Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
A Biblical App For Modern Man
In a world of digital technology that seeks to simplify life, easy productive plans to accomplish a work are welcomed. There is an application (or app) for everything it seems in life now. While at the dentist recently I noted there is an app for brushing teeth that reminds a person when, how and duration of brushing. There are apps to tell a person when to slow down and relax and when to go to bed. It seems our lives are driven by apps that help us organize our lives suggesting we are incapable of doing these things ourselves (which is a sad commentary on how we have allowed machines to run our lives). The Bible is filled with a lot of apps that come in different forms and will give us greater peace than any man-made machine. Paul’s letter to Thessalonica is filled with little apps that when put to use will help the faith of a Christian live a more productive and constructive life. The latter part of his letter is a series of short exhortations that are important for the welfare of the spirit of the child of God. His exhortations in our text are four simple applications.
App One: Warn those who are unruly. There have always been those who cannot remain in step with the will of God. They are disorderly in their conduct and idle. One of the problems in the church at Thessalonica was the brethren who were lazy, slothful and unwilling to work. It may have been the saints thought the Lord was to return at any time and gave up on industry becoming listless in their lives. Whatever they case they were not exemplifying the quality of character the Lord demanded from his servants. When a man becomes lazy in body he begins to get busy in spirit leading to gossip and being a busybody. Paul exhorted the brethren to warn those who were out of step and faced the severe action of the church if they did not repent. Brethren should have regard for one another having a concern for the welfare of themselves and the lives of those who would step out of line from truth. There is an obligation to have concern for one another and to receive this correction in the spirit given by the Holy Spirit.
App Two: Comfort the faint-hearted. It can be difficult being a Christian and many grow weary in serving the Lord. Likened to the arena of battle, soldiers can become tired of fighting or grow faith from the exhaustion of the constant barrage from the enemy. The people of God are to encourage, exhort and lift up the souls of those who are weak in their faith admonishing them to carry on and live with greater purpose. If a line of soldiers were marching and someone began to fall behind, the camaraderie of the group would band together to help the faint hearted remain in step to finish the march. In life there is a need to comfort those who struggle in their faith. Everyone needs a hand of encouragement as all of God’s people experience challenges in the Christian walk. Cheer up the ones who become discouraged. Seeking to help those who struggle helps the church grow more fully to the image of Christ.
App Three: Uphold the weak. Everyone comes to the knowledge of the will of God at different times with different abilities. Not everyone is as strong as the other or understands the principles of spiritual matters in the same light. The value of upholding the weak is to understand the growth pattern of the child of God seeking to help others find their faith and grow thereby. There is a present need to be indulgent with those who have not learned as much and struggle in their understanding of God’s word. Patience is a virtue that sees a person for what they are exhorting them to be someone they can become with the message of Christ. This will take time. Upholding the weak is allowing that time to manifest itself in the character of the growing child of God. “While not countenancing their sins, we may bear or prop them up by judiciously commending in them that which is good, by not too severely condemning them in the practice of things indifferent, and by striving to rectify their errors with all gentleness and fidelity” (Preacher’s Homiletical).
App Four: Be patient with all. One of the greatest needs in the church today and vital to the continued strength of the local congregation is learning how to be patient with everyone. The three apps listed above will require a lot of patience and love. Longsuffering is a spirit of looking after the needs of others with a compassionate and kind heart that prays for the continued growth of the individual. Consider how longsuffering God is with all His children and how much He desires for His children to be longsuffering with one another. As the family of God there should be recognition that everyone requires the grace of God. Without the kind hand of God’s patience none would be saved. Looking to the challenges of fellow saints in a spirit of patience will blend the hearts of the people of God helping one another warn the unruly, comfort the fainthearted and uphold the weak. If the Lord can exercise eternal patience with my life then I should learn how to be patient with one another.
Four applications that will help my life grow stronger and help the work of the church abound in spirit, love and being examples of the truth in Jesus Christ.