1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 (NET)
9 Now on the topic of brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.
10 And indeed you are practicing it toward all the brothers and sisters in all of Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more,
11 to aspire to lead a quiet life, to attend to your own business, and to work with your hands, as we commanded you.
12 In this way you will live a decent life before outsiders and not be in need.
Now on the topic of brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write you-
• Paul now changes the topic from keeping away from sexual immorality to living a loving life, a quite life, and a hard working life.
• He then commends them for their love one toward another by saying, you have no need for anyone to write you.
A) brotherly love
• Strong’s Definitions: φιλαδελφία; philadelphía, fil-ad-el-fee’-ah; fraternal affection
• 1 John 3:11,14-19,23 (NET) 11 For this is the gospel message that you have heard from the beginning: that we should love one another, 14 We know that we have crossed over from death to life because we love our fellow Christians. The one who does not love remains in death. 15 Everyone who hates his fellow Christian is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 16 We have come to know love by this: that Jesus laid down his life for us; thus we ought to lay down our lives for our fellow Christians. 17 But whoever has the world’s possessions and sees his fellow Christian in need and shuts off his compassion against him, how can the love of God reside in such a person? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth.
• From the 1 John passage above, what ways is love shown to others?
• What are other practical ways we can show love toward others?
• What hinders us from showing love toward others?
for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another –
• Meaning they are taught to love each other not through Paul’s teaching, but they are taught inwardly by God‘s Spirit.
• Hebrews 10:16 (NET) 16 “This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws on their hearts and I will inscribe them on their minds,”
And indeed you are practicing it toward all the brothers and sisters in all of Macedonia –
• Meaning their love was in action by loving others in prayer, word, service, and finances not only in Thessalonica but throughout all of Macedonia.
• Map of ancient Macedonia.
• Provide examples how our church and the individual members of our church are practicing love toward our ‘Macedonia’?
But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more –
• As in the previous passage regarding sexual holiness, here Paul urges them to love more and more. This is not a one-and-done type love, but this is a lifetime of loving through prayer, word, service, and giving.
to aspire to lead a quiet life –
• Thayer’s Greek Lexicon for the word, aspire, means to be ‘ambitious’.
• Strong’s Definitions for the word, quite: ἡσυχάζω hēsycházō, hay-soo-khad’-zo; to keep still, i.e. refrain from labor, meddlesomeness or speech.
• It cannot mean refrain from labor in this context since Paul tells them to labor with their hands shortly.
• Therefore, in this context it means to not be meddlesome. This goes along with the next phrase within this verse.
• It can also mean to be quite in speech. I think John Gill says the meaning best…And that ye study to be quiet,…. To live peaceably in their own families, and to give no disturbance to other families, by talebearing, whispering, and backbiting; to behave with quietness in the neighbourhood, town, or city, they dwell in, and to seek the peace thereof; and to lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty, in the commonwealth, and under the government to which they belong; and not to create and encourage factions, divisions, animosities, and contentions, in their own church, or in any of the churches of Christ; and it becomes saints to make this their study, to be very solicitous for it, to strive for it, and pursue after it: the word used signifies to be ambitious of it, as what is a man’s glory and honour, to emulate and strive to outdo each other, as who shall have the honour of being the quietest person, and the most peaceable member in the community.
• Proverbs 17:1 (NET) 1 Better is a dry crust of bread where there is quietness than a house full of feasting with strife.
• Proverbs 17:27-28 (NET) 27 The truly wise person restrains his words, and the one who stays calm is discerning. 28 Even a fool who remains silent is considered wise, and the one who holds his tongue is deemed discerning.
• Proverbs 21:23 (NET) The one who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps his life from troubles.
• In what ways do we stir up strife within our families, school, work, and church?
• Do you know someone involved in a lot of drama? What is there speech like?
to attend to your own business –
• Meaning focusing on your own work and not meddling in other people’s work and affairs.
• 2 Thessalonians 3:11 (NET) 11 For we hear that some among you are living an undisciplined life, not doing their own work but meddling in the work of others.
• 1 Timothy 5:13 (NET) 13 And besides that, going around from house to house they learn to be lazy, and they are not only lazy, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things they should not.
• Why do you think people neglect their own work, and they meddle in the work and life of others?
and to work with your hands, as we commanded you –
• Meaning Paul reminds them again of his previous command to work with their hands.
• This is mentioned again in 2 Thessalonians showing their was a persistent problem regarding this issue among them.
• 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 (NET) 7 For you know yourselves how you must imitate us, because we did not behave without discipline among you, 8 and we did not eat anyone’s food without paying. Instead, in toil and drudgery we worked night and day in order not to burden any of you. 9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give ourselves as an example for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this command: “If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat.” 11 For we hear that some among you are living an undisciplined life, not doing their own work but meddling in the work of others. 12 Now such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and so provide their own food to eat.
• What are reasons people don’t do their own work?
• Explain the difference between helping others who can’t work vs enabling others who will not work?
In this way you will live a decent life before outsiders –
• The first result of these actions is the Thessalonian believers will be a good example to the lost.
• John 17:21 (NET) that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me.
• 1 Timothy 3:7 (NET) 7 And he must be well thought of by those outside the faith, so that he may not fall into disgrace and be caught by the devil’s trap.
• 1 Peter 2:12 (NET) 12 and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears.
and not be in need–
• The second result is they will be able to provide for themselves.
• Proverbs 10:4 (NET) 4 The one who is lazy becomes poor, but the one who works diligently becomes wealthy.
• Proverbs 20:4 (NET) 4 The sluggard will not plow during the planting season, so at harvest time he looks for the crop but has nothing.
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 Loving Others More And More?
Show love to others more and more. You are loving those who I have placed around you, but just don’t go through the motions. Spend a little extra time and effort showing them your love in little special ways.
Study to be quite. Be careful stirring up negativity at work, home, and church. Think it through before you speak. Pursue peace with ambition.
Work diligently with your own hands. Work hard on things you like but also on things you like less. The world is watching your work. Serve Me with your work.
Be grateful for your work and income. Be grateful for your health and abilities to work.