1 Thessalonians 5:12
But we ask you, brothers, to acknowledge those who work diligently among you, who preside over you in the Lord and give you instruction.
Sermons
Appreciation of a Clergyman's WorkW. Baxendale.1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
Faithful Ministers Worthy of RespectE. Payson.1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
Ministers and PeopleA. Wickens.1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
Pastoral ClaimsJ. A. James.1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
Pastors and PeopleA. S. Patterson, D. D.1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
The Due Recognition of Christian PastorsT. Croskery 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13
Closing ExhortationsB.C. Caffin 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
ExhortationsR. Finlayson 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
The apostle next touches upon the relation of the Church to its teachers.

I. THE APPOINTMENT OF PASTORS IN THE CHURCH.

1. This was by Divine appointment. "He gave pastors and teachers" (Ephesians 4:11). There is no hint given in Scripture of a time when pastors would cease to be necessary, and when the Church would be served by an "any-man ministry."

2. It was the custom of the apostles to "appoint elders in every city," for they understood the advantages of a full ecclesiastical organization.

II. THE OFFICIAL POSITION AND DUTIES OF PASTORS.

1. They are laborers in the Church. "We beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you."

(1) This work is no sinecure, but a hard exhausting service, with heavy responsibilities and many cares.

(a) It is labor in preaching. For they "labor in the Word and doctrine" (1 Timothy 1:5), "rightly dividing the Word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15), giving each of the household of faith "a portion of meat in due season" (Luke 12:42).

(b) It is labor in earnestly contending for the faith as well as in dispensing the ordinances of religion.

(2) It is labor in a Divine partnership. For pastors are "laborers together with" God in the work of perfecting the Church (1 Corinthians 3:9).

2. They are presidents in the Churches. "Those which are over you in the Lord." This refers to the elders or presbyters, who are also called pastors, or shepherds, or bishops (Acts 20:17, 28).

(1) The appointment of rulers is essential to order and harmony m the Church.

(2) Yet they are not a sacerdotal caste, nor "lords over God's heritage" (1 Peter 5:3).

(3) Their official superiority is "in the Lord," because from him deriving its warrant, motive, and blessing.

3. They are spiritual guides. "And admonish you." They have "to watch for your souls as they that must give account" (Hebrews 13:17). Therefore they must "reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine" (2 Timothy 4:2). They have to "warn every man, and teach every man in all wisdom, that they may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus" (Colossians 1:28). They have to warn against sins committed, and urge to duties neglected.

III. THE OBLIGATIONS OF CHRISTIAN PEOPLE TO THEIR PASTORS.

1. They must give them due recognition as pastors. They must "know them." They must make themselves acquainted with them, that pastors may be the better able to know the state of their souls, and they must acknowledge their position as "stewards of the mysteries of God," and submit to their ministry.

2. They must "esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake.

(1) The bond is not to be one of mere official relationship, but of affection.

(2) A due respect for the ministry is an important element in its efficiency and success. Therefore we are to hold such in reputation," and to count them "worthy of double honor."

3. The ground of this claim is "for their work's sake. Not for the mere office, which may be often filled unworthily, though it is still entitled to consideration, but for the sake of the labors of love" involved in its faithful discharge. Ministers who "make full proof of their ministry" challenge the abiding respect of their flocks. - T.C.







We beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you
I. THE PARTICULARS UPON WHICH THIS CLAIM FOR THE MINISTERS OF CHRIST IS FOUNDED.

1. The influence of the ministerial office. They are "over you in the Lord" by a Divine appointment, by your own choice; not as task masters, nor by mere human patronage. Their influence is full of care, exertion, watchfulness, responsibility.

2. The employment of the ministerial office. They "admonish you." Ministers are builders, watchmen, teachers, soldiers. Their labours are — preparatory in studies, executive in duties, solitary in trials.

II. STATE THE NATURE AND PRESS THE DUTY OF THAT RESPECT WHICH CHRISTIAN CHURCHES OWE TO THEIR MINISTERS.

1. The due proportion of that respect: esteem them in love.

2. The motive which should influence: "for their work's sake." A high valuation of the ministerial office.

3. The evidences which prove it is genuine. Attention to the comfortable support of a minister. A regular, devout, conscientious attendance on his ministry. A tender regard for his character.

4. The mode by which the text enforces the duty." I beseech you, brethren."

(E. Payson.)

I. CHRISTIAN MINISTERS AS HERE DESCRIBED. Not by titles indicative of earthly honour or human power, not by any natural excellencies of temper or mind, nor by any acquired advantages of knowledge and skill, nor by any peculiar measure of spiritual gifts; but by their work and office.

1. "Them which labour among you." The original signifies to "labour with unremitting diligence, even to much weariness." This involves —(1) Due preparation for public services — the preparation of the man as well as of the sermon, etc.(2) The work — preaching, administering, visitation, etc.

2. They that "are over you."(1) Not by usurpation of the office or human commission (Mark 10:42-44).(2) But by Christ, the Head of the Church —

(a)As examples.

(b)Guides.

(c)Governors and administrators of Christ's law.

3. Those who "admonish you." This is needed by the ignorant, the negligent, the inconsistent.

II. THE DUTIES OF CHRISTIAN CHURCHES TOWARDS THEIR MINISTERS.

1. To know them.

(1)As Christian friends.

(2)Their character.

(3)Their religious principles.

(4)What belongs to their office and work, and their fitness for it.

2. To "esteem them very highly in love." The world may treat them with aversion; hence the Church should treat them with affection and regard. And the text warrants the very highest.

III. THE REASON FOR THESE DUTIES.

1. The plain command of God.

2. The work's sake.

(A. Wickens.)

Your pastor claims from you —

I. PROPER RESPECT FOR THE OFFICE HE SUSTAINS. It is a most sacred office, and because some men have disgraced it, and others made it the engine of priestcraft, or for other reasons, the minister is not to be stripped of official superiority and reduced to the rank of a mere speaking brother. Regard your pastor, then, not with feelings of superstitious dread, or slavish veneration, or frivolous familiarity. Hold such in reputation as your friend, but also as an ambassador of God.

II. DUE REGARD FOR HIS AUTHORITY. Office without authority is a solecism. "Let the elders rule." "Obey them that have the rule over you." This is not independent, but derived from and resting on Christ. It is not legislatorial, but judicial and executive. "Thus saith the Lord." Should the minister advance anything unscriptural, they must try the minister by the Bible, not the Bible by the minister. Not that this confers the indiscriminate right of criticism, as if the end of hearing were to find fault. In performance of his duty it belongs to your pastor —

1. To preside at the meetings of the Church. His opinion is to be treated with deference, even when it should not secure assent.

2. To be responsible to Christ for the peace and good order of the Church, which should secure for him freedom from obnoxious meddling.

III. REGULAR, PUNCTUAL, AND SERIOUS ATTENDANCE UPON HIS MINISTRY.

1. Regular. There are persons upon whose attendance it is as impossible to depend as upon the blowing of the wind. How disheartening this is! What are the causes?

(1)Distance, which reconciles them to one service on the Sabbath and none all the week besides.

(2)The weather.

(3)Home duties.

(4)Sabbath visiting.

(5)A roving spirit of unhallowed curiosity.

2. Punctual. Late attendance is a great annoyance to orderly worshippers, disrespectful to the minister, and an insult to God.

3. Serious. Come from the closet to the sanctuary. The fire of devotion should be kindled at home. Remember where you are, whose Presence is with you, and what is your business in the house of God.

IV. SINCERE AND FERVENT AFFECTION. This love should be —

1. Apparent; for however strong, if confined to the heart, it will be of little value. A minister should no more be in doubt of the attachment of his people than of his wife and children.

2. Candid: for charity covers a multitude of faults. Not that you are to be indifferent to character. This candour is not asked for the manifestly inconsistent. The minister, like Caesar's wife, must be above suspicion. The charity asked for is not for an unholy, but for an imperfect man, for those infirmities which attach to the best, the candour which thinks no evil, etc. It is surprising what insignificant circumstances will sometimes, quite unintentionally, give offence to some hearers.

3. Practical. It should lead you to avoid anything that would give him even uneasiness. His work is difficult at its easiest. Therefore you should be —(1) Holy and consistent.(2) Peaceful among yourselves. He cannot be happy with an inharmonious people.(3) Generous contributors to his support.

4. Minute and delicate in its attentions.

5. Constant.

V. RESPECTFUL ATTENTION TO HIS COUNSELS, either public or private.

VI. COOPERATION IN HIS SCHEMES OF USEFULNESS for —

1. The Church, whose interests should be his and your first concern. Sunday schools, sick visiting, etc.

2. The town. The Church should not be behindhand in great public movements.

3. The world at large — missions, etc.

VII. YOUR PRAYERS. The apostles needed this much more than uninspired men. Pray for your pastor at home, etc.

(J. A. James.)

I. THE PASTOR'S WORK. The Thessalonian elders —

1. "Laboured among" the people committed to their charge. And the labour of a faithful Christian minister may be regarded as comprehending —(1) The physical labour of preaching the gospel in public, and of visiting the people in private.(2) The intellectual labour of study.(3) The moral labour of keeping his own soul in order for the right discharge of his vocation.

2. They were "over" the people "in the Lord." The original denotes superintendence, and from the view given throughout the New Testament of the functions of Christian office bearers, that it comprehends both pastoral vigilance and ecclesiastical rule.

3. They "admonished," i.e., did not confine their instructions to general and abstract statements of Divine troth, but brought that truth closely to bear on particular circumstances and character.

II. THE DUTIES OF PEOPLE TO MINISTER.

1. They were to "know" them, i.e., own or acknowledge them "in the Lord," i.e., in deference to the authority and according to the wise and salutary regulations of their Master. This acknowledgment, of course, was to be practical as well as verbal. The Thessalonians were to render it, not only by speaking of these office bearers of their Church as their spiritual guides and overseers, but by attending to their ministry, asking their advice, submitting to their discipline, and providing for their maintenance.

2. They were to "esteem" them "Very highly in love for their work's sake"; that is, regard them with mingled emotions of respect and affection, because of the nature of their office and because of their fidelity in fulfilling it. This twofold mode of treating ministers was calculated to promote the religious improvement of the. people and to encourage, pastors.

3. "And be at peace among yourselves." Social peace among true Christmas is highly important, both for their own mutual improvement and personal comfort, and for the recommendation of religion to the world; and it is to be maintained by the cultivation both of unanimity of sentiment and of kindliness of feeling (Colossians 3:12-16; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 1 Corinthians 3:3-7).

(A. S. Patterson, D. D.)

The incumbent of Osborne had occasion to visit an aged parishioner. Upon his arrival at the house, as he entered the door where the invalid was, he found sitting by the bedside, a lady in deep mourning reading the Word of God. He was about to retire, when the lady remarked, "Pray remain. I should not wish the invalid to lose the comfort which a clergyman might afford." The lady retired, and the clergyman found lying on the bed a book with texts of Scripture adapted to the sick; and he found that out of that book portions of Scripture had been read by the lady in black. That lady was the Queen of England.

(W. Baxendale.)

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