THE BOOK OF 1 THESSALONIANS

Sanctity, Love and a Quiet Life

1 Thessalonians 4:6-12 SCC 6/1/14

 

Incentives to Pursue Sexual Purity 4:6-8

Verse 6: that no man transgress and defraud in the matter

Sexual immorality is wrong not only because it transgresses the will of God, but because it injures the

partner in sex. The point is, God cares for people. He doesnít want us to take advantage of any of His creations. Sexual sin steals from others. NB: Here are three incentives:

 

   You will avoid Godís judgment 4:6

The reason we should not sexually transgress one another in Godís household is God is the avenger of these things. It brings Godís judgment down on two people, not just one. Paul probably had the Lordís future judgment of believers in view at the judgment seat of Christ.

1. Indeed we previously told you. This was not new news but something that had been expounded upon previously.

2. And solemnly witnessed. The idea is that it was front-page news for some reason as Paul ministered in the city. Sexuality is a serious concern with God. Messing with it invites Godís particular judgment upon you otherwise.

    

   You will fulfill Godís call 4:7

First, the Reason we are told and warned is that God has not called us to uncleanness. The general principle the Thessalonians were to keep in mind was that Godís purpose for all Christians is not impurity but purity.

Second, we are called to live in the sphere/state of sanctification. It is a life set apart from sin unto holiness. God ďcallsĒ us to both salvation and sanctification. He takes the initiative in both our everlasting life and our spiritual growth. We simply respond to His work in us. Throughout the course of our Christian experience, God issues an upward calling, a high calling, a calling to sanctification, to ministry, and to heavenly reward.

 

   You will honor the Scriptures and the Spirit 4:8

1. BUT rejecting this is rejecting God. To reject these exhortations amounted to rejecting God, not just the Apostle Paul. You are rejecting Him and His authority. Likewise, if you do not like what I have said, your problem is not with me, it is with God. Disobeying is rejection of Godís best interests for you.

2. Who gives HS to us (for sanctification). God has given His Holy Spirit to all believers to enable us to do Godís will. You have the Holy Spirit always within you. Therefore, when God commands you to abstain, He also gives you the power to obey.

NB: What Paul is saying in this section is that through our relationship with God, we can have the power and the discipline to stay sexually pure; or if we have already messed up, we can begin right now.

 

Keep your Priorities in Place 4:9-12

Serve God by loving other believerís 4:9-10

1. Whereas the previous exhortation to avoid sexual immorality is a negative prohibition, this one is a positive encouragement. It means ďbrotherly love.Ē In the New Testament it is used exclusively of the love Christians are to show to each other. Believers should have a fondness for one another.

2. The Reason is you yourselves are taught by God (by HS or apostles teaching?) to love (agape) one another. The word here is a self-sacrificing love produced by the Holy Spirit. This requires believers making a conscious decision of their wills to love and forgive one another. The Thessalonians needed instruction from Paul concerning their sexual behavior. However, God Himself had taught them by His Spirit to love one another. PT: Love here is serving in such a way that ones greater good is purposed without regard to any benefit for the giver.

3. Indeed they were doing so toward all brothers in Macedonia. Paulís words were only encouragements to maintain the loving behavior that they had learned and had manifested already.

4. But we urge you to excel even more. They demonstrated brotherly love by reaching out to other needy Christians who lived in their province and they reached out still farther. What does it mean that our love should ďexcel still more?Ē It means that we should increase in our sympathy for those in need, patience for those who are struggling, and tolerance toward those with whom we disagree. We canít be satisfied with our past performance. We must excel still more in our love for others.

 

Serve God by working not meddling 4:11-12

NB: Here are three aspects of behavior, which demonstrate love for others.

Lead a quiet life

1. Strive eagerly toward quietness (metaphor for quiet life). A person who leads a restful rather than a frantic life avoids disturbing the lives of others. He or she also enjoys life more himself or herself. It is a life that does its best to avoid unnecessary contention and to be at peace with all men insofar as it is humanly possible. It refers to the cessation of excessive chatter and of gossip, which results from idleness. 2. When one is completely engaged in earning an income, there is little time for idle chatter. Those who are working hard to supply their own needs donít have as much time to waste as those who avoid hard work and depend upon the labors and benevolence of their Christian brothers and sisters. Remember Paulís previous words: For you recall, brothers and sisters, our labor and hardship how by working night and day so as not to impose a burden on any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God 1 Thess 2:9.

        Mind your own business

The idea is to attend to your own things. One who tends to his/her own affairs does not meddle in the business of others. You have enough of your own to deal with. Stick to it. Do not be a busybody. Donít meddle in other peopleís affairs.

        Work with your hands.

1. The idea is to work with your own hands. The person who works to provide for his or her own needs and the needs of his or her family does not put a burden on others to support him or her. Christianity brought in a new ethic based on personal responsibility and hard work. Jesus was a carpenter and Paul himself was a tentmaker!

2. Itís important to understand that Paul isnít being metaphorical here. He literally worked with his hands as a tentmaker whenever he could so that he could support himself while he preached the gospel. Even though he was highly educated, he didnít mind hard work in the least and he didnít find manual labor embarrassing. Provide for the needs of your own family and not give the gospel a black eye.

3. After all this is as we commanded you to do. He encouraged believers to be good citizens and exemplary members of their families and of their society but to do so in a manner consistent with the teachings of Christ.

 

The Purpose for quietness is walking properly toward unbelieverís 4:12 Here are two of them:

First, such behavior not only results in the Christian meeting his or her own needs, but it meets with the approval and admiration of non-believers who observe him or her. Paul argues that our work is a witness. People are watching. We are witnesses!

Second, and you have need of nothing (presumably so there is no pilfering). You will not put yourself in a position of requiring handouts to survive.

 

So What?

1. This passage underscores the fact that sanctification deals with every aspect of our lives. Just as depravity has defiled and corrupted every part of our being, sanctification is the process by which we are restored and conformed to Christís likeness. One very significant area of our lives where sanctification must take place is in our sexuality. So here are two questions you should ask yourself often:

First, if Paul were writing to you about Godís work of sanctifying you, what area of your life first comes to your mind that needs attention? Where are the weak points in your life, which have not undergone much sanctifying?

Second, What are you going to do about it?