I Thessalonians 4:8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.
9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;
11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
In verse 8 God directed Paul to remind us that it is always possible for individuals to try to disregard what God has to say. Immorality was a problem in Paul’s day. We do not know if it was worse or less than today, but it was a problem. We know that there were temple prostitutes and other immoral temptations placed before the people. We also know that immorality was a problem in Solomon’s day. God directed him to write about the “strange woman”.
The Bible also shows us that man can be rather calloused in his heart. The Bible speaks of being hard-hearted and stiff necked.
Paul was directed to remind us that when a man speaks the word of God, it is not just man that is being rejected. God’s Word is man’s authority, whether man likes it or not. Man will answer to God’s Word. Man can walk away from God’s Word now if he chooses to, but he will stand before Jesus Christ in the end and will answer for his response.
In our context Paul is writing to saints. We know that because of the last phrase of verse 8. The lost do not receive the Holy Spirit. Christians can despise God. Paul needed to warn them of this sin. God’s Word is never optional for the child of God. It is evil to try to act as though it is something we do not need to follow. The Christian life is liberty. The Bible tells us this. Liberty is not the liberty to sin but the liberty to serve God.
In verse 9 Paul reminded the saints that they had already been taught the importance of brotherly love. God demonstrates this love toward man and shows man the importance of loving one another. In verse 10 Paul acknowledged that the saints had shown brotherly love toward all the saints in Macedonia. They were actively living as born again Christians. However, we see that God wanted them to know that they needed to increase more and more in this love. When saints behave like saints, it impacts the lost. It has been said too often, that lost people treat others better than some saved people do.
We know when that is said, it is in reference to material things. Lost people cannot demonstrate true brotherly love. They are lost and have nothing to offer with regard to the soul of man. Saved people genuinely care about others. Paul was demonstrating brotherly love as he was writing this. Brotherly love wants to see other saints enjoy the full blessings of God. The full blessings of God are for those who are walking with God faithfully. God sometimes has to rebuke His children.
After Jesus’ resurrection, He met some disciples travelling to Emmaus. He talked with them as they travelled and revealed some much needed facts to them. Then He suddenly left them. They had been blind to Who this was that was leading them through Biblical facts regarding what had just taken place with Jesus. They knew they were in the presence of something very unique. They did not realize until after Jesus departed, that He had been right there with them.
Jesus demonstrated brotherly love in that account. He gently rebuked them for their unbelief and He also showed them the facts. He did not leave them in their state of unbelief. He gave them the facts they needed to be able to turn to belief.
In our text Paul reminded the saints that one important aspect of Christian growth is study. These saints needed to study to be quiet. God does not want His children to be “busybodies”. He wants His children to learn to listen and respond with brotherly love. They needed to be busy doing their own business. They needed to work with their own hands. There are people who know how to criticize others and they have a fist full of “advice” but they cannot demonstrate godliness. They have no clue how to behave in a godly manner.
There are others in need of help all around us. However, if we do not study how to help them, we are more like a boat anchor than a helping hand. We need to listen to God’s Word and be careful to give sound advice to others. There is a need for truth all around us. God does not want us to be trouble makers. Sometimes a person may not want to be advised in a need they have. We need to know when to approach another person and when to just let God deal with them.
Notice in verse 11, that Paul had commanded the saints in this matter. Again we see that this is not optional for the child of God. God has standards for His children. In verse 12 he continued the thought with the need to walk honestly toward them that are without. In my experience I have witnessed too many professing Christians who are smooth talkers and they know how to swindle others out of things. They do it in such a subtle way that they make the other person think they are getting a good deal. They have no shame. They will even talk about God as they take advantage of another person. They give such a lousy picture of who God is.
God is not pleased when we abuse the trust of others. Lost people need to hear the Gospel in a clear manner. When a saint twists it into such a knot that it is indiscernible as the Gospel of Christ, that is not good. Those who are saved are testifying of Christ whether it be with words or with deeds. The lost are watching us.
Paul reminds us here that we can miss out on blessings when we do not walk honestly before the lost. We can lack blessings. God does not want that for any of His children.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.