The Christian’s Hope – Part 10

In this week’s message titled, BROTHERLY LOVE (1 Thes. 4:9-12), we continued our look at the Lord’s urging and exhortation for us “to walk” in such a way as “to please” Him with our lives today- in the light of His return (1 Thes. 3:13-4:1; Rom. 12:1-2, etc.). Not only does the “law of Christ” “command” us to “abstain from sexual immorality” so we can be more like Jesus, but God inside of us also gives us the supernatural ability to follow Jesus’ command for us to love one another in the way that He loves us (Gal. 6:2; 1 Thes. 4:2-3, 9; John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; Eph. 4:32; Rom. 5:8; 12:9, etc.).

“Every good gift… is from… the Father of lights” to include all kinds of love (James 1:17; Rev. 4:11, etc.). In the Bible there is eros love that is blessed between a husband and wife; storge love from parents to their children; phileo- (philadelphia) brotherly love which is the love listed in our passage today between family members; and agape love which is God’s supernatural limitless sacrificial love bestowed upon humanity through Jesus Christ (John 3:16, etc.). While Paul commends the Christians in Thessalonica for their “BROTHERLY LOVE” toward other believers, it was really God’s agape (self-sacrificial) love that was being demonstrated (Christ in them the hope of glory) as they worked hard to help other Christians throughout “all Macedonia” (1 Thes. 4:10). Because they were presently letting Christ live through them in this way, I think Paul made the statement, “you have no need that I should write you” (1 Thes. 4:9). They had already been and were being “taught by God” on this account as “their love [overflowed and abounded to] one another” (1 Thes. 4:9). But in the theme of strengthening our faith, the Holy Spirit is tenderly urging them (and us) to continue to grow… and not become complacent- “we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more” (1 Thes. 4:10).

Loving one another, this “labor of love” or toil, is not easy (1 Thes. 1:3, etc.). In fact, it is supernatural (Col. 1:27, etc.). We have to have God inside of us to do it or we will utterly fail (Rom. 7:18, etc.). EVERYONE, Christian and non-Christian alike (being made in God’s image), knows we are supposed to love, but to know true love and love God’s way we have to #1 know God (John 3:7, 16; 14:6, etc.) and #2 die to ourselves daily so His life flows out of us to others (Luke 9:23; Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:16-18, 22-23, 25, etc.). THE MORE CHRISTIANS LIVE LIKE GOD, THE MORE WE WILL LOVE ONE ANOTHER (James 1:22-25, 1 John 1:9, etc.). None of us have arrived yet because Jesus has “not yet” returned for us (Heb. 2:8; Phil. 1:6; 3:12-16, etc.), and the Word of God is the most important thing we need in this life (Matt. 4:4; 1 Tim. 4:3; John 1:1-3, 14; 17:17, 21; Eph. 5:26, etc.). There is always the need and call for us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 10:12; 2 Pet. 1:3-12; 3:17-18, etc.).

The Holy Spirit then gives additional “commandments… through the Lord Jesus” for walking in such a way as to “please God” today so as to be ready for His return (1 Thes. 3:13-4:2, 11). Specifically, He “command[s]” we would “aspire” (that is desire- make it our ambition, focus and aim) to:

The Greek word here for “quiet” does not mean to keep silent (it is fine to be expressive and talkative at times), but it means to be restful in mind and heart. We are all called as God’s children to be less frantic and filled with his inner peace (Gal. 5:22-23, etc.). When the storms rage on around us, we need to remember God is in control. He can quiet the storms at any time, and, if He does not, He always promises to walk through them with us.

Minding “our own business” means to attend to our own affairs and be about the business God has given us (Luke 2:49, etc.). Christians should not be “busybodies” spreading gossip and/or meddling in the affairs of others (2 Thes. 3:11; 1 Pet. 4:15, etc.).

and WORK WITH OUR OWN HANDS (1 Thes. 4:11).
Working “with our own hands” demonstrates love for others because a self-supporting person is not a burden to others. Paul and his missionary team showed God’s sacrificial love in this way- when they did not have to (1 Thes. 2:8-9; Acts 18:2-4, etc.). The culture of that day spurned hard work and manual labor (as does much of our culture today- Titus 1:12-13, etc.). God works and so should we as we are made in His image (Gen. 1:26-28, etc.). While the Fall of man brought “thorns and thistles… sweat,” etc. to our endeavors, work itself is a good gift of God (Gen. 2:15; 3:17-19, etc.). We should never have a ‘retired’ mindset as Christians but all the days of our life walk in the “good works” He has made us for (Eph. 2:10; Titus 2:14; Heb. 13:15-16, etc.).

Christians who let God live through them in this way “please God” by being good testimonies to those who are outside the faith, and this also enables us as His children to provide for our own needs and the needs of people we love (1 Thes. 4:1, 12; Col. 4:5; Acts 1:8; 1 Tim. 5:8; Eph. 4:28; 2 Thes. 3:10, etc.). Walking “properly” today also helps us as His children prepare for “the Day” when Jesus comes for us-when saints who have died will be resurrected with immortal bodies and the bodies of living saints will become immortal (1 Thes. 4:12, 16-17; 1 Cor. 15:50-57; 2 Cor. 5:1-10; Heb. 10:24-25, etc.).