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Summary:

GROWING DISCIPLES MUST STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE IN PLEASING GOD

A. Our Present Level of Obedience Should Be the Foundation For Striving For Excellence in Pleasing God (:1-2)

(rather than the excuse for settling for mediocrity or the mountaintop for sliding to the valley)

1. Growing Disciples Need to be Challenged to Strive for Excellence

2. God's Standards (commandments) Do Not Change, But They Allow for Infinite Growth

Transition: We know the will of God (His commandments and standards), but we need to strive for excellence in pleasing God.

B. Two Target Areas (where we must strive for excellence in pleasing God) (:3-12)

1. Sexual Purity -- a specific aspect of sanctification (:3-8)

a. The Explanation of the Standard (What is it?)

1) Avoid Sexual Immorality

2) Balancing Perspective -- 2 possibilities:

a) control your own body

b) take a wife for yourself (preferred view)

b. The Execution of the Standard (How do you go about it?)

1) Positively: in sanctification and honor

2) Negatively: not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles

(Knowing God should make a difference in our morality)

c. The Effects of Violating the Standard (What's the big deal?)

1) Transgressing the law of God

2) Defrauding your brother of his rights

d. The Enforcer of the Standard (Who will punish? God!)

e. The Election to the Standard (Who set the standard and wants us to keep it?)

f. The Enemies of the Standard (Who will reject the standard?)

2. Aggressive But Responsible Love for the Brethren (:9-12)

a. Commendation for present level of obedience in this area;

There is no need for further teaching because:

1) They are God-taught

2) They are practicing the truth

b. Challenge to strive for excellence

c. Balancing Perspective

1) Recognize your limitations (lead a quiet life rather than one of frenzied activity or unruliness)

2) Concentrate on your own affairs (don't be a busybody)

3) Work to provide for your own needs (don't be a burden)

Reasons:

a) good testimony to unbelievers

b) so as not to be in any need yourself


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