Summary: This sermon sets forth what God has called each Christian to as they live their lives for Him.
1 Thess 4:1-7 tells us that we are to be pure.
2 Tim 2:19-24 tells us that purity and holiness is what God uses. Do you want to be used by the Lord? Then you must be committed to holiness and living a life of purity. Notice verse 19 carefully. The Lord clearly tells us that "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." As a believer, you can not continue to live as you did before coming to Jesus, there must be a change. Paul put it this way in Galations 5:16-23, you must live by the Spirit and not after the desires of the sinful nature. He then clearly lists some of the acts of the sinful nature beginning in verse 19. Do any of these acts sound like what takes place on a regular basis in your life, in your home or in your church? If the answer is yes, the only conclusion you can make is that you are witnessing acts of the sinful nature. It is carnality at work not the behavior of someone who is Spirit lead or filled. On the other hand, Paul also gives a list of what to expect from a Spirit filled life beginning in verse 22. Can I ask you again, does this list typify you, your home or church? If so, it is because the Spirit is at work and in control. Are you fulfilling the call to holiness? The answer is in your actions.
Which list do you see taking place in your life? Are you living by the Spirit or do you see carnality?
The second call is to prayer. Jesus said in Matt 21:13, "My house shall be called a house of prayer." Prayer is simply communication and communion with God. Our Heavenly Father wanted a personal relationship with you so much that He had His son die on a cross so that that relationship come happen. You are so important to God and so desired by God that He gave up His only son so that you could know Him and He could commun with you. It is through prayer that we talk with our father. It is through prayer that we express our love to Him. It is through prayer that we come into His presence. The price that was paid in order for us to come into His presence was precious, but that is how God thinks of you - precious. As the hymn writer as stated, "Oh, what peace we often forfit, oh, what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry, everything thing to God in prayer." Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, not if, but when you pray. Jesus expected us to pray for he know that in prayer we find peace, perspective and power. It is in prayer that we have communion with God.
The third call is to Godliness. What is the difference between holiness and godliness? Holiness is who we are, Godliness is how we live. 2 Peter 3:11 says, "What kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives." Godly living is what witnesses most to people as they see how we deal with life. One of the things that Christians have that the world wants is peace. True peace that surpasses all understanding. The Bible speaks of three kinds of peace that we have. The first is peace with God. Before we came to Christ, we were enemies of God. We were at war over who desired control over our lives. Peace with God comes through surrender. It happens as we ask God to forgive us of our sins and to take control. (Rom 5:1 and Isa 53:5) The second kind of peace is a peace from God. This is the peace that Jesus told us He would give us in John 14:27 and 16:32-33. This peace comes through a switch, from living after the sinful nature to living for the Spirit. It comes by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in your life. The third peace is the peace of God. This is what other people see when they watch your life. The peace of God gives you an inner calm, security and confidence in the midst of the storms of life. The peace of God is refered to in Phil 4:7, Col. 3:13-15 and Deut. 20:1-4. This peace produces stability in your life that people cannot explain away. The world understands happiness because they can be happy when things are going well. But when trouble comes, they lose their happiness and it is replaced by fear and anxiety. For the Christian, who has the peace of God, they have joy. Joy that is not based upon happenings but upon the understanding that God is in control. It is the joy of the Lord that allows us to live above our circumstances and still have joy even though everything around us might be falling apart. This is what godliness is all about. Living in full dependance and relience upon our Heavenly Father. Having peace with God, which came by surrender. Living by the peace from God ,which came by switching our focus off our ourselves and onto the Spirit and having the peace of God. A peace that gives us stability in knowing that God is with us in a life full of trouble.