Summary: This sermon continues and concludes the section of 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 that I began last week. Paul gives three aspects of living a life that pleases God. This sermon covers the last two aspects.
A. Today I want to talk about living a life that pleases God.
1. Ultimately, living a life that pleases God will also be a life that will get the attention of others and will impact them.
B. I like the story told about the person who visited the mental institution and asked the director what the criterion was which defined whether or not a person should be institutionalized.
1. The director said, “Well, we fill a bathtub with water, and then offer the patient a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.”
2. The visitor said, “Oh, I understand, a person who doesn’t need to be institutionalized will use the bucket because it’s bigger than the teaspoon or teacup, right?”
3. “No,” said the director, “a person who doesn’t need to be institutionalized will pull the drain plug. Would you like a bed near the window or the door?”
4. How many of you did I catch with that one!
C. So what is the criterion for living a life that pleases God and impacts others?
1. In 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12, the apostle Paul shared three aspects of a life that pleases God.
2. We dealt with the first of the three last week and it had to do with living a life of holiness.
3. We discussed the fact that living a life of holiness includes avoiding sexual immorality.
4. This is indeed a great challenge for us to do because of the sexually impure culture we live in.
5. But that was our subject last week so we can’t spend time on it today.
D. Before we look at the other two aspects of living a life that pleases God, let’s return to the two introductory verses of this section.
1. Paul wrote: 1 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. (1 Thess. 4:1-2)
2. Notice again that Paul reminds them that while he was with them, he had taught them about how to live in a way that pleases God.
3. The good news was that they were living that way.
4. Nevertheless, Paul wanted to encourage them to live the pleasing life more and more – there is always room for improvement.
5. Finally, in those introductory verses, Paul emphasized the fact that the things he taught were taught with the authority of God.
6. Then in verse 8, he challenged them with the thought that anyone who rejects his instructions is not rejecting man, but is rejecting God.
E. So with all that in mind, let’s learn about living a life that pleases God.
1. First of all, living to please God means to walk in holiness – that was last week’s subject.
a. God is holy and He wants His children to be holy like Him.
I. Second, living to please God means to walk in love.
A. Look at verses 9-10: 9 Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.
1. Isn’t it interesting that just like verse 1, the Thessalonians were already doing this.
2. They were already walking in love and so Paul doesn’t even need to write them about it.
3. Nevertheless, he goes ahead and writes them about it anyway, and urges them to love each other even more and more.
B. This second point follows the pattern of the first: God is holy, so we must be holy – God is characterized by love, so Christians must be characterized by love.
1. John said it well in 1 John 4: 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
a. Let that sink in…God not only loves – God is love!
b. There is no doubt that God loves us…just look at the extent of His love for us – He died for us.