Summary: Until Jesus returns, the Christian must continue to grow in faith.
We continue to learn from the First Letter to the Thessalonians; please open your Bibles there… What have we noted so far?
In Chapter 1 we noted what the right motives are for the Christian life!
In Chapter 2 we noted 2 things, how to effectively share the Gospel and the importance of being In Christ!
Last week, we noted in Chapter 3, the importance of standing firm in faith!
In Chapter 4 we will note 2 important instructions: to be more and more like Christ and to anticipate Glorification! (show chart)
Before reading our passage for this morning, let us together pray our commitment to God’s Word shall we…..
Read along with me now 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8………..
We can note at least 4 significant things from v1-2:
1. Instructions were given on how to live as Christians.
2. The Thessalonians were living godly lives.
3. But, they were urged to do more and more!
4. Instructions were from God Jesus Christ!
The Thessalonians accepted Jesus Christ as their only Savior and Lord as they heard the Gospel from the Missionaries. They also listened to God’s prophets on how to live as Christians and they obeyed; but they were still urged to do more! This tells us that the Christian life on earth is to be always growing! This is reiterated in v3, “it is God’s will that you should be sanctified. The original Greek word for sanctified is hagiasmos, which means the process of making or becoming holy!
And what else do we note in v3-6?
A major problem for the Thessalonians were sexual sins! Is this really true? Is the Bible really true? Guess what was recently found in Thessalonica?
Archaeological digs found, in a middle of a city, the ruins of a Temple of Aphrodite (the goddess of love)! Pagan worship of Aphrodite was prevalent 2000 years ago in Thessalonica! Was that a problem for the Thessalonians? Well, right at this moment, even 2000 years later, there is a push to excavate the Temple for Aphrodite and again worship there! You can go on the Internet and support the project! (Personally, I would support something more eternal!) You see, people are always tempted with love worship, today and 2000 years ago!
And so what is the solution?
What is s being said in verse 4? Controlling the sexual appetite is a must for the Christian but it must be learned! This is the first step in fighting temptations is to know that it is a battle! Again, sanctification means there is a fight against the sinful nature; the good news of course is not only can Christians win, the battle will soon be over as we will note next week; unless of course Jesus shows up this week, and He could!
Back to our passage, what were the Thessalonians told in controlling the sexual appetite?
4b: one’s body is to be holy and honorable! As affirmed in 1 Corinthians 6:19, Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? God lives in a Christian’s body!
v5: Christians are not pagans who do not know God and live in passionate lust.
And since it is noted in v6, some Thessalonian Christians were involved in sexual sins in the church!
v6: sexual sins are so bad that they can impact the church and God will surely punish who harm other Christians!
And we note in v7: Christians are not called (invited in the original Greek) by God to impurity! Christians are to be Holy for they belong to God who is Holy! (1 Peter 1:16)
From v8: we note, instructions to be holy is directly from God who the Christian will answer to.
What Biblical Principles can we apply to our Christian lives today?
First of all, no matter how we spiritually mature we think we may be, there is always a need for growth in God’s eyes!
1. With prayer, evaluate your spiritual growth! Look again at the Salvation Process Chart…
Where are you on this chart? Are you really growing and moving forward in your salvation?
Remember what we noted several weeks ago from 2 Peter 3:17-18, If Christian faith is not growing, it is weakening! Always evaluate your spiritual growth! From one week, one month, or one year ago, are you closer to the Lord?
2. Control sinful appetites, for there will be consequences:
a. Accept the fact that there is a constant spiritual battle within us!
b. Be on God’s side! Be holy for our God is Holy!
c. Our bodies are for God, to be holy and honorable.
d. Do not act as if you do not know God; Testify to the world that you belong to Jesus Christ!