1 Thessalonians 4:1-11
Saturday, 13 November 2021
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: ….that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor….. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
In 1st Thessalonians, Paul writes to the church, reinforcing the gospel message, instructing them in faith, providing them practical applications of spiritual truths. Thessalonica was one of the first cities evangelized by Paul and Silas when they landed on the continent of Europe on receiving a divine vision of a man from Macedonia inviting Paul to preach the gospel (Acts 16:9-10). In the first three chapters Paul dealt with the readers as “nursing mother” who gently cares for her children (1Thess. 2:7); whereas the last two chapters he charges them with the authority of a father (1 Thess. 4:1-2).
The Christian life not only begins with faith, but continues as a daily walk of faith. Christians are not to walk as the Gentiles (Eph. 4:17), instead they are to walk worthy of their calling from God. In Verse 3: "For this is the will of God, your Sanctification: that you should abstain from the sexual immorality:” A major problem with the early church was maintaining sexual purity (1Cor. 5:1). In fact, prostitution was rampant in their culture and life since it was intertwined with the worship of their so-called gods. Immorality was a way of life as people had the leisure time to indulge in different kind of lusts. Hence, the Christian message of holy living was new to that culture, and it was not easy for these young believers to fight the temptations around them.
Paul strongly urged the Thessalonians to abstain from any sexual activity outside marriage. He wrote in 1 Cor.6:18-20 that our body is the temple of the living God and should be kept holy. Believers should have a personal passion for sexual purity that surpasses the world’s passion for sexual matters. Sexual involvement outside the marriage dishonors God, one’s spouse and one’s own body. It is considered as an abomination to God. Paul issues a warning in verse 8: “So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.” Paul intends that he is only like a mailman delivering God’s letter to them/us or a doctor giving prescription—ultimately, they/we are answerable to God.
Verse 8 also ends with a very hopeful phrase: "God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.” The word “gives” is a present tense verb. In this case it means that God gives and keeps on giving the Spirit to you. You have the Holy Spirit always within you. Therefore, when God commands you to abstain, He also gives you and me the power to obey. What a wonderful providence! You are not alone in this battle! In your weakness, His strength is provided.
Let’s see how believers can stay holy in an unholy world:
Saturate yourself with God’s Word (Ps.119:11), hiding it in our heart
Recognize your position in Christ: you are a “saint” who is dead to sin (Rom.6:11)
Ask God for grace and mercy. Plead the blood of Jesus. (Rev. 12:11)
By making a conscious choice not to lust (Job 31:1)
By walking under the control of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16-25)
By fleeing sexual temptations and pursuing righteousness (2 Tim.2:22) through prayer
Throughout the course of our Christian walk, God demands from you and me an upward calling, a high calling, a calling to sanctification, to ministry that He would ultimately offer us the heavenly reward. We fulfill our destiny by heeding His call and walking His way.
Think on it:
“Holiness is the architectural plan upon which God buildeth up His living temple.”