“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all“
warn those who are unruly,
Again, Paul uses the term “warn,” meaning to put in mind, admonish. He issues a warning to the “unruly.”
The word “unruly” signifies not to keep order. Secular Greek used this term in the military for someone who did not keep rank and insubordinate. Certain church members did not keep rank in Thessalonica. There is a rank of leadership, and these believers did not honor that rank. They carried an insubordinate spirit and knew little about the discipline of following leaders. Some Christians are lawless in the local church.
It is wrong to act disorderly in the local church, so leaders in the local church must admonish people who disrupt unity. The context implies that some Thessalonians did not respect their leadership (5:11-12). They were out of step with the vision and goals of the church.
It is the responsibility of the mature to admonish those who rebel against the leaders of the church.
We need to warn those who break rank in the congregation. Leadership must deal with people out-of-step with the direction and vision of a local church. Individual church members must support their leadership in doing this. A good church member follows his or her leadership. Only a person who is in-step can set the pace for others!
Some people will not hold still for correction from others. They reject any authority over them. They emphasize the priesthood of the believer to the exclusion of God-given authority in the local church. If these people persist in breaking rank with the leaders of a local church, we are to withdraw ourselves from them.
“But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you…” (2 Thessalonians 3:6-7).
If church leaders do not deal with those who gossip and meddle in other people’s business, there will be trouble in that church. It matters not if they do not take kindly to the warning. They are out-of-step, and they care less what others think about it. They expect the detachment to get in step with them. They are not team players. They have the idea that “I am right and everyone else is wrong.” To get back in step with a local church is a humbling experience. It means that we must concede that we were wrong.
It is easy to identify the person out of step in a parade. That person wants to think that everyone else is out of step. The unruly, who do not accept human authority, usually have a problem with God’s authority in their lives. They know better than anyone else does. They will allow no one to rule them, for they are a law unto themselves. These people warrant a warning.