Summary: This sermon discusses living out a holy life corum Deo (before the face of God)
The Life of Holiness
Text: 1st Thessalonians 4:1-8
By: Ken McKinley
Now if you remember last time we talked about looking unto Jesus and getting into the Word of God, and we talked about how we have all been adopted into God’s family and God expects certain kinds of behavior from His family, namely being like the Son – Jesus. Now often times in the Bible we are told that this walk of holiness is like an athletic conference or even like a battle, and so in a sense, when you are putting Scripture into your mind and into your spirit, what you’re doing is fortifying your position and stocking up on ammo. In-fact I think we are going to start having “Fighter Verses” here at our church, because whether we realize it or not, this battle we’re in is a fight for life and death. Our souls are at stake, our families are at stake, and our effectiveness for the kingdom is at stake. Satan walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, but here’s the thing, the battle plan is the same at every stage of the Christian life. Our senior drill instructor used to say, “Basic Training ends on the day you die.”
So tonight I want us to look at four things that Paul points out that will help us in this battle to maintain a holy walk before the Lord. And those 4 things are:
- God’s authority
- God’s justice
- God’s call
- And God’s Spirit
In our text here Paul talks about sexual immorality, he talks about defrauding one another, and he talks about uncleanness – but we can take this advice to deal with all types of sinful behavior. But I’m going to focus on these areas because that’s what the text focuses on.
Now sometimes when Leslie and Gabriel are playing one of them will get a little bit bossy and start telling the other what she should do. Most of the time those orders are ignored. But if MariJo or I tell them to do the same thing, they know they had best be doing what they’re told. Now I think that sometimes people can have the same attitude when we talk about morality, or purity, or holiness. They’ll say, “Well that’s just your opinion,” or, “That was what Paul taught 2000 years ago, but it doesn’t apply today.” The reality is that what God tells us in His Word is the all time standard for holiness, not man’s opinion, it’s not culturally bound. God’s Word transcends culture, it transcends time.
So in verse 1 Paul is urging and exhorting the Thessalonians and he’s telling them how they “ought to walk and please God.” In verse 2 he says, “we gave you your commandments.” A better translation would say, “We gave you these instructions.” And in the context of this passage these instructions were given by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Now I want you to see how important following these instructions are, so take a look at verse 8 (Read). So if we disregard or ignore these instructions we are in effect treating Almighty God with disrespect and not worthy of our obedience. We’re saying God is of no significance when compared to our desires.
The Bible teaches that we live coram Deo, before the face of God, in every situation He is involved, He is present, He is there. So when we think of God being Almighty, being omniscient, omnipresent… we can’t help but think of His authority. So the next time you are tempted to sin think of God being with you and God’s commands to abstain from sinful behaviors and thoughts.
Sometimes people will say to you, “What I do in my own time doesn’t affect anyone else.” You find this is especially true in situations of sexual immorality. Sometimes people will tell you that their adultery is justifiable because there is no love in the marriage. But this passage knocks the legs out from under that kind of thinking. Sin, no matter what it is, always affects someone. It affects the person committing it, and somehow it affects those around him or her as well. Even if a man is sinning only in his imagination, he is still sinning against his wife, against women in general and against God. That kind of sin cheapens God’s special creation that was created in His image and after His likeness. And with all sin, the wages of sin is death.
Ephesians 5:5-6 says, “For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” God is a just God. The idea that “no one gets hurt” by sins in the imagination is ridiculous!