LIVING HOLY LIVES. (1 THESS . 4:1-12). Lesson 7 for August 18, 2012. 1 THESS . 4:1-12 OUTLINE. Calling to living a life pleasant to God ( 1-2) Pleasing God with our body ( 3-8) Abstaining from fornication ( 3) Right sexual behavior within marriage ( 4)
Lesson 7 forAugust 18, 2012
“Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-2)
Paul told the Thessalonians of Jesus’ sayings and instructions while he was in Thessalonica.
Since the four Gospels weren’t written yet, that was the only instruction they received about Jesus.
Paul emphasized the need of living according to the divine will in order to please God.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from fornication… For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 4:3,7-8)
Since the Thessalonians seemed not to have understood some main points about Christian morality, Paul told them the right way to use their bodies so they could please God.
Paul joins all the instructions in a unique set by using a Hebrew form called chiasmus.
He closes this set by warning them about not living according to those instructions, since they could be rejecting God.
God has called us to sanctification
God wants you to abstain from fornication
God hasn’t called us to uncleanness
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from fornication” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
God created both the sacred bond of marriage and the sexual pleasure. He also ordered that the sex must be restricted to marriage.
Although fornication (sexual act outside of marriage, prostitution included) was very common among the Greeks, the believers must abstain from it.
Nowadays, the Christian morality is ridiculed and sex is seen as something you can abuse with impunity; we are called to be pure.
“Not all who profess to keep the commandments of God possess their bodies in sanctification and honor. The most solemn message ever committed to mortals has been entrusted to this people, and they can have a powerful influence if they will be sanctified by it. They profess to be standing upon the elevated platform of eternal truth, keeping all of God’s commandments; therefore, if they indulge in sin, if they commit fornication and adultery, their crime is of tenfold greater magnitude than is that of the classes I have named, who do not acknowledge the law of God as binding upon them. In a peculiar sense do those who profess to keep God’s law dishonor Him and reproach the truth by transgressing its precepts”
E.G.W. (Counsels on Health, section XII, “Social Purity”, pg. 567)
“That each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor”
(1 Thessalonians 4:4)
Talking about adultery, Paul asks the believers to maintain their “own vessel” in sanctification and honor.
The expression “his own vessel” can be translated as :
“his own wife”. Caring for his spouse, helping her to avoid adultery.
“his own body” (NIV). Self-control, avoiding the temptation of adulterating.
“Not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God”
(1 Thessalonians 4:5)
The Gentiles (then and nowadays) thought that they didn’t need to limit their sexual appetite.
Paul clearly confronts the moral laxness of his own age. Christians are not to behave as the “Gentiles” do.
The norm of the wider society is not to be the norm for us. Sex is holy, set apart for marriage between a man and a woman.
“That no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified” (1 Thessalonians 4:6)
Since this verse is found in the section about sexual behavior and the Christian, Paul is saying: “That no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother with a wrong sexual behavior, because the Lord is the avenger of all such”
All our immoral acts affect ourselves and other people. God considers those abuses as made to Him.
“None can glorify God in their body, as He requires, while they are living in transgression of the law of God. If the body violates the seventh commandment, it is through the dictation of the mind. If the mind is impure, the body will naturally engage in impure acts. Purity cannot exist in the soul of one who yields his body to impure acts. If the body is serving lust, the mind cannot maintain consecration to God. To preserve a sanctified mind, the body must be preserved in sanctification and honor”
E.G.W. (Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery and Divorce, cp. 12, pg. 100)
“But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10)
Now Paul describes the strong points of the Thessalonians after explaining them the points that they got wrong.
They sincerely loved the others with all their heart. They enjoyed being in communion with their brothers and those from the churches in Macedonia.
Paul encourages them to continue with that and to grow more and more in that love.
“That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)
Paul suggests one more way to please God; a honest work.
When God created man and woman, they gave them a work to do (Genesis 2:15). God doesn’t want any person to live idly at other people’s expense.
“For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat”
(2 Thessalonians 3:10)
Paul insisted on this in his second letter.