Paul's exhortation for the church

Paul’s exhortation for the church

As with other epistles, Paul has a lot of exhortations for the church of Thessalonica:

-- be faithful

“stand fast in the Lord (「靠主站立得穩」)” (3:8)

-- love one another

“the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you” (3:12)

“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you, for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. 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.” (4:9-10)

-- be holy

“walk worthy of (對得起) God” (2:12)

“we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.” (4:1)

“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication; that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour, not in the lust of concupiscence (NRSV, ‘lustful passion’), even as the Gentiles which know not God; that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter.” (4:3-6)

“Prove all things (要凡事察驗); hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (5:21-22)

-- be diligent

“And that ye study to be quiet (「立志作安靜人」), and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without (「向外人行事端正」), and that ye may have lack of nothing.” (4:11-12)

-- be comforter

comfort one another with these words (the message of the Lord’s coming)(4:18)

“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep (live or die), we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another (互相建立), even as also ye do.” (5:9-11)

comfort the feebleminded (灰心的人), support the weak (軟弱的人)” (5:14)

-- be peace-maker

be at peace among yourselves.” (5:13)

“warn them that are unruly (不守規矩的人)…be patient toward all men.” (5:14)

“See that none render evil for evil (以惡報惡) unto any man; but ever follow that which is good (追求良善), both among yourselves, and to all men.” (5:15)

-- be alert

“let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” (5:6) “let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” (5:8) Paul here uses the analogy of a Roman soldier clothed with his protective gear (breastplate, helmet) to relate to the key elements of faith, in line with “the whole armour of God” in Ephe 6:13-17, except that the full armour of God includes both protective gear and weapons (breastplate, helmet, belt—NRSV, shoes—NRSV, shield, sword). “Sleep” here of course is different from the “sleep” used in 4:14, where “sleep in Jesus” refers to the temporal death of the believers waiting to rise from the dead upon the Lord’s return. The “sleep” here refers to those who only live for the physical life on earth without any preparation for eternity, “for they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night”. (5:7)

-- be joyful

“Rejoice evermore.” (5:16)

-- be thankful

“In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (5:18)

-- respect the ministers

“we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over (治理) you in the Lord, and admonish (勸戒) you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake.” (5:12-13)

“Despise not prophesyings.” (5:20)

-- pray earnestly

“Pray without ceasing.” (5:17)

“Quench not the Spirit.” (「不要消滅聖靈的感動」) (5:19)