Summary: This message explores the great need for discipline in the lives of all believers.
HOW TO POSSESS YOUR VESSEL IN HOLINESS AND HONOR
TEXT: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-4
1 Thessalonians 4:1-4 KJV Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.  For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:  That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
I. INTRODUCTION—ALABAMA MEN’S CONFERENCE AND A RECENT ALTAR SERVICE
-My thoughts for this message are driven by my recent return from the Men’s Conference that was preached by Brothers _________ and __________. Brother ________ preached a message called “When Men’s Conference Is Over.” He mentioned how that so many times that he and the men of his church had participated in Men’s Conferences with the full intentions of changing some of their actions only to find that when they came back home that far too often they would slip back into the same old routines of behavior. He noted that he had a cartoon of Dennis Menace who was telling Joey that he was glad Christmas was over so he could go back to his regular self. I think that most of us, if we are honest with ourselves would have to say the same thing. We have the greatest intentions in the world of changing but so often we are only fueled by inspiration and we have little instruction to go with that inspiration. Inspiration without instruction leads to frustration!
-Furthermore, I was involved in a recent altar service away from this church and it was extremely obvious to even those who had never encountered it, that there was a man in the altars who had literally allowed a spirit to possess him. He was demonstrating all of the behaviors of a very troubled soul who was demon possessed. The writhing about on the floor, the boisterous and crude actions of a foul spirit, was manifesting itself in this young man. The demonic spirit was doing exactly what it desired and that was to get an audience or “stage time” so it could promote fear and intimidation to those who had never seen it before.
-There is deliverance and freedom in the name of Jesus and in the power of the blood!
-But as I contemplated both of those two scenarios, the need for change and what had this young man done to allow this spirit to gain access to him, I began to meditate on this Scripture I read in 1 Thessalonians 4.
-We live in a day that needs far more than just sermonizing but rather we need preaching that is Word-driven, soul-enriching, and Spirit-empowered. I trust that in the next little while this passage will open up to you some instruction that will help you to change in a positive way but that it will also cause you to put some guards at the gate of your soul.
A. Potential. . . Purity. . . Progress
-It is important to establish at the beginning of this message that this text is dealing with sexual purity and specifically delving into the area of fornication. Paul sets forth that there is an imperative, a command, an order for a saint of God to restrain his flesh. This is done with the work of the Word and the submission to the Spirit.
-Self-denial is always related to the activities of the disciplining of the mind and the spirit. You can always be prepared to know that where a man’s mind lives, it will not be long until the mind will take the flesh to what has been on the mind.
-The first twelve verses of this chapter are dealing with practical matters of our Christian walk. Then Paul gets into the fact that the Rapture will something that will inevitably take place. The connection is that our moral and spiritual attitudes greatly has to do with the whether or not we are prepared for the Rapture.
-Note in 1 Thessalonians 4:1 how that we are to walk and to please God and by doing so there is a strength that comes about. If there is a word we could place in the first two verses, we would note the potential that we have as a Spirit-filled saint.
-Note in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 that there is a connection between this potential that we have, this abounding and this growth and it is related to purity. Men who walk and please God will have boundaries that surround them which creates purity.
-The word here is sanctification. Any time you see that word in the NT, you can interchange it with holiness. This is the will of God, even your holiness, which you abstain from fornication. But that is just a small aspect of this matter of holiness.