1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NET)
12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who labor among you and preside over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them most highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
Context: Paul finishes his revelation related to the second coming of Christ and how the Thessalonians should live as children of the day. Now he teaches them to honor the leaders among them.
Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those-
• This is speaking of ‘those’ Elders among them.
• The Greek word translated acknowledge is usually translated in the New Testament as, know.
• KJV translated it as, know.
• Kittle’s Theological Dictionary defines as to recognize.
• In other words, the Elders among them should be known in the group, meaning they should not be ignored, and they should be recognized, given consideration, given attention, and given respect.
• How would we acknowledge a public leader, like mayor or governor, if they came to our church?
• What is the motive of some who ignore the leadership in the church?
who labor among you –
• The first function Paul mentions of Elders is they work hard in their ministry for others.
• Strong’s Definitions: κοπιάω kopiáō, kop-ee-ah’-o; to feel fatigue; by implication, to work hard
• Thayer’s Greek Lexicon – to labor with wearisome effort, to toil.
• Acts 20:28 (NET)28 Watch out for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.
• Can you list some functions Elders do that require their hard work?
and preside over you in the Lord-
• The second function Elders do is they lead with authority over others in the church.
• Strong’s Definitions: προΐστημι proḯstēmi, pro-is’-tay-mee; to stand before, i.e. (in rank) to preside, or (by implication) to practise.
• Thayer’s Greek Lexicon -to be over, to superintend, preside over (A. V. rule).
• Hebrews 13:17 (NET) 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls and will give an account for their work. Let them do this with joy and not with complaints, for this would be no advantage for you.
• 1 Peter 5:5 (NET) 5 In the same way, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
• 1 Peter 5:2,3 (NET) 2 Give a shepherd’s care to God’s flock among you, exercising oversight not merely as a duty but willingly under God’s direction, not for shameful profit but eagerly. 3 And do not lord it over those entrusted to you, but be examples to the flock.
• What could happen in the church if there is no recognized leadership.
• Explain how can an Elder exercise authority in leadership yet not ‘Lord it over’ the flock?
and admonish you-
• The third function Elders do is to warn and correct others.
• Strong’s Definitions: νουθετέω, nouthetéō, noo-thet-eh’-o; to put in mind, i.e. (by implication) to caution or reprove gently
• Thayer’s Greek Lexicon – to admonish, warn, exhort.
• Titus 1:9 (NET) He must hold firmly to the faithful message as it has been taught, so that he will be able to give exhortation in such healthy teaching and correct those who speak against it.
• 2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NET) 24 And the Lord’s slave must not engage in heated disputes but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient, 25 correcting opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance and then knowledge of the truth 26 and they will come to their senses and escape the devil’s trap where they are held captive to do his will.
• What types of things should Elders admonish?
• Why do you think Elders in many churches neglect to admonish others?
• How should we respond if we are admonished by an Elder?
and to esteem them most highly in love because of their work-
• Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon defines the the Greek word for ‘esteem’ as to think, to consider, to regard.
• The Elders should be not only regarded , but regarded most highly.
• An Elder should be highly regarded in love because of their work.
• Galatians 4:14 (NET) 14 and though my physical condition put you to the test, you did not despise or reject me. Instead, you welcomed me as though I were an angel of God, as though I were Christ Jesus himself!
• Galatians 6:6 (NET) 6 Now the one who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with the one who teaches it.
• 1 Timothy 5:17-19 (NET) 17 Elders who provide effective leadership must be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching. 18 For the scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and, “The worker deserves his pay.” 19 Do not accept an accusation against an elder unless it can be confirmed by two or three witnesses.
• List some works Elders do that should cause us to esteem them in love?
Be at peace among yourselves-
• In the immediate context, this phrase means we should be at peace with our leaders. However, certainly it also means we should be at peace with each other.
• Ephesians 4:3 (NET) 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
• What should we do if we have a disagreement with the an Elder so peace will continue to abound within the church?
Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.
Are you Esteeming the Elders?
Highly esteem your Elders in love. They labor hard for your soul. They organize, they study, they prepare, teach, preach, train, serve, and they pray for you and your family. Consider them, think of them, acknowledge them, regard them.
Be careful of feelings of disrespect toward Elders because Satan desires to use them against you, the Elders, and the church. Resolve discontentment by thinking things through, by putting yourself in their shoes, and by speaking with them directly.
Honor them with double honor – with respect and monetarily for all their labors on your behalf.