Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men].
See that none render evil for evil unto any [man]; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].
(1 Thessalonians 5:14-15)
For the next 6 devotions, we will be looking at this word of encouragement from Paul to the members of the church at Thessalonica. Our devotions will center on the six exhortations given to us by Paul…
1. warn them that are unruly,
2. comfort the feebleminded,
3. support the weak,
4. be patient toward all [men].
5. See that none render evil for evil unto any [man];
6. ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].
Now we exhort you, brethren,
Before we begin with the first exhortation, let’s attempt to answer the question, “What is an exhortation”?
In this verse, “exhort” comes from a Greek word (parakaleo) that holds three basic ideas:
1. to call near (to accompany and/or help)
2. to render encouragement (through words and/or actions)
3. to possess urgency (importance and/or insistence)
The idea that Paul is giving to the Thessalonians an “exhortation” teaches us that Paul was stepping to their side wanting to aid them in their walk with Christ. He did this by delivering a very important (urgent) message that was intended to encourage them in their service for Christ.
What was this important message? This message encouraged them to treat others in a Godly fashion. If you notice the six main exhortations, they all involve our relationship with others… how we treat them, and how we respond to them in various sets of circumstances.
How we relate to all others (family, friend and foe) is a central area of the Christian’s testimony. It is proof of our adoption into the family of God and of our spiritual growth and maturity…
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so?
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
As we go about our day today, let’s always be aware of how we are treating those who are around us. Because of our fallen natures, it is so easy to become self-centered with our focus only upon ourselves. But for each of us who are Christians, who now possess the love of Christ within us, may we consistently think of others before ourselves.
By putting others first, we are displaying the love that our Heavenly Father showed to us when He gave Christ to die on the cross so that we might be saved…
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”
(1 John 4:7-12)
A Godly relationship with others is the central method of displaying to the world that we are Christians…
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35)
This is why, for the next 6 days, we will be studying Paul’s exhortation to treat others in a Godly way.