“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
This week we learn how we are to be prepared for the the coming of the Lord discussed in last week’s one another (1 Thess 4:18).
Look at the context. READ 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11. What can we learn here about building up one another as we await the Lord’s return?
1. “sons of the light” (5:4-5): we are not in the dark, as those who don’t have the Holy Spirit indwelling them.
a. be prepared for the day that is coming (4:16-17). Don’t be caught off guard.
b. “do not belong to the night.” Night life in a city is very different from the day life. Crimes and other evils take place, because the darkness acts as a veil. The same is true in the spiritual realm. The light of Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit reveal the sin in people. Wicked people shun the light. The darkness of evil acts as a shroud. We are the people of Christ. We have no business hanging out in the darkness.
c. walk in the light and encourage others to do likewise.
2. “alert and self-controlled” (5:6-7): a growing Christian must be alert and self-controlled.
a. “alert” is our defense. You must be awake and alert to remain in the light and keep from stumbling into the darkness.
b. “self-controlled” is our offense. This is where the believer stands out as different from the world. The world lives to fulfill pleasures of all types. The world seeks anything that brings fulfillment to the physical body: food, alcohol, sex, drugs, entertainment, power, etc. We are in the world, though not of it. We are surrounded by people who live in darkness. They are guided by darkness, because they don’t have the light. There is a lot of temptation to join in, but self-control is what helps us overcome. We can build other believers up by our example of self-restraint, and also by encouraging them in their own self-control. True self-control is our responsibility, but strength for its accomplishment comes from the Holy Spirit. (compare Luke 22:31-32).
3. verse 8 lists some of the other weapons at our disposal. Faith, love and hope of salvation. These three are mentioned together in 1 Corinthians 13:13 as well. How can one fall; how can one not be built up that possesses these three in increasing measure. (see also 2 Peter 1:5-8).
a. Faith is taking God at His word. It involves absolute obedience. The more it is put to the test, the stronger it becomes.
b. Love is from God, we then must let it flow into us and out again. The more love you give away, the more you have. “One another’s” are all about sharing God’s love.
c. Hope is the certainty that God’s promises will come to pass. He never lies.
These three are effective for building up one another, and in so sharing we build ourselves up as well.
4. (5:9) We can certainly be encouraged that God “did not appoint us to suffer wrath.”
5. (5:10) The purpose for His death was that we may live with Him whether “awake or asleep” (alive or dead; remember last week’s illustration of the dead in Christ being asleep).