“And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you…“
We come now to the conclusion of 1 Thessalonians, which goes from verse 12 to 24. Paul changes the subject from prophecy to present issues in the church. This verse shows their accountability to leaders.
And we urge you, brethren,
Respect for church leadership is a matter of urgency. The word “urge” means to ask. Evidently, there was some disrespect for Thessalonica’s leadership (1 Thessalonians 5:14), so Paul asks them kindly to respect their leaders. This is a plea, not a demand.
In his two epistles to the Thessalonians, Paul addresses them twenty-one times as “brethren.” The emphasis is upon Christians in relationship to one another. The children of God need the family of God for mutual encouragement.
to recognize those
Church members are “to recognize” leadership in the local church. They are to value the role of leaders. Leadership deserves esteem, not for its own sake but the sake of the work of Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:13). Church members must recognize the authority of leaders if the church is going to function properly.
Literally, the word “recognize” means to know. Know your leadership. Do not take them for granted. Respect them by yielding to their leadership.
Respect for church leadership is essential for the health of individual believers and the congregation as a whole.
One of the greatest problems in the local church today is the lack of good leadership. Aggressive leadership is a threat to many weak people in the local church. Some folks are quick to put the label of “autocrat” on leaders. It seems that churches do not have the capacity to recognize good leadership.
Many pastors are subject to the whim of a board that has little understanding of what makes a church tick. It is possible to read the Bible and not see the truths that are in it. It is possible to watch a professional golfer and not recognize the techniques he uses. It is possible to belong to a local church and not recognize what it takes to lead a congregation.
Church members who recognize the true character and position of their pastor see the spiritual gifts and graces that God gave their leader. It takes a follower with discernment to recognize God’s leader. When a person becomes a member of a congregation, it takes a time of discerning transition to come to honor God’s leader.