Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 (14-15)
Theme: How to perform Christian duty?
· In the last portion of 1 Thessalonians Paul talks about Christian duty.
· He instructs the Thessalonians as to how to perform their duties as believers.
· As Christians, we have certain sense of duty to be fulfilled.
· How to perform our duties as believers?
· Paul speaks in terms of three areas:
· Last week we learned that we must perform our duty by respecting those in leadership (Vv. 12-13)
· Today we will see what Paul has to speak to us about the second duty of a Christian.
2. We must perform our duty by caring for each other (Vv. 14-15)
A. Who are the people to be cared for?
There are three groups of people that we need to be concerned about:
i. Those who are idle.
ii. Those who are timid
iii. Those who are weak.
· What to do with people who are idle? Warn them of their laziness.
· It seems that some Thessalonians were so sure that the second coming was close that they had given up their jobs in order to
prepare for it.
· What Paul did was that he urged them to work.
· What to do with those are timid? Encourage them.
· Thessalonians were anxious about their friends who had died.
· They were worried about their destiny.
· So Paul asked the rest of the believers to encourage them.
· Friends there are some who are cowardly, afraid of difficulties, and disheartened at the thoughts of hazards, and losses, and
· We must encourage such people.
· We should not despise them, but comfort them.
· What to do with those are weak? Help them.
· We should never allow the weak people to be rejected by the strong.
· Some are weak/slow in performing their work, and they may not be able to bear up under their burdens.
· We should support them, help their infirmities and lift at one end of their burden.
· Friends, God has given us a three-fold ministry when it comes in terms of caring:
· The ministry of warning, the ministry of encouraging, and the ministry of helping.
· And not give us the ministry of mocking, despising, rejecting, and criticizing.
· We are called not to curse others, but to bless others.
· God wants us to be a blessing to others.
B. Then Paul exhorts us to be patient with everyone.
· We live with people having differences of opinion and character.
· People will also be in various stages of development.
· Especially, in the case of congregation, it is a flock of sheep.
· Many sheep can walk but slowly.
· Some of the lambs must be carried on the shoulder.
· As mature Christian believers we have to be patient with all of them.
· Dr. Charles Jefferson said, “Men’s souls are narrow; let them grow, my brothers; we must wait.”
C. Apostle Paul further admonishes us in two important things.
· Here he addresses general Christian behavior.
1. Firstly, we must make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong.
· This is something that we must look into and be very careful about.
· If others do us an injury, we must not do the same to them in return.
· There will be unfavorable response from people around.
· Then we are asked to exercise a forgiving spirit.
· Jesus Christ is the supreme example.
· Peter says in the Bible, "Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.”
· As a believer I cannot expect that other people should be more Christ like than myself.
· A Christian believer who has an enemy whom he or she is unable or unwilling to forgive ought to repent or quit his or her
· All personal revenge and retaliation are forbidden to the followers of Jesus Christ.
· It is because God is the one who take revenge.
· Dear friends, never take revenge.
· Leave that to the righteous anger of God, for the Scripture says, "I will take revenge; I will pay them back," says the Lord."
If our enemies are hungry, feed them.
· If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
· In doing this, we will heap burning coals of shame on their heads."
In Rom 1217ff we read, “Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good."
· By giving an enemy a drink, we're not excusing his misdeeds.
· We're recognizing them, forgiving him, and loving him in spite of his sins-Just as Christ did for us.
· After all, the core of Christian living is to be like Christ.
2. Secondly, we must always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
· It is not only to fellow believers, but also to every one including our enemies.
· Human nature generally is ungrateful, selfish and unkind.
· Also there may be lack of appreciation of our sacrifice and effort.
· Our natural love will soon run out and we will turn against those to whom we are sent and to whom we minister.
· But we must learn to love the unlovely and the unlovable.
· As believers we must love the unworthy and who may do us personal injustice.
· So there need to be a mutual warning, encouragement, help and also forgiveness.
· May the Lord help us to care for each other in every situation, especially in the body of Christ!
· Let’s take up the ministry of warning in love, encouraging without selfish motives and helping others without expecting reward of appreciation.
· May the Lord help us to be kind to one another and bless others!