11. Living as the Family of God
The church is not only a community but also a family so let us act accordingly.
” 12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong,but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil. 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” – I Thessalonians 5:12-27
Review from Last Week
- On what basis should response to a believer’s death be different from how the world would react?
- How does the resurrection of Christ provide believers with hope for the future?
- How did last week’s text affect your thinking, habits, and behavior as a follower of Jesus Christ?
I. Relationships with Pastors (12-13)
II. Relationships Between Members (14-15)
III. Relationship with the Church Gathered (16-22)
Quick Thought: The Only Perfect Pastor
Today’s passage deals with the Pastor and the sheep of the church. Pastor ‘is the Latin word for Shepherd, and it is rich in biblical imagery. Perhaps the most famous pastoral allusion is Psalm 23, where the writer describes “the Lord as my shepherd”. Some 200 years later, in Isaiah 40, the prophet speaks remarkable words of comfort and consolation to the people of God. He calls for the way for the Lord to be cleared so that the Lord may come in his glory. This coming Lord is mighty and comes in a show of strength and victory. However, then we read these tender words in 40:11, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. It is with this imagery as the backcloth that Jesus describes himself as the “Good Shepherd” in John 10. This is an important, foundational truth: it is God himself who pastors his people. Whatever the nature of pastoral care, it needs to be understood and undertaken in the light of the fact that Jesus shepherds his sheep. Something said around UCC quite a bit from the beginning is that Jesus is our chief Shepherd and the only perfect one.
Please note: Pastoral care is available at UCC. Email a pastor or call Shaun: 050 382 5148
Post-Service Online Coffee Fellowship
Please join us on a zoom call for our Virtual Coffee Fellowship (bring your own coffee!). We’d love for you to say hi, whether you’re a first-time visitor to United Community Church or a longtime member. All are welcome!
The call will be open for more or less an hour after the service finishes – you can join by clicking here! If you can’t join with the link, the Meeting ID is 998 7707 5071, and the passcode is 221309
Life Group Questions
Quick Review of the Text
- Why might Paul have needed to give this encouragement to respect leaders and what might this have involved in practice? (12, 13)
- In verses 14, 15 what are the key words which enable a fellowship to function well and what does Paul encourage them to avoid?
- Within the Thessalonian context, why do you think Paul issues the instructions in verses 16-18? How is it possible to exhibit joy always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances?
- How had the Thessalonians been quenching the Spirit and what is Paul’s remedy? (vv 19-22)
- What do the final verses reveal about Paul’s relationship to the Thessalonians church? (25-28)
- What is the climax of our hope according to 5:10?
- How important re relationships in any organisation? In what ways can a relationship breakdown and affect the whole organisation? What are the main things which preserve good relationships?
Apply the Text
- In what ways could churches better understand and support its pastors and leaders?
- What are practical ways that patience and kindness could be more exhibited within our fellowship?
- How is putting out the Spirit’s fire linked to our attitude to God’s Word?
- How should knowledge of God’s faithfulness provide assurance to God’s people especially when they are under pressure or if they are new Christians? (v 24)
- Where might you have failed to encourage healthy relationships in your church family? What feedback might others give you who have been part of some sort of disagreement with you?
- How do you think God might answer you if you used the prayer of 1 Thess. 5:23 concerning yourself?