We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
Brothers, pray for us.
Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.
I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 (ESV)
Richard Phillips writes:
One of the most important applications we can make from Paul’s teaching on church leaders is to realize that it entails a mandate for church membership. If the LORD has placed leaders over the church and called them to the triple function of laboring, ruling, and admonishing, then it follows that the LORD’s people are to be organized in churches under this very kind of spiritual leadership.
Some people ask the question, “Why should I join the church?” There are a number of good answers. One is that God has organized human society in covenantal relationships, and Christians are to bond together as a covenant people in the LORD. This points to the analogy of the church as a family, with its associations of affection, loyalty, and commitment. Just as the family bond is a relationship based on blood unity, the church family expresses our unity in the Spirit of Christ. Many Christians who enter the church should find the kind of acceptance, honesty, and ministry that they have never known in their natural family, and should gain the opportunity to provide warm and affectionate family love to others.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 1
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.