HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009 BE BLESSED GOD IS GOOD
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL IN LIFE?
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 January 4 2009
Paul took the first half of his letter to compliment the
Thessalonian Christians and to remind them of all he wanted
for them and had done on their behalf. During December’s
studies, we explored this material in detail, taking a
verse-by-verse look at the first three chapters of the
letter. In this study we will see Paul turned a corner to
practical application. He marked his transition with the
words, "Finally then, brothers" (1 Thess. 4: 1).
The challenge Paul began in this section of the letter
focused on the Thessalonians’ moral behavior. They were
doing well, but they could improve. He essentially asked
them to "keep on keeping on" in their walk with the Lord.
He covered such matters as sexuality and work ethic.
Everything they did was to be driven by the overarching
goal of pleasing God in daily living.
1. Principle to Follow (1 Thess. 4:1-2)
1Ths. 4:1 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live
in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we
ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and
more. 4:2 For you know what instructions we gave you by
the authority of the Lord Jesus.
Paul moving from declaration (about past actions,
chapters 1-3) to exhortation (about future actions,
chapters 4-5). He stated the central principle-pleasing
God-that is developed in the rest of the letter.
Finally. The main section of the letter is finished,
though much is yet to come ( Php 3:1 ). Live . Lit. “walk.”
Paul uses this metaphor often of the Christian way
( Romans 6:4; 2Cor. 5:7; Eph 4:1; 5:17; Col 1:10, “live a
life”; 1Thess.2:6; 4:5, “act”). It points to steady progress.
We ask you and Urge you . Paul is not arrogant, but he does
speak with authority in the Lord Jesus. He has the “mind
of Christ” (1Cor. 2:16). Instructions . Used of authoritative
commands and has a military ring (Acts 5:28; 16:24).
2. Purity to Practice (1 Thess. 4:3-8)
1Ths. 4:3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified:
that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4:4 that each
of you should learn to control his own body in a way that
is holy and honorable, 4:5 not in passionate lust like the
heathen, who do not know God; 4:6 and that in this matter
no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.
The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have
already told you and warned you. 4:7 For God did not call
us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 4:8 Therefore, he
who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God,
who gives you his Holy Spirit.
God created us as sexual beings. Yet His good gift of
sex is subject to misuse and abuse, even by believers. One
of the ways Christians differ from nonbelievers is by
recognizing that sexual purity pleases Him.
Sanctified. (1Thess.3:13. Sexual Immorality. In the
first century moral standards were generally very low,
and chastity was regarded as an unreasonable restriction.
Paul, however, would not compromise God’s clear and
demanding standards. The warning was needed, for
Christians were not immune to the temptation (1Cor. 5:1).
Like the heathen . The Christian is to be different. Wrong
His Brother . Sexual sin harms others besides those who
engage in it. In adultery, the spouse is always wronged.
Premarital sex wrongs the future partner by robbing him
or her of the virginity that ought to be brought to marriage.
The Lord will Punish . A motive for chastity. Another
reason for chastity is God’s call to holiness. God , who
gives you His Holy Spirit. Still another reason for chastity
is that sexual sin is against God, who gives the Holy Spirit
to believers for their sanctification. To live in sexual
immorality is to reject God, specifically in regard to
the Holy Spirit.
3. Love to Exhibit (1 Thess. 4:9-10a)
1Ths. 4:9 Now about brotherly love we do not need to
write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God
to love each other. 4:10a And in fact, you do love all the
Paul moved from sexual purity to brotherly love in
these verses. Yet he was still describing the meaning of
to "walk and please God" as a believer (1Thess.4:1).
Brotherly Love . Translates PHILADELPHIA, a Greek
word that outside the NT almost without exception
denoted the mutual love of children of the same father.
In the NT it always means love of fellow believers in
Christ, all of whom have the same heavenly Father.
Taught by God . (Isa 54:13; John 6:45; 1Cor 2:13).
4. Lifestyle to Have (1 Thess. 4:10b-12)
1Ths. 4;10b Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do
so more and more. 4:11 Make it your ambition to lead
a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work
with your hands, just as we told you, 4:12 so that your
daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that
you will not be dependent on anybody.
These instructions wrap up Paul’s thoughts before he
moved on to a new topic in (1Thess.4:13. Here he covers
several important practical areas of day-to-day living.
Some Thessalonians, probably because of idleness,
were taking undue interest in other people’s affairs. Work
with your hands . The Greeks in general thought manual
labor degrading and fit only for slaves. Christians took
seriously the need for earning their own living, but some
of the Thessalonians, perhaps as a result of their belief in
the imminent return of Christ (2Thess. 3:11), were
neglecting work and relying on others to support them.
Not be dependent on anybody . Or “have need of nothing.”
Both meanings are true and significant. Christians in need
because of their idleness are not obedient Christians.
The Greek word for "sanctification" (hagiasmos) is
also translated "holiness:’ It is the noun form of a related
verb ("sanctify" or "make holy"). The adjective form is
"holy;’ especially used in the name "Holy Spirit.” The plural
form of the adjective ("holy ones" or "saints") is a frequent
biblical name for believers in Jesus.
All these terms share two elements of meaning: first,
"set apart or dedicated to God for His purposes"; second, "
pure, that is, morally untainted by sin or evil:’ The noun
sanctification as applied to Christians thus means first
we have been set apart to God. This happened at the moment
of our conversion. Second, we are in the process of becoming
less sinful and more godly in attitudes and actions. This
progression occurs throughout the Christian life through
the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
The Greek noun for sanctification is the rarest of these
three closely related terms. Of the eight times Paul used it,
three are in this week’s study. The other five are in
(Romans 6:19,22; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Thess. 2:13; and 1 Tim 2:15).
This Greek word occurs only in two other places in the New
Testament: (Heb.12:14 and 1 Peter 1:2).