An important aspect of the Christian life is being at peace with one another. As the Apostle Paul teaches the Thessalonians about what their example church is to be striving after as far as their conduct, peace is a key. Beginning with a loving submission to their authorities who are ordained by God they are to turn toward their brothers and sisters and “warn the unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak and be patient with all, never return evil for evil and pursue what is good both for themselves and for all. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15)
This is what living at peace looks like. It is a constant interaction that is looking out for the benefit of the rest of the Christian family. It is not the holiness police! It is love that comes from a true knowledge of what Christ has done in and for me and a genuine application of that to others that God brings into my life and sphere of influence. American culture tends to be more “hands off” that this. We need to make honest efforts to “pursue what is good for ourselves and for others.” It is not going to happen by itself. There are unruly people who need to be warned, fainthearted people who need to be comforted and weak people who need to be upheld. All need our patience. Intentionally bringing the peace of God that He has given us to bear on the lives of those around us is what being at peace within the Church looks like.
The peace that we have is not a product of our own effort. God did not say, “If you do certain things just right you can be My friend!” Our peace and security is based not upon our performance but upon the faithfulness of God! The Gospel is God’s offer of peace to those of us who were previously His enemies (Romans 5, Ephesians 2). As He has come to us with the offer of peace and we have received it how can we make the demand, “If you do this, I will love you?” Yes people need to change their behavior. So do I. So do you. We will be far more effective at helping them and ourselves as we approach them in the humility with which we received the Gospel.
Be at peace with one another; submit to the authority given by God, strengthen and encourage the Believers that God has put in your life, pursue what is good for yourselves and for all, do it all out of an understanding of how you came to be at peace with God in the first place.
Maybe as you listen you will think of someone who needs your encouragement! I pray that you are motivated by the message and the Holy Spirit to follow through on that.
Audio of this message is available from my website
1in1000.org on the Sermons Page.
Be At Peace Among Yourselves – 1 Thessalonians 5:13-15