Allowing Christ to Live Through Us
1 Thessalonians 5: 12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. (NKJV)
Paul is writing to the church at Thessalonica, which he, Silas, and Timothy started during Paul’s second missionary journey in 50 A.D. Paul is writing this in 51 A.D. from Corinth, Greece.
In this passage he gives the first of several final instructions. He begins by urging Christians to “recognize” and “esteem very highly in love” those who minister to us (vv. 12-13).
The literal translation of the Greek for these verses is: “We entreat, And you, brothers, to know the ones laboring among you, and taking the lead of you in the Lord, and warning you, even to esteem them most exceedingly in love because of the work of them. Be at peace among yourselves.”
In the early church a group of elders taught the flock instead of a pastor. The responsibilities of the elders were to teach, lead, and warn. The word that is translated “entreat” is the Greek word “erotao”, which means to request. The word that is translated “know” is the Greek word “oida”, which means to give recognition to. So the Lord is requesting Christians to recognize in loving esteem those who teach, lead, and warn them. This recognition in loving esteem, in the context of the whole Bible, would consist of prayer, encouragement, and financial support.
As an example, these online commentaries teach, lead and warn Christians. While online encouraging devotionals are plentiful, online teaching, leading and warning commentaries are rare.
By teaching, leading, and warning, this ministry would be one of the “elders” for those who are blessed by these commentaries. As such, the Lord requests that it be recognized, supported, by those Christians.
The Lord’s request is “to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake” (v. 13a). If you esteem His workers, the Lord says you will “Be at peace among yourselves” (v.13b).
Paul continues with five additional instructions (vv. 14-15):
(1) “Warn those who are unruly.”
(2) “Comfort the faint hearted.”
(3) “Uphold the weak”, those who are spiritually, morally, physically, or financially weak.
(4) “Be patient with all”, display grace.
(5) Do not render “evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all”
Paul gave these instructions to the Christians at Thessalonica but they apply to every Christian. They should be incorporated into our Christian walk. They should become such a habit that they become part of our normal behavior.
We all have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, with His fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23) available to us. It is up to us to put it into action. It is all about allowing Christ to live through us.
Online Bible Commentary