We've mentioned previously how the two Thessalonian letters covered the very critical issue of Christ's Return. Meanwhile, most of the content is just personal stuff between Paul, his entourage and the church. However, he does mention in 1 Thessalonians 4 one item of Christian Law: sexual purity. Instead of specifics, Paul builds the image of keeping the Devil out of your pants. Your body is merely a vessel for your eternal soul; make sure it's kept undefiled and fit for use.
He also makes a quick mention of the fundamental Law of Christ about loving each other and presenting a circumspect witness by not depending on outsiders for anything. We aren't showing off; our witness is that we don't show off. It's not just a matter of personal style, but of obedience to God. After explaining some eschatology, Paul goes on to warn them against resisting their own leaders, causing unnecessary friction. That's part of the matter of loving each other as Christ loves us.
Again, as previously noted, in the second letter Paul reminds them of some details on the prophecies regarding things that come before the Return of Christ -- get ready for the world around you to go crazy. Human organization outside of faith always tends toward fighting the gospel. It's not so much by direct attacks, but often by building up a pervasive system that tends to make the gospel impossible or illegal by default.
In the final chapter Paul very sharply warns them to avoid so-called believers who flounder under loose morals. He specifically refers to the "traditions" -- parts of the Old Testament that carry over with Christ. This refers to obvious stuff like modest dress, a civil mouth, don't provoke drama, etc. Then he goes on to point out something very specific: Pay your own way when you can. It could be translated: "No loaf for the loafer." Don't support the busybodies who think they are such a blessing when they stick their nose in everyone else's convictions. A mark of Christian faith is not being a burden on others, minding your own business and paying your own way.
The obvious flip side is more subtly addressed: Be ready to give of yourself.
Then, Paul bluntly directs that the church leaders should make note of people who defy this teaching and ostracize them as sinners in need of redemption. Not an enemy, but treat them as a wayward brother who has stepped outside the boundaries. If that doesn't work, then they were never a part of the family in the first place.
One underlying issue that we need to raise today is that we are designed to obey the Lord. Just because the flesh is fallen doesn't justify the notion that you can't do it. Yes, you will fail; faith as a system is designed to handle mistaken choices. But if you have a fundamental desire to please the Lord and be at peace with Him, then it will become obvious to your fellow believers. The Holy Spirit will make them see your earnest desire.
And our hearts are designed to work that way. If you honestly bow the knee in feudal submission to Christ, your heart will seize the commission of Heaven as your necessity. This opens up all the things God has written on your soul, which is what we call "convictions". We are wired to work that way, and we are wired to see it in others. It may take a little time, but you can't hide faith.
This is what's behind Paul's warning that some people will be a mess for a while, and others will somehow miss the critical point of actually submitting to Christ. They may be called as Elect, but still struggling with that feudal submission. The only way you can help them is to pray and push them away until they get the message.
Side note: Readership on this blog is dropping as I delve into what amounts to Christian Covenant Law. Let that serve as a reminder that it's easy to draw a crowd for provocative verbal attacks on any standing system, but the hard work of obeying the Lord is not that entertaining. This bears out the warnings that people would prefer to have their ears tickled, their fleshly nature stirred, than to buckle down and discipline the flesh to serve the Lord. This is exactly what Paul is talking about in the Thessalonian letters.
I, for one, am happy to stick with you through the "boring" Covenant talk. :)
"A mark of Christian faith is not being a burden on others, minding your own business and paying your own way."
If I can boast about a personal asset/blessing, I am excellent at these three things, maybe at times to a fault. Sometimes I think God puts dramatic people in my life sometimes to tone them down a bit. Or at least let me know who I need to avoid.