Summary: Health is an important issue for anyone. Paul lays out important directions for moving towards that healthy life.


sermon ministry of


Thomasville, NC

November 9, 2003

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 2For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. 3For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication. 4That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor; 5Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 6That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. 7For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 8He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit. 9But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. 10And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; 11and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

1Thessalonians 4:1-12

Church life presents interesting slices of human nature; it also produces some pretty funny circumstances. An elderly woman exited from the worship service and was greeted by the Pastor at the door. “Oh, Pastor,” she gushed, “you don’t know how much your sermons have meant to my husband since he lost his mind.” [1]

A paramedic was interviewed by the news after some excitement at the downtown brick church. He told the reporter that had been the most frustrating call he’d ever answered. The reporter asked him to explain. “Well, we were called by the head usher because one of the worshippers had keeled over in the pew. He didn’t seem to be breathing and they couldn’t get a pulse, so they figured he was dead. They were right, he was a goner before we got to him.”

The interviewer questioned, “That’s too bad, but what was so strange about it?” Said the paramedic, “Well, we carried six guys out of there before we found out which one was dead.”[2]

Health is a major issue.

 People go to great lengths to make sure they get healthy and stay healthy.

 One of the largest industries in America is providing health care.

 Food and vitamin producers vie for their share of the public’s money.

 Advertisers say their products will make you healthy, and will also make you look and smell better.

 Self-help books by the truckload claim you can be healthy if you just buy their program, process or machine. I have a wonderful exercise machine we purchased last December. I have pulled the cords on that intricate mechanism exactly twice – the first time was to make certain my son-in-law put it together right. The second time was just before I decided there’s gotta be an easier way!

Paul had a different approach to a healthy life. He did use athletic metaphors, such as running the race, so I suppose Paul did believe in eating right and exercising. (I’m quite certain he didn’t have that machine I got at Wal-Mart, though!). But, Paul’s approach is seen in the two ends of our text this morning, verse 1…

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more…

…and the last half of verse 12…

…and that ye may have lack of nothing.

Let me get right to the center of it this morning, Paul was telling us that a life which lacked nothing – a life which abounded more and more, is a life which is growing in relationship to God. It seems living a healthy life is found as we grow in our relationship to God. Often it is possible to see one of two things happening to people as they age.

1. Sometimes the events and circumstances of our life make us soft and gracious – that shows a person who is growing in learning how to please God. It shows a humility that gets more supportive and cooperative as the years go by.

2. Sometimes we allow events and circumstances to make us hard as nails and hard to be around. This shows the character of the person who has stopped leaning on God and is simply cursing the darkness; angry that life did not turn out the way they planned.

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