Urgings and Warnings

1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 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.”

This letter to the church of the Thessalonians – meaning all believers in Jesus Christ living in the city of Thessalonica – came from Paul, Silvanus (Silas), and Timothy, but I do believe Paul was the one who wrote the letter. And he was addressing true believers in Jesus Christ who were living the Christian life as they ought.

So this letter was to encourage (implore, urge, exhort) them to continue in those walks of faith, and that they do so more and more. But if they were already walking as they ought, why the imploring, urging, and exhorting them to do so more and more? Because we live in flesh bodies, and we still have a propensity to sin, and we are all still tempted to sin, and the allurements of the flesh and of the world can be overpowering.

That is why we have all these types of instructions and urgings all throughout the New Testament. And this is why we are instructed in the Scriptures to speak the truth in love, one to the other, and to address one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom. And it is why we are instructed to exhort one another DAILY so that none of us may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, and why we must consider how to stir one another up to love and to good deeds. It is because we are still flesh and blood.

[Romans 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31; Ephesians 4:1-16; Ephesians 5:17-21; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 3:13; Philippians 2:1-8; Hebrews 10:23-25]

So, how ought we to walk and to please God? And please don’t buy into that lie that says you are already pleasing God just by your profession of faith in him, and thus you don’t have to do anything to please him. The Scriptures refute that when they tell us to find out what pleases the Lord, and that we should live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work (and more).

[Rom 8:8; 2 Co 5:9; Gal 6:8; Eph 5:10; Col 1:9-11; 1 Thes 2:4; 1 Thes 4:1; 2 Tim 2:4; Heb 11:6; Heb 13:6; 1 Jn 3:22]

So, how ought we to walk? Well, once we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin and raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, and we are no longer living in slavery to sin, but as slaves to God and to his righteousness, then we are not to let sin reign any longer in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. For if sin is what we obey, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we obey, it will end in death, not in life everlasting (Rom 6:1-23; cf. 1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:4-10).

And now we are to walk (in conduct, in practice) not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For to live according to the flesh is to set the mind on the flesh, and that will end in death, not in life everlasting. So we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if we live according to the flesh, we will die. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the body, we will live. For it is all who are being led by the Spirit of God who are God’s children (Romans 8:1-14; cf. Luke 9:23-26).

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 ESV

“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…”

So, even those of us who are walking in holiness and in righteousness, and in obedience to our Lord presently, need these instructions so that we are not led astray from our pure devotion to the Lord by the deceitfulness of sin. So, we are to take heed if we think we stand, lest we fall. For we are all going to be tempted to sin, and if we are not careful, we may be led back into sin. This is why it is critical that we remain steadfast in faith and that daily we put on the armor of God to fight off the devil’s schemes against us (Ephesians 6:10-20).

1 Thessalonians 4:6-8 ESV

“…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.”

So, what is this saying to us? We aren’t saved, done deal, and now we can continue living in sin without guilt and without punishment. We must walk the walk and not just talk it. We must die daily to sin and to self and follow the Lord in obedience to his commands. For God’s grace, which is bringing us salvation, instructs us to renounce ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return (Titus 2:11-14).

For if sin is what we obey, and if it is what we put into practice, and if righteousness and holiness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, then heaven is not our eternal destiny. We will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God regardless of what faith we professed with our lips. For we are all going to stand before Jesus one day, and we are all going to be judged according to our deeds (works). And many are going to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of lawlessness,” because they did not obey the Lord (Matthew 7:21-23).

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:23-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

He Lifted Our Burdens

An Original Work / February 15, 2014
Based off Isaiah 9:2-7

People walk in darkness.
They abide in their sin.
It has power o’er them.
True belief escapes them.

Jesus Christ came to save them.
He gave His life up for them;
Crucified; died for our sin,
So we might be forgiven,
And have life up in heaven.

Many come to know Him.
God’s love now o’erflows them.
They rejoice in vict’ry.
Their sin is but hist’ry.

We were once bound in slav’ry.
Jesus lifted our burdens;
Set us now free from Satan,
So we now walk in freedom.
Sin has no more dominion.

Praise be to our Savior!
He showed us His favor.
He took all our burdens;
Cast them all upon Him.

He is our mediator;
The Light which shines in darkness.
Counselor in our troubles;
He gives peace now in our hearts;
Joy which is everlasting.

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