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1 Thessalonians

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©Laura Haverkamp

Chapter 5:12-15 (ESV)

Posted on May 03, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 5:12-15 (ESV) - We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 

Question to consider: What are some ways that Paul told the Thessalonians to support their pastor?

In today’s passage, Paul goes from instructing the believers in Thessalonica on how they should conduct themselves in the world to how they should conduct themselves in the church. There has been a lot of debate on social media about the reign of Christ and when it  began. If you go through my study of Acts, I believe Luke offered substantial proof that Christ began His reign at His ascension, and that the church marked the spread of His kingdom here on earth.

The devil used idolatry to control the rulers of the world, and the Pharisees and Sadducees to control Israel. Once the gospel started going out into the world, people turned from their idolatry and recognized that Jesus (and not Caesar) was Lord. The churches became the heavenly strongholds for earthbound citizens of Christ’s kingdom. Pastors and elders were appointed by the apostles to shepherd the churches and deliver Christ to the people through His word and gifts like baptism and communion.

The people gathered not only to praise and worship God but to tend to one another’s needs— which were great for those who came out of a guild that worshiped or produced idols. If you were not a landowner, you probably worked for a guild or a landowner and most likely lost your job when you became a Christian. When the church gathered for the communion meal, people treated it like a potluck and brought enough food to share with others so that even those who were put out of the synagogue or guild were still able to eat.

Because the church is an earthly vessel for the kingdom of heaven, the devil continually works to undermine and divide it. This is easy to do since it is made up of people who still have a sin nature and have difficulty repaying evil with good or submitting to the pastors and elders set over them. Throughout the New Testament epistles you will find similar advice given by Peter, Paul, John, and the writer of Hebrews. The pastor should be respected as the one who will have to give an account to God for how he has administered the Gospel. The writer of Hebrews warned that there is no value in making his job difficult. Paul wrote here that the leaders of the church should be esteemed very highly because of their work.

Instead of making the pastor’s life difficult, Paul said that the church should work on living at peace with one another, seeking to do good for each other regardless of whether it is reciprocated, encourage those who are struggling in their faith or feeling weak, admonish those who aren’t active in their vocation or service to the church, and above all be patient with each other. If each person set their hearts to serve and did their best to live at peace with their neighbor, they would be doing the command of Christ and encouraging the one whom Christ as called to be His under-shepherd.

Even though we live at a time in which our churches may not be facing the same kind of external persecution as Thessalonica, we still have the same temptation to undermine the pastors and leaders God has appointed for us. We should always strive to do the things that help Christ’s kingdom go into the world and not corrupt it with worldly ideas and customs.


Dear heavenly Father, we ask that You renew in us a desire to remain apart from the world and its values as we minister to it and point people to Christ. Help us to submit to one another in love and spur one another on to faith and good works in Christ. Amen.