Friday, 28 July 2017
Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 1 Thessalonians 4:1
Chapter 4 begins the instructional part of the letter to those at Thessalonica. Until this point, no true note of instruction has been given. Rather his words have been greetings and calling to remembrance things which have occurred. His words, “Finally then,” Give the sense of “For the rest, then…” In other words, there are other matters which require his instruction, and they are now to be submitted for this purpose. This is to be a new subject and a new direction.
Of course the word “brethren” is given to indicate that his words are intended for believers. And this will certainly become evident as he continues on through the chapter. It is a chapter which provides immense hope, and which is probably cited as much as any other passage from Paul’s pen over the church age, especially when dealing with the issue of believers who have died. In this, it is obvious that the words are intended as pertaining only to those who have died in Christ. Thus, they are “brethren” that he will speak about there as well.
After this, he says, “…we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus.” To urge is to request, but it is a request which bears a note of strong desire or impulse to ensure that what is presented is followed through with. In this case, the Greek word indicates, “to ask on special footing,” and thus there is a sense of intimacy coming from one in a preferred position. To exhort is to prompt to action. This Greek word indicates making a call from a close and personal relationship. Both of these words are used in connection with “in the Lord Jesus.”
In other words, “This urging and exhortation is given because of and by our close and personal union in the Lord. We are brothers, we are family, and the Lord is our Head. Therefore, take heed to what I now state.” He then defines his exhortation by saying, “that you should abound more and more.” What this implies is that those in Thessalonica have been given guidance to abound in their Christian walk. They have, thus far, been living by that guidance as is evidenced by Paul’s words of rejoicing of Chapter 3 when he heard this was so. Now he petitions them to continue in this life, but growing in it from day to day and even moment to moment.
All of this is evident from his closing words of this verse which say, “just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God.” Paul and his companions had visited Thessalonica, they had established the church and given instruction, the Thessalonians had accepted the teaching and had continued on in it. All of this was a walk pleasing to God. Paul’s great hope for them is that this walk would continue.
Life application: We are either moving forward in our Christian walk, or we are moving backward in it. Paul’s exhortation to all is that we always move forward, abounding more and more. Let us endeavor to do so.
Lord God – all powerful and all marvelous! Thank You for having granted us salvation, and a hope of a marvelous new life in Your presence. What was lost in the Garden shall be restored, plus. We shall have the knowledge of what You were willing to do in order to reconcile us to Yourself by the giving of Your Son. With this knowledge, we will certainly rejoice forever, even as we do now! Praise You, O God, for what You have done. Amen.