1 & 2 THESSALONIANS STUDY 8
Final priorities 1 Thess. 5:12-28
At the end of several of his letters Paul crams in a host of brief requests, greetings, guidance, etc. and this no exception. Acting responsibly and prayerfully are two major emphases here:
1. Act responsibly (vs. 12-22)
a. There are those under authority (vs. 12,13). Whom are we to respect? Identify responsibility roles in the church – there are many. Why do they deserve respect? ‘Admonish’ (v.12, NIV) is translated ‘guide and instruct’ by the GNB. Enumerate the means of guidance and instruction that God has given us in the church.
How can we show our respect and ‘highest regard in love’ (v.13)? ‘Live at peace with each other’ (v.13). We don’t know what Paul had in mind here, but what issues can sometimes threaten the peace of our fellowship?
b. There are those having authority in the church (v.14). We’ve already identified their
roles in (a) above. Note their responsibilities in v.14. Look carefully at each item. How can their proper exercise help a church to grow? Take each situation, and imagine the effect on the individuals concerned if no steps were taken. E.g., what can happen to a timid person if he’s not encouraged, and conversely, what can be the result of encouragement?
Think particularly about the need to be ‘patient with everyone’ (v.14). It reflects God’s character (2 Peter 3:9), it’s an expression of love (1 Cor. 13:4); it’s one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). See also Eph. 4:2; Col. 1:11; 3:12; 2 Tim. 4:2. What can you do if you feel you’re running out of patience?
c. Most of the instructions concern everyone in the church, whether in leadership or not. They come in vs. 15-22. Work through each verse, discussing the implications of Paul’s instructions. Note the inclusiveness of his statements: e.g. v.15 ‘nobody’, ‘always’, ‘each other’, ‘everyone’; v.16 ‘always’; v. 17 ‘continually’; v.18 ‘all circumstances’; v.21 ‘everything’; v.22 ‘every kind’.
What if we are tempted to say, ‘I can’t…’?
Which verses do you feel are particularly relevant to us at Oakhall Church?
2. Prayer is important (vs. 23-28)
Look back over the letter to catch Paul’s emphasis on prayer (1:2,3; 2:13a; 3:9, 10,
11-13; 5:17, 23, 25). What impression do these verses combine to make on you?
It’s significant that when Paul writes ‘Pray continually’ (5:17), he backs it up with his own practice (1:2,3; 2:13a; see also Rom. 1:9,10). What does that suggest to us as a principle for effective teaching?
How can we pray continually?
How is v.24 an encouragement to us to go on praying? Think, too, about Matt. 7:7-11.