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?

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