We Can’t Opt Out

Walk to Please God
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 ESV

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Walking (living) to please God is not optional for the life of the believer in Jesus Christ. We don’t “get saved,” and then live however we want, and then get to go to heaven one day when we die. It doesn’t work that way. That is not what scripture teaches. This passage makes that abundantly clear.

And, yet, so many people who call themselves Christians live just like that. They have their “salvation,” or so they believe, but then they live just like the world, and many of them are addicted to sexual idolatry, as well, and yet they think God will do nothing, because they believe their sins are forgiven and thus they have eternal life with God, no matter what they do.

But, we were not saved from our sins so that we could continue in them without guilt and without remorse. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. That is the essence of the gospel message. We are not set free to live how we want. We are set free from slavery (addiction) to sin so that we can become slaves (bondservants) of God and of his righteousness (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).

We are called to be holy, which means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made into the likeness of Christ. If we continue in willful sinful practices such as are mentioned here, in lifestyle, we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment and the fires of hell (See: Rom. 8:1-17; Lu. 9:23-25; Gal. 5:19-21).

Remember, these words were spoken as a warning to the church, not to the people out in the world. If we profess Christ as Savior of our lives, but we live in the filth of this world and we make sin our practice, especially sexual sin, which is often called out in scripture, and thus we willfully do harm to others knowingly and without conscience or true repentance, then we must know that God is an avenger in all these things.

“The person that commits these things the Lord avenges, either in this life, by the hand of the civil magistrate, who is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that does evil; or by a violent death, as in the case of Zimri and Cozbi, and twenty four thousand more at the same time; or by some awful judgment from heaven, as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah; or in the world to come; for the law of God is made and lies against such persons; these living and dying in such sins God will judge, to whom vengeance belongs; these shall not inherit the kingdom of God, but have their part and portion in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Gil’s Exposition of the Entire Bible).

Concerning Brotherly Love
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 ESV

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

We are always to love one another with God-like love, which prefers what God prefers, which is what is moral, pure, honest, honorable, and faithful, etc., and thus it does no harm to its neighbors (to anyone). But, as followers of Christ, we are to love our fellow Christians with a special kind of affection and kindness, caring and concern, that should exist within a family who loves and cares for one another.

We should, thus, be thoughtful about our brothers and sisters in Christ and their needs, and concerning our duty to minister God’s love and grace to one another, using the gifts God has given us for building up the body of Christ and for strengthening her and helping her to maturity in Christ. We should care, too, if a brother or a sister falls into sin, and we should be careful to, in all humility, encourage him or her back to a right fellowship with God and with the body of Christ.

We are here to help one another to walk in the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. We are not here to just pat one another on the back to make one another feel good while we or they continue in willful sin against God. Thus, this admonishment to mind our own affairs is not an encouragement to “stay in our own lane” while ignoring sin within the church and while doing nothing to help lift a brother or a sister out of a pit if he or she has fallen. For, this is our business! We are family! We help each other to walk rightly before God (See: Eph. 4; 1 Co. 12).

To mind our own affairs and to work with our hands means to take responsibility for our own lives, and to not pass that responsibility on to others because we are lazy or living in addiction. It means to not butt into other people’s business that God does not make our business, unless we are invited. And, it means to not be one who is idle who just goes around gossiping about other people, too. And, it means, too, not to blame others for our own mistakes, failures and sins, but to own up to them, and to cooperate with God in his work of grace in our lives so that we no longer walk (live) in sin, but by the Spirit we now walk according to the Spirit.

Encourage One Another
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

One day we are all going to die. It is inevitable, unless we happen to be among those who are still on the earth when Jesus returns and we also are ones who have trusted him to be Lord and Savior of our lives.

But, when we stop breathing and our heart stops beating, what dies are our flesh bodies, not our souls; not the real us. Our souls will live on, either with God in eternal joy and comfort or with Satan in eternal torment and punishment. Living with Christ is regarded as life, while living in eternal punishment is regarded as death, because when we live in this life for sin, we die in our sins, and thus we don’t have eternal life with God in victory, honor, joy, and peace, etc.

But, when Jesus Christ returns one day for us, his bride, our salvation is completed, and our marriage relationship to him is fully consummated. We who have died believing in Jesus Christ, perhaps even as martyrs for Christ, will be resurrected from the dead and we will be given glorified bodies, not like these flesh bodies we live in now. And, those who are still alive on this earth, who have trusted in Jesus Christ, will join us in being with our Lord forever, and they also will be given glorified bodies (See: 1 Co. 15:42-53).

Then, all that we have suffered for the sake of Christ and for the sake of his gospel, while we have lived on this earth, will be no more. Jesus will wipe all the tears from our eyes. There will be no more pain, sorrow, abuse, betrayal, adultery, and sexual immorality, etc. No one will hurt us anymore. We will not ever be sick or injured or be tempted to sin, either. We will be forever with our Lord in perfect harmony with him. And, that is awesome! I look forward to that day when I will be forever with my Lord. Amen!

This I Believe (The Creed)
Hillsong Worship

I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one

I believe in You (Jesus)
I believe You rose again
I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord

We believe in love, Jesus

I believe in the resurrection
When Jesus comes again
For I believe, in the name of Jesus

I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus

Thursday, May 31, 2018, 7:22 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. Bring it home to our hearts, I pray in Jesus’ name.

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