1 Thessalonians 4v9-12
9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. (ESV)
The Church is called to a perfect kind of love. The way in which believers treat one another is as if we are blood relatives – indeed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our adoption by God is much deeper than that of people.
Five practical motivations impacting filial love (of which the passage before us speaks):
- You’ve got this (v9)
Believers are taught by God the Holy Spirit. Love for one another comes naturally to the true believer, but the children of the devil hates (John 8:42-45). There are only two families in this world: the sons of the devil and the sons of the heavenly Father. True love for one another is worked supernaturally by God and therefore comes naturally for the real believer (1 John 2:9-11). Like Christ laid down His life, believers ought to lay down their lives for one another (1 John 3:10-16). Could the same be said about our congregations?
- You can do better (v10)
Christ’s love is infinite, but ours finite. At conversion believers become life-long pupils taught the love of God by Christ Himself. We grow in this because He is infinite.
- Don’t be noisy (v11a)
Ambition to lead a quiet, tranquil life. We must be quick to hear and slow to speak – doers of the Word, not only hearers (James 1:19-22). The good doctrine we are taught should humble us, not make us arrogant. The Christian is the most calm, level-headed individual because of God’s sovereignty.
- Don’t be nosy (v11b)
Attend to your own business – not meddlesome busy-bodies (2 Thess. 3:10-16). All believers are under Christ and will have to give an account of what He entrusted to us. We must do what He called us for (Rom. 14:4). It’s a pretence of holiness to be nosy.
- Work hard (v11c)
This is a Holy Spirit command to work with your hands. Do what your hands finds to do and do it well – hard and sweaty workers, like Paul was a tent maker who followed Christ who has not stopped working, even now interceding at the right hand of the Father.
The result is that our testimony is guarded and our territory preserved (v12), winning the respect of outsiders and keeping insiders provided for.