Lesson 10 - Chapter 4:9-12

Lesson 10 - Chapter 4:9-12

Lesson for March 6, 2016

The Book of I Thessalonians

Chapter 4:9-12

Verses 9-12

“Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.”

Love

Divine agape love is a deep, abiding love based on God’s integrity and virtue and can only be produced by a believer in fellowship with God. (Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:12-13; Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:22; I John 2:5)

Divine agape love describes:

  1. God the Father’s love for His Son - John 17:26
  2. God’s love for all mankind - John 3:16; Romans 5:8
  3. God’s love for the believer - John 14:21
  4. God’s essential nature - I John 4:8
  5. The believer’s love for God - Luke 10:27
  6. The believer’s love for other believers - John 13:34, 15:12-13
  7. The believer’s love for everyone - I Thessalonians 3:12; I Corinthians 16:14; Romans 12:9; II Peter 1:7; I John 3:18; Ezekiel 33:31
  8. The believer’s love for his enemies - Luke 6:27
  9. A husband’s love for his wife - Ephesians 5:25

Divine agape love is constant, non-emotional and unconditional, though human emotions are often ascribed to God in the Bible in order to assist us in our understanding. Divine agape love is not drawn out by any excellency of its object. Divine agape love is based on God’s integrity (complete, honest, pure, virtuous love based on truth) and His virtue (strength of character). God loves the believer because the believer possesses the righteousness of God. God loves His own righteousness wherever He finds it.

Divine agape love expresses the deep, constant love and interest of a perfect God towards imperfect, and therefore unworthy, objects (unbelieving mankind). Upon faith in Christ, this love and interest has the potential of producing in these now perfect and worthy (positional sanctification) objects (believers) a love towards God. In turn, God’s love is able to produce in the life of the believer virtue-love towards others. Virtue-love is a synonym for divine agape love. Virtue-love is love based on the virtue of the one doing the loving. This virtue-love desires to see others come to know the source of this love. (I John 4:18-21)

Under the control of the Holy Spirit, this divine agape love can be reproduced in the life of the believer. This unconditional love, whether exercised towards believer or unbeliever is not emotional, it is a matter of the right mental attitude. It does not depend on the “love-ability” or compatibility of the object. This love seeks the welfare of others. (Romans 13:8-10, 15:1-3; Galatians 6:10; Colossians 3:12-13)

Divine philos love is rapport love or compatibility, but is based on the Word of God in our soul and can only be produced by the believer in fellowship with God. (John 21:15-17)

Divine philos love describes:

  1. God the Father’s love for His Son - John 5:20
  2. God’s love for the believer - John 16:27
  3. Christ’s love for the Apostle John - John 20:2
  4. Believers’ love for one another - Romans 12:10; I Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 13:1; I Peter 1:22
  5. Wives’ love for their husbands - Titus 2:4
  6. Mothers’ love for their children - Titus 2:4

Under the control of the Holy Spirit, divine philos love can be developed for God and other believers. It is developed by building rapport and compatibility based on knowledge of Bible doctrine. This rapport must be based on agape love resident and operational in the soul of the believer to be successful. In other words, divine agape love must come first. A Relaxed Mental Attitude is an attitude free from mental attitude sins. (Romans 12:9-10; I Corinthians 2:16; I Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 13:1; I Peter 1:22, 3:8)

Personal and Impersonal Love

Both divine agape love and divine philos love are applied in the life of the believer in Jesus Christ by means of personal love and impersonal love.

Personal love for God, a function of the Royal Priesthood, is developed through the consistent intake of Bible doctrine. Personal love depends on the virtue of the object of love. Impersonal love, a function of the Royal Ambassadorship of the believer, is the application of this Bible doctrine displayed in the life of the believer. Impersonal love depends on the virtue of the one doing the loving. Personal love is reserved for a few - God, a spouse, a family member or a friend. Personal love for God must precede impersonal love. As personal love grows within the framework of our spiritual life, our impersonal love will increase in our Christian life. (I John 4:21) Impersonal love is how we are able to love all mankind and functions on the basis of the integrity and virtue from God resident in your soul. Once again, impersonal love also grows in direct proportion to the growth of the believer’s spiritual life. (I John 4:8)

Practical Applications of Conditional and Unconditional Love

Satan’s world system implies that “love” means that we enjoy someone, admire them, that they make us happy, that they treat us nicely, etc. It is easy to love someone like this.

The challenging kind of love is unconditional love. Unconditional love is loving someone that we don’t enjoy, that we don’t admire, that does not make us happy, that does not treat us nicely, etc. Developing and learning to utilize unconditional love in our daily experience is of utmost importance for a victorious Christian life. This requires setting aside our emotions and instead, thinking and applying Biblical principles in order to produce right attitudes. Right attitudes will produce right behavior. Loving others unconditionally often requires adjusting and adapting to others instead of expecting others to adjust and adapt to us. This does not mean that we condone bad behavior, rather it means that we love others in spite of their behavior. After all, we don’t know what a person has gone through or is going through that is affecting their behavior (“walk-a-mile in his shoes”). Unconditional love is selfless love; loving without asking “what’s in it for me.”

We must learn to have a relaxed mental attitude, to “live and let live” and stop judging others and allow others the “right to be wrong”. We cannot control the behavior of others, but we can control our own. Since we are only responsible for our behavior, we have no pressure to try to change or control anyone. A relaxed mental attitude towards others contributes to both our health and happiness. We can only possess this relaxed mental attitude as we begin to grow up spiritually! (I Thessalonians 4:9-12; I Peter 3:8-16; James 2:1-9)

Growing up spiritually requires the use or application of what you have learned. This means we need to train ourselves, replace old bad habits with new habits consistent with our new spiritual nature. We accomplish this under the control and guidance of God the Holy Spirit. When this occurs, the Holy Spirit is able to produce the character of Jesus Christ in us. Divine agape love is a characteristic of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 5:17; Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 5:14)

Jesus exhibited divine agape love when He was being persecuted, even when He was on the cross paying for our sins. His unconditional love, based on His humility, caused Him to say, “Forgive them for they know not what they do”. This mental attitude of humility, seeking the best for others regardless of how they treat us, can also be reproduced in us as a fruit of the Spirit (meekness). (Galatians 5:22-23)

God’s love is complete, unconditional and unchanging. As His ambassadors we need to exhibit His kind of love. Only when we are abiding in (controlled by) Him can we produce God’s kind of love. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the complete satisfaction for our sins. Beloved, if God loved us so much, we also should love one another.” (I John 4:10-11) Remember the Golden Rule, “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31)

Verses 11-12 refer to principle of “live and let live.” Since as believers we represent Jesus Christ, then we must learn and practice this principle. If a believer spends time sticking their nose in other’s business, then they have little time for God and His word. Leading a quiet life entails minding your own business and allowing others (believers and unbelievers) to make their own choices and mistakes. It not our job to, “straighten everyone out.” The Holy Spirit is quiet capable of taking care of His own.

Part of our testimony for Jesus Christ is how others view us on the job. It is very important that we do not allow ourselves to conduct our lives like unbelievers or out-of-fellowship believers. We should be the most honest, hard-working people on the planet, and this applies to business owners, supervisors and all other employees. The Bible tells us to do everything as unto the Lord.

The biggest part of Christian service and the greatest deeds in all of human history are performed by those believers having invisible impact on history and on angels. The greatest production of the Christian life is invisible, and it is related directly to Bible doctrine. Invisible impact can occur only through the execution of the unique spiritual life of the Church Age. The execution of the unique spiritual life demands cognition and inculcation of Bible doctrine. This does not diminish the importance of visible Christian service categories, but it is important to learn that invisible impact belongs to the mature believer, the winner, the invisible hero, who executes the unique spiritual life. And others (outsiders) are observing us.