"For this is the will of God; your sanctification." Have you thought about that phrase from verse 3? What does it mean for you to live a sanctified life?
(1 Thes. 4:1-8)
A. A. W. Tozer said, “Until we have seen ourselves as God sees us, we are not likely to be much disturbed over conditions around us as long as they do not get so far out of hand as to threaten our comfortable way of life. We have learned to live with unholiness and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing.” Is that how we see life?
B. The world is evil and filled with sin; we live in the world, and sometimes find ourselves being of the world even though God has called us to a holy life. It is difficult live as God desires when so many live contrary to that way of life.
C. I hear an older preacher talk about trying to eat less carbs and sugar because he needed to lose weight. The problem came when a donut showed up on the kitchen table. He said he look at the donut, saw the glaze and the sprinkles, and he just smelled it. He thought to himself, “One donut won’t really hurt.” He rationalized that it was just going to dry up and go to waste if he didn’t eat it soon. Beside, milk was good for him and the donut would taste even better with a glass of milk. Luckily for him, as he pondered all of that his grandson came in, grabbed the donut and at ate in about 3 bites. But, do you see what was happening? Even though he knew the right thing for his diet, he was convincing himself that breaking it would be “okay.”
I. Live Pleasing God
A. Listen again to 1 Thes. 4:1-2
B. One of the greatest benefits of a church, Christian friends, and especially a Christian spouse is the support you need to live a holy life in an unholy world.
C. Most people who call themselves Christians say that it is essential to believe in God and heaven. When you ask about moral issues, spiritual disciplines, and simply how a person makes a decision, the Biblical viewpoint doesn’t necessarily affect their life.
D. When I examine my life, I see different ways at different times, in which I have lived. I have lived sometimes in way that simply reacts to what is going on around me. Generally, I find myself reacting negatively. Sometimes I live a life conformity. I simply go along with the popular opinion more than really think about what is best. Sometimes I live a life of rebellion. I reject the authority, reject what I know is true, and openly decide I want what I want. But my real desire and my growth as a Christian is to live my life intentionally surrendering to God’s will.
E. Paul give the church the encouragement to keep on living to please God. That’s the key isn’t it? When I decide something, I need to ask myself, “Is this action, attitude, emotion pleasing God?” As I said, most of us in this room know God’s will for how to live. It is not a question of knowing, it is question of living.
II. Living Sanctified Lives
A. This brings me to my second point. A life that is pleasing to God is a life that is sanctified by God. Listen again to how Paul speaks to these Christians: 1 Thes. 4:3-7
B. It is God’s will that we as Christians be and live as sanctified people. Let me give you a Nelson’s Bible Dictionary definition of the word “sanctified.” “The process of God’s grace by which the believer is separated from and sin becomes dedicated to God’s righteousness.”
C. The idea of sanctification is seen in the sacrificial system of the OT. When items used in the tabernacle or temple were first brought into them, they went through a cleansing ritual. Listen to Num. 7:1. This Hebrew word that is translated as “consecrated” is the same word we use for “sanctify.” It was God that made the altar and utensils sanctified. He had the set aside for a holy purpose. No longer would they be used as ordinary utensils.
D. Now let’s apply that to us. Sanctification is more than just changing from being a sinner often to be a sinful sometimes. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that brings the whole nature of our being under the influence of God’s principles. It is the regeneration, the new birth, the power of the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from our sinful being and turns us into utensils for God’s purpose.
E. One illustration given is how husbands need to view their role in the marriage. (READ Eph. 5:25-27). As husband we are to love our wife as Christ does the church. Just as Jesus set us as Christians aside for a holy purpose, we set aside all others, we forsake all others, and cleave only unto our wife. She becomes how we live in purity.
F. That is what Paul is reminding the church in Thessalonica. They were to live in purity in their body. They were to abstain from all forms of immorality, knowing that God will punish such acts because they had made a covenant to live a sanctified life before God our Father.
A. Look at the last verse of our reading (Vs. 8).
B. Many people like to tell you, “That just your interpretation.” While sometimes that is true, there are many times they are simply rejecting the plain, simple truth presented by God in His word. The person doesn’t like to hear what it means to live pleasing to God. They don’t want to live a sanctified life of purity. They want to live feeling good about themselves and justifying their defiance of God’s teaching. What you need to understand is that they are not rejecting you or the teaching you share, they are rejecting God himself. They will stand before God without hope because they rejected the one who gives hope.
C. The bottom line for the church in Thessalonica and the church in this building today is to live your life in the light of God’s word. Let your speech, your conduct, your thoughts be sanctified by God. Let us journey together as a strong spiritual family. If we can help you in your daily walk, please come forward as we stand and sing.
May God Bless You,
Jeffrey Dillinger, Minister