October 16, 2011

Monday after the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity


Morning - Ps.18:1-20, 1 Kings, 12:1-11, 1 Thess. 5:12-28
Evening - Ps. 7, Job 3:1-20, Mt. 12:1-13

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

1 Thessalonians closes with words that are full of practical wisdom and truth, yet are so clear they need little explanation. The relationship between the Church and her ministers is addressed in verses 12 and 13. The ministers are described as "over" the Church in verse 12. This means they have the responsibility for overseeing the work and ministry of the Church, especially the ministry of the word and sacraments. It also means to care for the souls of the members, and has a note of authority in it. They have authority to "admonish," which means to give encouragement and hope, and to correct errors and call people to Godliness, through the public ministry of teaching and preaching, and through the private ministry of personal visitation and counsel. They also have authority to discipline people who have fallen into serious and unrepentant sin. The minister is to labour for the Church. He is to spend himself, and to be spent in the service of the people, in order lead them into the things of God.

The Church is to "know" her ministers, meaning to recognise their service, their sacrifices, and their self-giving love on their behalf. It also means they are to recognise the true ministers, and distinguish them from the false teachers. The Church is to esteem her ministers, which is to hold them in high regard; not just regard, but love.

The end of verse 13 turns to the relationships of the people of the Church, beginning with the encouragement to "be at peace among yourselves." 14 and 15 continue in this theme, and are so clear that no explanation of their intent is necessary.

Verses 16-28 give several short exhortations, most of which are self explanatory. Verse 20, "Despise not prophesyings," puzzles some until it is remembered that God continued to send prophets to His people in the early days of the New Testament Church. The prophets were enabled to expound and apply the Old Testament Scriptures to the Church. Thus, their ministry was primarily one of preaching the Gospel prior to the writing of the New Testament Scriptures. The office of the prophet has now ceased, and preaching, which is the exposition and application of the entire Bible, has taken its place.

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