Summary: How we are meant to be as a family together.
Community identity markers – define acceptable behaviour
Key verses to whole book 2:12-13 – as often the case in Paul they mark the transition between doctrine and practical instruction.
Love- commanded in every NT book bar Acts (although Paul does command the elders to CARE and speaks eloquently of his own care). We are loved by God and our leaders and called to love each other.
Growth- a progress – we all need reminders- Do what you are doing only more so and don’t forget!!!
Holiness - saints
Future orientated to the coming of Jesus
Specific identity markers
Sexual holiness- exclusive relationships that well up to bless others! Run from impurity, ask for help. Gradation of sins IS a biblical concept although sin is sin- we wouldn’t tolerate a brother who ‘slipped’ into a little murder from time to time!
Gets back to love briefly and our need to grow in it- ever expanding sphere for our love. Most people can only care for their nearest and dearest. In church NOT professionalism & emotional distance- we are to love more and more! We cant help loving! Our brothers and sisters- twee? NO! In small families are we forgetting how to be a brother? Brothers fight, but they have no choice but to deal with this, get on with life and make the best of it for they share the same father and he’s bigger than both of them!!! We fall out all too easily sometimes both as individuals and churches. I once heard a Christian describe another Christian angrily stating ‘I wish they’d rot in hell’. Love for our brothers is it seems the number one demonstrator of our love for our common father! If you don’t love then you need to ask again about your relationship with God.
We need to grow in this, and it means hard work. It means talking to people. You cannot really love people you do not know and you cant get to know them without talking to them. Im shy- maybe but WORK at it. Believe it or not I wasn’t always confident at talking to other people. ‘I don’t know what to say’ just ask them a question, share your life, and find common ground of any kind. But what of the most common ground we have with every Christian- how did you become a Christian, what difference did it make to your life? Great way to build a relationship!
Such growth would include practicing love more consistently, more widely, (and) at greater cost, BUT this also means greater reward- God is not like some employers who promote people for them to do less and less work for more and more money!
HARD WORKING v1 is to counter IDLENESS- which he will return to, immediately followed by a section on the end times.
Endemic to our society and sadly ofen more so in our churches! Who here uses the Christian Business directory?!? We expect Christians to care more, why do they sometimes care less?
Why are we sometimes seen as too heavenly minded to be of earthly use?
Is it actually that we are not heavenly minded enough that we somehow think the ideal Christian life is the idle Christian life where as well as having no worries or concerns we don’t have to work because we have let go and let God. Even the idea of living by faith in the wrong hands can mean dossing so I don’t have to do a proper job!!! ‘I want to be full time for the lord’ can mean in those who don’t realise the truth that I think that will be easier!
Contemplating heaven and especially Jesus return is the antidote to idleness as Punishment and Rewards are motivation ask any child!. Don’t be too embarrassed to strongly promote rewards and warn of judgement. ‘We labour for no reward save that of knowing that we do your will’ is not a biblical concept! If it doesn’t matter what we do, what that means is no one important cares what we do- we are on our way to heaven anyway- and as a result I then don’t care what I do!
The end times often seen as a battle ground for Christians and much heat has been raised and many foolish systems and schemes built up that at times have undermined the whole gospel. BUT -
Jesus will return. The idea of Paul raising this is not to sidetrack onto a fascinating idea of theology but rather to awaken the Thessalonians from their potential sloth about their faith and life, to shock them to ensure they will want to stop sinning and to motivate them correctly to love one another, the lord and work for him!
What this means is that NOTHING not even death can severe our relationship with God OR our brothers. You say, why bother speaking to this person, I may never see them again, I say you will have eternity to get to know them if they are a Christian why not start now!! And, no, when you get to heaven you will NOT be disappointed to see anyone! So one of the things we can wonder and be in awe about in heaven is how God transformed that noxious irritating person you spent years on earth bearing with into such a glorious example of his grace!!! In many ways perhaps we should seek out the hardest cases, the most annoying, the most sinful, the most ‘hopeless’ so that there is more change to observe- o hang on a minute isn’t that exactly what Jesus did and what God seems to do!?!