Christ Assembly

June 30, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Like a Father Exhorting, Encouraging and Imploring Each Child Today

“just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children,”

1 Thessalonians 2:11

If you do not recall a day in your life when you received eternal life as a free gift from Jesus, then this article will not make sense to you. Please click the eternal life button now and learn more about finding peace with God and being born again today.

Eternal Life

         Every child raised by a father can certainly tell a lot of stories about their fathers.  In Jewish households, God commanded fathers to teach their sons the commandments of God and talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up (Deuteronomy 6:7).  But, sadly, not all children knew their father, or had a father who obediently commanded his children and his household to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring blessings upon the family (Genesis 18:19).  For the fatherless, Paul acts as a spiritual father in Christ to each one of them.

       I meet grandparents all the time who are so happy that their adult children have moved out of the house.  Now they can enjoy their grandchildren at their leisure.  Yet, the spiritual bonds between Christians should eclipse the bonds of flesh and blood.  Remember that Jesus said: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).  Jesus emphasized there that we must follow Him and refuse to let anyone, even our families, lead us away from Himself.  In fact, Jesus taught that “whoever does the will of My Father who is heaven, he is My brother and and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:49-50). 

     Therefore, when Paul calls himself a spiritual father, he certainly continues to employ the family members as examples.  Please recall that in 1 Thessalonians 2:7, he said the ministry team was as gentle as a nursing mother caring for her own children.  Now, in 1 Thessalonians 2:11, he likens the ministry team to a father caring for his own children.  Probably no one ever had a human parent as spiritually wonderful as the ministry team, except for the presence of God Himself in our lives.  At any rate, no matter how great your parents were to you, and how much you loved them, Paul still invokes the images of mother and father to describe how the ministry team acted in Thessalonica.  If you never knew your mother or father, then learn from Jesus in the Bible how to be the best parent possible, because He always sets the ultimate example.

       Paul describes the actions of the ministry team using three participles.  Again, you should care about participles because people will use them to describe your actions: “When you dropped into the wave, you were crouching down;”  “When you were walking home, I saw you;” “Wow, I heard you singing, and thought it was a dog in trouble.”  See those -ing words.  They are participles, that relate to the main action of the sentence.  Paul uses three participles to describe the fatherly actions of the ministry team. 

      First, Paul describes them as “exhorting.”  This word means to call along side, so that the two of you will be close together.  It can also mean that you exhort the other person, or encourage them.  Of course, in dealing with children, it can mean all of the above, at the same time.  My father loved me, and exhorted me to action.  He told me to do whatever I did with all my heart.  In this case, Paul emphasizes the ongoing process of exhortation.  He did it on a continuing basis.

       Second, Paul used the term “encouraging.”  In using this word, Paul means that as a father, he told each one of the Thessalonian believers to keep up the good work, to continue to use their spiritual gifts, to do some more good.  The word can also mean to comfort, and the idea here is that the father would promote desired activity in the child’s life.

       Third, Paul used the word “imploring.”  You implore someone when you urge them strongly.  For example, “Give me your hand, and I will pull you up to safety.”  Paul uses the term in matters of great importance.  In essence, Paul reminds the Thessalonians that, as a father, he was imploring them. 

      With all these words, Paul was focusing upon continuous action the ministry team took with the Thessalonians, with each one of them.  We must be careful to keep doing the fatherly things with each other, especially with young believers that really need a spiritual father looking after them, by exhorting, encouraging, and imploring them.  We show love for Jesus when we love our friends like the ministry team loved the Thessalonians.

      So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

      ●   Strong bonds of friendship form when act like a spiritual father, caring for each one, exhorting, encouraging, and imploring them to follow Christ.

      ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when we take time to act like a father with love, strength, and commitment to Christ in the way we treat younger believers as beloved children.

      ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we no longer: (1) call other believers to stand beside us; or (2) encourage them by telling them something to promote further Godly behavior in them; or (3) implore them to act for Jesus.  Never give up on your spiritual friends, no matter what they do. 

Application for Today

        Today, I want to act like a loving father to my spiritual friends, exhorting them, encouraging them, and imploring them.  Ready to act like a father today?  Know anyone who needs you to act like a father today?

 Christ Assembly Basics 

Christ Assembly provides free access to various studies from the Bible, the Word of God. The studies in this website are not inspired, but God produced the Bible, consisting of sixty-nine books (39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament). The Holy Spirit inspired authors to produce original autographs of the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Those original authors wrote over the course of many centuries. They wrote divinely inspired words and every word was divinely inspired. The authors communicated in their own styles, and with their own vocabulary, but God breathed out every word of the final autographs. The words in the Bible really matter, and deserve careful study. 
As we study, we seek to love Jesus more because His word has instructed us so that we learn His ways. Eternal life consists in knowing God the Father, and Jesus Christ Whom God sent. As the eternal God of Glory, One with His Father, the Son of God took flesh and dwelt among us. Because of His death, He used His blood to purchase our redemption. He was raised for our justification. We now live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself for us. By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit abides in every born-again believer and fills us with His presence and blessings. He leads us into all truth. Jesus is the truth, and the way, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Jesus, our Lord. 
We look forward to His imminent return to the clouds of earth, to snatch away the believers alive on earth, so that we may be forever with the Lord. When He returns to the clouds, He will bring with Him all those people in Christ who died before His return to the clouds. We encourage one another with the promises of God, Who makes our path grow brighter and brighter, until the full light of day shines forth. We love Jesus and look forward to seeing Him soon. After Jesus removes the believers from the earth, then a terrible period of seven years follows where God brings measured and precise judgments upon the people alive on earth. God cut those days of  Tribulation short, or no flesh would have been saved. Jesus will then return to earth, slay His enemies, and place His feet on the Mount of Olives where He ascended to heaven. He will then reign on earth for a thousand years, and believers will reign with Him. After the Millennial Reign of Christ, all unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, and they will suffer according to their deeds done on earth. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire, a place of torment night and day for eternity, because they never received the free gift of salvation while alive on earth. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God. Today we invite you to come and see Jesus, and learn from Him, for He is gentle and humble in heart. Take His yoke upon you, for His burden is easy and His yoke is light. He will give you rest for your soul as you trust Him. We receive salvation only from Jesus, by faith alone in Jesus, Who gives us the free gift of eternal life. 
We accept the teaching of the Word of God. As born again believers, baptized by Jesus with the Holy Spirit, the anointing from God teaches us all things. We love to study the Word of God as we abide in Christ Jesus our Lord. God blesses all of us when we read His word, hear His word, and heed His word. We share original studies of the Word of God without cost and we do not receive donations. We support the finances of this ministry through private means, so that we are not a burden to anyone. We oppose charging people to read books, articles, journals or other studies of the Word of God. Such work should be supported by donations, but not in prescribed amounts and not as a requirement to gain access to what God has freely provided. What God has freely given, we should freely share. Just as Paul worked making tents, so we work to support this ministry. 

 Christ Assembly License

The author of all original material on this website retains all legal and equitable rights to the properties at issue. The author granted Christ Assembly a limited-use, revocable license to publish material on this website, while reserving all ownership rights to the original author. You may use any original material on this website to the glory of God, but you may not receive anything of value for such use. You may not receive any donations related to any original material on this website. All use of original material on this website is subject to the revocable, limited license above. You must conspicuously indicate on any use of the original material that it originated from  Any revocation of the license shall be posted on this website and all rights to use material may be revoked without prior notice. By copying and using any original material from this website, you consent to such license. Christ Assembly opposes any payment for access to studies, articles, journals, or other publications of studies concerning the Word of God. As God has freely given, so also the products of His grace should be freely shared.