THRIVE | THRIVING as Family | 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 | Christopher Rich

October 29, 2023 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: THRIVE: Flourishing & Faithfulness

Topic: New Testament Passage: 1 Thessalonians 4:9–12


1 Thessalonians | THRIVE: Flourishing & Faithfulness
Wk7: THRIVING as Family | 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

Introduction | Family of Disciples
Good Morning! Welcome to Mercy Fellowship where we are Saved by Jesus Work. Changed by Jesus Grace.
Living on Jesus Mission. Today we continue our series from 1 Thessalonians. THRIVE: Flourishing & Faithfulness
This letter is from Paul a pastor/church planter, to one of the churches he was involved in planting. While
there is much to affirm and celebrate in the life of the Thessalonian church, much hope seen, and there are
issues to address. His pastoral love of God’s people leads him to practical teaching to encourage and exhort
Godly living. He ended last chapter with a prayer for the growth of God’s people. Because life with God
is good, and we are to love one another, he desires for this church to THRIVE as Family. What happens in you
mind and soul when you hear the word “family? You might have an ideal you seen portrayed or you have
the reality you experienced. This is a problem for us in that most of us hear family” and have ALL sorts of
baggage around it. We bring our family history, and brokenness into the church and it impacts how we
interact with each other, understand our identity, and function. The Christian life is lived in relationship with
one another so if we are going to grow individually and as a community how we engage and understand
relationship matters. We need intentional instruction around how we are to love and care for one another.
This letter, like so many others in the NT starts with the truth of the Gospel and transitions to its implications.
Often there is something missing other times it’s something that merely needs to be continued and strengthened
when endurance is lacking and wilting is possible. Disciples who have been called by God are also changed by
God. You are chosen by God through the proclamation of the Gospel. God’s call of salvation is also a call
to sanctification. God has given the Holy Spirit to empower people to grow in the Gospel and grow together
because of the Gospel. You have a new defining relationship with God AND you are part of His people.
PART I | Flourishing Family | Verse 9-10a
1 Thessalonians 4:9-10a | 9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you,
for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing
to all the brothers throughout Macedonia.

Brotherly Love This actually one word philadelphias. Brotherly love was a word typically reserved family.
Blood relatives. Specifically, the type of loyalty family bonds can have. It could, at times, extend to friends
and other relationships; but required virtue, equality, and familiarity. It was a big shift to equate the intensity
and significance of these relationships from actually biological family to this new spirit created, blood bought
family of God. You have the family of your birth, but In Christ you have a family of “new birth”. When you
have God as your loving Father, you are a loving brother and sister. The term for Brothers and Sisters is used
19 times in this letter alone. It is a mega theme of this letter. This group of people is an exemplary Gospel
Community, they lived this well. Pledging allegiance to King Jesus, or turning from Judaism and Idolatry
meant for most of the Thessalonian Christians would have been rejected by their families and community.
This meant the church was incredibly important for individual disciples to flourish by being regularly reminded
while estranged from their birth families and previous community they are not sacrificing family and
community for isolation but for a new one centered on the Gospel. “We have no need to write” We have
been taught by God, we love because He first loved us. We see others in the body as those loved by God.

Gospel of Family. We start as a good family, God’s intention is for us to be a loving, working, multiplying
family of people who live for His glory and our joy. Sin enters through our rebellion. Fall we are estranged,
divorced, and scattered. God promises redemption will come through the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
(Through a family) Jesus God’s Son enters history through this family line. Lives in perfect obedience and
embodies the “family values of God” and to secure the release from sin and full adoption of estranged
sinners He sacrifices Himself on the cross. This is Redemption we are brought back into family. We are in the
not yet perfect family. Final destination is full restoration of the glorious family God intended from the
beginning where we are all seated around table at a family dinner. This family will love one another.
How does God teach us to love one another? The implication is there are skills, ways of being, heart attitudes
that are not natural to who we are apart from God. We don’t love each other naturally. We love ourselves
and quarrel. God’s instruction is for us to know Him, love him and also live peacefully as the family of God.
1 John 4:10 | In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent His Son to be the
propitiation for our sins.
God teaches us his love for us in Christ. There is wrath that has been absorbed for us! That is a truly loving
thing. Jesus was on a mission of wrath absorption that was self-sacrificial in nature. So was we consider a
gospel family it is one that is formed by the mission of the Cross. This differs from a worldly view of ‘love’
being simply emotional and sentimental. We know the love of God from the Cross of Christ. We can live out
the love of God because of the resurrection where we see sacrifice lead to new life empowered by the Holy
Spirit. John 13:35 | By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Loved people, love well. Yet it still needs to be encouraged, taught, and continued. Their knowledge of what
Brotherly love is put into practice in their relationship with one another. An emanating love is contagious and
will spread well beyond the singular Gospel Community. This church is regionally connected “throughout
Macedonia”. They are an exemplary church in the region, they are a loving and loved by other churches in
the region. He is commending them; they’re actually doing some of this really well. But it needs to continue.
PART II | THRIVE More and More | Verse 10b
1 Thessalonians 4:10b | But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,

THRIVING Brotherhood - Brotherhood is the defining relationship between those with in the church. We are a
family. As a family we will either be dysfunctional and wither or healthy and flourish. While in In Christ you
are justified before God and are adopted “once and for all” Family. However, sanctification is a continual
more and more” When it comes to living as brothers we need to clear instruction on what fosters brotherhood.
Brotherhood cannot be taken for granted or assumed. Because of sin our default is estranged; not family. God
creates a new family but we don’t assume everyone understand what that means. He doesn’t say you’ve
nailed Gospel Community now go move on to something else. No, he says continue to grow more and more.
Brotherhood must be initiated. Our God is an initiating God we are made family by His action of pursing us,
as His Children we will pursue brotherhood with others. This is a two-way street in that we often have a sense
we’re not fully family because others haven’t initiated with us when we haven’t initiated with them.
Brotherhood must be maintained. This might sound counterintuitive. But it can and does require work and
regular rhythms. There can be a restlessness of we just had this big unifying experience that was bonding
and so there can be a sense of “What’s next” and always focusing on the mission and forgetting the mission
IS growing the family and growing AS family. Maintenance keeps brotherhood from fading.

Brotherhood must be cultivated. There are also ways to foster greater brotherhood. That is where and when
we set aside times like retreats, trainings, mission together, to build on what is already present in our lives.
Brotherhood must be sustainable. There are reasons God has worked in rhythms of life to create a pace of
family life together and apart that fits with our daily, weekly, monthly routines. It cannot be forced.
Brotherhood is a marathon not a sprint. We meet other believers and sometimes there is this instant connection
other times we need to realize it might take some time to feel in the family. We desire the family level
connection but need to be patient because Gospel Community cannot microwaved; it needs to be marinated.
Brotherhood is Unity in Christ despite differences. It lifts those up! Unity, not uniformity in families there is always
a “resemblance” but yet there are very distinct personalities represented. Respect reasonable differences.
Brotherhood isn’t always easy but in should be often enjoyable. Being part of a loving family cannot simply be
hard conversations and high intensity but should include purposefully enjoyable times. Have some fun!
Brotherhood is bearing with one another. Family is an endurance sport, that means you will regularly
experience frustration as a gathering of adopted children of God who are “not yet perfect” interact.
Brotherhood needs to endure not only external hostility but difficult seasons of in the family unrest. We are
so disposable in our world that we have that breed into our relationships and are quick to jettison either
others or ourselves when things become difficult. Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is
born for adversity. We foster and build, maintain brotherhood during the good times so that it is a resource
during the bad times. So while they are a model of Brotherhood and Gospel Community for others around
them, even other churches in the region. Paul loves this church and wants to see it continue to be loving place.
Part III |Flourish Everyday | Verse 11 1 Thessalonians 4:11 | and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your
hands, as we instructed you,

There are specific things that work against brotherhood in how we live our daily lives. Each admonition is for
this church because they represent a current cultural deficiency working against brotherhood.
Aspire to live quietly - What does this mean? Don’t need to be a fanatic. There is much injustice in the world,
you could literally speak about it all the time. There is a difference in being radical and a fanatic. Radically
different is what we’re called to be, but part of that is living peaceful. What I mean by that is there is a settled-
ness that brings peace to a situation rather than one that pours fuel on the fire. There was intense scrutiny
and opposition to Christianity in Thessalonica you didn’t need to look for persecution or pick a fight, it came
to you. Don’t be so intense you are off putting to those around you. The answers to the intensity of the world
opposition is not to match it, but to reflect how our king Jesus responded before Pilate with quietness.
Many people in the Thessalonian church are idle. They’re always getting into controversy with those inside
and outside of the church. Aspire to live quietly sounds like an oxymoron make it your ambition to have no
ambition.” This doesn’t mean don’t strive to flourish in your God given purposes. Loving your Brothers and
Sisters in Christ includes knowing when you speak out or speak up you’re speaking as a member of a family.
You don’t speak and act simply for yourself, you reflect the values of your family. If someone was to
characterize your public persona how would they define it? A specific application would be social media.
Do people only see what you are against or outraged about rather than what you are for? Be wise with words.

Your words have great power. Greater than you think. They can bring great peace to a situation or greater
conflict, even chaos, and confusion. A great way to love other people is to not cause or fuel conflict
unnecessarily. The big idea is: Do not live conspicuously off putting. Meaning it’s ok to be odd in how you
love others, care for others, and care for yourself but you shouldn’t be regularly seeking controversy. There
is a trust in the trajectory of History that asks: “Am I a prophetic voice of truth and life to a dying world or am
I an angry hopeless person who is making the family look bad? Aspire to be someone who lives quietly.
Mind your own affairs - There are boundaries to our lives, sphere of influence we are given, and those need
to be maintained. We are called to purposeful life, where flourishing means knowing our boundaries and
limitations. This one is challenging. Because we are called to care for one another and love one another. So
this not just stay out of my business. Paul isn’t saying leave me alone” He is saying you should have a primary
focus on “minding your own affairs” a great way to love your brothers and sisters in Christ is to keep a close
eye and ownership over your life. What happens is when your life is minded well it will have an overflow
effect on others. Who are you called to engage with and care for primarily? Who are you not?
It does mean you should have a primary focus on your own affairs. Cultivate your life, your business, and
your purpose, this is part of being a good brother in knowing how to manage yourself. Paul spends
considerable time in his second letter warning them against being busy bodies. When you don’t have much
going on in your life, you’ll be quick to start getting TOO involved in everyone else’s business. Bored can
lead to boorish very quickly. The hand that is on the oar can’t rock the boat. (quote)
Work with your own hands - We are created to work, we are created to cultivate and God’s provision for us
is often for us to be productive. Work was created and mandated before there was sin in the world. Brothers
can love one another well by working effectively. In this case what is stated is not for those who are unable to
work, but because they are unwilling. There are absolutely times of charity and added support are needed.
There is ongoing charity when it’s single mom’s, widows, orphans etc. But a great way to continue to love and
grow the brotherhood is to not require ongoing support. A flourishing church should be a people who work
productively and profitably to provide for themselves, and charity for others inside and outside of the church.
It is loving to not be an ongoing burden on others. When we willingly turn away from work we are turning
away from our God given purpose AND we are saying that it is more important for a brother to work and
essentially serve me by providing charity that me fulfilling what God has place for me to do. Conversely;
When we don’t work, we act like spoiled children who know we have a rich and royal father but don’t take
that reality and apply it our lives. We become consumers of Gospel Community only and not contributors.
There is the reality the only thing we contribute to our salvation is our sin, because God has giving us Jesus
33 years of perfect obedience to us, we now live productive lives knowing our identity is secure in Him. So,
to work to support ourselves and our families, and equips us to be a blessing to the church and others.
Part IV| Flourishing in Mission | Verse 12
1 Thessalonians 4:12 | so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

The big purpose is the mission of the Gospel to expand the Kingdom. This cannot be forgotten as a motivation,
and it cannot be neglected in the demonstration of brotherly love. So you may walk properly among outsiders
There are people in this world that will only know of the Kingdom of God from his citizen ambassadors, they
will only know the family of God from the example of how the sons and daughters of the king treat each
other and in how the they engage with the rest of the world. All that we do preaches to the world.

Colossians 4:5 | Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Jesus hasn’t return yet so
we are not yet in our forever families and we are not at the place where we’re perpetually in community
together exclusively. The mission of the family of God continues as we see the world as many estranged
family members who need to be made family by faith in the work of Jesus in their place.
There are people who are hurt weary and longing for the family God has created. Loving each other well
is a start and it is the final destination but the journey in between is not only a love one another with a full
car with no empty seats. It is not a journey through a rural road or isolated Jesus followers only lane. It is in
and among outsiders who we are constantly inviting to ride along with the family, experience the journey
together constantly pointing to Jesus, praying the Holy Spirit would change their hearts. In order to live lives
walking properly before outsiders it means you’ll need to actually walk before outsiders.
A Thriving Gospel Community is not a Christian Clique but a family on mission together. We gather regularly to
remember we’re family we scatter remembering we’re on mission for Jesus.
You want to be a good brother, be a good missionary. Being a good missionary begins with living a life that
is respectable to outsiders. In living a respectable life is a benefit to those inside and outside the church. You
flourishing is a blessing to others. It is absolutely loving to provide for others, but it is also loving to be
providing for yourself so as not be a burden on others.
We work hard now as new family knowing ultimate rest come when we’re gathered as a forever family
when we Trust Jesus.