Journal – April 25, 2021
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
EXHORTATIONS TO THE THESSALONIANS
1 THESSALONIANS 5:12- 22
And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord andadmonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
Vs. 12, 13 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Paul changes to another theme in his epistle. Notice how he gives counsel, we urge you, brethren, their obedience depended upon the continued peace and spiritual prosperity of the church. Be careful to recognize those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you. In my years of being a Christian I have seen the violation of these three facts, esteem them very highly in love (preachers and teachers), for their work’s sake, and be at peace among yourselves actually split a church because of the failure on the part of some church members to heed this advice. There are those that believe a preacher or teacher that rightly performs his duties has a cushy job, and receives good pay, not knowing that it is the hardest of human enterprises. Remember what Paul told Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor (pay not verbal praise), especially those who labor in word and doctrine. (v13) Paul wants the Thessalonians to remember and to esteem those very highly in love for their work’s sake (that labor among you and are over you in the Lord and. admonish you) In order to have harmony and lovein the church the apostle adds Be at peace among yourselves. Now the work the apostle refers to is so momentous in itself—the care of souls—and it was to be performed so thoroughly that it may be characterized as toilsome labor (Hebrew 13:17). Those that enjoyed the benefit of their work and practical counsels belonged to a church so blessed in its pastorate that they were under obligation to cherish deep regard and love for the pastors and teachers to whom such affection was due. The love bestowed on the pastors and teachers was proof enough that their labors had not been in vain. Indifference by the church members (he is always preaching the same thing) toward a pastor or teacher so deserving would be evidence of a lack of love in that assembly and a need to study Revelation 2 and 3.
Vs. 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. This address Now we exhort you, brethren, this address is to all believers everywhere in all ages and not just to the Thessalonians. Christian duties to be performed are to warn those who are unruly, the term is used for a soldier who is out of rank or step. We used to tell such a one in the Army that the whole company was out of step but him, it brought results. This admonition is made to all the members of the church, not the world. It includes those whose minds and habits have become separated from the fact of the soon return of the Lord Jesus, and they were not supporting themselves by honest labor. Comfort the fainthearted those that could not realize the hope of immortality and resurrection at the Master’s return so as to be filled with the sure and certain prospect were to be comforted—not to be children as dull, or rebuked as doubtful, but to be encouraged. Uphold the weak, means those who have not come to the riches of full assurance of an unshaken confidence and hope, it has nothing to do with the physical infirm. Be patient with all, have a mild and indulgent temper which does not easily take offence, which does not fly into a rage when misunderstood. Patience provides the Christian time to grow into that godly man, a necessary exhortation to those that are young in the church.
Vs. 15,16,17, &18 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Paul continues to instruct all the members of the church at Thessalonica, see that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, it appears that such a charge was needed as they lived in the midst of conditions that would tempt retaliation. They were to set their soul upon such an action but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all, even among Christians there is still a tendency to often fall into a spirit of revengewhen provoked. Therefore, knowing we are still in the process of being sanctified we need to watch out for ourselves and others. We must pursue that which is good as Paul sets forth in 2 Corinthians 13:7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified. (v16)Rejoice always, joy is the natural reaction when the Christian by faith is conscious, he has been delivered from eternal destruction. It doesn’t matter whether we gain the desired end with our brother, in our witnessing, or not we are to rejoice in the Lord and continue being led by the Holy Spirit. (v17) Pray without ceasing, there is no place where one may not pray; there is no time where one may not pray; no blessing for which one may not ask; no human being for whom intercession may not be offered; no step should be taken with out asking divine counsel; and no enterprise started without requesting the divine blessing. (v18) In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Christ strengthens us to give thanks, because all things are ours 1 Corinthians 3:21 let no one boast in man, for all things are yours. There is nothing on this side of eternal punishment that should not fill us with thanksgiving, for mercies, for election, for grace, for the work of the Holy Spirit within us, for the blessings promised us through eternity, and the discipline that prepares us for it.
Vs. 19 Do not quench the Spirit, The Greek translated quench means to put out a fire or a light but also applies to the wind. The Spirit dwells in the believer’s heart, He is the Enlightener, Purifier, Intercessor, Comforter, Sealer, the Earnest, the First Fruits, the Quickener, and the Sanctifier. The joy the prayer, and the thanksgiving set forth in the previous verses are the fruit of the Spirit, and He Himself, the Divine Producer and Sustainer, is now referred to in person. It appears there may have been some love of order in the early church, that precluded the spiritual utterances that were common then, but have since terminated.
Vs. 20,21, &22 Do not despise prophecies. 21Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. The Greek translated do not despise is literally to set at naught. The prophets were next in honor and position to the apostles; he was a teacher directly inspired by the Holy Spirit, uttering, suddenly and consciously, and with strange power, revelations which had any disclosure of the future. The prophet’s impulse was under his own control, his teaching was to edification, exhortation, and comfort. His special function was toward them which believe—not to win converts, but to promote spiritual progress, though not specially or exclusive, for there belonged to him the awful power of laying bare men’s hearts and character by flashing a sudden light upon them; and an unbelieving man who felt his nature so read would be so struck that falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you (1 Corinthians 14:25). Therefore, the ancient church was not to despise these prophesyings but welcome them as divine manifestations along with gifts of healings, working of miracles, discernment of spirits, different kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:9-11). (v21) Test all things; hold fast what is good, meaning of the Greek is put it to the test, to see if a matter should be accepted, what is proved by testing is to be accepted. The items to be tested are those listed in verse 20. This was also a gift to the early church that we no longer have. (v22) Abstain from every form of evil, the Thessalonians were to abstain in thought, word and deed from what ever would prompt them to retaliate, chill their joy, hinder their prayers, interrupt or limit their thanksgiving, lead them to frown on spiritual utterances from everything in doctrine or conduct. We do not enjoy these various tests in our churches today; we have the complete cannon (Bible); however, these tests show us what we should be on the look out in our own Christian walk as we strive to make our calling and election firm.
Catechism Question 61
Q. What is the reason annexed to the third commandment?
A. The reason annexed to the third commandment is, that however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape His righteous judgment.
58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, The Lord Thy God;
59 Then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.