Summary: Seeking personal pleasure is seen as the highest priority of modern culture. In our passage today Paul affirms the opposite to be true: humanity’s chief goal ought to be to take pleasure in pleasing God. The question we are going to address today is ho

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TEXT: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8


Background to the Letter: Chapters 1-3

o The oldest letter in the NT (50 AD)

o Written to a Church Paul established himself

o The Church was heavily persecuted and many were martyred. First by the Jews and then the Greeks.

o There was concern the Church would or already had fallen away from the faith in light of this persecution.

o Paul could (3:1) “Bear it no longer” and sent Timothy to “establish them in the faith” and to “exhort them.”

o To Paul’s great pleasure he discovered the Church remained faithful even in light of great persecution.

Chapter 4-5

o The conclusion of Paul’s letter is an exhortation to a Godly life and a promise that the dead in Christ will rise again.


• American culture is caught up with Pleasure.

o Commercial – As Evidenced by our abundance of stuff

o Commercial – Second Home (BECAUSE YOU DESERVE IT).

o Quarterback commentator Joe Theismann, allegedly explaining to his soon-to-be-ex second wife why he had an affair: "God wants Joe Theismann to be happy."

• The First Century Was No Different.

o 1st Century Spas had rooms where a patient could rest; in the ceiling were little holes through which attendants of the spa would whisper encouraging things to give them greater pleasure.

PROPOSITION: In our passage today Paul affirms the opposite to be true: humanity’s chief goal ought to be to take pleasure in pleasing God.

ORIENTATION: The question we are going to address today is how does one please God? In our passage we will see that:

• Pleasing God Requires Sanctification (v.2-3)

• Pleasing God Requires Purification (v. 3-4)

• Pleasing God Requires Prioritization (v.8)

TRANSITION: First lets take a look at how …



• Sanctification Defined: Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God.

o Set apart for Holy use

o we are made partakers of his holiness;

o that it is a progressive work

o it is begun at Baptism in our regeneration

o that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit

• Because this is a progressive work, Paul encourages them to press on.

 “Just as you are doing, you do so more and more.” (v.1)

• Sanctification Required:

o Paul describes sanctification as “the will of God” (v. 3)

 His will is the restoration of His the divine likeness (Gen 2)

 Because there are only two options (Sanctification/Backsliding) there is no middle ground. (Mt 13:12 – Have will be taken away)


• St. Augustine said it perfectly – “God make me good, but not yet.”

o Sanctification is the process of cooperating with the work of God’s Holy Spirit in your life.

o This is not easy, nor is it always fun. But it is necessary to and in the end pleasing to both God and us.


o Our chief goal in life is to please God and we do this firstly through the process of sanctification.

o Are you cooperating with the Holy Spirit?

o What is holding you back from cooperating with God’s Spirit?

o What things area’s in your life do you want to cooperate but just not yet? 


Explanation: (abstain from immorality/control body)

• Purification – Specifically Self Control in the area of sexual immorality.

o The Church in Thessalonica was one of the first Gentile Churches.

o The people struggled with their old way of life.

 “Sexual morality in the Greco-Roman world was markedly lax. While marriage was widely upheld as a cultural ideal, sexual fidelity within marriage was not necessarily expected. Husbands might with impunity seek the company of a mistress, concubine or prostitute; the role of the wife was to manage the household and provide legitimate children. The situation was intensified by the presence in various places of religious cults which encouraged the engaging of temple prostitutes as an act of worship.”

o Thus Paul addresses it:.

 Paul describes it as a sin against a brother (v.6)

 Heathen passion and lust to be overcome. (v.5)

 The practice of those who do not know God (

 Because the woman could say nothing about it – Paul say’s God will be the avenger.

 Paul describes this a “uncleanness” (v.6)

o Today is no different:

 Adultery is spoken about as an “affair” as if it were a cocktail dinner.

 Sexual immorality is prevalent:

• TV/Internet/Movies

 But Paul call us to – “Control his own body in Holiness and honor.

• Purity is honorable.


After a violent storm one night, a large tree, which over the years had become a stately giant, was found lying across the pathway in a park. Nothing but a splintered stump was left. Closer examination showed that is was rotten at the core because thousands of tiny insects had eaten away at its heart. The weakness of that tree was not brought on by the sudden storm; it began the very moment the first insect nested within its bark. With the Holy Spirit’s help, let’s be very careful to guard our purity.

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