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1Thessalonians 5:12-28

Thursday Evening Bible Study

October 19, 2017


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Target 3300 words   Video = 75 wpm


Video:  The Bible Project – 1Thessalonians

Paul would be challenging the Thessalonians to grow in the areas of holiness, love, and in their hope of Jesus’ return.

We now wrap up the letter with some final exhortations to Thessalonians.

Keep in mind, Paul had only spent a month with them.

In a sense, this letter is like a “New Believers Class”.

What kinds of things would Paul consider important for the Thessalonians?

5:12-22 Exhortations

:12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,

urgeerotao – to question; to ask; to request, entreat, beg, beseech

to recognizeeido – to see; to perceive with the eyes; to know; to have regard for one, cherish, pay attention to (1Th 5:12)

:13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.

esteemhegeomai – to lead; to consider, deem, account, think

very highlyperissos – beyond measure, extraordinary; greatly, exceedingly

loveagape – brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence

:12 recognize those who labor among you


Elements of Leadership

Even though there’s a sense in which we are all members of the body of Christ, and that we are all priests to God, there is an element of organization that God has given to the church.
Leaders are an older brother who is perhaps a few years older than you, who can teach you how to beat the video games.

And yet your older brother isn’t your “king”, he’s just your older brother.

Paul says these folks are “over you in the Lord”
are over youproistemi –to set over; to superintend, preside over; to be a protector or guardian
 Paul uses this word to describe how leaders are supposed to lead:

(Romans 12:8 NKJV) he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

A leader is dependable, someone who you can count on to come through.

If you want to be a leader in the church, be someone who can be counted on.

Paul says these leaders “labor” among you.  Not just “over” you, but among you.
laborkopiao – to grow weary, tired, exhausted (with toil or burdens or grief)
Stepping up to serve others is not a cakewalk.  It is hard work.  You can expect to get tired.
Paul says these leaders “admonish”.
admonishnoutheteo (“mind” + “to put”) – to admonish, warn, exhort.
The word is all about what we might call “counseling”.
It’s about nudging people in the right direction.  It may involve saying some hard things, warning people about their behavior.
It’s interesting that even though the church is made up of new believers, there were some who were just a step ahead of the rest.
Paul tells the Thessalonians how to treat their leaders.
He says to “recognize” them.

When someone is putting themselves out there to serve others, it’s important to recognize that God is at work.

Paul says to esteem them highly in love.

Think well of them.  Love them.

October is “Pastor Appreciation Month”
Just in case you are unaware, I’m not the only pastor around here.  I’m not the only leader in the church.
We have quite a few people in our church who would fall into Paul’s description of leaders, and they’re not even all men or someone with the title “pastor”.

Can you think of some of these leaders?

Dave Dunagan, Daniel Grant, Debby Cathers, David Ritner, David Cathers, Manuel Castro, Sarah Cathers, Dan Looney, Joy Looney, Laurie Dunagan, Lisa Schwimmer, Warren Fassbinder, Ron West, Greg Bird

I’d encourage you to think about taking time to say “thank you”.

(Hebrews 13:7 NKJV) Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.

(Hebrews 13:17 NKJV) Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

(Galatians 6:6 NKJV) Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.

(1 Timothy 5:17 NKJV) Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.

:13 Be at peace among yourselves.

Be at peaceeireneuo – to make peace; to cultivate or keep peace, harmony; to be at peace, live in peace

Our passage is filled with what seems to be miscellaneous unconnected exhortations.  I’m not sure this is connected with the previous verses, but it sure seems to be connected with what follows.  Perhaps this is a poor verse division.

I wonder if there was a little bit of strife in the church.

Paul wants them to get along with each other.

:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.

exhortparakaleo – to call to one’s side, call for, summon; to admonish, exhort; to beg, entreat, beseech; to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort

:14 warn those who are unruly

warnnoutheteo – to admonish, warn, exhort.

This is the same word translated “admonish” in verse 12.  We suggested the idea of “counseling”, though it may have a serious tone to it.

unrulyataktos (“not” = “ordered”) – disorderly, out of ranks (often so of soldiers)

This word was used in Greek society of those who did not show up for work.

Though we are to “warn” the unruly, it’s not always a fun thing to do.

You will often get one of two responses, either a wise response, or a foolish one. If the person is a “wise” person, they will respond and change. If they are a “fool”, they won’t change.

We will see this many times through the book of Proverbs.
(Proverbs 17:10 NKJV) Rebuke is more effective for a wise man Than a hundred blows on a fool.

:14 comfort the fainthearted

comfortparamutheomai (“alongside” + “word”) – to speak to, address one, whether by way of admonition and incentive, or to calm and console

faintheartedoligopsuchos (“little” + “soul”) – fainthearted

It describes those who are tempted to lose heart, to drop out, to quit.
These folks don’t need to be “warned”, they need to be comforted.

:14 uphold the weak

upholdantechomai – to keep one’s self directly opposite to any one, hold to him firmly, cleave to, paying heed to him

The weak are those who are having a hard time even standing.

They might not even need words, just someone to pay attention to them.

weakasthenes – weak, infirm, feeble

(Matthew 26:41 NKJV) Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
(Acts 5:16 NKJV) Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

:14 be patient with all

be patientmakrothumeo – patience with difficult people; to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others; to be mild and slow in avenging

Amy Carmichael was a gal from Ireland who went off to be a missionary in India around 1900, serving there for 55 years.  She wrote,

“If I have not the patience of my Savior with the souls who grow slowly; if I know little of travail (a sharp and painful thing) till Christ be fully formed in them, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”
The Calvary she speaks of isn’t Calvary Chapel, but the cross at Calvary where Jesus died for us.

Perhaps all these things (warn, comfort, uphold, be patient) are all elements of what it takes to “be at peace” with each other (vs. 13).


Recognize the need

Some people need a swift kick in the rear. Others need a supporting hand around their shoulder. Sometimes I don’t have a clue what a person really needs. We need to learn to see needs and respond correctly.

:15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

rendersapodidomi – to deliver, to give away for one’s own profit what is one’s own, to sell; to pay off, discharge what is due; to requite, recompense in a good or a bad sense

evilkakos – of a bad nature; base, wrong, wicked; troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful

pursuedioko – to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away; to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing, to run after; to press on: figuratively of one who in a race runs swiftly to reach the goal

goodagathos – of good constitution or nature; good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy; excellent, distinguished; upright, honourable

:15 no one renders evil for evil


Getting Even

There’s an old bumper sticker that read, “Don’t get mad, get even”
There’s something in our nature that likes that idea.
I think it really comes out in me when I’m on the road.

The other day I had been on the freeway for a couple of hours, and I just wanted to get home.  But sure enough a couple of idiots would cut me off in a lane, or do some other kind of stupid thing.

At times like that I wish I had ordered the missile accessory on my car so I could just push a button and blow the guy up.

Video:  Car Destroyed by missile


There was a story about a truck driver who dropped in at an all-night restaurant in Broken Bow, Nebraska. The waitress had just served him when three swaggering, leather-jacketed motorcyclists—of the Hell’s Angels type—entered and rushed up to him, apparently spoiling for a fight.  One grabbed the hamburger off his plate; another took a handful of his French fries; and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it.  The trucker did not respond as one might expect.  Instead, he calmly rose, picked up his check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the cash register, and went out the door. The waitress followed him to put the money in the till and stood watching out the door as the big truck drove away into the night.  When she returned, one of the bikers said to her, “Well, he’s not much of a man, is he?”  She replied, “I can’t answer as to that, but he’s not much of a truck driver.  He just ran over three motorcycles out in the parking lot.”

Paul wrote to the Romans:
(Romans 12:17–21 NKJV) —17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Note that in our passage, Paul clarifies that we are to act this way “for all”.
It’s not just Christians we are to treat like this, but non-believers as well.

Paul then gives a list of eight “imperatives”, or commands to the Thessalonians.

These are things that we are all to do.

:16 Rejoice always,

:16 Rejoice always

alwayspantote – at all times, always, ever

rejoicechairo – to rejoice, be glad; to rejoice exceedingly



The Christian life should be a life characterized by joy.
But sadly, it often appears the Christian has a face that’s filled with anything but joy.
Paul and Silas found it possible to have joy in the strangest places.
In the city of Philippi, they had been arrested, beaten and thrown into jail because they had cast a demon out of a slave girl.
(Acts 16:25 NKJV) But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

“singing hymns” describes singing songs of praise.

And this was just weeks before they met the Thessalonians.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is known as his letter of “joy”
Yet he wrote it in a Roman prison.  He wrote them,

(Philippians 4:4 NKJV) Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

We may not be always able to rejoice in our circumstances (“hooray, a broken leg!”), but we can rejoice because we know the Lord, and He is good.

King David wrote,
(Psalm 16:11 NKJV) You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

It’s being in His presence that brings us the best joy.

If our lives aren’t filled with joy, I wonder if something might be wrong.
Perhaps we’ve filled our lives with too much stuff and we’ve not spent the time we need in God’s presence.

:17 pray without ceasing,

:17 pray without ceasing

without ceasingadialeiptos – without intermission, incessantly, without ceasing

prayproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray



I don’t think this means going to a church and kneeling down to pray and never getting up again.
I don’t think this means driving down the freeway with your eyes closed because you’re praying.
I think this is talking about making your whole life a running conversation with God. Talk to Him throughout your whole day.

:18 in everything give thanks;

:18 in everything give thanks

give thankseucharisteo – to be grateful, feel thankful; give thanks



I think we sometimes confuse the words with this verse:
(Philippians 2:14 NASB95) Do all things without grumbling or disputing;

I tend to do all thing without thanks, and in everything I grumble.

Sometimes it seems all I ever do is look for what’s “wrong” in a thing and then complain about it.
Complaining and grumbling were the characteristics of the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness for forty years.
God wants us to learn to be thankful.
I think thankfulness is an expression of faith.
I trust God enough to tell him I’m grateful.

:18 for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

willthelema – what one wishes or has determined shall be done; will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure

:18 this is the will of God


God’s Will

It’s one of the big questions people have when they come to church.
They want to know what God’s will is for their life.

Usually it’s about a question about who to marry, what job to take, or where to live.

God would rather that we start a little closer to home, with issues of the heart.
We’ve already seen Paul give us a sample of what God’s will is:
(1 Thessalonians 4:3 NKJV) For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;
These last three verses also work together to express God’s will for us:

Like purity, these are issues of the heart.

When you are looking for what God’s will is for you, perhaps rather than asking about the “thing” you’re concerned with, start with the state of your heart.
I have this notion that if your heart is in the right place, the rest will work itself out.
Solomon wrote it this way:

(Proverbs 3:5–6 NKJV) —5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Paul has five more “imperatives”, or commands.

:19 Do not quench the Spirit.

:19 Do not quench the Spirit

quenchsbennumi – to extinguish, quench; of fire or things on fire; to suppress, stifle

We want to be careful that when the Holy Spirit is setting something on fire, we’re not getting out the extinguisher.

Sometimes this phrase is a bit over used. I think that sometimes when a person says this, what they’re really telling me is that I’m not doing what they want me to be doing, not necessarily that I’m not doing what the Spirit wants.

At the same time, I need to be careful that just because the Holy Spirit is making me uneasy or uncomfortable about something, that I don’t try to stop it.  Be open to what the Holy Spirit wants to do.

Here’s one of the ways we can quench the Spirit:

:20 Do not despise prophecies.

:20 Do not despise prophecies

despiseexoutheneo – to make of no account, despise utterly

The gift of prophecy is a special ability to allow God to speak through you.

It’s being able to say, “I think that God is trying to say this…”

The problem with prophecy is that it can be easily abused and counterfeited.

Jeremiah lived during the end of the kingdom of Judah, as the Babylonians would come in, wipe out Jerusalem, and haul everyone off to Babylon.
It was kind of the “wild west” of prophetic times.
There were plenty of men calling themselves “prophets” who were simply not speaking for God.
While Jeremiah was continuing to speak for God and warning the people that the city was about to be wiped out, there were others telling the people that everything was going to be okay.
Even though they often contradicted the things that Jeremiah would say, Jeremiah wasn’t automatically opposed to what they said.
One such prophet was named Hananiah.

While Jeremiah had prophesied that the nation would be “under the yoke” of Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 27), Hananiah had a different prophecy, that God was going to stop Nebuchadnezzar.

(Jeremiah 28:6 NKJV) and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! The Lord do so; the Lord perform your words which you have prophesied, to bring back the vessels of the Lord’s house and all who were carried away captive, from Babylon to this place.

Jeremiah replied, “I hope so!”

But he also reminded the people that when God speaks, the thing actually has to happen.

After Jeremiah left the room and was heading home, God spoke to him and told him that Hananiah was not speaking for God, and that Hananiah would die within the year for misleading the people.  And he did.

I like Jeremiah’s openness to the possibility that God was speaking.
Be careful that you don’t let a bad experience with “prophecy” affect you and you end up not hearing when God does indeed want to speak.

I think the next verse speaks much to how we handle something that seems like prophecy.

:21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.

:21 Test all things; hold fast what is good

testdokimazo – to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not)

This is a word used for the testing of metals to see if they are genuine or not.

goodkalos – beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable; beautiful to look at, shapely, magnificent; good, excellent in its nature and characteristics, and therefore well adapted to its ends; beautiful by reason of purity of heart and life, and hence praiseworthy; affecting the mind agreeably, comforting and confirming

hold fastkatecho – to hold back; to hold fast, keep secure, keep firm possession of; to get possession of; to possess

Don’t just believe everything you hear. Everything needs to be tested.

That’s what Jeremiah did with Hananiah’s prophecy (see above).

The moment you begin to accept everything someone says to you without testing it, you are opening the door to be led astray or abused.

You need to test the things that I say.

Paul gave the Corinthians instructions about their times together:

(1 Corinthians 14:29 NKJV) Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.
Just because a person has a place of authority or says they are speaking from God doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t test all that they say.

When you find something that’s “good”, then you need to hold on to it.

Toss the rest.
My pastor used to say, “Chew the chicken and spit out the bones”.

:22 Abstain from every form of evil.

:22 Abstain from every form of evil

abstainapechomai – to hold one’s self off, refrain, abstain

formeidos – the external or outward appearance

I’ve had more than a few unmarried couples tell me how they are living together, but that they either sleep in separate bedrooms or separate beds.

To be honest, not only have I grown to the point where I don’t believe it at all, nobody else believes it either.  I doubt their non-Christian co-workers believe it.

I think that sometimes folks can get too extreme in this, so that they don’t even want to do anything with an unbeliever.

Video:  UberChristian – Rideshare app exclusively for Christians

5:23-28 Blessings

:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

:23 sanctify you completely

Sanctification is the process where God helps us grow in holiness, in purity.

sanctifyhagiazo – to separate from profane things and dedicate to God; consecrate things to God; to purify

completelyholoteles – perfect, complete in all respects

blamelessamemptos – blameless, so that there is no cause for censure

preservedtereo – to attend to carefully, take care of; to guard

God wants His holiness to permeate our lives.
This is God’s continual work in our lives until the day that we meet Jesus.

:24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

:24 faithful, who also will do it

faithfulpistos – trusty, faithful; of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties; that can be relied on

At various stages of my life, this was the verse that I clung to.

After I graduated from seminary, during the years I waited to be in full time ministry, I clung to this.
During the years I served as an assistant pastor, knowing that God had called me to one day be a senior pastor, I clung to this verse.

God is faithful. You can count on Him.

When He calls you to do something, He will see that it’s done.

(Philippians 1:6 NKJV) being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

:25 Brethren, pray for us.

prayproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray

:26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.

greetaspazomai – to draw to one’s self; to salute one, greet, bid welcome, wish well to; to receive joyfully, welcome

kissphilema (“a work of phileo”) – a kiss; the kiss with which, as a sign of fraternal affection, Christians were accustomed to welcome or dismiss their companions in the faith

holyhagios – most holy thing, a saint

:26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss

This isn’t the only passage that mentions this. (also Rom. 16:16; 1Cor. 16:20; 2Cor. 13:12)

(Romans 16:16 NKJV) —16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.
(1 Corinthians 16:20 NKJV) —20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
(1 Corinthians 16:20 NKJV) —20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Note that it’s a “holy” kiss.

There’s no room for anything impure here.
Just to be technical gentlemen, it doesn’t mention “sisters”.

I have a video to explain.

Video: Holy Kiss Romans 16

Culture plays into this verse.

We don’t greet each other with kisses the way other cultures do.

:27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren.

chargehorkizo – to force to take an oath, to administer an oath to; to adjure (solemnly implore)

holyhagios – most holy thing, a saint

:27 read to all the holy brethren

Just like the entire Bible, this wasn’t meant for just a few, but for the entire church.

All the believers in Thessalonica were “holy”.

Paul doesn’t want just a few reading this letter.  He’s intended it to be read to the entire church.

:28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

gracecharis – grace; that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; good will, loving-kindness, favour