After encouraging the Thessalonians about those who have died, Paul exhorts them concerning the treatment of others. First, he instructs them to appreciate their preachers and teachers—those who have charge over them in the Lord and give instruction. This instruction particularly concerns the congregation’s treatment of their pastors or positional elders. We are to esteem them highly because of their work—namely teaching and having charge over the congregation (v. 12). In the same thought, Paul instructs the congregants to live at peace with one another. They way we think about and treat the servant leaders of the local church determines whether or not there is peace in the congregation. If we are constantly critical or make it more difficult for our pastors to do their work (teach and have charge), we are the ones causing dissent; we are unruly.
Paul admonishes the congregation to admonish the unruly. Instruct them not to be such. Congregants are accountable to one another for the sake of peace in the body of Christ. We are to rightly admonish the unruly, those who bring dissension. We are to encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and be patient with everyone. These are the attitudes that define a gathering of Christians. If our gatherings don’t match up with Paul’s prescription, here, we need to think about why we are behaving the way we are because it is not biblical.
The congregation is charged to see to it that no one repays another with evil for evil, but to seek instead after that which is good for one another and for all people. Would it not be great to walk into church and not have someone complaining about the style of music or a change made by the leadership? Instead of being so concerned about what we want, we would ask ourselves, “What is best for others in the congregation?” and “What is best for all people around us?” Such an attitude is possible. It is present in many local churches today. It is prescribed in Scripture. May we adopt and ever increase in such an attitude as this.