Summary: This sermons says that Christians should live a life that pleases God.
LIVING TO PLEASE OUR GOD
ILLUSTRATION A brilliant young concert pianist was performing for the first time in public. The audience sat enthralled as beautiful music flowed from his disciplined fingers. The people could hardly take their eyes off this young virtuoso. As the final note faded, the audience burst into applause. Everyone was standing - except one old man up front. The pianist walked off the stage disappointed. The state manager praised the performance, but the young man said, "I was no good, it was a failure." The manager replied, "Look out there, everyone is on his feet except one old man!" "Yes," said the youth dejectedly, "but that one old man is my teacher."
Do we have the same desire for God's approval as that pianist had for his teacher's praise? Our Lord's approving smile is what really matters. Let us find out why by studying 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12. (Read the text.)
Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to persist in pleasing God by the way they live (vv. 1-2).
1As for other matters, brothers and sisters, 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.
Please (aresko) literally it means to fit or adapt.
Like buying a shoes or a garment, you want something that would fit your body or feet. You want something that would adapt your size and color. Metaphorically, to please means to gratify or be acceptable in the eyes of God. It is an intentional and deliberate action on the part of the disciples of Christ.
How could we please God?
A. BY MAINTAINING MORAL PURITY (vv. 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 control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. 7For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
It is God’s will that the believers should live a sanctified life (v. 3). Sanctify (hagiasmos) means to dedicate to the service of God and to be loyal to deity. It is a lifestyle dedicated or consecrated to God. One way to live a sanctified life is in the way we use our physical body. Paul said that we must avoid sexual immorality. These are sexual activity outside the context of marriage generally, pre-marital and extra-marital affairs.
ILLUSTRATION A new book was released with the provocative title, The 50-Mile Rule: Your Guide to Infidelity and Extramarital Etiquette. The author told one interviewer that the book contains "serious information presented in a fun way. There are no books out there on this subject in a format that is not judgmental. I want to help people make smart decisions….
Affairs are wrong. But the reality is that people are having them anyway. So you have to meet people where they are. For a lot of people morality doesn't end up in [the equation]. If you are going about your business in a discreet way and you are continuing to take care of your wife and , most importantly, your children, there is no reason to feel guilt." Certainly our culture is confused about standards of right and wrong! (Today in the Word, July 2003, p.25)
We should learn to control our body in a holy and honorable way and not in passionate lust like the pagan who does not know God (v. 5). Honorable implies a lifestyle worthy of respect and esteem by others and God. God did not call us to live in impurity and indecency (v. 7) We must avoid sexual immorality especially in relationship with a brother or sister in Christ. The church is not exempted in this kind of immoral behavior.
The idea of committing wrong to a brother or sister is specifically described as stepping over a boundary or going beyond prescribed limits. In doing this, we are actually taking advantage of him or her, meaning acquiring more than what is prescribed or the boundary.
Anyone who sets aside or disregards the instruction on moral purity is disregarding God who gives him His Spirit. We are the temples of God’s Holy Spirit.