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Thursday, 28 February 2019

1 Thessalonians 5 : 1-11

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” -1 Thessalonians 5:11 [NLT]

In Paul’s day, the Thessalonians had many questions about ‘the return of the Lord Jesus Christ’ that needed much clarity. The same is true today, though we have God’s Word on this matter that should dispel any misconceptions. The Thessalonians did not have the Word of God as we have it today and that is why Paul writes this letter to them to explain this truth and end the confusion. God’s salvation to us through Jesus Christ assures that if we put our faith and trust in Him...whether He comes in our life time or after....WE WILL LIVE TOGETHER WITH HIM! (Vs.9,10).

Paul encourages them to continue living as children of the light; to be on guard and be alert. Vs.8 [GNT] instructs us: “We must wear faith and love as a breastplate, and our hope of salvation as a helmet.” “With head and heart right, the whole man is right.” [Edmunds]. Since God assures us of our salvation from the wages of sin, Vs.11 tells us to encourage and build each other up.  We are to show others our faith in the Lord; be a testimony with our complete assurance of our knowing that we will be with the Lord when we die.  The Scripture confirms that “So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6).   This is a promise of God- a sure reality given to the one who by faith accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord.

Our key verse emphasizes two commands: “Encourage each other” and “build each other up”;  and a word of affirmation: “just as you are already doing.”  Paul concluded his previous section (1Thes.4:13-18) in the same way—“encourage one another” (4:18). Obviously, Paul considers encouragement an important theme. Along with encouragement, he urges the Thessalonians to build up one another.

The word translated “build up” (oikodomeo) originally meant “to build a house.” In the New Testament, it is used of building in a spiritual sense. But the idea is to build up other believers like you would build up a house. To use the building metaphor, this means you lay a foundation of discipleship and construct a life built upon God’s Word. It is also worth noting that the terms translated “encourage” and “build up” are in the present tense. This implies continuous action. We need to continually “encourage” and “build up” our fellow believers.

Moreover, these words are commands, not suggestions or options. The Thessalonians were fulfilling these commands. Paul tells them to simply keep doing what they were already doing. Similarly, when God looks at our work on this earth, He should testify about us: “You are doing a great job encouraging and building up other believers. So don’t give up. Keep on doing it.” You and I must never relax on the grounds that we have made sufficient progress. We must press on to the high calling of Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:12-14). We are to encourage and build up one another until Jesus returns (Heb. 10:24-25).

May we take this as a matter of concern and effectively engage in encouraging one another.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I ask You to strengthen me so that I can be built up to encourage others who lack hope in life through the trust and faith in Jesus Christ.

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