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"FINAL WORDS TO THE BODY AT LARGE "
1 Thessalonians 5:25-28
Wednesday AM Bible Study
April 28, 2004
Paul ends his first letter to the Thessalonian believers with these
I. REGARDING THE APOSTOLIC LEADERS (v. 25).
A. Paul does not exert an authoritative position over his readers.
He shows a humble spirit in that he refers to his readers as "brethren".
This sets the tone for how his readers are to regard the leaders,
and how the leaders are to regard themselves with respect to the body
B. The request for prayer shows that the leaders view themselves
as dependent and in need of the support of the believers.
1. He instructs them to pray for the leaders. All of the leaders
in God's household - even so great a leader as Paul - was dependent
upon God's blessing; and this required the prayers of God's people.
Doors cannot be opened, the word cannot be boldly spoken, and the
work cannot succeed, without the prayers of God's people (Eph. 6:18-20;
2. Paul asks for prayer for "us". In saying this, he's including
himself, Silvanus and Timothy (1:1). It may even be a reference
to all the apostolic leaders of the church. (See 5:12-13).
3. A review of this letter shows that it's only fair that they
pray for Paul. He plainly prayed much for them (1:3; 3:9-10, 11-13);
and urged them to pray without ceasing (5:17).
II. REGARDING THE TRAVELING MINISTERS (v. 26).
A. This command is given with respect to "all the brethren"; but
it assumes that they are from outside the local fellowship, because
they must be "greeted". This probably refers to traveling teachers
and ministers that were often sent by the leaders to serve the needs
of the body of Christ in specific areas. Because they travelled, they
would require the hospitality of the local believers (2 John 10-11;
3 John 3-8).
B. The believers were to "greet" them. The Greek word aspozomai
means to "welcome" or "salute" or - as here - "greet".
1. The believers were to do this with "all". This assumes, of
course, some discernment. They were not to greet those who were
not sent or who taught false doctrine (2 John 7-11). But those who
truly went under authority were to be welcomed.
2. They were to be greeted with "a holy kiss" (that is, a display
of affection). "Holy" may refer either to the manner of the affection,
or the common sense of reverence from which it comes. (See 1 Peter
5:14). Churches should be warm and welcoming to those God sends
to serve it. Perhaps a modern equivalent would be "a holy hug".
III. REGARDING THE GATHERED BELIEVERS (v. 27).
A. This is prefaced with a very serious charge. Paul used his authority
in giving this command to the church to stay Scriptural (2 Tim. 4:1-5).
This strong charge is given "in the Lord".
B. The charge is that (literally) the "word sent" be read to al
the brethren. This may be a reference to this specific letter; and
that's how it is often translated. To do this, certain things would
1. The church must be gathered.
2. The letter must be translated.
3. The letter must be interpreted.
4. The believers must be exhorted according to the principles
the letter teaches.
IV. REGARDING THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD (v. 28).
This is a closing blessing that is applicable to all the church. It
is the common way Paul closes all his letters (2 Thess. 3:17). It is
- almost word for word - the last blessing in the Bible (Rev. 22:21).