Jul. 22. Concluding Words of Instruction

I Thes. 5:12-28

Paul concluded his epistle to the Thessalonians by issuing a list of general commands and exhortations. Leading his list was the command to recognize and respect the elders of the church. The elders are responsible for the leadership and welfare of the church—to ensure that Christians receive the divine instructions left by Christ. Also included in this first command was an exhortation to recognize other workers and teachers.

One of the most important qualities of a healthy church is to be at peace with one another. Paul said, “Warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.”

A joyful attitude is of utmost importance in living the Christian life. Paul said on another occasion that he had learned in whatever state he was to be content. Joy and contentment come from being constantly communing in a prayerful spirit with God through thanksgiving and supplication.

Christians receive their instructions from the writings of men inspired by the Holy Spirit. When these writings are ignored, it is like pouring water on a fire. The Spirit is quenched.

Paul admonished the Thessalonians to accept only the truth when facing decisions regarding right and wrong. If a teaching or practice appears evil or false, Christians are to reject it.

Paul ended his letter by calling for a blessing from God for the Thessalonians, asking them to pray for him and commanding that this epistle be read to all of the church. Since Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit in this writing, it is equally important that it be read and studied today.