"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS" Our Duty To Those Who Serve (5:12-13) INTRODUCTION 1. As "sons of light and sons of the day" (1Th 5:5), we have a duty to comfort and edify one another - cf. 1Th 5:11 2. This duty is true of all us who are members of the body of Christ - e.g., Ep 4:15-16 a. Each member has a part in which he or she does their share b. When all are working, the body grows through the edifying of itself in love 3. Yet the Lord has also blessed His body with those who edify the body through their service in certain capacities - cf. Ep 4:11-12 a. Such as evangelists, pastors, teachers b. Whose purpose is for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ [In the text for our study (1Th 5:12-13), we are told of "Our Duty Toward Those Who Serve" us by their function in the church of Christ. Observe that we are commanded...] I. TO RECOGNIZE THEM A. THOSE WHO LABOR AMONG YOU... 1. This would include those who serve as: a. Elders (also known as pastors, bishops), whose duty is to watch and feed the local congregation - Ac 14:23; 20:17,28; 1Pe 5:1-2; 1Ti 3:1-7; Tit 1:5-9 b. Deacons, who minister to the needs of the congregation - Ph 1:1; 1Ti 3:8-13 c. Evangelists, whose ministry is to the Word of God, proclaiming the good news to both sinner and saint
- Ep 4:11; 2Ti 4:5,2; 1Ti 4:16 d. Teachers, who provide instruction in the doctrine of Christ - Ep 4:11; Ac 13:1-2; 1Co 12:28-29; Tit 2:3-5 1) Such as those who teach our children 2) And those who teach the lost in our families and community 2. There are others who labor among us in other areas... a. Those who minister through exhortation, giving, showing mercy (such as in visiting the sick) - Ro 12:6-8 b. Those who use their talents to do good deeds, as did Dorcas - Ac 9:36-39 c. Those who keep up the facilities in which we meet to worship 1) Cleaning the building, preparing the communion 2) Pruning the yard, maintain the baptistery and other aspects of the building -- In every active congregation, there is much labor going on; do we recognize those who often labor quietly for our benefit? B. THOSE WHO ARE OVER YOU... 1. "In the Lord" a. This has particular reference to the elders (pastors, bishops) b. They are the only ones given authority "over" us in the Lord - Ac 20:28; 1Pe 5:1-2; cf. He 13:7,17 2. "And admonish you" a. The duty of elders often require them to admonish and warn - Tit 1:9 b. That is why they must be qualified to teach - 1Ti 3:2 -- Any congregation with men qualified to serve as elders should certainly be careful to recognize them as such, and respect their God-given duty [While the context may have special application to our duty toward those who serve as elders, I believe we are not amiss to apply it toward those who serve in other capacities as well. Certainly it is appropriate regarding those who serve us in any role...] II. TO ESTEEM THEM A. VERY HIGHLY IN LOVE... 1. To hold them in high regard, to honor them a. We are to prefer all brethren in honor - cf. Ro 12:10; Php 2:3 b. How much more those who expend their time and energy in serving us! 2. To do so in love a. We are to love all brethren - cf. 1Pe 2:17; Jn 13:34-35 b. How much more those who expend their time and energy in serving us! B. FOR THEIR WORK'S SAKE... 1. Certainly the work of elders is worthy of high esteem a. They feed us, they watch over us, they provide examples for us - 1Pe 5:1-3 b. They must give an account for our souls - He 13:17 2. So also the work of all who serve their brethren a. The work of deacons is worthy of high honor - 1Ti 3:13 b. Indeed, those who are serve are to be considered great in the kingdom of God! - cf. Mt 20:25-28 [We have a duty to esteem those who serve, to hold them in high regard. Not just because of who they are, but what they do! Do we both recognize and esteem our brethren for their work? Finally, note that in "Our Duty To Those Who Serve" we are...] III. TO BE AT PEACE A. AT PEACE AMONG YOURSELVES... 1. Peace among brethren, like unity, is a wonderful thing - Ps 133:1 2. It is a mark of heavenly wisdom, and provides the atmosphere in which much righteousness can be sown - Jm 3:17-18 3. It is certainly something we all should pursue - Ro 14:17-19; He 12:14 B. TO LIGHTEN THE LOAD OF THOSE WHO SERVE... 1. Those who serve (especially elders) have a heavy burden - e.g., He 13:17 a. They watch for our souls b. They must give an account for our souls 2. We can make their load lighter - cf. He 13:17 a. Make their work a joy, contributing to peace through obedience and submission b. Avoid adding unnecessary grief, which would not be good for us (what an understatement!) CONCLUSION 1. As we wait for the coming for the Lord, we are blessed not to wait alone... a. The Lord's church is here to comfort and edify us b. There are individuals who labor among us, and are over us in the Lord 1) Some meet our needs, making it easier for us to grow 2) Others watch over us, and admonish us as necessary -- For such blessings we ought to be thankful! 2. But we can do more than just be thankful... a. We can recognize those who labor among us, and are over us b. We can esteem them highly in love for their work's sake c. We can be at peace among ourselves Indeed, this is "Our Duty To Those Who Serve". May God grant us the strength to give what is due those who give so much of their time, energy and love to us!