Press on in pleasing God
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Knowing God changes all of our lives, and living in a way that pleases him is the most satisfying lifestyle there is.
Published April 24th, 2020
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Main point summary
Key Observations and Takeaways
Main point summary
This is our challenge to you: Keep growing up in holiness, which is pleasing to God, especially in sexual purity, love for each other, and diligent work.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus,
As a final word of encouragement, brothers, we request- more like we urge you- to receive this instruction as loving counsel from Christ himself.
that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God,
You received our teaching well when we exemplified for you how to live in a way that pleases God.
just as you are doing,
As a matter of fact, you are already living this way,
that you do so more and more.
and we encourage you to keep it up and to continue maturing in holiness.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
You remember how we taught you in the past. In fact, it was not just us teaching you, but Jesus himself.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification:
This is, without a doubt, what God wants for you and what pleases him: to grow and abound in holiness.
j that you abstain from sexual immorality;
To get specific, do not participate in any sexual activity that God hasn't designed as good.
that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,
Also, every one of you should behave in a way that God is pleased and others are honored.
not in the passion of lust
Don't live your lives driven by selfish, sexual desire
like the Gentiles who do not know God;
as if you were people who don't consider God at all.
that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter,
Remember that your actions don't just affect you; think of your brothers and sisters.
because the Lord is an avenger in all these things,
But an even greater reason is that God will justly right every wrong,
as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.
just like we told you about and gravely warned you.
For God has not called us for impurity,
The root of all this instruction is that God did not save us in order to live filthy lives,
but in holiness.
but rather, he saved us so that we would live as his people who hate that filth and love holiness.
Therefore whoever disregards this,
So, if anyone throws these words to the wayside,
disregards not man but God,
then it's not as if they neglect the authority of a man. No, that person spits in the face of the God of the universe,
who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
who graciously dwells with us through his Holy Spirit.
Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you,
On another note, in regards to seeking the good of each other, we don't have to write specific instructions for you
for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,
because God himself has shown you how to love each other.
for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia.
We can tell because you are already doing it so well in Macedonia.
But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,
We only want to challenge you to keep it up.
and to aspire to live quietly,
Also, here are a few more instructions: Long to live at peace with everyone.
and to mind your own affairs,
Don't meddle in anyone else's business.
and to work with your hands,
Diligently apply yourself to your own work.
as we instructed you,
( To clarify ) We've already shared these instructions with you
so that you may walk properly before outsiders
for the purpose of having a good reputation with unbelievers
and be dependent on no one.
and so that you won't be indebted to anyone.
" Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely ..." 1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV The God-appointed means of sanctification/holiness is the Holy Spirit in believers.
"Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely ..." 1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV Sanctification is not only God's will on believers' lives, but also his work.
Key Observations and Takeaways
Holiness is ultimately about God (v.3a) and aimed at pleasing him (v.1b). God is mentioned ten times in these twelve verses where Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to please him with their lives by living above reproach in sexual purity (vv.3-6), loving each other (vv.6a,9-10), and diligent work (vv.10-12). Note the motivations for pursuing growth in holiness: - It pleases God (v.1b). - It is God's will (v.3a). - God will avenge those who don't (v.6b). - God has called us to it (v.7b). "More and more" are words Paul uses to spur the Thessalonian believers on to continue maturing in the faith. It's not as though they had reached a particular level of piety that requires less grace-fueled effort. He also reminds them of instructions he gave them in the past. - v.1b references an example they had in Paul - v.6c mentions not only instruction but a past warning - v.10b encourages them even though Paul said there was no need to write about the matter - v.11d refers to prior instruction It is interesting to note who gives the exhortations, commands, and warnings to the Thessalonians: - " we ask and urge you" v.1a - " in the Lord Jesus" - "as you received from us" v.1b - "what instructions we gave you" v.2 - " through the Lord Jesus" v.2 - "as we told you and solemnly warned you" v.6c - "whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God" v.8 - "you yourselves have been taught by God" v.9 - "but we urge you" v.10b - "as we instructed you" v.11d It is evident that God is using the apostle to convey his truth, his words, to the Thessalonian believers. A Devotional Thought of Application: Knowing God changes your sexual life (v.5b). There are significant effects of knowing God that come to bear fruit in one's sexual life. Especially in today's world where not just sex, but sexual immorality, is both currency and commodity, those who truly know God will stand out. The exhortation from Paul is: keep seeking what pleases God! My Plan for Future Study: I am incredibly grateful for what I have started to learn in this course, especially with the goal of knowing God more by it. I plan to study 2 Thessalonians over the next month or so, using each of the steps in the Paraphrase course as a guide. Right now in my men's small group, we are reading and discussing Disciplines of a Godly Man by R. Kent Hughes. Inspired by his suggestion to commit to memory 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, I completed this project to further study, reflect upon, and apply this teaching to my life. I will share some insights at our next small group meeting and through continued conversations with my closest brothers in Christ, so that we may all seek to please God and be satisfied in him more and more.
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.