God’s Will: Your Sanctification – 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
December 27, 2020

God’s Will: Your Sanctification
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8


This morning we come to a new section within Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians in which he begins making practical exhortations to them. He has been praising them as a model church to this point, though he had also expressed his great desire to come to them again that he and his companions might be able to “complete what is lacking in your faith” since they had been forced to leave abruptly against their will. (See links to sermons on 1 Thessalonians) In chapters 4 & 5 we find out the specific areas of behavior and doctrine that were of a concern to Paul. In 4:1-12, Paul exhorts them about Christian conduct specifically in the areas of sanctification and loving one another. In 4:13-18 he addresses the question about what would happen to those who died before the return of Jesus which he then follows up in 5:1-11 by encouraging them in being prepared for the coming Day of the Lord. Paul addresses various issues concerning holy living in 5:12-22 before concluding the letter with a request to them for prayer and a final salutation.

I want to begin our study this morning by reading the entire passage and then go back and examine it in detail. Please follow along as I read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12.

1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you. 9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.

Most translations begin this passage with “finally,” but that is not in the sense of this being his concluding thoughts. The word here actually means “for the rest” and is the transition to the additional issues Paul wants to address after dealing with the personal issues in chapters 2 & 3. These 12 verses make up one section that breaks down fairly simply.

Paul introduces his main point in verses 1-2 that though they were walking and pleasing God, he wants them to excel still more in that walk according to what the missionaries had already taught them. He then addresses two particular areas. The first area is fulfilling the will of God by living in sanctification particularly in avoiding the sexual immorality that was common to the way the Gentiles lived (vs. 3-8). The second issue was excelling still more in their love for one another including minding their own affairs (vs. 9-12).

A Request and Exhortation – 1 Thessalonians 4:1a

Young’s Literal Translation expresses well Paul’s transition to a new subject writing, “As to the rest, then, brethren.” This is the seventh time Paul has addresses the Thessalonians as “brethren,” and he will do it ten more times by the end of the letter. A Jewish believer is referring to Gentile believers as members of the same family. Religious Jews at that time did not share such tender feelings of affection for Gentiles. Peter expressed that in Acts 10:28 telling Cornelius that as a Jewish man he had thought it was unlawful for him “to keep company with, or to come unto, one of another race.” Jews typically would not even eat with a Gentile (Galatians 2:12). It took the Lord’s intervention to teach Peter and then the rest of the Jewish believers “that [they] should not call any man unholy or unclean.” The gospel is what reconciles ethnic groups to one another. Every church that is taking up the political mantra of Social Justice and Critical Race Theory should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for exchanging the truth and their own rich heritage in the Scriptures for the lies and putrid blatantly racist solutions of socialists.

Paul then expresses the desires that he and his companions have for the Thessalonians. “We request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.”

The two verbs are joined together showing two aspects of their desire for the Thessalonians to act. The word for request (ejrwtavw / erōtō) is most commonly translated as “ask” with the context determining if that is asking a question or asking someone to do something as in this context, hence, a request. The context will also set the force of the request ranging all the way up to begging or imploring (Acts 16:39). The context here is one of brothers requesting brothers to do something. This is an expression of their desires.

The second verb translated here as “exhort” is parakalevw / parakaleō which we have seen before in 1 Thess. 2:12 and 3:2 where it is translated as “encourage.” The compound word literally means to “alongside to call.” You can get the idea of encourage by picturing a coach coming alongside an athlete and calling to them to continue on. The context here is more forceful because what is being called is directly tied to being “in the Lord Jesus” and so carries authority. In other words, this is not just what I want you to do, this is what the Lord Jesus wants you to do.

The combination of personal plea and authoritative call will run through the rest of the passage as Paul points out the specific requests and exhortations being made. The present active tense of both verbs give them the force of something continually being done.

The Necessity to Walk to Please God – 1 Thessalonians 4:1b

Paul ties his request and exhortation to what they had given to the Thessalonians when they had been among them – “that as you received from us.” As already pointed out in the previous chapters, that is a reference to their proclamation of the gospel to them and instruction, as specifically pointed out here, “how you ought to walk and please God.” The English term “ought” is not used frequently anymore, so let me point out that the idea here is that it is necessary (dei:/ dei) for them to walk with and to please God.

The idea of walking with God is a beautiful picture of the harmony of the relationship man was meant to have with God going all the way back to Genesis when God would walk with Adam in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:8). Enoch walked with God for 300 years after he became the father of Methuselah, then “he was not, for God took him” (Gen. 5:21-24). Enoch did not die but was directly translated to heaven. This was also a characteristic of Noah (Genesis 6:9) and what God called Abraham to do (Genesis 17:1). Part of the blessing God promised to the nation of Israel is that He would walk among them if they obeyed Him (Leviticus 26:1-13). This idea is expressed well by a rhetorical question in Deuteronomy 10:12-13, 12 “Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the LORD’S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?”

Paul frequently used this idea of “walk” to describe the manner in which someone is living. He warns against “walking like mere men” (1 Cor. 3:3), “walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God” (2 Cor. 4:2) and “walking according to the course of this world” (Eph. 2:2). Paul instructs and encourages believers to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7), “walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16), “walk in love” (Eph. 5:2), “walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8), “walk, not as unwise men but as wise” (Eph. 5:15), and “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (Col. 2:6).

The idea of please comes from a word (ajrevskw / areskō) that originally meant the establishment of a positive relationship between two factions and hence “to make peace” or “to reconcile.” It then developed the connotations of “satisfy” and “give / take pleasure” and hence “to please” as used here and in 1 Thess. 2:4, 15 and Galatians 1:10 which contrasts pleasing men and serving (pleasing) Christ as His slave.

To walk with God to please Him encompasses action and attitude. It is a contrast to those in the flesh for they cannot please God (Romans 8:8). This is a necessary part of the Christian life as explained in Galatians 5:16-26. The Spirit and the flesh are in opposition to each other. The flesh sets its desires against the Spirit, but if you walk by the Spirit, you will not carry out the deeds of the flesh. Have you set your desires to please yourself or to please God?

Paul requests and exhorts them to walk and to please God, but he does not give a command for them to do so, for they were already doing so as he has already recognized by his praise of them in the previous chapters. They had received the word of God from them, and even though they had endured hardship and suffering for following it, they followed the examples of the missionaries and they in turn spread the gospel throughout Macedonia and into Achaia. Paul acknowledges all of that here with a parenthetical statement – “Just as also you walk.”

Excel Still More – 1 Thessalonians 4:1c

Paul states at the end of verse 1 that the purpose of the request and exhortation was that they might excel still more, or as the NKJV states it, “abound more and more.” The particular word used here, perisseuvw / perisseuō, has a basic meaning of “to be considerably in excess” or “to be present overabundantly.” The particular thing that is in such abundance is set by the context. In the feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew 14:20) it was the excess bread and fish that had miraculously multiplied. In Philippians 4:12 the word is translated as “prosperity” because it refers to the material aspects of life, and in Philippians 4:19 it refers to the gift they had sent Paul. In Acts 16:5 it was the number of people that were becoming Christians. In Ephesians 3:20 it is the blessings of God that flow out of His love. In 2 Corinthians 4:15 it is the giving of thanks to the glory of God. In 1 Corinthians 15:58 it is doing the work of the Lord. And in this verse it is specifically the Christian walk which is an idea that encompasses both quality and quantity which explains the variation in translation.

What do I mean by that? Consider this illustration describing walking with children. The quantity of such a walk is determined by how much of the time they are staying within the boundaries you have set for them instead of wandering away from you and down side trails. The quality of the walk is reflected in how attentive they are to stay near you instead of having to be called to come back. Your walk with God can be described in the same terms. How well do you live your life within the parameters of His declared will by your own desire or does He have to call you back from wandering away? Paul is essentially saying in this verse that they are doing well, but he requests and exhorts them to continue to do even better. He even intensifies it by adding the word “more” (ma:llon / mallon). Abound in your walk with God to please Him, and even more so.

The Commands Given – 1 Thessalonians 4:2

What Paul alluded to in verse 1 that they had received from them, he states clearly in verse 2. “For you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.” Paul is not bringing up any new commandment. He is going back to what the Thessalonians had already been taught and knew. In addition, these commandments were not something Paul had thought up. What they had taught them were the instructions that had their origin in the Lord Jesus, so the authority for them came from Jesus and not the missionaries themselves. They were only ambassadors of Christ.

What commandments? The statement is general and would include all that Paul and his companions had taught them while they were there. We would be safe to assume it would include much of what Jesus taught in the Gospel accounts and some of what Paul elaborates on in letters to other churches, but since he was only in Thessalonica a relatively short time and had stated his desire to return to “complete what was lacking,” we know there were some deficiencies. Paul will include some elaboration and new teaching in the rest of this letter and his second letter to them. However, in this verse he is only calling attention to what they already knew. What he will mention in the next two chapters are areas that they knew and he wants them to “excel still more.”

The Will of God is Your Sanctification – 1 Thessalonians 4:3a

Paul begins with a direct statement followed by a specific application of it. A more rigid literal translation brings out the emphasis – “For this is a will of God: The sanctification of you.” The will of God is all encompassing and what Paul states here is only one aspect of it though this is a primary aspect of His will for Christians.

God’s will, qevlhma / thelāma, can speak of both His moral will and His sovereign will as determined by the context. Perhaps we are more familiar with God’s sovereign will having just celebrated Christmas in which the plan for man’s redemption set in eternity past and revealed through the prophets of old became reality as stated succinctly in Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Eph. 1:4-5 is another example of His sovereign will 4 “. . . He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will . . .” Another example is Romans 1:10. Paul states his prayers and desires but defers to the Lord saying, “if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.” James 4:15 makes this a point in how all of us should live daily in making our plans stating, “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’”

God’s moral will is His stated wish, desire, inclination. It is what He wants to have happen even in those areas in which He gives His creatures the ability to express their own wills. An example of this is Ephesians 5:15-21 in which Paul gives several imperatives (commands) concerning how believers are to behave beginning with being careful to walk as wise men who make the most of their time instead of being foolish. Paul then states in verse 17, “so then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” How well the specific commands listed are carried out is then in the purview of the individual. 1 Peter 2:15 is another example of this, “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.” God wants you to do right and silence ignorance fools, but whether you do are not depends on your carrying out the command.

The statement here in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 is a declaration that ultimately encompasses both God’s moral and sovereign will. He wants you to be sanctified in how you live in the here and now, and one day you will be completely sanctified when you put off your current mortal and corrupt body and put on an eternal and incorruptible body when Jesus Christ returns and we are transformed to be like Him (1 Corinthians 15:50-57; 1 John 3:2).

Sanctification is from the same root word as holy and is the application of that same basic meaning. It is to be set apart, consecrated, dedicated in loyalty to the service of God. To be sanctified is to live for God which would therefore include obeying His commands and seeking out and following His will in everything.

Abstain from Sexual Immorality – 1 Thessalonians 4:3b

Paul next gives a very specific application of this to the Thessalonians because he is very aware of the Greek culture and the rampant sexual immorality that was part of it. That you abstain from sexual immorality. To abstain (ajpevcew / apexō ) is to “stay at a distance from,” “stay away from,” “be absent from,” “hold one’s self off from.” The particular vice to stay away from here is porneiva / porneia. Some versions translate it as “fornication,” but it is better translated as “sexual immorality” because it encompasses all forms of human sexual activity that are outside the bounds of lawful marriage. It would include everything listed in Leviticus 18 from consanguinity (sexual relations with too near a relative), to fornication, adultery, homosexuality, transvestism and bestiality.

As bad as sexual immorality has become in America, Greek culture was by far much worse, though certain aspects of American culture are working hard to rival it. I have never seen any evidence the ancient Greeks tolerated gender dysphoria much less tried to make others accept the mental illness of men thinking they were women entrapped in the wrong body or women believing they were actually men. The fact that some will claim I am unloving for saying that and want to censor me for it says a lot about how far we have declined as a society. The truth is that love helps others to not only come to grips with reality, but to also rejoice in the blessings of how God has created them. It is cruel to reinforce such mental illness and even worse to give drugs, hormones and mutilate bodies by surgery in a vain attempt in such an effort.

While Corinth was one of the worst places in the ancient world for sexual immorality, the mindset Paul exposes in 1 Corinthians 6:13 was common among the ancient Greeks, “Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.” They viewed sex as essential as food. The idea of being asked to abstain from fulfilling such base sexual desires would be equivalent of asking people to starve themselves. A large part of our society today thinks the same way for they view humans to be just a higher form of animal and therefore it is cruel to inhibit the sexual urges people have. That mindset of society does affect those who profess faith in Christ so that sexual immorality and all the problems that come with it are not uncommon within the church. It was even worse in the ancient Greek culture because prostitution was part of their worship of the gods. It was so ingrained in them that Paul has to tell the immature Christians in Corinth to stop going to the prostitutes (1 Cor. 6:15f).

Sexual Sanctification – 1 Thessalonians 4:4

Is God against human sexuality? Absolutely not, and Paul brings that up in verse 4 writing, “that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor.” There is debate about the application of the Greek phrase used here, to; eJautou: skeu:oV kta:sqai / to eautou skeuos ktasthai. Does it refers to the individual having self control – as translated in the ESV (to control his own body), or to acquire a wife in keeping with the word usage in 1 Peter 3:7. There are good arguments in both directions since word for vessel can encompass both meanings and Christians are to both have self control since it is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23), and marriage is the proper place for the fulfillment of sexual desire (1 Cor. 7:9) in honor (Hebrews 13:4).

I think Paul is referring to proper marriage for two primary reasons. First, the verb used (ktavomai / ktaomai) means to “obtain,” “acquire,” “possess” and it is a strain for it to be used in the sense of “gain mastery over.” Second, in the immediate context Paul contrasts this action which is to be in sanctification and honor with the lustful passions of the Gentiles that do not know God and defrauding a brother which are references to fornication and adultery.

It must be remembered that God designed human sexuality and even commanded Adam and Eve and then later Noah and his sons to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” God’s approval is also seen in Bible passages such as Proverbs 5, the Song of Solomon and 1 Corinthians 7. However, the Scriptures are also very clear that God’s design for this in only for within the marriage relationship as He designed it between a man and a woman. Anything, and I repeat, anything outside of that is immoral and will bring about God’s judgment in the present and for eternity. Hebrews 13:4 states directly, “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Romans 1:24-32 and 1 Corinthians 6:18 warn about temporal consequences for the sexually immoral receive “in their own persons the due penalty of their error” and “the immoral man sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 specifically warns that among those that will not inherit the kingdom of God are fornicators, adulterers, effeminate and homosexuals. Praise the Lord that Paul continues in verse 11 to state “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” God redeems, forgives and sanctifies sinners of every type to be adopted as His own children through faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

To reiterate it again, human sexuality within marriage is sanctified and honorable. As Paul expresses in Ephesians 5:22-33, marriage and the roles of the husband and wife within it are to be reflective of Christ and the Church. Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 stating, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the Church.” The husband’s love is to be like Christ in both its self-sacrificing aspects and its sanctifying aspects as he leads his wife according to God’s word into living in ever greater holiness. Even a marriage that may begin as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 7:2, 9 as a means of avoiding immorality because it is better to marry than to burn, it is to develop into a God honoring reflection of Jesus Christ.

Don’t Be like the Gentiles – 1 Thessalonians 4:5

In verse 5 Paul contrasts this which is holy and honorable with the Gentiles. Translating this in a more literal manner, “not in passion of lust, just as also the nations, the ones not having known the God.” In short, don’t be like the pagans who do not know the true God. As I already pointed out, their sexual practices were self-centered quests to simply satisfy their own strong physical desires. This has direct application to all the aspects of our own increasingly immoral society. Whether it is the debauchery of the hook-up culture and one night stands, or flings and affairs, or what is sometimes referred to as serial monogamy but might be better described as time separated polygamy, all such immorality is contrary to God’s design and will. They did it because they did not know God. The Thessalonian believers, as with all professing Christians, were supposed to know God and therefore were to no longer behave as the pagans.

Don’t Transgress or Defraud – 1 Thessalonians 4:6a

In verse 6 Paul brings up another reason for sexual purity. “That no one transgress and defraud his brother in the matter.” To transgress (uJperbaivnw / huperbainō) is “to step over” the line, to go beyond the limits of God’s law. To defraud (pleonektevw / pleonekteō) is “to take advantage” of someone, usually by a motivation of greed. Contrary to the popular adage that sex between any two consenting adults is legitimate or okay, all forms of fornication and adultery both transgress God’s law and defrauds the legitimate partners. Paul states it in direct terms in 1 Corinthians 7:4 that the wife has authority over her husband’s body and the husband has authority over the wife’s body. Husband and wife belong to each other. Adultery defrauds the legitimate husband and wife while fornication defrauds the future husband and wife. Sexual immorality involves more than two people, it also involves God and the legitimate husband and wife whether current or future. The spread of venereal diseases into marriage relationships proves that point.

God, The Avenger – 1 Thessalonians 4:6b

Paul then gives a stern warning about transgressing and defrauding a brother in this – “because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.” Proverbs 6:29-35 warn of the vengeance of a husband who has been so defrauded that he will be enraged and will not spare nor accept any ransom, but what Paul says here is stronger. The matter may be kept hidden from a spouse, but the Lord knows and will avenge for the transgression is also against Him. Paul had previously told and warned them about this, so this is a reminder.

God’s Calling – 1 Thessalonians 4:7

Paul concludes this section by restating the instruction and giving another warning. 7“For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”

Tragically it is not uncommon to find people that think or at least act as if salvation in Christ is a fire insurance policy that allows them to do what they want without consequence, or at least without eternal consequence. Paul had to address this in Romans 6:1-2 answering his own rhetorical question, Are we to continue to sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” In Galatians 5:13, he had to tell them “not to turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh . . .” which then led up to his contrast between those that walk by the Spirit and those that walk by the flesh. Jude 4 is direct calling such people “ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Paul is more pointed in Titus 1:16 calling them those who “profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”

Numerous Scriptures stress sanctification as a purpose in God’s calling of people to salvation through faith in Christ. Here are a few: Eph. 1:4, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” Romans 8:29-30, “. . . He also predestined us to become conformed to the image of His Son . . .” 1 Cor. 1:2, “. . . to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling . . .” Eph. 4:1, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.” 1 Peter 1:14, “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.”

The Danger of Rejection – 1 Thessalonians 4:8

Paul’s stern warning is that those that reject this teaching are not rejecting a man, a reference to himself and his companions, but rather it is a rejection of the very God that is giving the Spirit who is holy to them. This removes Paul’s own ego from the argument because it makes clear that the call to sanctification which includes abstaining from sexual immorality and instead living in sexual purity is coming from God and not him. They are also rejecting the Holy Spirit’s ministry which Paul explains in Galatians 5 means they will be walking in the flesh and doing the things of the flesh with all its consequences instead of walking in the Spirit living out the fruit of the Spirit and all its blessings.


Paul’s requests and exhortations in this passage as well as his warnings apply to the church today as much as it did then. God’s will for all Christians is that we be sanctified. Our culture is becoming more pagan all the time, so the call to avoid the resulting sexual immorality and pursue sexual purity is just as relevant. These are well established doctrines from God, so to reject them, is to reject God and to reject the ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life. If you are walking in holiness, praise the Lord for His work in you! Excel till more! If you are struggling but pursuing sanctification, then keep fighting onward. If you are walking in the immorality of our age, then repent and seek the Lord!

Sermon Notes – December 27, 2020
God’s Will: Your Sanctification – 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

Overview – 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

A Request and Exhortation – 1 Thessalonians 4:1a

Additional issues for the ____________- a Jew addressing Gentiles with a familial term

The ______of Jesus Christ reconciles ethnic groups to one another – we all become brothers / sisters in Him

Request / ask (ejrwtavw / erōtō ) determined by ___________

Exhort / encourage (parakalevw / parakaleō ) “in the Lord Jesus” is forceful because it carries His ________

This is a plea and an authoritative call

The Necessity to Walk to Please God – 1 Thessalonians 4:1b

“Ought” = something _____________

Walking with God: Genesis 3:8; 5:21-24; 6:9; 17:1; Lev. 26-1-13; Deut. 10:12-13

The __________of life – 1 Cor. 3:3; 2 Cor. 4:2; Eph. 2:2, 2 Cor. 5:7; Gal. 5:16; Eph. 5:2; 5:8; 5:15; Col. 2:6

Please (ajrevskw / areskō ) = make peace / reconcile; satisfy / give pleasure. (1 Thess. 2:4, 15; Gal. 1:10)

A __________ of action and attitude (Rom. 8:8; Gal 5:16-26).

Not a ___________, for they were already doing so

Excel Still More – 1 Thessalonians 4:1c

Excel / Abound (perisseuvw / perisseuō ) – Mt. 14:20; Phil. 4:12,19; Acts 16:5; Eph. 3:20, 2 Cor. 4:15;

Abound even more in your walk with God in quantity and ____________

The Commands Given – 1 Thessalonians 4:2

Not new commandments, but ______________ of what has already been given

A general reference, but he will specifically address areas to “_________still more”

The Will of God is Your Sanctification – 1 Thessalonians 4:3a

God’s sovereign will – Gal. 4:4-5; Eph 1:4-5; Rom. 1:10; James 4:15

God’s moral will – Eph. 5:15-21 2 Peter 2:15

Both: desire for sanctification in the present and ___________of sanctification in eternity (1 Cor 15:50-57)

Sanctification = holy = set apart / consecrated / dedicated in loyalty to the service of God

Abstain from Sexual Immorality – 1 Thessalonians 4:3b

Abstain (ajpevcew / apexō ): to “stay at a distance from,” “stay away from,” “be absent from”

Porneia (porneiva) = Lev. 18 – _____________of sexual immorality

Much of American culture has become sexual ____________

Greek culture was worse for it included prostitution as part of ___________- 1 Cor. 6:13f

Sexual Sanctification – 1 Thessalonians 4:4

Either self control (control his own body) or acquire own vessel (spouse)

ktaomai / ktavomai = “obtain,” “___________,” “possess”

An action of sanctification & honor ___________with the lustful passions of Gentiles & defrauding brother

God designed human sexuality and _____________it in marriage: Gen. 1:28; 9:1; Prov. 5; Song of Solomon

God judges if it is _____________ of marriage: Heb. 13:4; Rom. 1:24-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 18

Marriage is honorable and is for _______________: Gen. 2:24 / Eph. 5:22-33

A marriage that begins because of lack of self-control (1 Cor. 7:2, 9) is still to reflect ___________

Don’t Be like the Gentiles – 1 Thessalonians 4:5

Pagan practices were ____________ quests to satisfy strong physical desires (passion of lust)

Don’t Transgress or Defraud – 1 Thessalonians 4:6a

Transgress (uJperbaivnw / huperbainō ) = “step over” the line, “______________the limits” of God’s law Defraud (pleonektevw / pleonekte ) = “to take ___________” of someone, usually by a motivation of greed

Fornication & Adultery transgress God’s law and defraud the husband and wife – present or ___________

God, The Avenger – 1 Thessalonians 4:6b

Prov. 6:29-35 – a husband will avenge if he knows. God ___________________who transgresses His law

God’s Calling – 1 Thessalonians 4:7

Romans 6:1-2; Jude 4; Titus 1:16 – those who profess to know God, but freely _______________His law

God saves to sanctify – Eph. 1:4; Rom. 8:29-30; 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 4:1; 1 Peter 1:14

The Danger of Rejection – 1 Thessalonians 4:8

Rejecting God’s doctrine is rejecting _______ and the Holy Spirit leaving the person to walk in the flesh


God calls all Christians to be _____________- that includes the area of human sexuality

Praise God if you are walking in holiness. ________forward if you are struggling. Repent if being immoral

– Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Talk with your parents about the meaning of sanctification and what how you can live your life in that manner.

– Questions to consider in understanding the sermon and its application. What does Paul request and exhort them to do? What authority does his exhortation carry? What does it mean to “walk with God”? Why is that necessary? In what ways do chapters 1-3 already reveal they were walking with God? What does it mean to “excel still more”? What is God’s sovereign will? What is His moral will? What is sanctification? What is included in porneia? What was the view of sexuality among the ancient Greeks? When does God approve of human sexuality? When is it evil before Him? What does “lustful passion, like the Gentiles” refer to? How does fornication and adultery transgress and defraud a brother? Why is the vengeance fo the Lord worse than that of a jealous husband? What is the relationship between God’s calling and sanctification? Why is it dangerous to reject this teaching about sanctification and human sexuality? How can you “excel still more” in this area in your own life? What should you do if you are currently immoral?

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