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Summary: Holiness and its practicality

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Islington Baptist Church

August 11, 2002

I Thessalonians 4:1-8

Scripture reading: Leviticus 18

Sexual purity: the result of a commitment to holiness

In Leviticus 11:44a God says to the Israelites “I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.”

In I Chronicles 16:29 it says “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness”

In I Peter 1:13-16 it says “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

The call of the scriptures to us is this: God is holy, we must be holy.

Jesus’ work in us who are his followers is, by the Holy Spirit, to conform us to His image, hence making us holy. This process is called sanctification. It’s a process that began when…. and it won’t be finished until we get to Heaven.

Our being sanctified is all about us having been set apart unto God for a special use. Ours is a special calling: being called into a holy service, for a holy use. Not only have we been set apart for special use, we are to set ourselves apart from the things of this world for God’s use.

In responding to God’s call to be holy our express goal is to become more and more like God. This is what being holy is about. It means increasingly separating ourselves from anything that is not pleasing to Him.

God’s call to us to be holy as He is holy is very practically oriented. Whenever in the scriptures the call to “be holy” is issued there is a practical matter in mind.

Today we are going to be considering I Thessalonians 4:1-8. The big call of this text is that we “be holy and pure” and “that we live in a way that pleases God”

As just mentioned the call to be holy is very practically oriented. In our text which really stretches to 4:12 Paul addresses 3 very important topics as they pertain to pleasing God and living a holy life. The subject we are going to focus upon today is that of sexual purity. If we are to be holy then we must be sexually pure.

READ THE TEXT

Verses 1-2 of our text are transition verses.

Like most every preacher, when Paul says “finally”, he doesn’t really mean it. What this phrase really means is this: Much has been said, yet there is still more to deal with.

In v.1-2 Paul in essence is saying: We have instructed you in how to live in a pleasing manner to God and now we are going to continue to instruct you in such things. And then he says this: remember and note this; the things I am teaching you don’t come from me, they come from God and I speak such things to you in the name and in the authority of Christ. (note v.8 and how it emphasizes this point)

One of the things we can take away from v.1-2 is this: the job/responsibility of those who have teachings gifts is to instruct the brethren, from the Bible, in how to live in order to please God.

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