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
TITLE : TAKE PLEASURE IN PLEASING GOD
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.
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 …
I. PLEASING GOD REQUIRES SANCTIFICATION (v.3)
• 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?