Grow in Love

There's always room to grow here.

1 Thessalonians 4 (3)

Pray Psalm 128.1.
Blessed is every one who fears the LORD,
Who walks in His ways.

Read 1 Thessalonians 4.9-12.

Reflect.
1. Jesus’ new commandment is that we should love one another (in His Body) as He loved us (Jn. 13.34, 35), and Paul says we should increase more and more in brotherly loveDoes this mean we don’t have to love our neighbors who aren’t believers? 

2. What does it mean to aspire to something? 

Meditate.
Paul understood how easily Christians can be distracted from the things that matter most to those of lesser concern. Jesus said that the world would know we are His followers by the love we bear toward one another. Not by our doctrinal excellence, our many clever programs, our impressive facilities and staff, the amount of our participation in church activity, or our righteous indignation about this or that social or moral issue. All these are easy to accomplish, compared to loving one another as Christ loves us. But, as Francis Schaeffer observed, this is the mark of the Christian. Thus, it makes sense that we should always be about the business of increasing in brotherly love, beginning with the believers who are in your Personal Mission Field, then in your church and community, then elsewhere, not failing, at the same time, to love all our neighbors as we love ourselves.

The Thessalonians were model Kingdom citizens in this regard, but Paul did not want them to rest on their laurels. He pressed and pushed and urged them to “increase more and more.”

He also has some words to guide them in their lives in the world. They should aspire – take as a goal – to lead quiet lives, pay attention to their own matters and concerns, be faithful and diligent in their work, and walk in a manner worthy of God toward their unbelieving neighbors (1 Thess. 2.10-12). Our witness before the watching world is first of all a lived witness. We must show the reality of Jesus, alive from the dead and reigning at the right hand of God, by our lives, for only then will our words have any credibility. 

Christians are not to be boisterous, boasting, or rowdy. They focus primarily on their own lives and work, that these might be as excellent and as worthy of God as possible. They work hard and comport themselves in righteousness, peace, and joy – the hallmarks of their Kingdom citizenship. It seems so simple, but we so easily lose sight of these most important matters. Let us heed Paul’s urgent plea to these Thessalonians, and make sure that our priorities, as those who are called to the Kingdom and glory of God, are what they should be.

Prepare.
1. How do the people in your Personal Mission Field know that you love them? 

2. How should you apply Paul’s words in verse 11 to your own life? What do these instructions mean for you?

3. How would you counsel a new believer to “walk properly toward those who are outside”? What promise does Paul attach to this instruction, and what does that mean?

The Christian should not make a display of dress or shoes, as this is indeed idle ostentation. He should use inexpensive clothing for his bodily needs. He should not spend anything beyond actual necessity or for mere extravagance. This is an abuse. He should not seek honor nor lay claim to the first place. Each one ought to prefer all others to himself. He ought not to be disobedient. He who is idle, although able to work, should not eat. Moreover, he who is occupied with some task which is rightly intended for the glory of Christ ought to limit himself to the pursuit of work within his ability. Basil the Great (330-379 AD), Letters 22

I know, Lord, that love is the mark of a follower of Jesus. Help me today to love well, especially to love…

Pray Psalm 128.

Let this psalm guide you in praying for your work, your marriage, your family, your neighbors, and the growth of the Lord’s people everywhere.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 128 (Fountain: There is a Fountain Filled with Blood)
 How blest are they who fear You, Lord, who walk within Your ways!
Rejoicing in Your bounteous Word, they prosper all their days!
They prosper all their days, they prosper all their days!
Rejoicing in Your bounteous Word, they prosper all their days!

Their homes with happy children bloom who fear Your holy Name;
Their tables and their every room declare Your glorious fame!
Declare Your glorious fame, declare Your glorious fame!
Their tables and their every room declare Your glorious fame!

O Lord, from Zion send Your peace, and prosp’rous make our ways.
Thus may Your blessings e’er increase upon us all our days!
Upon us all our days, upon us all our days:
Thus may Your blessings e’er increase upon all us all our days!

T. M. Moore

Where do 1 and 2 Thessalonians fit in the unfolding of God’s covenant? Order our workbook, God’s Covenant, and find out how all Scripture fits within this redemptive framework (click here).

Forward today’s study to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link to the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Paul’s ministry and prepare for your own.


If you value Scriptorium as a free resource for your walk with the Lord, please consider supporting our work with your gifts and offerings. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button  at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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