1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
And we beseech you, brothers, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;…
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.
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.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;