I Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
Christians need to be reminded of the importance of behaving like Christians. This is not about getting pretenders to act like Christians. This is about true born again Christians behaving like born again Christians. Pretenders will never be able to behave like Christians. They will always buck at the truth.
You notice in verse 14 that Paul was speaking to brethren. The brethren are those who are born again and thus brought into the family of God and thus brethren in Christ. True Christians need to remember the importance of behaving themselves as true Christians.
Psalm 101:2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
The Psalmist knew the importance of behaving himself in a perfect way. He wanted to be blessed of God and he wanted to have a pure testimony before God among men. That is the way of blessing and that is the way to be a help to others. We need a genuine love for others and that will motivate us to live before them in such a way as to help them to know God’s peace.
I Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Timothy needed to be reminded of the importance of behaving himself in the way that would honour God. Notice that this was the way that God expected and even demanded that he and all born again Christians need to behave. God’s demands are not unreasonable. He provides salvation which creates a new creature in the saved person. God blesses the saved person with the indwelling Holy Spirit. God gives the saved person the power to be called a son of God. It is not unreasonable for God then to expect His blood bought children to honour Him.
The unruly are those who “deviate from the prescribed order or rule”. We have already spoken about that. Man is given a free will. Saved people also have a free will. However, saved people also have been given the capacity to choose to please God. The love of God indwells every true child of God and due to that love in them, their will is to please God. There is a growing process in the born again child of God. There can be those who are carnal, but God does not leave them there. He chastens His own. Paul warned the unruly to get in line with God’s way of blessings.
God also reminds the saints to comfort the feebleminded. This refers to those who are “fainthearted”. There are Christians like John Mark, who are feebleminded and need some time to grow and learn to behave like men. Paul did not take John Mark on their second journey because he was not ready for the challenges he would face. Later on, Paul called for John Mark, because he had grown and was now ready to identify with the challenges that Paul was facing as a front-line servant of God. Those in the back rows, need some time, but they do need to be prepared for more intense action in the Christian life.
David left 200 men behind when he and the other 400 men went after the Amalekites who had invaded the city of Ziklag. The 200 were too faint to go on and they would not have been of any help in the recovery effort. When David and the 400 men returned from their recovery, some of his men did not want to give the 200 men anything except their wives and families. David said they would receive a share of the spoil just like those who had gone to the battle. Those who are not in the needed condition to actively deal with the challenges of the life of the saints, need to be comforted and through that encouraged to carry on and to grow and be prepared for future challenges.
The weak would be those who are closely aligned with the feebleminded. They might be those who are sickly or lacking in faith in some way. We have witnessed weak saints who have bought into the lies of the government propaganda over the past 2+ years. We cannot just write them off. They need to be supported and encouraged to trust more fully in the Lord and not be so gullible.
It is important for those in leadership to be patient toward others. Each person is unique. Each person responds in a different way to God’s truth. All need to be strengthened and grow. Some are more hesitant than others in growing. The truth needs to be proclaimed. The teaching and preaching needs to be the same. Some will need more teaching and preaching before they submit to the truth. God will work in the hearts of each one that is truly saved. They will need to humble themselves and accept God’s way. God is not talking of compromise here. He is talking of standing upon the truth and helping others who are saved to stand upon the truth as well.
In verse 15 we see that the saints need to guard against seeking to cause divisions. There is no benefit in class warfare. We do not help the cause of Christ when we seek to divide true saints. We have talked in the past of the many markers that God has given to help us to identify true saints. We are not talking about false professors. Paul is not talking about the ecumenical movement. Paul is talking about those who are saved. We encourage and we pray for and we work together for God’s glory. We have already mentioned the change that took place in John Mark’s life over time. Paul was not hostile toward him. He did not believe he was ready for the task at hand but John Mark grew in the Lord and became a useful servant of God.
Rather than waste time seeking to cause ungodly divisions, we need to follow after that which is good. Biblical separation is important. It must be Biblical separation. We need to follow after that which is good for the sake of the brethren within the local church and also to those who are not saved.
I listened to an interview from a secular church pastor recently. He emphasized that all people were welcome in his secular church. He was quite vocal about that fact. He said they did not judge. We do not have a sign on our door restricting people from coming at this time. We did have a sign up for a while when the government was trying to interfere with God’s Work in the local church. We had that sign up earlier to remind ungodly police and health officials or anyone else for that matter, that they did not have the right to try to interfere with God’s commands to the local church.
If a person wants to come and listen and learn, they are welcome to come. However, that does not mean that anyone who walks into our building would be welcome to partake in the Lord’s Supper, for example. God sets the standard for who can participate in the Lord’s Supper. I would be sinning against Him to open that up to just anyone who wants to partake. That is just one example. God has standards that must be met. We have already noted that earlier in this devotional and in other devotionals as well. God’s house is not a free for all. It is not a democracy. It is God’s house. Jesus Christ is the Head. His will must be followed. His name must be exalted. That is what we see throughout the Bible and that is what we desire in our local assembly.