What are the real signs of love for the church? I’m glad you asked. We will find at least some of the answers in a wonderful passage in I Thessalonians 5:12-19. With this introductory teaching behind us, let’s dig into this text and learn several ways over the next few days how to show our love for Christ’s body, His bride, the church.
We show our love by honoring the leaders of the local church. The most important relationship in any local church is that between the people and the pastors, the sheep and the shepherds. Nothing will edify the church and make it a place of joy and spiritual growth than a sweet relationship between the leaders and the people in the pews.
By contrast, nothing can devastate a church like conflict between the shepherds and the sheep. Sometimes we disappoint you and sometimes you disappoint us. But if there is a breakdown of love, concern, confidence and trust, the church will plunge into terrible turmoil.
That’s why Paul begins this section of his letter to the Thessalonians on this subject. He wants the people to know the responsibilities the shepherds have toward them and their responsibilities toward the shepherds.
Please notice three key phrases in verse 12: “labor among you,” “are over you” and “admonish you.” These three phrases are descriptions of the work of church leaders, elders, deacons and pastor-teachers. I will examine these in greater detail beginning tomorrow. Let’s learn together and commit together to better love our church.