1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
1 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.
2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;
4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,
5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
6 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.
7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.
8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
9 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,
10 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,
11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,
12 so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
How do we live out the Christian life on a day-to-day basis? What does it look like in the home? What does it look like in the local home?
We are inundated with books that encourage us to live radical lives. To live crazy lives. These books are trying to meet the need to feel significant, to make a difference. The Bible tells us to be extraordinary. But is also tells us to ordinary, to be normal. What is the ordinary Christian life?
Thessalonica was a big city. It was an important city. It was an immoral city. The Christians ask Paul what it looks like to live as a Christian in such a city. What is Paul’s answer? Does he tell them to sell everything and spend all their time witnessing? Does he tell them to sell everything and live in a cloister? No.
We live with a low-grade guilt that we are not doing enough.
The summary of Paul’s teaching regarding living the Christian life:
1. Be decent
2. Be devoted
3. Be diligent
1. Be decent
a. Be sexually pure. The way we express sexuality tells whether we are following God or following along with the world
i. The culture in Paul’s day was shocking in its sexual immorality
ii. People being saved and coming into the church were bringing this baggage from their old life with them and did not know how to deal with it
b. The commands (vv. 3-5)
i. Negative – abstain from sexual immorality in order to be holy
ii. Positive – control your own body in holiness and honor
1. Self-control – Christians learn to control their desires
iii. Don’t do – Do do. Put off – Put on. Stop and Start. Run away – Run to.
c. The warnings (vv. 6-8)
i. Sexual sin defrauds another person
ii. God is the avenger
1. It cannot be hidden from God
2. God will protect the innocent from the guilty
iii. To ignore the warnings are to ignore God himself
d. What does it not say?
i. It does not say be celibate.
2. Be devoted (vv. 9-10)
a. Contrast is love versus lust.
b. Churches are warned about their lack of love and their loss of love.
c. The church in Thessalonica was exceling in love.
d. Four observations of the love of the Christian
i. Love is taught by God
1. How? By the cross. By the gospel.
ii. The primary object of the Christian’s love is for each other.
1. Love must make us uncomfortable because we must love those who are not like us.
iii. Love extends outward
1. …all the brothers throughout Macedonia.
2. Can the love of your church be gauged by what is said by other churches?
iv. Love is meant to grow.
1. It is a lifetime calling to grow.
2. …more and more.
e. What does Paul not say? Move around the world and love over there. He says love those around you right where you are.
3. Be diligent (vv. 11-12)
a. Aspire to live quietly. Be peaceful. Calm down. Be content to be unremarkable, to be unnoticed. Be normal.
b. Mind your own affairs (business). Don’t be involved in things that are not your concern.
i. Serve with others interest in mind, not your own interests.
c. Work with your own hands. Take care of yourself. Don’t be lazy. Don’t consider work as something beneath you.
This kind of life is to display the power of God to Christians and non-Christians (v.12). Your life will be God-honoring. We are not impressive to others if we are lazy, if we are busybodies, if we are unloving, if we have no self-control. The Lord expects us to live lives as ordinary Christians. Those who are going to live a “radical” life must also be ready to live an “ordinary” life. If we want to see the ultimate example of living this ordinary life, we need look no farther than the Lord Jesus Christ.