1 Thess 5: 12-28; Church in good health and holiness! (1 Thessalonians 5); Patrice Berger
1 Thess 5: 12-28; Church in good health and holiness! (1 Thessalonians 5); Patrice Berger
Church in good health and holiness!
Book Summary of 1 Thessalonians
Affection for these end of epistles
I have a lot of affection for these end of epistles which teach us a lot about the life, the practices and habits of the communities of the beginning of the church.
What is especially interesting in today’s sentences is that we are going to have practical applications of how to be believers who best prepare for the return of Christ to welcome Him in the best way.
- An ecclesial part.
- A more personal part.
The first part concerns more the community:
1 Thessalonians chapter 5.12-15
12 We ask you, brothers and sisters, to recognize those who work among you, who lead you in the Lord and who warn you. 13 Have great esteem and love for them because of their work.
Be at peace among yourselves.
14 We invite you, brothers and sisters: warn those who live in disorder, comfort those who are downcast, support the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one repays evil for evil, but always seek good, either among yourselves or towards all men.
The last time, we were invited to:
- be active in view of the return of Christ,
- to prepare as best we can to welcome Him.
Challenges of this past week
Challenges of the week: do something to remember this moment.
To prepare well
The central element, to prepare this certain return as well as possible, is to be believers:
- active in preparing for this return
- and in the best dispositions.
To be children of the day
8 But we who are of the day,
let’s be sober, (save all your energy for useful and constructive things)
put on the breastplate of faith (that’s sure, it will happen)
and of love (state of mind of the organizing committee)
and have as our helmet the hope (not hope) of salvation (the satisfaction of tasting final and perfect fulfillment with Christ).
I have tried to illustrate the point with the image that believers are like the organizing committee that prepares
- the city,
- and society
for this glorious return.
For this, God gives
- personalities that are all different but complementary and indispensable.
- To coordinate them,
- harmonize them,
- organize them,
God entrusts the conduct of believers to people who ensure
- the coherence
- and the expression of all that God gives to each one.
A course, driving the herd
These people give direction,
like shepherds lead a flock to the right place depending on
- the life of the flock,
- external conditions (weather).
These people are in charge of transmitting the content of what God tells us in the Bible.
These leaders are called “elders” in the epistles.
They are recognized in the congregation for this service.
Appointed or not among the Thessalonians?
These are the people spoken of in verses 12 and 13.
It is difficult to say whether they were really designated as elders by the fact that Paul had not remained very long in Thessalonica…
But, according to what is told to us here, it seems that these people had invested themselves both
- in welcoming people from the community,
- in response to material needs,
- but, at the same time, in the implication to transmit the teaching of Jesus, which also implied to say what was not in phase between the life behavior expected of a believer and the life of one or the other.
Minimize their interventions
The highly developed fraternal affection among these believers could perhaps lead to relativizing the service of the people who had these responsibilities.
The apostle encourages again, in a good state of mind towards them to respect what they were doing (instead of minimizing) and above all that the coordination of the life of the assembly does not close it to tensions.
Why this text?
God has allowed this type of text to reach us so that we can be inspired by this state of mind vis-à-vis those in charge of assemblies, so that each local church can • in the best way • and in a constructive
prepare the sure coming of Christ.
It’s all about balance.
A misunderstanding of brotherly affection can stifle the proper coordination of assembly life; by familiarity.
“Each one did what seemed good to him” ( Judges 21. 25) , relates more to those who benefit from coordination.
A misunderstanding of the conduct of an assembly can stifle the fraternal life, by authoritarianism: concerns more those who ensure the coordination and open in one or the other case to tensions.
How to find the balance?
- and peace in relationships,
we do not have them within us, it is the work that God wants to do in us: it is up to us to ask Him for it!
One of the effects of leading an assembly is to fall behind the elders and confuse
- the fact that they must set the course
- and the fact that they should do everything…
With this recurring phrase: “What are the elders doing? », as if everything depended on their service and that the rest of the community rested behind their services…
God gives everyone gifts
On the one hand, it is to forget that God gives
- different, complementary and indispensable personalities
to each one.
And if God gave them, it is so that they do not remain dormant, but so that they all express themselves in good cohesion.
The words of the Lord today are very clear:
1 Thessalonians chapter 5.9
14 We invite you, brothers and sisters:
- warn those who live in disorder,
- comfort those who are downcast, support the weak,
- make be patient with everyone.
Who is it for?
To the whole community.
It’s not just the preserve or the job of those in charge that…
To warn one or the other who would have a contrary behavior
- to the councils
- and recommendations
But when I am confronted with the situation, it is up to me to respond to it.
If I see a child leaning out of a window and he’s about to fall, I don’t say to myself: “That’s the parents’ responsibility” and don’t intervene; no, I intervene!
It is exactly the same for fraternal life.
If there is one of my brothers or one of my sisters who is in danger of falling by his life choices, I do not discard myself under the excuse that it is the responsibility of the elders.
The same equipment
Concept of “neighbourhood”:
God gives the Holy Spirit to the elders as much as to the rest of the other believers.
Same for comfort and support
- giving comfort,
- supporting the weak.
It’s fun to talk about this subject because it’s what we live in the assembly: and again a big thank you to everyone who by
- a phone call,
- a card,
- a visit,
- a basket,
brought some balm in these present circumstances.
There is a tradition that remains hyper-tenacious, according to which fraternal visits would be one of the attributions of the pastor or the elders (but hey, according to this equally tenacious tradition, they have much less value). I don’t see where it says in the Bible.
Yes, there are certain occasions when the elders are called for particular matters…
But no, the fraternal visits are everyone’s responsibility. In any case, it is in this sense that verse 14 invites us.
And God qualifies some people especially for that.
Representative of Christ
To carry the image of Christ in our fraternal life
- of assembly,
- of community
is a minimum, that we can be
- known to be agents of peace,
- unknown to be people who go up in the towers at the quarter of turn,
- both with brothers and sisters,
- but in the same way with everyone.
That we do not have two faces:
- that of the assembly
- and that outside of the life of the assembly.
Verse 15 reminds us
Before singing the song “Together”, I would like to reread these 3 verses in the Living Word version:
1 Thessalonians chapter 5.12-15
12 Brothers and sisters (church, community, assembly), we ask you this: respect those who work among you as responsible. The Lord has given them to you to advise you.
13 Show them lots of respect and love for what they do. Be at peace among yourselves.
14 Brothers and sisters, we ask you this again: rebuke the lazy. Give courage to those who do not have much, support the weak, be patient with all.
15 Attention, no one must return evil for evil! But always seek to do good, among yourselves and with all.
Nicolas Wurtz 2011 / License CC by-nc-sa
There are walls that are much too high
Times that are sometimes hard, words too many If I overcome them it’s thanks to you
Who never counts my missteps
I’m not deaf, I hear your voice,
I have your love, I don’t see you,
But I see all those who love you
Those who claim that they belong to you
I know without you I am nothing
You know what I need so much
I want to be one of those who look like you
You made us all different
To love each of us equally
By your Spirit, in you, we are together.
We even share our pains, The joy we sow makes you happy. And despite the blows we hold on well In you Lord we are one
If I collapse, if nothing goes,
If my life flows far from your ways Your children will know how to help me
get me up.
Together we stand
Together we proclaim your greatness We proclaim your name, Lord Together we sing,
Together we bow down Together we love and adore you, Together.
1 Thessalonians chapter 5.16-18
16 Always be joyful.
Faith rhymes with joy. A believer who is never happy is a sick believer…
17 Pray without ceasing,
18 express your gratitude in all circumstances, for it is the will of God for you in Jesus Christ.
Excellent reminder, prayer is not a formal moment, but a dialogue with a person.
This is the example that Jesus shows us in the Gospels with the Father. I don’t just talk to my wife in the morning and then it’s done for the day.
Say thank you
If we look at the content of our prayers, we are “demand machines”.
And that’s good, Jesus invites us to ask!
John 16. 24
“Ask and you will obtain so that your joy may be complete”
But after having received, let us say thank you!
Action of the Spirit: the next 3 verses seem to be related.
1 Thessalonians chapter 5.19-21
19 Do not quench the Spirit,
20 do not despise the prophecies,
21 but examine everything and hold fast what is good.
Believers in Christ cannot lose the Spirit and it cannot be taken from them (as before the work of the cross Psalm 51.13).
Believers in Christ cannot bring the Holy Spirit.
We are immersed in the Holy Spirit (like a submarine in the middle of the divine ocean).
Permeable or extinguish?
The challenge is to be permeable to His action, to be a sponge
and finally not to take into account what He points out to us.
by the word, the Bible (normal, the Holy Spirit was involved for each character of each verse),
through the edification of brothers and sisters,
by what He tells us internally.
And also by the prophecies which were brought within the framework of the life of assembly
Two Directions in Prophecy
There are two aspects to prophecy:
1) Reminder of what God is saying in the present circumstances.
This is what we see in the book of Judges, where the prophets recall
- the contracts,
- the covenants
made with the Eternal
and the need for the people of God to have a corresponding attitude of life.
2) The other aspect is predictive.
The prophet announces something from God.
In the Old Testament, we have quite a number of predictions which often have 3 accomplishments:
- for the people of God in the short and medium terms,
- the first coming of Jesus
- and his glorious return.
Attentive and Biblical
Either way, the apostle encourages two things:
Do not neglect them, do not be hermetic; we are never safe from the way in which God can speak to us, it is not up to us to format God and the way in which God acts, but up to us to be attentive.
The other thing is that any prophecy has to be biblical, in the mind of God.
- It cannot be in contradiction with what God has recorded in the Bible, that is why it must be examined.
- The OT and NT are full of warnings against false prophets who promote themselves for their fame or please their audience or who, for various reasons, knowingly turn the people away from God.
It is up to us to see if what is announced to us matches what God clearly transmits to us in the Bible and to retain all that is good, just, bringing peace.
And as the following verses tell us, all that “contributes to holiness,” one of the central themes of this epistle.
1 Thessalonians chapter 5.22-24
22 Abstain from all evil.
23 May the God of peace himself lead you to total holiness and may your whole being, spirit, soul and body, be kept blameless at the return of our Lord Jesus Christ!
24 He who calls you is faithful, he also will do it.
This holiness is called to concern all that we represent,
- and exteriority,
- and what will remain forever.
Excellent Representatives of Christ
That we can be people
- of value
- who always prepare the best way for the return of Christ.
Not inherently possible
Obviously, we don’t have the capacities, but what an encouragement:
- Christ wants to do it in us,
- He has the capacities.
May my will and my desire be to leave the control to act to Jesus Himself.
Then we have an even more personal tone from the apostle who could almost join and somewhat correspond to the “announcement” times that we have…
1 Thessalonians chapter 5.25-28
25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us.
26 Greet all brothers and sisters with a holy kiss.
27 I beg you by the Lord: let this letter be read to all the brothers and sisters!
28 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
2 Peter 3:8
Related Links / Notes
Series : Epistle 1st Thessalonians
Study Notes are translated from the original French version prepared by the pastor Patrice Berger. The orginal French notes are in “note” form, and are not a direct transcription of the video, however they are quite close the original text preached at the church. The notes provided here follow that form, and are detailed enough to help provide a deep understanding of the texts of the parables.
All services as well as some of the bible studies are streamed on the channel YouTube église AB Renens-Lausanne. Also visit the You Tube channel of the Swiss Action Biblique Youth Groups (JAB Suisse Romande).