I Thessalonians 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.
7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
Paul continued his words of encouragement in chapter 4. We noted in chapter 3 that the saints had welcomed Paul and his team to Thessalonica. Those who are saved know the blessing of the gift of eternal life. They welcome those who are willing to tell them the truth. God’s peace is unique. It is what man needs but most will never know. It is sad that there is so much hostility to the truth. We know that we all had a hostility to it at one time. We are all born as lost sinners and thus follow the lies of the devil. A few will get saved in any generation. That is the good news.
God directed Paul in his writing. He now exhorted the saints to grow in their walk with God. Paul reminded the saints that his authority came from the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians please God when they walk in obedience to His Word. There is never a time for saints to coast. Coasting is trouble. A Christian can never become too spiritual. There is always more we can learn and more that we can grow in.
In verse 2 Paul reminded them that his teaching was not options to consider. It was commands that came directly from the Lord Jesus. The Christian life is not forced upon anyone. It is offered as a gift. Those who are saved, have been changed by God but they also need to understand that as God’s children they must submit to His authority. God’s will is not optional for the child of God. There are saints, such as those in Corinth, that resist the truth. They also do not enjoy the fellowship that God has designed for His children. You cannot be a selfish Christian and know the intimate blessings of the Lord.
In verse 3 we are reminded that the will of God is for the saints to be sanctified. God directed Paul to write about this in chapter 3. He needed to remind them further of the importance of this. In this instance it is linked to the sin of fornication. Born again Christians must abstain from immorality. We are living in a time of very loose morals. There is a lack of faithful preaching and teaching on the importance of moral purity. This needs to be stressed in the home and in the churches.
Young people need to be taught the importance of purity while they are single. There is much harm done when moral purity is not followed.
A distortion that has become the norm for many is the whole delusion of dating. Dating is supposed to be the time where a young man and a young woman get to know one another better. It is supposed to help them to know if they are meant for each other. If they discover they are not a good fit, they split and find someone else. This leads to confusion of mind. When the person is in this process their emotions are involved. Their emotions are also not well organized in this process.
The Bible teaches us the importance of prayer in all that we do. Those who are saved will be led to make wise decisions through prayer and wise counsel. The counsellor is wise because he is seeking to be a blessing to the recipient. He is also a man of prayer and seeks to guide others in the right way. Of course godly parents are good counsellors. A good relationship in the family is helpful all the way through.
Verse 4 continues this exhortation. There is a need to control the emotions and the desires. There is a need to understand the importance of separation and purity of thought and actions. This begins in the home. Boys and girls are different. Parents need to understand this and teach that in the home. Boys and girls should not bathe together or sleep in the same room. Girls need to dress like girls but they also need to be taught how to behave as girls. Boys need to dress modestly as well and they need to be taught to treat their sisters with that moral purity that is required by God.
This is what verse 4 is talking about. Children need to be taught the importance of behaving in a manner that is in sanctification and honour. Children need to see parents behaving in a godly manner before their children. Children can learn much good from godly parents. You cannot preach it if you do not want to live it. T.V. is something that really has no use in a Christian home. The immorality that is promoted on that venue is of no value. The internet needs to be closely monitored. There is much evil there as well. There is some benefit to the internet but it must be monitored. Children need to be taught that the lust of the flesh is of the devil and thus they need to know how to live sanctified lives.
I do not believe romance novels have any place in the Christian home. They are written from someone’s imagination. They are not real. People do not need to be taught to live in a fantasy world. The Bible teaches us how to relate to others. When children are saved and taught to walk humbly with the Lord in all areas, they will be prepared to accept the spouse that God leads them to. They will be able to share a genuine love and care for one another.
In verse 5 Paul spoke of the lust of concupiscence. That is talking of impure desires. It is so important for children to be taught the truth from young on and to be prayed for daily as they grow and develop. No one can force their child to be saved, but they can certainly set the standard in the home as well as in the choice of church they attend. The local church is an important part of training for the family.
When our children were young we decided to home school them. Some people thought they would be social misfits because they would not have the social interaction that children need. We stated that they get all the social interaction they need from Sunday School and church as well as family gatherings. Godly parents need to be careful in the exposure they give to their children. If there is bad exposure that was brought in, then the parents need to teach the children what is truth and to guard against repeating the bad exposure.
Our world had no problem locking down children over the past three years. They scared them into being afraid to interact with anyone. They have caused much harm to many children and adults. The parents who subjected their children to the evils of the past three years are guilty before God. They have done harm to their children that will affect them for a long time. Wise parents do not subject their children to the corrupt secular educational system.
In verse 6 we are reminded that this moral purity covers all areas. No man should go beyond and defraud his brother. When a saint does not behave with purity, they rob others of the blessings of the Lord. They put a stumblingblock before others. God wants His children to be a blessing to one another. We can only be that when we put God first and when we set an environment where our children can learn the blessing of this from young on.
The Lord sees all. He has provided the means for His children to be holy. When a Christian lives carelessly, God sees it. He will hold that person accountable. God is willing to forgive. Forgiveness requires repentance. It is the desire to stop the sin, not to be momentarily forgiven.
Paul has warned the saints that they were accountable to the Lord. He loves His children. He provides for His children. He does not brush off rebellion.
In verse 7 we are reminded that God has called His children unto holiness, not uncleanness. When we were lost, uncleanness was the norm. However, those who are saved have been changed. We have been given a new nature. Holiness is the requirement for the saved person. Holiness is possible for the saved person. Holiness is the desire of the spirit of the saved person. When the saved person walks in the flesh, they will be involved in uncleanness. However, those who are saved cannot be left in that place. Paul taught the saints that holiness was the path they needed to pursue. He had an obligation before the Lord to remind them of this. They had an obligation to live holy lives.
The same is true today. Christians must live holy lives. Pastors must preach and teach the importance of holy living. Parents need to be reminded of the importance of setting up a righteous standard in their homes. Children need to be taught the importance of holiness. There is a great blessing in being obedient to the will of God.