“Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:1
Scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Paul is still conducting himself towards the congregation as a mother nurturing her infant child. Patiently and lovingly, Paul urges the congregation to greater sanctification. He doesn’t come with any heavy handedness; he doesn’t exercise his authority and command the church to holiness. No, we read he “urges” them. Because of their union with Christ, Whom he represented and Whose Spirit inspired him, Paul’s desire is that they may excel or abound more and more in the business of leading holy, sanctified lives, doing the will of God and conducting themselves properly in their daily walk.
It is evident that Paul’s desire for them is that they would keep God’s law for holy living out of gratitude for what God had done for them. In love and with great tactfulness, he assures them that he has noticed that they were indeed already conducting themselves in a manner that pleased the Lord, but their road to sanctification needed to continue. They should not stagnate. Paul’s desire was that the branches that were already bearing fruit would bear even more fruit (John 15:2).
The members of the Thessalonian church had just recently been converted from paganism and although there was evidence of genuine zeal among the congregation, that zeal needed to be taught and directed. We know from Scripture that in this life even the holiest of men have yet but a small beginning towards sanctification and that was certainly the case here among these new believers. They needed to be taught in order to grow.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank God for all of the Biblical instruction available to us. We have preaching, catechism, Bible Study groups, Christian Schools and we have the Bible in our homes. Ask God to help you in your efforts to grow.
Rev. Mark Zylstra is an emeritus minister of the United Reformed Churches in North America. He and his wife Corrie, live in Smithville ON and their home church is Wellandport, ON URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.