Working in Harmony: God's Will for His People
Main point summary
What God wants to see you accomplish through your union with Christ is harmonious relationships: Between you and your ministers, between you and your brothers and sisters, and, above all, between you and the Holy Spirit.
Working in Harmony: God's Will for His People
1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
We ask you, brothers, m to respect those who labor among you
Those tireless shepherds, keeping watch over the flock of God-please honor them.
and n are over you in the Lord
They not only labor in serving you, but they are also out in front, setting the pace and the direction.
and admonish you,
And , as good shepherds sometimes must, they use the goad when members of the flock start to stray.
and to esteem them very highly in love
Honor them, obey them, receive loving discipline from them, but also : think well of them in love
because of their work.
The reason for all of this honor, obedience, respect, and affection is the labor they do in the name of Jesus among you.
o Be at peace among yourselves.
Now, as far as relationships between members are concerned, the banner over all of your relationships should be one of the fullness of the presence of God.
And we urge you, brothers, admonish p the idle, 1
As a way of accomplishing this, you've got to strongly those who aren't willing to work hard at a job.
q [and also] encourage the fainthearted,
At the same time , you will have those among you who are beaten down by life and various struggles-you must serve as their cheerleaders and support system.
[and also] help the weak,
Additionally , all of you will have weaknesses in various areas and at various times-come to their aid gladly.
s [and also] be patient with them all.
Give to each person the type of help that they need, and strive for a long suffering temperament towards all of them.
See that t no one repays anyone evil for evil,
Stay on guard against the tendency to seek revenge-flee from it at all costs
but always u seek to do good to one another
Rather than seeking revenge, actively seek out chances to bless fellow followers of Jesus.
and to everyone.
But don't stop there-actively strive to be a blessing to your lost neighbors as well
v Rejoice always,
In every season and situation-Continuously praise the Lord.
w [and also] pray without ceasing,
Also , never stop communing with the Father in prayer. He's available at all times, so reach out to him at all times!
x [and also] give thanks in all circumstances;
Additionally , come what may, resolve to thank God for what he is doing in you and through you
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
These simple tasks are important because , before time began, these are the types of works that God intended for you to accomplish through your union with Christ.
y Do not quench the Spirit.
Doing these things will fan the fire that the Spirit has lit within you. To neglect these will let the fire die down, and you don't want that!
Do not despise z prophecies,
If someone claims to have a word from the Lord for you, do not scoff or roll your eyes.
but a test everything;
Instead , listen with an open Bible
[and] hold fast what is good.
If there is any part of their message that accords with God's Word, take heed.
Abstain from every form of evil.
Utterly reject taking part in anything that smacks of wickedness.
Author Paul, with Timothy and Silas alongside him (see the "we" in 12a & 14a) Recipients Believers in Thessalonica Occasion Paul is drawing this letter (that was written to encourage the young believers to persevere) to a close by giving them several commands that speak to their live amongst themselves Themes how to treat ministers how to speak to and encourage one another the importance of prayer and gratitude the importance of discernment Purpose Life is about relationships, and this particular passage is written to provide simple and solid guardrails to help the Thessalonians keep all of their relationships on track. Tone Warm (brothers), but it also conveys a sense of gravitas. A good father going over some last minute instructions before handing his son the keys for the first time. Key words respect admonish esteem without ceasing quench despise abstain General Paul "asks" instead of "urges or commands" preachers do labor among but are also in authority over. Not either/or, but both/and an unavoidable element of pastoral ministry is admonishing they are not only to respect them, but to love them husbands/pastors: Work among and serve, in authority over. Wives/congregation: Respect is the first command, but also love The respect and love comes as a result of the work that pastors do, even the work of admonishment. Congregations want to be led, even if that leading might be painful at times. if the entire congregation strives to live at peace, there will be peace. paul is not naive enough to assume that there will be peace between the church and the outside world, but it is crucial that the church itself be at peace in order for them to survive The "brothers" in 12a was speaking to the entire congregation, so the "brothers" in 14a likely is as well The pastors are to admonish the flock, but the flock is to admonish the idle themselves believers have not been set free from work, but have been set free to work Life is hard, so God has given us the body to encourage us when we are fainthearted some are weak because they're new believers, some are weak because of their circumstances, and some are weak due to their own mistakes. If they're weak, however, they are to help them. whether they are idle, fainthearted, or weak, they are not likely to always welcome your involvement in your life, and, even if they do, they won't change overnight. Be patient with them. "See that," keep a close watch on yourselves in this area. It's easy to deceive yourself into thinking that you aren't trying to pay someone back As Jesus said, in this world you will have trouble (evil), but the answer is not to get them back Doing good doesn't happen by accident; you've got to seek out opportunities to do good within the body But we also have to seek to do good to those outside the body, and that everyone includes those who persecute the body The command to rejoice always is simple, but the demand is high Pray without ceasing appears to be hyperbole we don't have to give thanks FOR all circumstances, but rather IN all circumstances I believe that the will of God is all of the proceeding 3 commands rather than just the last one The will of God is not a particular job or who you marry, but rather a particular heart posture doing the opposite of these commands will make the Spirit's fire burn lower in our hearts; it does not affect the Spirt himself this phrase seems to imply that people were still prophesying in the church we test prophecies with an open bible is "what is good" prophecies that are all good or what is good out of prophecies that is some good, and some bad. we know that he's not reforming to Scriptural prophecies, which are all good there is no acceptable form of evil that we are allowed to make peace with NASB & NIV add elements of "unruly" to the idea of being idle the MSG adds the element of "being attentive to individual needs." The church is not a one size fits all type of place NIV: "Will of God for you in Christ Jesus" nicely brings out the importance of obeying these commands in Christ, not in their own strength The MSG links the last phrase re: abstaining from evil with the content of the prophecies rather than viewing that as a separate command Who? is writing? Paul, Silas, and Timothy is reading it? The church in thessalonica What? are they being told to do? Respect their pastors, love their pastors, be at peace with each other, give everyone the appropriate help, be patient, forsake vengeance, strive to do good, rejoice, pray, give thanks, show discernment, and flee evil When? are they to do these things? Always, and constantly Where? are these commands to be carried out? Within the church, the community, and within each person's heart Why? are they to live this way? Because it's God will for them to live this way How? by their union with Christ (will of God in Christ Jesus for you) by the power of the Spirit (he is not to be quenched) Commands Honor your pastors Love your pastors Strive for peace within the body Admonish the idle Encourage the fainthearted Help the weak Be patient with everyone Reject vengeance Pursue doing good with believers and non-believers Rejoice always Pray constantly Give thanks in everything Do not do anything that quenches the Spirit Don't reject prophecy out of hand Listen with discernment Accept what is good Reject every form of evil Means The confidence that what the Father wills for us to do, he empowers us to do The believers union with Christ The presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives The presence of faithful ministers in their lives The presence of other believers in their lives Motivations A desire to please our Father A desire to feel the heat of the Spirit A desire to be a part of the type of church that we will need in our times of weakness Anchors God is sovereign, and he appoints leaders. To honor them is to honor him; to rebel against them is to rebel against him God is a God of peace, so we are to display that as image bearers God is a God who gives to each what they need, so we are to display that as image bearers God is a God of vengeance, so leave that to him God is a God who loves to do good, so follow in his footsteps God is always worth praising; God is always available to us; God is always doing something worth saying "thank you!" for God has made his will clear and simple God despises evil, so don't toy with it Know that our tendency is to push back against leadership, particularly leadership that disciplines Love and respect are both required, though we tend to only want to give one or the other We must do all of these things in patience and love, knowing that we will one day be in the position of needing some of this same help God's will is simple and clear, but it is only possible in Christ This type of life is what Christ died to purchase for us This type of life is accomplished in Christ through the indwelling of the Spirit for the glory of God the Father Meditations Life is about relationships, and relationships are often messy. Still, God has clearly defined what type of posture and attitude will receive his blessing, so pursue it with all you've got. All of these commands were perfectly modeled by Christ and can only be accomplished by the Spirit. Never take your eyes off of Christ or your hand away from leaning on the Spirit. Next steps Before the current crisis arose, I was scheduled to serve as the interim pastor a local struggling church. My plan was to preach through Colossians. I don't know if that's going to happen anymore, but I can use these skills to begin studying Colossians deeper than I could have before. Also up next: Phrasing course!