1 Thess 5:12-28 – Final Instructions

Christian Mölk1 Thessalonians Leave a Comment

1 Thess 5:12-13

  1. The author of Hebrews adds, “Obey your leaders and follow them, for they watch over your souls and will give you an account” (Heb 13:17).
    1. A Christian leader is therefore accountable to God for how he leads other Christians.
    2. James adds that “not many should become teachers. For you know that we shall receive a more severe judgment” (James 3:1).
  2. According to this Bible verse, a Christian leader is characterized by three aspects:
    1. A leader should be appreciated because he “works”, not because he may have a nice title.
    2. A leader should be appreciated for being a “leader”, a person who shows where to find spiritual food and who is good at resolving disputes between other Christians.
    3. A leader is to be appreciated for “exhorting”, a difficult task for which a Christian leader must not back down.
  3. Since a Christian leader is a leader for the sake of the congregation, not for his or her own sake, it means a lot to the leader if the congregation shows “love for the work they do”.
    1. Paul probably writes in this way to avoid Christian leadership developing into a hypocrisy where the leaders just laze around and take up the slack. Paul wants Christians to show love to their leaders, but only for “the work they do”.
  4. If all Christians would obey this and keep peace with each other, Christian leaders could spend their time teaching God’s Word instead of settling disputes.

1 Thess 5:14

  1. Paul calls not only the leaders to do this, but all members of the church.
  2. The “disorderly” are those who go their own way; they need to be rebuked so that they realize that the church is a cohesive body, not a collection of loose body parts (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
  3. The “discouraged” are those who are worried and who don’t dare to do much. They are not to be despised but encouraged.
  4. The “weak” are to be taken care of whether it is due to spiritual weakness or physical weakness. For those who are new in faith or old in body, it is easy to be weak, and therefore the church needs to take extra care of them.

1 Thess 5:15-18

  1. For anyone who has ever wondered what God’s will is, Paul gives us a nice little list of it:
    1. A Christian should “keep peace with all men”, “strive for what is good in the sight of all men”, but must never take revenge, but rather leave the anger to God. If a Christian so commits himself against his enemy, he is gathering coals of fire to his head” (Romans 12:17-21).
    2. If a Christian has his joy in God, then the Christian can always be happy, even in miserable circumstances, because God is always with the believer.
    3. To “pray” is to communicate with God and this can be done by praying aloud, praying silently, listening to God’s voice, speaking in tongues, etc., etc. The Christian should be in uninterrupted communication with God.
    4. A Christian should not thank God for all circumstances, but in all circumstances. Even though life can sometimes be one big misery, the Christian can trust that God will have the last word and that he will save all who wait for him.
  2. “In Christ Jesus” is one of Paul’s most common expressions. Paul is trying to show that whoever believes in Jesus is “in Christ” and thus shares in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Whoever is “in Christ” no longer carries any sin and will live forever.
    1. Although Jesus has not returned to fully establish the kingdom of God, the Spirit has been given to all who are “in Christ”, resulting in the kingdom of God slowly but surely breaking new ground on earth (Ephesians 1:14). 
    2. A contrast to living in Christ is living in Adam: “as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

1 Thess 5:23

  1. To be “sanctified” means on the one hand to separate oneself from the desires of the world and of sin, and instead to keep oneself to God, but it also means to develop and come closer and closer to God. The further away from the sins of the world you are and the closer to God you are, the holier your life becomes.
    1. Here Paul shows us that it is God who sanctifies us, not we ourselves. We can strive to be sanctified and draw closer to God, but in the end this depends on God, not ourselves.
  2. On the one hand, it can be argued from this biblical passage that man is made up of three distinct components; “spirit, soul and body”. On the other hand, it can be argued that man is not so easily divided, since Jesus, for example, divides man into four components; heart, soul, mind and body (Mark 12:30), while Paul in another context divides man into two components; body and soul (1 Corinthians 7:34).
    1. If this is an accurate description of how humans are made up, then one can suggest that these three components be distinguished in this way:
      1. The spirit in us needs a relationship with God to feel good.
      2. The soul in us needs relationships with other people to feel good.
      3. The body needs exercise, health and food to feel good.
    1. Personally, I have made it a habit to daily ask God to bless me and my loved ones spiritually, mentally and physically.

1 Thess 5:24

  1. Since much of this letter has been about sanctification and drawing closer to God, Paul now emphasizes that this is not primarily something we can do ourselves. It is God who starts the sanctification in us, it is God who leads the sanctification forward and it is God who completes the sanctification. All this because God is “faithful”.

1 Thess 5:25

  1. Although Paul prayed more than most, he still wanted others to pray for him. If the great man of God Paul was in need of intercession, I think we all are!

1 Thess 5:26

  1. In New Testament times, it was not uncommon for relatives and close friends of the same sex to greet each other with a kiss on the cheek (Mark 14:45). By greeting each other in this way, we show that we Christians belong together as a family and that we are close friends.
  2. Since this is not very normal in Sweden today, there are certainly equivalent greetings that Christians can give each other, such as a hug or a handshake. What is important not to forget, however, is that Paul writes “holy” kiss and thus emphasizes that it is not a question of a romantic kiss or something similar.

1 Thess 5:27

  1. Since 1 Thessalonians was probably the first of Paul’s letters, he emphasizes at once that the purpose of his letters is to make them known.
  2. The first Christians did not have a Bible to take to church services, but depended on the Scriptures being read to them as they gathered.
  3. Paul’s letters are not just for the leaders of the church or for those who could read, but are to be read to all.
Share & Print

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *