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.”
There are people today within the gatherings of the church who will tell you that you don’t have to do anything to please God, for you already please God just by your profession of faith in him.
They will also tell you that you don’t have to repent (leave your lives of sin behind you) and that you don’t have to obey the Lord and his commands. They will tell you that a confession of faith in Jesus Christ is enough to ensure you heaven, and it doesn’t matter how you live your life from that moment forward.
But that is not what the Bible teaches, and that is contrary to the divine nature of God and his expressed will for our lives. Thus, it is a LIE!
We do need to live (walk) to please God. We must live morally pure lives. We have to abstain from sexual immorality. We must control our own bodies in holiness and honor. And, that one is not just about living morally pure. That has to do with rage and violence, too. For we are to do nothing to transgress (disobey) and to wrong other people. We don’t return evil with evil, and we don’t return good with evil, either.
There is no excuse for anyone, really, to purposefully and to willfully harm another. Every time you wife, or you husband, choose to look lustfully at another, or to flirt with another, or to have secretive chats with another, or to fantasize sexual or romantic thoughts about another, or you choose to look at porn, or choose to have an extra-marital affair, you hurt your spouse. You wrong him or her. And, that is not love. That is hate.
Yet, there are many leaders within the church who are telling you that God’s grace is free license to do those things, and that when God looks at you that he doesn’t even see your sin. All he sees is Jesus, and thus he just smiles on you while you are rebelling against him, and willfully harming others, and degrading your own bodies with your thirst for lust.
That is not the God I know! That is not the God of the Scriptures! Our God says you MUST NOT do those things! For, God has not called us for impurity, but for HOLINESS!
And, do you know that it is not our profession of faith in Jesus Christ which saves us? It is our walk of faith. For, the Scriptures teach that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who WALK (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God, and NOT according to our sinful flesh. For, if we WALK according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (Rom. 8:1-17).
Oh, what lies we have been fed that tell us that we can just “believe” in Jesus and now heaven is secured for us and that how we live doesn’t matter. For, this cheapens God’s grace, and it is a slap in the face to Jesus Christ who died that horrible death on a cross so that we would DIE with HIM to sin, and so we would LIVE to HIM and to his righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).
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, as followers of Jesus Christ, are to love all people, including our enemies. But we are especially commended here to love one another, for not everyone who professes Jesus as his Lord and Savior loves his brothers and sisters in Christ.
Get on Facebook or Twitter and it will be obvious. For, brothers and sisters in Christ are fighting with each other vehemently, probably about some things that don’t even exist, if truth be told. For, they are believing whatever social media presents to them, which ignites them, and which is the plan (the scheme). For, the devil wants us fighting one another. So, don’t bite!
But this love we are to have, one for the other, is not just some warm affectionate feeling. It is a love which is centered in moral preference. In fact, it means to prefer what God prefers, which is what is holy, pure, righteous, trustworthy, upright, truthful, faithful, just and kind.
It is to prefer to live through Christ, and not in our own flesh. And, this love embraces God’s will for our lives, and it obeys his commands in His power, not snubs them.
So, if we are loving our brothers and sisters in Christ in this way, we are not going to lie to them, cheat on them, steal from them, trick and manipulate them, commit adultery against them, gossip, slander them, or commit acts of violence against them. For, this kind of love is not what we feel, it is what we do. And, we can love like this and not feel love towards others, too.
Mind Your Own Business
So, if we are to live quietly and to mind our own affairs, that would mean that we would not commit adultery, or gossip, or cheat someone, would we? And, we wouldn’t get involved in angry disputes with others that turn ugly, and we wouldn’t participate in violent protests where we are causing harm to others. We can express our disagreements peacefully, when called for.
And, on another note here. Let me say what this is NOT saying. This does not mean that we don’t share the gospel with other people. It doesn’t mean that we don’t call out lies and that we cease from proclaiming the truth. It doesn’t mean that we agree to being silent about Jesus so as not to offend people with the gospel message. We are not to “stay in your own lane” when it comes to sharing the truth that can set people free from their bondage.
Yet, we are not to live unruly lives. We are not to be out of control. But we are to be under the Holy Spirit’s control. We are to do nothing willfully to harm another, so we are not free to continue living in sin just because of God’s grace. For, God called us to holiness. He did not free us to live in wickedness without guilt! So, we need to live self-controlled lives, which is really Holy Spirit controlled, for that is one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit.
Bottom line? We just need to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, which is our acceptable worship of him. And, we are to no longer walk according to the flesh. We are not to be conformed to the ways of this sinful world. But we are to be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from sin to walks of obedience to our Lord. And, there we will find peace. And, there we will find love, too.
Soldiers of Christ Arise
Lyrics by Charles Wesley, pub. 1741
Soldiers of Christ, arise, and put your armor on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies, through His Eternal Son.
Strong in the Lord of Hosts, and in His mighty power,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts is more than conqueror.
Stand then in His great might, with all His strength endued,
But take, to arm you for the fight, the panoply of God;
That, having all things done, and all your conflicts passed,
Ye may o’ercome through Christ alone and stand entire at last.
Leave no unguarded place, no weakness of the soul;
Take every virtue, every grace, and fortify the whole.
From strength to strength go on; wrestle, and fight, and pray;
Tread all the powers of darkness down and win the well-fought day.
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