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Summary: God can be trusted! He is faithful and will accomplish His will and His plan in each of our lives, as we continue to follow Him. God has a blueprint for our lives and is actively involved with us through His Holy Spirit. Paul's final words of encouragemen

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Blessings and Kisses

1 Thessalonians 5:23-28 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. 25 Brothers, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Intro: Paul brings this letter to a close in these final verses, leaving his readers with a blessing about the work of God in their lives and some words of encouragement. He has used his letter to encourage them in their suffering, to remind them that it is God’s will for them to live a life that is different from the world around them, to instruct them about the Lord’s return, and to urge them to love and respect their church leadership.

-One of the most encouraging things I find in these final verses is the idea that God can be trusted! He is faithful and will accomplish His will and His plan in each of our lives, as we continue to follow Him. We may not know what we’re doing sometimes, but God has a blueprint for our lives and is actively involved with us through His Holy Spirit. He leads us and guides us and is helping us become more like His Son Jesus everyday! So let’s take these words of encouragement to heart and I hope that you will recognize God’s active work in your life today!

1. God is the God of Peace

1 Thessalonians 5:23a “May God himself, the God of peace…”

-Why does Paul use this title, God of Peace? While He uses it in several other farewell addresses, perhaps it relates to some of the issues going on in the Thessalonian church. In the above verses Paul addresses (by implication) potential issues like disrespect for leaders, lack of love, not getting along, apathy, impatience, unkindness, revenge, lack of joy, lack of prayer, ungratefulness, and not respecting how God might speak through other people. These may not have been huge problems in the church, but they were important enough for Paul to bring up.

-So Paul describes God as the God of peace, as opposed to being associated with these other things. Paul brings up who God is because that informs us who we are! God is the God of peace; therefore, we need to be people of peace, not of disunity or dysfunction or self-centered living. As followers of Jesus, His character will rub off on us as we stay connected and do life with Him.

-Also, as the God of peace, He is the one who provided peace between us and Himself, for all who call on Him in faith. As Romans 5:1 says, “We have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” And when God beings His peace to our hearts and lives when we call on Him and receive His free gift of eternal life, something happens in us. God sanctifies us. And that leads us to the next point.

2. God Sanctifies Us

1 Thessalonians 5:23b-24 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

-To sanctify means to set apart. We who have called on the Lord are set apart from sin and wrong, and set apart to God. Just as when we enter a marriage relationship, we vow to forsake all others (in the sense of romantic or affectionate involvement), and we keep ourselves only unto our spouse for as long as we both shall live. Sanctification has at least two tracks: It is something God does for us, and it is something we do with His help (God’s part and our part). Paul’s blessing here is that God would sanctify the believers in Thessalonica. However, the Bible also calls God’s people to sanctify themselves, setting themselves apart from the things of the world and an ordinary, earth-centered existence. We are called to set ourselves apart from sin and self-centeredness. We are reserved for God.

-Yet sometimes the idea of being set apart or reserved makes it sound like we are set on a shelf, waiting until we become useful; that somehow we are being reserved for some future event or occasion. But God calls us to Himself now! We are not in waiting! We wait on the Lord, but we still serve Him actively in any way we can.

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