Oh the riches of God’s Word! I am continually amazed at the depth and contemporary application of the Bible. In 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 Paul gives a litany of commands for the people at Thessalonica. I compiled them into 10 exhortations for easy recollection. F.F. Bruce comments that Paul may have been seeking to provide material in this format for a catechism of some sort for the people to easily remember and study.
I label them “Gospel Exhortations” because I know how I respond to lists in Scripture. “Give me a list so that I can check off things and feel better.” “Give me a list so that I can do things that will make God love me more.” Often I feel like we confuse the order. The way we should (I think) respond to lists in Scripture is first to realize that we can’t do these things. This initial reaction leaves us with a helpless feeling that hopefully leads us directly to the cross. Because of the cross, because of my redemption from slavery, because of grace, I can live and obey.
The opposite of Gospel Exhortations would be keeping the law, which we all know cannot be done. So, when you read this list, understand that this is on the other side of the cross and should not be a ladder that is climbed expecting to find self-earned righteousness at the top. Whatever we accomplish is because of God’s progressive work of sanctification in our lives, not our own efforts.
In this blog I want to simply list the Scripture and the 10 points. Lord willing, I can go through and write 10 separate blogs on each point. We’ll see…In the mean time, read over these exhortations and pray that the Holy Spirit would speak and that you would respond in faith.
–1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 (NAS)
1. Admonish the Unruly (v.14)
2. Encourage the Fainthearted (v.14)
3. Help the Weak (v.14)
4. Be Patient with Everyone (v.14)
5. Don’t Repay Evil with Evil; Seek After What is Good for All (v.15)
6. Rejoice Always (v.16)
7. Pray without Ceasing (v.17)
8. In Everything, Give Thanks (v.18)
9. Do Not Quench the Spirit—by despising prophesy (v.19-20)
10. Examine Everything Carefully—by holding fast to the good, letting go of the evil (v.21-22)