1 Thessalonians 4.1-8

These are frustrating days.  On the national scene three women, who have been kidnapped and held in bondage by a reprobate man have escaped, been discovered and set free.  Their captor has been locked up with charges pending once an investigation has constructed a case.

The stories that have emerged are heartbreaking.  Sexual abuse, torture and untold events of disgusting behavior are being carefully reconstructed.  As a father and husband, I have a mental disgust for such sinister animal like this beast.

If that were not enough, I live in a city where a major convention is flooding our city with people from all over the world.  Each year when this gathering convenes, human trafficking spikes.  People buying sex is rampant in our Global city.  It is exhaustingly sad.

Immorality is not a victimless crime.  It hurts people, destroys lives and enslaves others.  However, sex when expressed in the bounds of morality and marriage is marvelous.

The Apostle Paul reminds the Christians at Thessalonica of the past lessons that he has brought to them.  Those lessons had a primary objective.  They taught Christians how to please God with the lives that they lived.  Encouraging words followed because Paul commends them that they are living what he has taught them.

Paul catches them in action and motivates them to keep on going with greater momentum and determination.  They cannot do too little in this direction.  It is not a time to teach more.  Rather it is time to remind them of what they already know.

Jesus is their reminder.  His name is their personal reason for walking in righteousness.  The authority from the Savior validates the lessons that these believers have received and use to govern the practices of their lives.  Urgency marks the exhortation in this passage of Scripture.  This symptom of purity is a product of living the truth that they know and have embraced as truth.

If you have ever been “stuck” in your Christian growth wondering what God’s will is for your life, then you may have overlooked a passage like this.   Paul makes it clear that God’s will for every believer is to be sanctified.  This specialized term means to be set apart for a special purpose or holy.

Holy living is not perfect living.  Instead, the focus is on purpose.  That is not a reference to my own desires but rather living out God’s purpose in my life.

Essential to holy living is choosing to avoid sexual immorality.  Self-control is a lesson for each Christian to learn who is seeking to live according to God’s will.  In the mind and spirit of every Christian is a sense of honor.  That honor is a warning to hear if sexual immorality is ever a danger.

Here the example of wrong living is a part of discerning right living.  Those who do not know God live recklessly, unleashing their passionate lusts to express themselves without consideration of the control of righteousness.  Furthermore, those fellow humans, not Christians, with whom these lusts are shared together, become victims of the wrong.  Immorality does hurt others.

Sin is never free of punishment.  A day of reckoning will be in all of our futures both believer and non-believer.  God will judge the sins of man.

Christians must see the devastation of sexual immorality among unbelievers as a reminder to live righteously, with purity.  God gave us eternal life, an inheritance in heaven and the dedicated life that we are called to live now is consistent with that practical theology.

Conclusions built upon a strong argument are self-evident.  This challenge by Paul to live pure lives is one of those syllogistic arguments.  To have this instruction but to live contrary to it is tantamount to dangerous living.

God takes it personally when He is ignored by the people that He loved and saved.  He gave us an inheritance that speaks of our heritage in heaven.  Why would anyone who has been guaranteed so much then insult his benefactor with selfish living that hurts others as well?  Or why would any of us ignore the super powers of the Holy Spirit in us and do what will only hurt us in the end?

LAPP: Write down the three main practices of righteous living that you know are clearly laid out in Scripture when it comes to purity.  What can you do to exercise the kind of self-control where you will dominate your routine with these practices?  Live pure lives and that will guarantee to please God.

Thanks for joining me on my journey.

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