are nothing unless they are successful in the business world when they will stand in judgement in how they supported their husbands. Both of us will stand in judgement in how we directed our children, led them in truth, and trained them in the way they should go. Children must obey their children and can easily fall into rebellion with the wicked world around them as a temptation.
This same concept is true of the church. We are a family and operate no different than a family unit. We cannot expect our church to operate as a family when we do not first operate our homes as families honoring the Lord. When it comes to church leadership, four key points are laid out:
- Accept them as they are God’s gifts to the church
- Appreciate them as they labor among us
- Love them as the Lord has placed them over us
- Obey them as they rule over us
Now, church leaders are human no different than any of us, and church leaders will be held accountable at judgement in how they led their church family. Church leaders also must speak and teach truth. It is also up to the body to be diligent on their own to read and know Scripture and not follow blindly. Consider Acts 17:11 – These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. This is speaking of the Bereans who wouldn’t just take the teachings lightly. They searched for themselves as both a challenge to search daily and ensure it was truth.
1 Thes. 5:14-16 – Family Partnership: we are called to help each other, encourage each other, and minister to one another. Paul calls out several family members specifically who need help:
- The unruly are those who are careless and get out of line and are in need of development
- The feebleminded are those that are faint-hearted and are in need of encouragement
- The weak who struggle to stay strong and need patient, reassuring love
Paul provided some direction in how we as family members are to minister to those noted above:
- Be patient
- Watch your motives
- Be joyful
1 Thes. 5:17-28 – Family Worship: ministry must flow out of worship. Paul notes several elements of family worship:
- Prayer: we should pray without ceasing which can better be rendered that prayer should be constantly recurring not continuously occurring. Gusik notes regarding prayer: use of the voice is not an essential element of prayer (you can pray in your mind with no active voice), posture of prayer is not of primary importance, place of pray is not of great importance, particular time of prayer is not important, BUT a Christian should never be in a place where he could not pray. I thought that was good as prayer shouldn’t be something that is “religiously” done but a communion with our Lord to build our relationship and reliance on His goodness.
- Word of God: the Bible is the absolute foundation to all truth. Without it, we have nothing. It is challenging, yes, but we cannot ignore, suppress, or change the Word of God.
- Godly living: everything we do as it pertains to what is written above should guide and direct us in our walk with Him. Wiersbe quotes William Temple, a late Archbishop of Canterbury, “For to worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open up the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.” Paul challenges that we should abstain from all appearance of evil. This is a tough one. It is obvious that we should abstain from doing evil, but it is a whole other thing to abstain from all appearance of evil. He follows up with “and the very God of peace sanctify you.” Sanctify is to be set apart which is a daily challenge.
In all of this, we can recognize that fellowship is a part of worship. We are a family. We are to be here for each other especially in these very wicked days that call for extra encouragement to be set apart. We are to be together to search the Scriptures and worship our Lord in the midst of other believers.