I Thessalonians 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour 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. And be at peace among yourselves.
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.
It is important to have Godly leaders. It is important to acknowledge them as leaders. It is also important to know them. You cannot know them if you do not spend time with them. This is again why it is so important to be part of a Biblical local church. You need to know the pastor by more than his name. You need to know what kind of a person he is. You need to know how he responds to various situations.
Paul stated that the pastor labours among the people. Jesus Christ demonstrated the importance of labour. He was busy working with the people. He travelled from place to place and He taught the people the truth. He also did miracles to prove that He was the prophesied Messiah. The apostles also laboured among the people. They also could do miracles as a sign that they were true apostles. The sign gifts ended with the completion of the Scriptures. God can and still does do miracles today. He does not do them in the same manner as in the first century. We know that even before the apostle Paul died, he was not able to heal Epaphroditus. He left him sick nigh unto death. He eventually recovered, but it took time. The so-called “faith healers” of today are frauds. They do not work under the authority nor blessing of the Lord.
Paul further reminded the saints that the leaders were “over them in the Lord.” God’s appointed leaders are commanded by Him to rule over the flock He gives them. Notice that it tells us they are over you in the Lord. They do not make up their own rules. They serve under the authority of the Lord. A true pastor needs to be in the Word and be able to show people from the Word of God why he believes what he does. The Bible does not lead true believers in a multitude of paths. The doctrines of the Bible are clear and they are sure. It is important to teach them carefully and truthfully.
The doctrine of salvation is clear in the Bible. Salvation is always by God’s grace through faith. There are no works of man involved in salvation. Baptism is always by immersion upon confession of faith. Baptism has no saving merit. It is a picture of what God has done in the heart of the repentant sinner. The Lord’s Supper is always conducted by the Godly pastor in a church setting. No individual is ever directed by God to have a private communion service in their house. The elements used in the Lord’s Supper should only be unleavened bread and red grape juice. Jesus did not use alcoholic wine when He instituted the Lord’s Supper. It was called “the fruit of the vine.” The Bible has much to say regarding the sin of alcoholic drink.
These are just a few of the doctrines that need to be taught properly. They must be taught according to what is written in the Bible. There is no need to substitute that which is right and true for the sake of convenience.
The pastor is also to admonish the members of the local church. The Greek word translated as “admonish” means “to caution or reprove gently”. If a professing Christian refuses to join a true local church, he cannot be admonished. Every true child of God will need to be admonished at times. The true saint cannot grow properly if he does not submit to the will of God. If he does not want to obey God, he will be chastened by God.
In verse 13 we see that the man of God is worthy of esteem. The Greek word translated as “esteem” means “to deem or consider.” Paul says to esteem them very highly. There is a difference between showing high esteem for a pastor and worshipping the man. We worship God alone. Pastors are human beings. They fail at times. They are not infallible. They do not deserve blind loyalty. They deserve respect and they also need to prove themselves worthy of respect.
The man of God does not need to “get a fat head.” He needs to be a humble servant of the Lord. A true man of God will not become puffed up with pride. God has a way to keep His servant humble. A proud man cannot help others. He is too concerned with maintaining a certain image and will not speak the truth for fear of offending someone.
We see again that the members need to observe the work done by the pastor. They need to be able to judge whether the man is a faithful teacher of the Word or not. That judgment will only be honest and worthwhile if the members are walking humbly before the Lord. If they are disobedient and fighting against the truth, their judgment will be wrong.
The saints in Berea were more noble, because they searched the Scriptures to see if what the apostles were telling them was true. They honoured the apostles. They wanted to hear them and learn from them. They wanted to be sure the apostles were teaching them the truth.
Paul further reminded the saints they needed to be at peace among themselves. This peace is not through compromise. It is through humbly submitting to the authority of the Word of God. God knows that His children can get in the flesh at times. That is never good and it must be addressed properly as we noted above already.
In verse 14 Paul gave further instructions regarding disunity. He warned of those who are unruly. The unruly do not want to submit to God’s authority. They do not want to recognize God’s man. They have their own idea of truth, but it is not founded in the Bible. There are true churches that have faced splits because some people get puffed up with pride and do not want to follow the truth. God does not expect His children to follow a pastor blindly. We have already addressed that. God does expect His children to follow His chosen leader. God will guide in the choice of the pastor for a local church. That man will prove himself to be worthy of high esteem. When he teaches something that a member does not like, the member needs to stop and examine where the teaching came from. If it is the Word of God, then the wise member will submit to the truth.
There are many professing saints who condemn themselves because they refuse to submit to God’s Word and they manage to stir up trouble among others who are weak in the faith. God cannot bless such actions.
The pastor needs to comfort the feebleminded. The feebleminded are those who need to be strengthened in the “inner man.” That strengthening comes through the faithful teaching of God’s Word. As they submit to godly teaching, they will grow and become stronger and more stable.
The “weak” are those who have physical ailments. You notice here that God does not say to rebuke them for their lack of faith. Sickness is part of the fall. The Charismatics distort God’s Word and claim that Christians should not be sick. Kenneth Copeland foolishly claimed the Wuhan Virus was gone when it was still around. It has been misnamed. It is more like a flu than anything else. It is a shame that anyone would give him and the many others like him, the time of day. They should be rejected and made ashamed of their heresy.
The pastor also needs to be patient toward all men. Patience does not mean tolerating sin. It means being willing to teach those who are teachable, and exposing those who are heretics. Jesus shows us how to be patient toward all men. He rebuked the false teachers. He exposed them as hypocrites. He was also patient with the people who came to Him with many needs. He was also patient with His disciples who were slow learners. He taught them the same things over and over. They did not finally understand until they were filled with the Holy Ghost in Acts 2. After that, Peter still needed to be publicly rebuked by Paul. That was also an act of patience on Paul’s part.
In verse 15 we see that we cannot act in the flesh. We are not trying to create trouble. We are not interested in beating up on people. We are to be showing love toward those who hate us. We are to show them the right way to behave. We are to follow after that which is good, both among the membership of the local church as well as those who are not members of the local church. The world needs to see the love of God at work in all things. That will help them to turn to the Lord and be saved.