1 Thessalonians 5 Encourage Ye One Another
Paul tells the Christians in Thessalonica, “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” We can learn something from this simple advice given by the Apostle to the Gentiles. The wherefore concerns what he has just spoke about. What has he just spoke about?
Well in the previous chapters he talked about how we should be living out our daily lives as believers in Christ Jesus. In chapter one he commended the faithful witness of the Christians in Thessalonica. He called them examples of righteousness to Macedonia and Achaia. He praised them for their fervent spreading of the gospel throughout the region. He recognized the changes in their lives, turning from idols to believing on the Lord’s deliverance of them from the wrath to come. In the second chapter; Paul reinforces the witness that thy have learned by example from him and his party and how they love the hearts of the Thessalonians and desire to be with them again. Paul expresses his love for them and their love of him and Christ in him. He encourages them and say that they share the same hope, “For what is out hope, our joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” (v.19)
In the fourth chapter Paul tells them as you have learned from us how to walk in faith, continue in this so that you will increase the pleasure you give to God in your love and obedience. He reminds them that walking in the spirit is walking in sanctification. Those who are called of God are not called to uncleanness, but to holiness. We who love God cannot continue in the sins that we used to walk in. We should have a different attitude. We should actually despise our old lifestyle, wanting nothing to do with it. Instead we should seek to become more knowledgeable about the Lord, his Kingdom, and his will. Then he answers some questions about the rapture and the resurrection. This is important to the advice his gives us in 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
We do not have to fear the times that we live in. All of these things are given to us as a sign. A sign that the Lord’s return is imminent. Just as persecutions were on the rise in ancient Rome against followers of the Way so are the prevalent today. Today we have another 100 year event. It seems the past few years we have had a 100 year event, of some sort, every year. This 100 year event for 2020 is the pandemic; COVID-19. This event has attacked every part of society in every part of the globe and will undoubtedly change the way many things are done in the future. The way we interact with one another will be different. The way that foreign government interact and support one another. Even the sovereignty of nations will be changed. Individual freedoms will be forever effected. Powers of local, state, and federal governments will be increased. Universality of mankind will grow in acceptance, doing away with many boundaries we previously had.
This virus is already affecting all of those things and more. We are losing family members. Some are questioning God. Some are flat out angry with God, and have chosen to reject him. Others have renewed their faith. Some who have stopped praying and seeking God decades ago are now seeking him out. This same dynamic plays out in the family circle. Many families are being drawn together. Forgiving one another for offences long forgotten. Parent spending time with their children. Children once starved for attention from their parents are now being filled up with love. However; with these things we see unfolding. The changes in the governments, religious acceptance, the move toward universal-ism and far more set the stage for the events which must unfold. With these things, and the very upfront reality of death. Paul tells the Thessalonians, and us to comfort ourselves and one another.
We know the times and the seasons in which we live. This have been told to us before. Jesus himself told us of the signs that would show as his return grew closer. He told us those things so that we could take comfort in them. When we see these things happen, we know that he already told us and that it is part of his plan. These things have to take place in order to save as many as possible and to spare them from the wrath to come.
For us, the follower of the Way, we have supreme knowledge and comfort. We know, that everyone has an appointment with death. As far as death is concerned, we know that we are just passing through this world. We are not to cling to things of this world. We know that the things of this world are temporal. That means that everything of this physical world fades away, it is temporary. Things rust, mold, decay, turn to dust, and even dust disappears eventually. Scripture says that the life of a man is like a vapor. It is here one moment and then gone. For us who believe in Christ, we have a more complete knowledge in knowing these things. We know that there is life after death.
We know that we do not fade away or become a part of the cosmos and loose who we were. Instead, we have a new life. We know or true life is spiritual, not the flesh. We know that God has made a way in Jesus Christ for us to live this eternal life in his presence without fear, without death. We know that our sorrow will be taken away, and that God himself will wipe away our tears. We can believe this because Jesus Christ not only died for our sins, but he conquered death and arose from the dead. He is alive, and because he is alive, we who believe have been grafted into his life eternal.
This guidance, given by the Spirit through, Paul says that we should take comfort in what he has just said, and as we take comfort, we are to encourage one another. What he just said is that Christ is eternal. Christ is returning. We know this because of the signs all around us. We then walk in the light of Christ. So we can take comfort in these things that are unfolding around us. This comforting is a two-fold process.
We take comfort in the Lord and then this gives us the ability to comfort others. What is our comfort? We know that we dwell in him. We are his children. 1 John 4 says that we who know God know that God loves us; for God is love. He manifested this love in Jesus Christ; that we might live through him. We are able to love one another because the love of God is in us. We also know that his Spirit is in us because without the Spirit, no man can confess Christ. With this comfort in our hearts we know that God loves us and that he is faithful. We can then encourage one another in these odd days of fear, sickness, and death.
We can comfort one another by doing what we are called to do. Remember Paul complemented the Thessalonians in walking upright before man and the Lord. This example of godliness they lived encouraging him and the whole region about Thessaloniki. People were being saved and believers were being encouraged by the life that they lived. Lives of holiness and dedication to Jesus Christ.
We see that walking in the Spirit through living a sanctified life encourages others around us. We can give hope to others in the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can teach one another of the faithfulness of God in his Word and in the testimony of our own lives in him. We can also pray for one another. Pray without whole hearts. Pray aloud. Pray boldly. Pray in faith and in hope. The Lord says that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much (it means a whole lot- have great influence). Guess what, you who have believe on the name of Jesus, you have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus.