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Right Attitudes


1 Thess. 5:12-18

Every congregation of the Lord’s church is going to experience some challenges and hardships that will distract them from their God-given mission; that will test their unity; and their love for one another…and their commitment.

The Lord’s church has always had to guard against false teachers and false doctrine.

When I first came here 15 years ago we had 7 elders. We now have 2 and some are already asking, “What are we going to do?”

Then you throw in some of the unsettling things happening in our culture; the immorality, the corruption; the deception,  and that causes some in the faith to struggle with their faith…to be discouraged.

It is a hard time; a challenging time for us as a body of the Lord’s church and the question is, “What do we do? If we are going to do the things that the Lord wants us to do here in Brady; if we are going to be a light to a lost world; if we are going to fulfill our mission; if we, individually and collectively, are going to be ready when the Lord comes back, what is required of us?

Well, that is essentially what the apostle Paul addressed here in the closing verses of this letter to the church at Thessalonica. He was worried about this church. They were being severely persecuted (Acts 17) and if they were going to remain strong, and united they would need to do what Paul tells them here in this passage that was read.

The first thing that Paul tells us is APPRECIATE THOSE WHO HAVE CHARGE OVER YOU. He says:

12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

In these verses Paul gives us some good information on what our leaders are supposed to do and we need to keep this in mind if we do get to a time when we need to consider some men to lead us or to be elders.

And notice what they do. Paul says they “diligently labor among you.”

And then he says they “give you instruction”.

In this letter, in chapter 4, Paul spoke of some who evidently were involved in sexual immorality…and some who were busy bodies…and some who wouldn’t work.

 It is not something they do harshly or condemningly. To admonish or instruct is to “gently…but seriously advise, admonish or warn” another who is IN the Lord that the Lord is coming back…and they need…and must live like it.

So Paul says here that those who “have charge over us” are to “lead”, “labor diligently” and “admonish.”

Now, notice the attitude that we are to have toward those who do this; those who lead us.

So Paul says, “Appreciate those who have charge over you” and in verse 13 he says: “esteem them very highly”.

And at the end of verse 13 he says: “Live in peace with one another.”

People do not like it when they have to be told that what they are not doing is not right.

So Paul says: “You appreciate them…and you esteem them….and you live in peace with them.”

Regardless of whether they are right…or if they make an occasional mistake…or if they don’t handle things the way you think they ought to be done…Paul says: “You live in peace with them.”

So, in the midst of all the challenges that we face as a congregation; challenges that threaten our unity and effectiveness, if we want to do those things that God desires for us to do we are to appreciate those who diligently labor with us, who have charge over us, and who instruct us.

Now, in the face of the challenges that we face as the Lord’s church notice what Paul says in vs. 14.

14        And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.

 Paul says that we are to “admonish the unruly.”

He says that we are to “admonish the unruly.”

Paul says that we are to “admonish” him.

He says: “encourage the fainthearted”.

Then he says: “Help the weak.”

Paul says: “Be patient with all men.”

Paul says, “Some will try your patience.”

Brethren, we are to admonish, encourage, help, and be patient with those among us who are struggling.

Why do this?

Look at what Paul says in vs. 15:  See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all men.

 These brethren were undergoing some pretty severe persecution.

Persecution and fiery trials has a way of wearing on our patience.

Paul says, “Don’t retaliate.”

Kindness is a powerful way to respond to people who have wronged you.

You are going to be wronged by people in the world….and there will be times when you are wronged by people who are Christians.

And finally, look at what Paul says in vs. 16: Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Paul says: Rejoice always; pray without ceasing.  

How can you rejoice in the midst of sorrow?

How can you rejoice in the midst of sin?

Brethren, there should be no reason for us as Christians …even in the worst of times… to not find joy because of the hope that is ours in Christ.

And now, I want you to notice verse 18. …in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 Paul says: “in everything give thanks.”

Matthew Henry, the man who wrote the commentaries, was robbed one time. And in that horrible situation this is what he said.

            First, I am thankful that I was never robbed before. Second, although they took my wallet, I am thankful they did not take my life. Third, although they took my all, it was not that much. And fourth, I am thankful I was robbed…and not I who did the robbing.”

In every circumstance we can find something to be thankful for…every circumstance can help us to grow and be more like Christ…and to let His light shine through us.

And finally Paul says: “this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

In chapter 4: 3 Paul says that it is God’s will that you abstain from sexual immorality.

God intends for us as His people to have a proper attitude toward all…and in all.

As a congregation of the Lord’s church, over the last 2 years we have been through a lot. Tomorrow there will be another new set of challenges. Satan has and will continue to discourage us and try to stop us from being the light that God wants us to be here in Brady, just like he did with this church in Thessalonica.

Let’s do that now.