But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12)
The Doctrine Of An Orderly Life In Christ
There were some great churches in the New Testament times and the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ was one of them. Paul had first visited the city of Thessalonica on his second missionary journey. Luke notes in his history of the church the people of Berea were more noble than those of Thessalonica as an uproar had caused Paul and Silas to leave the city. A change had taken place in the work of Thessalonica as a faithful body of saints formed in the Macedonian city which is evident in the two letters preserved in scripture. The church had experienced a work of faith and labor of love with commendations from Paul. They had suffered much in devoting themselves to the gospel of Christ. These kinds of things would draw people close to one another. It would seem clear the troubles they shared drew them closer together. Paul acknowledges their brotherly love but exhorts them to increase more and more. There is always room for more brotherly love.
Doctrine is not always the examination of law and emphasis on the legal aspects of the commandments of God. The relationship of one to another is a vital part of the doctrine of the church with respect to one another and concerning those in the world. This is found in Paul’s letter to Thessalonica where he exhorts the brethren to find ways to increase in their love for one another. The relationship of brethren to brethren is a key ingredient to the peaceful and productive church. It is easy to assume the love one has for another. There is a need to always look for more opportunities to increase that love. Spending time with one another more, talking with others in the congregation that may not be as well known, helping those in need, and doing things to encourage every member are ways to grow in love and to abound more and more.
The example of the Christian to those in the world is another important part of doctrine. The principles that guide the life of a child of God will have a great impact on those who are outside the faith of Christ. In many ways, the example of faith will become a greater testimony than the emphasis upon the doctrinal matters of the law. If a person does not show Christ in their lives it will be difficult for those in the world to accept the teachings of the gospel. Three things show the doctrine of an orderly life in Christ. First, the Christian must learn to live a quiet life without the distractions of the world. The ambition of the child of God is not to be an example of worldly desire. Living under the calm virtues of the grace of God will show the character of Jesus Christ. The second part of the orderly life in Christ is to be concerned with one’s own affairs and not be a busybody in other people’s lives. Minding the business of self is a full-time job. It is easy to be caught up in the gossip and slander of an evil world. Children of God refrain from showing themselves as haughty and prideful.
A final exhortation from Paul is for the saints to work with their own hands showing the integrity of honest labor. Christians should shine brighter in the workforce because of their faith in Jesus Christ. One of the most important fields of evangelism is where most people spend the majority of their lives – on the job. When a Christian works hard giving honest labor with kindness, grace, and love for others, the gospel of Christ will be seen by the world. The world must see a true character of virtue. These principles must come from the example of children of God. Walking properly will allow the world to see the gospel in action. The people who are not believers will respect the manner of life of godly men and women. This is the doctrine of Christ living in the lives of His people. The light shines brightest in a dark world.