Summary: How to establish Godly Relationships
February 16, 2014 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to obtain his vessel in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
God’s Type of Romance
I. Is bought through the loving sacrifice of Christ
We just finished with Valentine’s Day on Friday, and along with it comes all of the goofy ideas of cupid and romance; the idea that love can be won by a little chubby angel flying by and shooting an arrow through the heart. It is this idea that has infected our society’s view of love; that love is just something you fall into like a drunk falls into an open manhole. You have control over it. It just happens, and there’s nothing you can really do to stop it or control it. But that’s not how God’s Word speaks in today’s text.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified. ἁγιασμός is the word in the Greek. It is used when something is set aside for service to God; kind of like how Air Force One is designed specifically for the President. Paul compared the human to a clay vessel (2 Corinthians 4:7); a weak and empty thing; that is filled with the Holy Spirit and made strong; set aside and purchased for God’s glory.
God also used a special vessel to save the world by entering into humanity and taking on human body and blood for a special purpose; to be crucified for our sins. You would expect this Godly vessel to be especially brilliant and beautiful, but Isaiah says that He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him. Jesus wasn’t some sort of Arnold Schwarzenegger type of a guy; with bulging muscles and a fantastic smile. He didn’t attract us to Him by complimenting us; but by condemning our behavior. The most attractive thing He did for us is on the cross; which revealed our worst ugliness. He used our own ugliness and our sinful acts to save us with real physical things; body and blood; suffering and death. These are the things that attract us to Him the most! We hang His death on our walls and around our necks. It’s His ugly weaknesses that show us His love and mercy and forgiveness.
We learn through the Word to seek God in the vessels that He chooses; such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These are the things we love! He really gives us His body and blood under the bread and wine. Through real water the actual Holy Spirit gushes forth into our souls. This is what ἁγιασμός is all about. God purchases your vessel, moves into your vessel, and then uses your vessel of a body to show forth His glory.
All of this is meant to affect the way we treat our bodies and the way we approach the most intimate and physical of relationships on earth; who we decide to marry and have sexual relationships with. These choices have big consequences for the growth or death of the church. If we get this wrong, then many things go wrong after that. Quite frankly, it has to be one of the main reasons why the church is dying as much as it is. If you don’t enter into a relationship with Godly type of romance; everything will easily be skewed after that.
II. The devilish model - using the emotion of desire
The devilish model for establishing relationships is to get you to have an unhealthy focus on things that shouldn’t really be of great importance. Samson was attracted to the beauty of Delilah without regarding her spiritual heritage. The book of Proverbs compared that to looking at a gold ring in a pig’s snout. It also notes the tactics of an adulterous woman in chapter 7 - note throughout what she attracts him with -
She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said: (sexual attraction)
14 “Today I fulfilled my vows, and I have food from my fellowship offering at home. (food!)
15 So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! (feeling of being specially wanted and sought!)