Sermon Notes & References

Lessons in Discipleship

1 Thessalonians 5:11-15

February 11, 2018

A. Incentive to Discipleship                                         5:1-11

    1. Jesus is coming again (1-10) 1


    2. Preparing for the Parousia (11) 2


B. A Disciple’s Attitude                                              5:12-13

    1. To our teachers (12-13a) 3


    2. In the school of Christ (13b) 4


C. Making disciples                                                    5:14-15

    1. The need (14a) 5


    2. The approach (14b)


    3. The objective (15)

1 1 Thessalonians 5:11-15 . . . . . . . . . . Lessons in Discipleship


A. Incentive to Discipleship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5:1-11

    1. Jesus Is Coming Again! (5:1-10)

        a. after describing the rapture in chapter 4, the first 10 verses of this chapter describe the suddenness of the second coming of the Lord

            (A)    a suddenness for which the world is unprepared

            (B)    a suddenness which may take place at any moment

            (C)   but a suddenness at which no believer should be surprised

        b. for as sons of the light and sons of the day

            (A)    we are ready when He who is light shall appear

            (B)    we already should know that the Dayspring is at hand

            (C)   And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.” (Romans 13:11)

        c. these truths lead us to verse 11:


    2. Preparing for the Parousia (v 11)

        a. Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

        b. therefore … on account of what has been said before … that since the Lord Jesus is returning, that since that return may occur at any time, the child of God should be engagef in preparing for that coming

            (A)    how? Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

            (B)    and that love is to be expressed in actions

                 (1)    the action of encouraging: standing alongside a fellow-believer to help, to defend, to sympathize, to cheer on and up

                 (2)    the action of edifying: the sanctifying work of building up that person in their faith, walk, and understanding

        c. part of carrying this out is to be found in the verses that follow, which in one fashion or another deal with the matter of discipleship


B. A Disciple’s Attitude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5:12-13

    1. To Our Teachers (vv 12-13a)

        a. 12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labour among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13a and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. …

        b. Brethren”; this makes it clear: every one of us is addressed; to accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour means submission to be His disciples

            (A)    the story of Apollos in Acts 18:24-28 illustrates this

                 (1)    Apollos had great qualifications

                     (a)    eloquent

                     (b)    mighty in the Scriptures

                     (c)    instructed in the “Way” of the Lord

                     (d)    taught correctly knowledge of Jesus

                     (e)    boldly witnessed to Jews

                 (2)    yet, Apollos needed to become a disciple

                     (a)    eg., didn’t know believer’s baptism

                     (b)    so Priscilla and Aquila did this as a wife-husband team

                     (c)    explained the “Way” more accurately

                 (3)    discipleship is needed at every level of Christian growth

        c. what attitude should a disciple have? Let us consider it in negative terms, attitudes to avoid described in 2 Timothy 3:2–5: … 1 lovers of self, 2 lovers of money, 3 boastful, 4 arrogant, 5 revilers, 6 disobedient to parents, 7 ungrateful, 8 unholy, 9 unloving, 10 irreconcilable, 11 malicious gossips, 12 without self-control, 13 brutal, 14 haters of good, 15 treacherous, 16 reckless, 17 conceited, 18 lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; 19 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power …

        d. the positive attitudes “requested” – a gentle! commandment

            (A)    this I say, not for our myself, but for those who have and will minister in this place, that you should honour those whom God shall use here and elsewhere to serve teaching you

            (B)    “appreciation” (know, recognize, respect)

                 (1)    this is not about attraction to a charismatic speaker – it is so sad that when such a leader fails or leaves, many of the people he has attracted do the same

                 (2)    but it is coming to know the person, his gifts, his shortcomings so as to be confident that when he handles God’s word, he does so in sincerity and truth

            (C)   “esteem very highly” (highest regard, greatly value)

                 (1)    such people are to be valued because of what God has done in them firstly, and secondly through them

                 (2)    if that be the case, then let us pray earnestly for them, that they may overcome the evil one – the best way to show esteem

        e. the reasons given in this verse

            (A)    on account of their diligent labour

                 (1)    that word, “diligent” has been added by the translators to seek to capture the flavour or the Greek word used

                 (2)    it is not mere work; not simply a job

                 (3)    but one upon which they bend their efforts despite weariness

            (B)    for this is their God-given charge

                 (1)    if a person has not been called by God, their efforts are useless; if a person has a call by God to this, they can do nothing else

                 (2)    who appoints men to disciple us?

                     (a)    danger of thinking it is us as church members

                     (b)    among Baptists, that is a prevalent attitude

                     (c)    Bible says it is God who does this; e.g. Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

                     (d)    Bible also who sets the qualifications for such offices, particularly in the books of 1 Timothy and Titus

            (C)   for their instruction which we receive

                 (1)    who and what the teacher is does matter

                 (2)    what and how they teach matters more

                 (3)    if these cause you to love God’s word, they are worth respect


    2. In the School of Christ (v 13b)

        a. … Live in peace with one another.”February 8, 2018

        b. considers Christ’s work as peace-maker

            (A)    between Jew & Gentile in God’s family: “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,” (Ephesians 2:14)

            (B)    between God & mankind: “and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:16)

        c. so that as disciples, our attitude should show that we have ‘learned Christ’ (Ephesians 4:20) – that we should follow (and, on the other hand, enable our teachers to follow) such instructions as:

            (A)    Do all things without grumbling or disputing;” (Philippians 2:14)

            (B)    O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge” —“ (1 Timothy 6:20)

            (C)   But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,” (2 Timothy 2:16)

            (D)   But shun foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law; for they are unprofitable and worthless.” (Titus 3:9)


C. Making Disciples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5:14-15

    1. The Need (v 14a)

        a. the transition from being disciples, to being in some way a teacher:

        b. And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, …

        c. teaching is a two-way street

            (A)    in the musical, ”The King and I”, Oscar Hammerstein II wrote these words, “It's a very ancient saying, But a true and honest thought, That if you become a teacher, By your pupils you'll be taught.” – in fact this is one of the joys of teaching, all you learn in doing it

            (B)    God intends in His church that those taught become teachers

                 (1)    And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)

                 (2)    as the fathers in the OT were told, “and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:7)

                 (3)    so in the Christ’s church each generation is to transmit God’s truth to the next –

            (C)   admonishing the unruly

                 (1)    this is not a pleasant task for either the admonisher or the one being admonished

                 (2)    “unruly” was a military term

                     (a)    those who are out of order in the march

                     (b)    those who are out of their proper place in the battle

                     (c)    such soldiers endanger their comrades, jeopardise the outcome of the battle

                     (d)    such Christians weaken the church’s work of the gospel; so

                 (3)    we may need to give discipleship that warns and admonishes

                     (a)    times for a positive word … times for a negative one

                         ¤  when someone is racing down the road on his bicycle to where the bridge is out you don’t congratulate him on his riding form, you yell “look out!”

                         ¤  when Christ spoke to the Pharisees

                               not how beautifully they had codified everything

                               but rather, “Woe unto you”

                     (b)    when a Christian brother is headed down the slippery slope of sin ... that is the time to shout clearly – “Look out!”

            (D)   encouraging the faint-hearted

                 (1)    the AV has “comfort” (i.e., give strength) “the feeble-minded”, but if you’re using that version don’t go looking around for likely candidates! – for in 1611 that word meant someone who did not have the strength of mind to cope with a situation

                 (2)    all of us run into situations where we just do not feel up to meeting the challenge – weak in the face of difficulty, where we really need someone to come alongside us to strengthen our resolve, to cheer us along, exhort us on

            (E)    helping the weak

                 (1)    with the Olympics coming to South Korea, David is teaching Eun-bin (Beth) and Eun-hyun (Ruthie) to skate … they may not be in time for this year, but …

                     (a)    Beth as the older has been skating on her own for a while

                     (b)    but until recently Ruth was clinging to her parent because she was soon tired – she needed someone to hold her up

                     (c)    (We just heard that now she is able to do it on her own.)

                 (2)    the weakness here could be physical, mental, spiritual, moral

                     (a)    and there are those, and will be those, in the church of Jesus Christ who suffer from weakness – who for a long time are unable to set out and skate all on their own

                     (b)    for such ones we who are able are called upon to reach out, take hold of their hand, and give them needed support


    2. The Approach (v 14b)

        a. … be patient with all men.

        b. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ ... neither is a believer built up into what he or she is to be in Jesus Christ

            (A)    this word “patient” is sometimes translated “longsuffering”

            (B)    the point being, that this is no overnight work

            (C)   sanctification is life-time work of the Holy Spirit, and so is our part in it – for ourselves; for others

        c. “All men”   

            (A)    this admonishing, encouraging, and helping – is particularly with respect to Christians

            (B)    but because the church body is an evangelist it does not stop there


    3. The Objective (v 15)

        a. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all men.

        b. actually, the verses that follow this can be considered as lesson materials in order to obtain this objective

        c. but in our service to the Lord as part of the community of believers, as part of God’s new society, we need to keep this twin objective in mind:

            (A)    enhancing the family relationship that we have as God’s children

            (B)    bearing such a testimony as to bring others into the family of God

            (C)   this objective is framed here first in negative fashion, and then in a positive fashion

            (D)   and so expressed that we cannot impose limitations upon it

        d. in negative terms: “See that no one repays another with evil for evil,

            (A)    retribution – “getting even” – is the thinking of the natural man

            (B)    but it has no part in us who have been saved by God’s grace

        e. in positive terms: “but always seek after that which is good

            (A)    good in terms of motive; of lifestyle; of thoughts within ourselves

            (B)    words, deeds, attitudes of benevolence to others

        f.  the unlimited scope: “for one another and for all men

            (A)    again comes this pertinent reminder

            (B)    the loving action that we focus upon each other

            (C)   is to have an outward focus as well

            (D)   we have a commission which the Holy Spirit within will guide us in carrying out according to the gifts that He has given to us




© 2018 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:


              AV          Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

              NAS        New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

              IGNT              Interlinear Greek New Testament, Zondervan Publishing, 1956; as well as other Greek Texts as W&H, Nestle, etc.

              NIV         New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

              NKJV              New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

              Philips     The New Testament in Modern Englis, J. B. Phillips, Geoffrey Bles Ltd

              RSV        Revised Standard Version © 1946, 1952 National Council of Churches of Christ; Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd

              WEY               The New Testament in Modern Speech © 1902, 1912 R. F. Weymouth

Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:

              BM       Biblical Museum, Editor James Comper Gray, ca 1870

              CP   -      Decision, July & August 1962, Open Your Bible, by Dr Sherwiood E. Wirt

              EBC             The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, © 1986 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 49530, MI:

                             1, 2 Thessalonians: Robert L. Thomas

              EGT             The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Hodder & Stoughton; 1903

                             1 & II Thessalonians, by James Moffatt

              JFB  -      Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown; S. S. Scranton & Co. 1872

              Gill       Exposition of the Old Testament, Exposition of the New Testament, by John Gill, D.D.

              Kerux –   The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site,

              NCBC –    The New Century Bible Commentary – 1 and 2 Thessalonians – I. Howard Marshall – Wm B. Erdmans

              RWP             Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, by Dr. A. T. Robertson

              TTB      Thinking Through the Bible, Rev’d John McNicol, D.D., © 1944 by the author; The Upper Canada Tract & Book Society.