How to Treat One Another
Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians provided specific instruction on how believers should treat each other. The way we relate with one another reveals the extent of our understanding of God’s nature and His will.
1. Set an example in your purity.
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
· “Be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16.
· Sanctification is the state of proper functioning as intended by God.
· Believers have been sanctified or set apart from sin.
· The purpose: to give glory to God.
· The goal: to become like Christ.
· Our standing before God: We have been sanctified right at the moment we came to know Christ.
· Our practice: Sanctification continues progressively.
The Thessalonians lived in a culture wherein immorality was wide spread and Paul was concerned that some of them might have carried that practice within the church.
2. Increase your love for one another.
“9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more…”
· The Greek word for love in verse 9 is Philadelphia, meaning brotherly love.
· They learned it from God and now Paul urges them to increase all the more their brotherly affection.
· Brotherly love comes from a pure heart – an outcome of practicing holiness. Cf. see 2 Peter 1:5-7.
· They learned it from the preaching of the Word and through examples of early believers.
3. Strive to be at peace with one another.
“11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.
· A natural result of practicing purity and increasing brotherly love.
· Peace within the church is a powerful testimony to outsiders.
· The church cannot afford to be divided if it was to flourish.
· The believers must strive hard to be at peace with one another.
· The culture that the Thessalonians lived in would look down on manual labour, but Paul exalted it.
Don’t compare yourself with others. Don’t make yourself the gold standard for living. The Word of God is the only standard for treating each other.