This final section of 1 Thessalonians is filled with words of spiritual instruction. As in the case of the teaching of Jesus, it is our attitude that is paramount in living the christian life. The opening words of the section admonish us to respect spiritual leaders because of the work they do. We live in a time when those who serve in ministry are leaving their posts in unprecedented numbers. Young people are not preparing for ministry in the local church at numbers sufficient to meet the needs that exist. Many of the students at seminaries are preparing for Christian work in areas other than the local church. Why is this happening? In my view it is because of the failure to obey the teaching of God’s Word about relationships. Chirsitians believe in grace for themselves, but are often very poor at expressing grace to others. The result is conflict and discord. To be sure, ministers need to be respectible, but they too need to be shown grace. They do not come to their office by accident. It takes a very special move of God to place a person in spiritual leadership. Difficulties should be resolved as they would be resolved if Jesus were in the room, because He is.
Numerous admonitions follow the opening. Lazy people are to be warned, discouraged people comforted, weak people helped, etc. In all cases, we are to be patient. Relationships take time. God works through His Word to grow us into the people we are to be. Like a gardener working with tender plants we need to nurture one another in accordance with the Word. Rejoicing comes because we know the outcome. God’s people should be a singing people. We should be known for our prayer life and our unending thankfulness. We are not to quench the Spirit. It is amazing how a contentious dissenting attitude that refuses to be reconciled can quench the Holy Spirit. This is a very serious matter. On numerous occasions, I have watch God remove people from service because they continually quenched the Holy Spirit. Despising prophecies is a cynical diregard for God’s communication through his servants. Even a speaker who is relatively dull can bring a powerful Word from God when our hearts are listening for the Holy Spirit’s words. We are to prove or test all things. We can cast away the non-essentials, but we should hold on to what is good. Our actions speak louder than our words so it is important how we behave. We should avoid any outward action that seems to be unchristian or evil.