Summary: Looks at Paul’s directives at the end of His first letter to the Thessalonians
Living with a View to the Future…
While the Church waits for Christ, What should we be doing?
Labor for the church
Lead the church
Admonish those in the church
The Church should
Warn the Wayward – Warn those who are idle
Encourage the Worried – Encourage the timid
Help the weak – help the weak
Refuse to Retaliate
Have you ever so looked forward to something that you just stopped doing what you should because you were just looking forward to something so much.
Maybe it is the end of the school year. It is the middle of May and you know the Scool year is coming to an end so you stop studying and doing your homework because you know that the end of the year is right around the corner and you won’t have to deal with this for a while.
Maybe you have a 2 week vacation planned and you just stop doing work a week early as you figure there is no use in starting something now before you go.
Sometimes as we wait for something we are looking forward to, we stop doing the things that we should be doing.
Well the Thessalonians were looking forward to the return of Jesus and some of them had stopped doing the things that they should be doing.
They were expecting it at any moment, though they did not know exactly when it would happen. Some would say that it shows great faith to stop doing things because you think that Christ will return any moment.
Well, as Paul begins to close out this first letter to the Thessalonians, he reminds them of some of the responsibilities they have within the church and to one another and and some attitudes they need to work on while they wait for Christ’s return.
This morning we are going to see some of the things we should be doing while we wait for Christ’s return and learn some principles of leadership, followership and fellowship within the church.
Turn with me to 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15
and let’s see how we should conduct ourselves in the church, no matter our position, as we wait for the Lord to return.
12 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
Now in these verses we see several different aspects of responsibilities of people in the church, what they should be doing and how they should be relating to one another.
This morning I want to start with the responsibilities of the leaders. Now these responsibilities are more implied in the text than given overtly, but they are still significant for us to know.
So in regards to leaders, Paul implies several things that leaders in the church should be doing as we wait for Christ’s return. Now understand that this is not an exhaustive list, but some things that the Thessalonians needed to focus on.
First, we see that
Leaders should Labor for the church
1 Thessalonians 5:12a - Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord
Before I was a Christian, I thought those who worked in the church had a job that was anything but hard work.
Work one day a week, your done by noon, get to hang out with people, maybe make a few phone calls, play some golf, be home in time for an afternoon nap.
After I became a Christian and was involved in the church, I realized how flawed my thinking was. I saw that there was a significant amount of work for those who worked in the church.
After I became a Pastor, I realized how flawed my corrected view of ministry was. There was a lot more to be done than I had even realized before.
It wasn’t just come in a prepare for the sermon on Sunday.
dealing with conflict between people
the administration of the church, making sure bills were paid
there was talking to people and ministering to them
the organizing of ministry teams to accomplish the ministry that one person couldn’t do.
The recruiting of volunteers to help share the load
Planning lessons for small groups
Planning for leadership meetings