Be Confused Series: wk. 7
Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 (NKJV)
1 Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. 9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; 11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14
Intro: (Illustration) if you want to go on this trip, you better behave…
There is a transition in this chapter, matter of fact it should be a great reason to continue to be encouraged about the Christian walk you’re experiencing. Paul discusses the glorious rapture of the church and a reminder to walk properly, pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
This is week 7 in 1 Thessalonians and it has been a series of messages about avoiding confusion. Christ never intended for the believer to be confused about their relationship with Him. With this transition that takes place in this chapter it does require a proper or honest walk and this will remove any confusion with how to live for Christ now and what to expect in the end times.
Application: “I press on, reaching forward, toward the goal of God in Christ.”
This proper walk is a challenge in view of the Rapture; believers throughout the centuries have asked what are we to do? Believers are to live their lives in a way that is pleasing to God. How are we to do it? We are to be; holy and pure, don’t defraud or (cheat) another believer, love all believers, take care of your own business and earn your own living. A lot is covered in these 12 verses. There is some practical instructions for the believer in Christ and the key word is WALK!
The Christian's behavior is compared to a walk for several reasons: it demands life, for the dead sinner cannot walk; it requires growth, for a little baby cannot walk; it requires liberty, for someone who is bound cannot walk; it demands light, for no one wants to walk in the dark; it cannot be hidden, but is witnessed by all; and it suggests progress toward a goal. Paul describes the kind of walk the believer should have.
HOW DO I WALK PROPERLY?
1. Walk in Holiness: vs. 1-8
“Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
Do you really want to please God? Too please God it is not a multiple choice answer, you can’t choose from a list of four possible answers, one answer only one way to please God, you must be Holy! Here Paul deals with marriage and the home. The marriage vows in heathen cities said nothing about purity, so there was great danger of immorality in the lives of these new Christians. While love and purity certainly prevailed in many heathen homes, the general atmosphere of these cities, (before the Gospel came) was one of lust and selfishness. The Christian has the responsibility of building a Christian home that will glorify God, so Paul begins here. Immorality is basically selfishness and robbery.
To please God walk properly, walk in a Holy state of mind: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” We are called to be Holy WALK IT! Be sanctified - you are set apart for a purpose. We have the daily responsibility of devoting ourselves more and more to God so that in body, soul, spirit we completely belong to Him. To walk properly the first thing that is required is to take that first step, than make the next step. Step by step take the walk…
“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
Nothing defiles the person more than sexual sin. People who violate their marriage vows sin against God, themselves, and fellow Christians; God will deal with them in truth. In verse 4 the word “Vessel” refers to the believer’s body, this vessel has been purchased by the blood of Christ, sanctified by the Spirit, and must be used for the glory of God. To despise God's warnings about sexual sin is to grieve the Spirit and invite chastening. Remember David, Samson, Judah, and other Bible personalities who fell into this sin and paid dearly. So how do I walk properly? Walk in Holiness!
HOW DO I WALK PROPERLY?
2. Walk in Love: vs. 9-10 “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more.”
It was God who taught the Thessalonians to love each other. Christian believers need each other in order to make it through life. Living for Christ is not easy in a corrupt world that offers the bright lights of pleasure but ends up in suffering death. We all face temptation after temptation and trial after trial. We need the love of each other in order to stand against the temptation and to walk through the sufferings of life. The greatest threat to the church is that of internal strife and divisiveness. Nothing destroys the ministry of a church any quicker than criticism, grumbling, murmuring, gossiping, selfishness, cliquishness, and ambitiousness to have one's own way or to secure some position.
God actually teaches believers to love each other as brothers. This means that God works within our hearts and stirs us to love each other. God arouses the thought within our minds - flashes the thought across our minds - the thought that we should love each other as brothers. We are to grab hold of that thought and of the stirring within our hearts and love each other.
There is always the need to grow in love more and more. The Thessalonian believers were noted for their love, not only within their own church, but throughout the whole district or state of Macedonia. But they were not yet perfected in love. No person is; therefore, there is always the need to grow and abound in love more and more. There is never too much brotherly love within the church or the world. We must, grow more and more in love. Could the Outer Banks need a little more Love, could the church need a little more love, could your neighbor need a little more love, do you know who your neighbor is…
“May the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.” 1 Thessalonians 3:12 (NLT)
Love is one of the birthmarks of the believer: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.” 1 John 3:14
How do we pass from death to life: Walk in love that is how we walk properly!
HOW DO I WALK PROPERLY?
3. Walk in Honesty: vs. 11-12
“That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”
The King James says: “That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”
Paul talks about the believer's vocation and his contacts with the unsaved in the world. One of the problems in the Thessalonian church was that some people had misunderstood the promise of Christ's return, quit their jobs, and had become parasites that lived off the other Christians. Vs. 11 literally means "Be ambitious to be quiet." do not fret and worry and involve yourself in the world's activities. "Attend to your own affairs" and stay out of the affairs of others. It is a sad thing when Christians have nothing to do and become busybodies in other peoples' lives. The Christian who does an honest day's work and who is careful to maintain a good testimony will influence the unsaved: “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23 (NLT)
Those who do not work, should not eat. Let us not practice unscriptural Christian "charity" by taking the Lord's money to support "Christian loafers" and encourage them in their careless way of life. We are to live a quiet and peaceable life before each other. We are not to be critical and divisive toward each other. We are to walk in a quiet and meek spirit out in the world. We are not to be abusive and arrogant in witnessing and in dealing with the world. How do we walk honestly? Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord: This is the proper walk!
IS THERE REALLY ANY CONFUSION WITH THIS MESSAGE?
Conclusion: “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" 1 Peter 1:16 (KJV)
God calls us to holiness - to live lives that are set apart to Him and to purity, to our spouses and families. God calls us to holiness so that we can be strong enough to reach out to a world that reels under the awful weight of suffering and death. There is hope; there is salvation from evil and suffering and from death and judgment. But we must be sanctified and holy, totally set apart to building the strongest characters and families, communities and societies possible in order to reach the world. This requires a proper walk! A baby must learn to roll over, and crawl before they can walk; I got a big kick out of watching Abigail my youngest granddaughter crawl all over the house. I could not believe how fast she could drag everything by her elbows. She didn’t know any other way, but she was crawling. She will walk one day and that day will come very soon. There are Christians who are still not crawling. I believe the reason Abigail is crawling is because she has loving parents and family who have been encouraging her to move. CHURCH we must encourage our babes in Christ to move, to learn how to Walk! This proper walk is a Holy one, it requires love and honesty.
We walk for a cure for cancer, we walk for the march of times, and there was the million man march, all for a cause! Is Holiness a cause, is love a cause, is honesty a cause?
Can you do it? Are you? What is the hold up if you are not? Today we celebrate 19 years! Leadership believes we should take this on as a new church plant, my question is: What are we going to do in the next 19 years?
In : Sermon
Tags: "don't be confused series"
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