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Summary: *(Revised: December 2010) Paul exhorts us not to rest on our laurels, but to keep improving on what we are doing as a church. (Can also be used as a "farewell" message for Pastors leaving their church)

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EXHORTATIONS ARE UNIQUE EPILOGUES THAT ANNOUNCE THE JOYS OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND WELL-DOING WHILE AT THE SAME TIME SOUNDING THE ALARM TO WARN AGAINST GROWING CONTENT WITHIN THE PARAMETERS OF FRUITFUL MINISTRY.

THE CHURCH IS A LABOR OF LOVE AND CANNOT SEPARATE THE TWO BY LABORING WITHOUT LOVING OR LOVING YET NOT FOUND LABORING. THE TWO MUST ALWAYS BE FOUND HAND-IN-HAND WITHIN THE CHURCH.

THIS IS ONE OF THE REASON PAUL COMMENDS TIMOTHY ON THE GOOD NEWS HE IS HEARING ABOUT THE WORK GOING ON AT THE CHURCH IN THESSALONICA.

PAUL IS PLEASED WITH THEIR WORK, SO HE JUST WANTED THEM TO UNDERSTAND THAT THEY STILL NEED TO BE ON GUARD SO THAT THEY DON’T REST ON THEIR LAURELS OR BECOME ROUTINE AND MECHANICAL IN WHAT THEY DO FOR CHRIST AND EACH OTHER.

AS WITH ANYTHING IN LIFE, NO MATTER HOW GOOD OR SUCCESSFUL A THING MAY BE, THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A TIME FOR RE-EVALUATING THE REASONS FOR WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO.

THERE IS ALWAYS THE NEED TO DISCUSS AND CONTEMPLATE HOW WE CAN FIND WAYS TO DO THINGS EVEN BETTER THAN BEFORE. IN OTHER WORDS, THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN HOW WE MINISTER AS A CHURCH.

WE CAN TAKE PAUL’S LETTER TO TIMOTHY AND THE CHURCH AT THESSALONICA AND LEARN VALUABLE DETAILS OF HOW WE CAN CONTINUE BEING A PRODUCTIVE, SPIRIT-FILLED, GROUP OF ACTIVE CHRISTIANS WORKING FOR GOD’S KINGDOM.

I OBVIOUSLY CAN’T COVER ALL THE EXHORTATIONS OF PAUL, BUT I WANT TO AT LEAST TOUCH ON A FEW WHICH ARE:

- RESPECT AUTHORITY OF LEADERSHIP

- BE AT PEACE

- ENCOURAGE THE FAINTHEARTED

- HELP THE WEAK

- BE PATIENT WITH EVERYONE

- DO NOT QUENCH THE SPIRIT

PAUL WANTED TO ENCOURAGE THE CHURCH IN THEIR QUEST TO DO ALL THE GOOD THEY COULD FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND NOT TO STOP SHORT OUT OF ANXIOUSNESS FOR CHRIST’S RETURN.

PAUL STARTS AT THE TOP BY SAYING "RESPECT THOSE WHO LABOR AMONG YOU…[AND] ESTEEM THEM HIGHLY IN LOVE." PAUL WANTS THE CHURCH TO KNOW THAT WE ARE TO RECOGNIZE THE POSITIONS OF THOSE IN LEADERSHIP.

JUST LIKE A SOLDIER WHO SALUTES A MILITARY OFFICER, THE SOLDIER IS NOT SALUTING THE PERSON, BUT THEIR RANK. IT IS A SIGN OF RESPECT FOR THE POSITION HELD. THE SAME IS TRUE FOR THE CHURCH. WE MUST SHOW RESPECT FOR THE POSITION.

WHETHER IT BE THE SERVICE CHAPLAIN, SENIOR FAITH GROUP CHAPLAIN, WING CHAPLAIN, OR OUR PARISH COUNCIL REPS, WE MUST SHOW RESPECT. THE GREEK WORDS PAUL USES HERE MEANS "TO KNOW," "TO APPRECIATE," AND "TO BE CONSIDERED WORTHY OF BEING LOVED."

CHURCHES NEED TO UPLIFT WITH THEIR LOVE, PRAYERS, AND SUPPORT BY SHOWING RESPECT TO THEIRCHAPEL AND PARISH LEADERS BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF THEIR GOD-ORDAINED RESPONSIBILITIES WITHIN THE CHAPEL AND CHURCH.

THEN PAUL GOES ON TO SAY “BE AT PEACE” WHICH IS ACTUALLY A COMMAND OF CHRIST IN EPHESIANS 5:1, THAT WE BE IMITATORS OF GOD AND LIVE A LIFE OF LOVE. THIS GOES RIGHT AT THE HEART OF WHAT CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED TO BE AND DO!

THIS IS A COMMAND THAT CALLS FOR A SANCTIFIED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LEADERSHIP AND CHURCH MEMBERS. IN OTHER WORDS, PEACE IS A TWO-WAY STREET! THIS TYPE OF PEACE COMES WHEN ALL WORK TOGETHER TO BUILD THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND TO SERVE ONE ANOTHER.


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