Summary: Choose paths inside God’s bounds that lead to purity. Choose to love one another and so reflect Christ. Choose hard work leading to character that honors Christ. Choose to grieve in hope because God has made death sure in Him.
I am usually a very decisive person. Give me a choice and I will make it. I don’t usually live in gray areas. Kelly will ask me all the time for a decision and if I don’t know, I make the decision and she’ll ask why… I will either have a reason… or I just picked one so that she can choose the opposite… because that’s how it works in marriage. Again, I am not often indecisive.
For some of us, indecisiveness is a way of life. You're in a restaurant and can't make up your mind what to order. You are in the car lot and can’t decide what car to get. You are thrown back in time and are at Blockbuster Video and you can’t decide which movie to rent. The red shirt or the blue shirt. The pink nails or the purple nails. The cherry pop tarts or a bowl of cereal. Coke or Pepsi. Star Wars or Star Trek. We are all faced with decisions and sometimes we are just indecisive. Again, I am not often indecisive.
Yet, when it came to 1 Thessalonians 4, I read and read and prayed and prayed and I could not decide what to preach on. The chapter is towards the end of the letter and Paul is talking about several different things as he is beginning to conclude his remarks. Chapter 5 is the end of this first letter. I could not decide, so I decided to preach on all of them.
Welcome to the sermon of 4 sermons.
SERMON ON PERSONAL PURITY
INTRODUCTION... http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/p/purity.htm [adapted]
I was reading some articles and statistics and stories about purity this week, and I can across several statistics that did not surprise me about our culture, but decided not to dive too statistics because statistics can be deceiving. Numbers can be deceiving. They can also be disheartening.
One article that I came across presented some interesting questions as we think about our mental, emotional, and physical purity. Again, purity was the topic I was looking into because the Apostle Paul talks about this topic in 1 Thessalonians 4. I found the questions interesting and they caught my attention because they made me think about my own life and my thoughts and my beliefs and perspectives and my habits. Here are some of the questions presented:
Am I being desensitized to sexual topics and perspectives by the world I live in?
Do things that once shock me now pass me by with little notice?
Have sexual ethics slackened in my life or in lives around me or in my culture?
Where does my mind wander when I have nothing to do?
What types of books have I been reading lately?
Are there books or magazines or videos in my home that I want no one else to see?
What am I streaming or watching on TV and how many hours do I do it?
What types of movies am I watching?
What types of podcasts am I listening to?
How many adulteries did I watch or listen to last week in our entertainment?
How many murders did I watch or listen to last week in our entertainment?
How many of those things did I watch or listen to with my children?
How many chapters of the Bible did I read or listen to last week?
I found those questions to be interesting because they led me to think about my purity and my standing before God and the types of things I am dumping into my brain and my heart. Paul says in verse 1, which we will read in a moment, that we ought to walk in our lives in a manner to “please God.” Those questions made me take a step back and ask: How much did I please God this past week? That’s a very good question. Let’s read from 1 Thessalonians 4.
“Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”