Summary: What are the avenues through which we can build a sanctified faith?
Sanctified Faith 1 Thessalonians 4
We all want to have a faith that makes a difference in our lives. What kinds of things get in the way of that? The kind of faith that makes a difference is one that leads us to sanctification -holiness.
1. Sanctified Faith Comes Through Obedience (4:1-8)
Four qualities of obedience in the first three verses.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-3 Finally then, brothers, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received from us how you must walk and please God—as you are doing—do so even more. 2 For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is God’s will, your sanctification…
*Obedience calls us to walk and please God (1)
*Obedience progresses – we are to ‘do so even more’. (1)
*Obedience is listening to the voice of the Lord Jesus (2)
*Obedience desires God’s Will: Sanctification (3)
Example: Sexual Immorality (3-6)
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, 4 so that each of you knows how to control his own body in sanctification and honor, 5 not with lustful desires, like the Gentiles who don’t know God. 6 This means one must not transgress against and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger of all these offenses, as we also previously told and warned you.
*Obey God by controlling your body in sanctification and honor (4)
*The Gentiles who do not know God live after their desires. (5)
Barclay: In Greece immorality had always been quite blatant. Long ago Demosthenes had written: “We keep prostitutes for pleasure; we keep mistresses for the day to day needs of the body; we keep wives for the betting of children and for the faithful guardianship of our homes.” So long as a man supported his wife and family there was no shame whatsoever in extra-marital relationships. It was to men and women who had come out of a society like that that Paul wrote this paragraph.
Obey God’s Call to Sanctification (7-8)
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 For God has not called us to impurity but to sanctification. 8 Therefore, the person who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who also gives you His Holy Spirit.
*God didn’t call us to impurity. (in any area of life)
*Rejecting this call is to reject God. (Who gives the Holy Spirit to help!)
2. Sanctified Faith Comes Through Love (9-12)
1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 About brotherly love: You don’t need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. 10 In fact, you are doing this toward all the brothers in the entire region of Macedonia. But we encourage you, brothers, to do so even more…
“Do so even more” (10b) – God teaches us to love one another. Sanctification does not lead us to reject or look down on others. Holiness calls us to love them more – to adopt God’s view of others.
Unusual set of commands for relationships that promote love (11-12)
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12… to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 so that you may walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone.
When we break any of these we disrupt relationships with others. These Remind me of the Golden Rule and of the difference Faith is to make in all of our lives, not just religion
3. Sanctified Faith Comes Through Forward Vision (13-18)
1 Thessalonians 4:13 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
Two things seem to be tripping up the Thessalonians here. They thought Jesus was going to return in their lifetime…but some had died. They were grieving without knowing that there was hope. Inscriptions on ancient tombs reveal that people of the first century viewed death with horror and dread. Some religions said souls of the dead lived in a shadowy underworld. No one looked forward to that underworld state…
Paul Points Them Forward To Strengthen Their Faith!
Jesus Arose from the Dead – there is hope! (14a Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again…)
You will see those who have passed again (14b …in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep.)
Jesus is coming again (16-17 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord.)