1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
A Life Pleasing to God 4 1 Finally, then, brothers, 1 we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you d received from us e how you ought to walk and f to please God, just as you are doing, that you g do so more and more. 2 For h you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, i your sanctification: 1 j that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own k body 1 in holiness and l honor, 5 not in m the passion of lust n like the Gentiles o who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and p wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is q an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For r God has not called us for s impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore t whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, u who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
4 1 Λοιπὸν οὖν, ἀδελφοί, ἐρωτῶμεν ὑμᾶς καὶ παρακαλοῦμεν ἐν κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ, ἵνα καθὼς παρελάβετε παρʼ ἡμῶν τὸ πῶς δεῖ ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν καὶ ἀρέσκειν θεῷ, καθὼς καὶ περιπατεῖτε, ἵνα περισσεύητε μᾶλλον. 2 οἴδατε γὰρ τίνας παραγγελίας ἐδώκαμεν ὑμῖν διὰ τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ. 3 Τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, ὁ ἁγιασμὸς ὑμῶν, ἀπέχεσθαι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ τῆς πορνείας, 4 εἰδέναι ἕκαστον ὑμῶν τὸ ἑαυτοῦ σκεῦος κτᾶσθαι ἐν ἁγιασμῷ καὶ τιμῇ, 5 μὴ ἐν πάθει ἐπιθυμίας καθάπερ καὶ τὰ ἔθνη τὰ μὴ εἰδότα τὸν θεόν, 6 τὸ μὴ ὑπερβαίνειν καὶ πλεονεκτεῖν ἐν τῷ πράγματι τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, διότι ἔκδικος κύριος περὶ πάντων τούτων, καθὼς καὶ προείπαμεν ὑμῖν καὶ διεμαρτυράμεθα. 7 οὐ γὰρ ἐκάλεσεν ἡμᾶς ὁ θεὸς ἐπὶ ἀκαθαρσίᾳ ἀλλʼ ἐν ἁγιασμῷ. 8 τοιγαροῦν ὁ ἀθετῶν οὐκ ἄνθρωπον ἀθετεῖ ἀλλὰ τὸν θεὸν τὸν [καὶ] διδόντα τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτοῦ τὸ ἅγιον εἰς ὑμᾶς.
Living to please God means we must pursue holiness Introduction What is holiness? Not just negative avoidance, but positive movement towards godliness. Shouldn't we lower the standards, otherwise people won't keep coming to church? The ultimate purpose of our lives is not to please ourselves but to please God....and that as time goes on these become one and the same. His thoughts, his desires, his joys. 'Finally' (v1) 1. Keep on living to please God (v1-2) v1 literally 'you must' (not 'ought' or 'should') v2 instructions through the Lord Jesus - God's law demonstrated, understood and interpreted in its fullness in and through the Lord Jesus. Aren't we already pleasing to God? Relationship between the gospel, pleasing God, and obeying his commands. Is it simply 'covenantal blessings'? Or demonstrating that we already share in the life (and blessings) of the true covenant keeper; which is why we must walk in this way [good tree must bear good fruit -by nature, not merely because of consequence] 2. God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness (v3-8) v3 Here's the answer to questions about the 'will' of God: your sanctification/holiness. What is holiness? v3b-5 why such a focus on sexual immorality. It is intrinsically linked to true holiness. Idolatry and immorality always hand in hand (cf Acts 15); and we see this in wider cultures (cf v5). And, controlling wrong urges and desires is a marker of the power and leading of the Spirit. Wider Greek culture in Thessalonica cf our wider western culture. The gospel has been here before and prevailed. Control own 'vessel' (not wife) i.e., your body. What do we mean by sexual immorality (porneia). Anything which breaks the 7th commandment - understood through Jesus in all its fulness. Ranging from impure thoughts (whether married or single), through to impure acts of all kinds. Everyone is in the same boat when it comes to porneia, although the struggles and temptations play out differently. We are not defined by our urges, but instead God's plan is to bring us true joy and re-humanising through learning what sexual purity is, as part of our holiness. v6 porneia is never consequence-free. It is linked to wronging/transgressing others. cf pornography as a worked example. v7 the key principle; we have been called to a holy life by a holy God so...we must be holy. v8 to reject God's command is to reject him. And to reject holiness is to reject and despise the Holy Spirit himself. Glory of God: God calls us for holiness; he has already called and made us holy in Jesus, and will not stop what he has started and pledged. Gift of the Holy Spirit a seal and guarantee of this. FCF: We do not want to please God. This shows itself in sexual immorality, which always flows in some form from idolatry. Adultery, lustful thoughts, pornography, wrong attractions and desires. Blatant messy forms, and hidden 'Christian' forms. The promise of consequence-free promiscuity in some domain. And the terrible cost at individual, relational, and national level. Person of Jesus: lived and displayed total honour and purity, as a (single) human being. True holiness is actually deeply attractive; since it is complete devotion to God in love, and therefore true human-ness. Holiness finds a way to navigate relating to a dirty world yet remaining pure (cf James 1). Our problem is either that we refuse to navigate in the world (on the right), or we don't care about being pure (on the left). Work of Jesus: he is trangressed, but in doing so bears our transgressions. He is made sin so that we might be made holy and blameless. Union with Jesus: I am bound to the King of light, and taken with him to the most holy place. Identified with him: I walk this life identified as one of his holy ones; this includes every part of my body. Incorporated into him: I am a member of his body, and so are you. Hence, my sister and brother. Participate in him: I share in his life and power to navigate this world with wrong desires etc. I have a bigger, better vision - that of the beauty and glory of Jesus my king. Wrap up Living to please God means we must pursue holiness The ultimate purpose of our lives is not to please ourselves but to please God....and that as time goes on these become one and the same. His thoughts, his desires, his joys.