1 Thessalonians chapter 4

(S)

Live to Please God

Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. 10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.

11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.

The Hope of the Resurrection

13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.

(O)

Paul ends this chapter with a bit of a tease of what is to come when Jesus returns. It’s exciting and mysterious and full of hope. Some of the reason we commit our lives to our Lord, the end goal for each and every one of us.

But just before this, Paul gives an interesting warning. It seems to not fit the rest of the book so far, as the Thessalonians seemed to be right on track. But there it is, some instruction on sexual purity. There must have been some reason for Paul to have to mention this, obviously some concern had reached his ears. And it’s a good reminder, because sexual sin is a very real problem, and unfortunately within the Christian church.

Sexual sin has become very commonplace, perhaps trendy. It is sad to see that some Christian teaching has allowed this to become normal. It feels like the old saying “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”, in an attempt to justify our sin and lack of self control. But I like what Paul says in vs. 7  God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.  How do we overcome this ever-increasing problem within the church?

(A)

One thing the bible teaches us over and over is the importance of community. We need each other. And it’s a proven fact it is nearly impossible to overcome sexual sin on your own. We need to find someone we trust and “confess our sins to one another”. There is incredible healing in confession. It removes the devil’s power over you, he can no longer shame you into secrecy. I’ve seen incredible healing in this area simply from confessing and keeping accountable to someone. Find someone today you can talk to.

(P)

Ask God to show you who you could trust to talk to today. God is faithful and wants to see complete victory from sin in your life, whether sexual sin or anything other! Seek His incredible counsel today!

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