Monthly Archives: October 2022

1 Thessalonians 4- Sanctification Part 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 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5

Sanctification is a topic that is not preached by most Pastors these days, even though it’s a Biblical commandment, as the Apostle Paul said “given to you by the Lord Jesus Christ”. Jesus said “Unless you are Born Again, you will not see the Kingdom of Heaven” (John 3:3) What did Jesus mean by this? Well he was talking about the regeneration of the Holy Spirit in our lives, a process called Sanctification

An old theologian named JC Ryle wrote alot on this topic, including probably his most popular book “Holiness”, I believe this is a book that should be in every Christians library. So why are Christians in general so offended by the mention of sanctification? Well because if your going to claim to be a Christian, then there needs to be “fruits” or evidence of your conversion (Matthew 7) You can’t claim to be a Christian and still be dead in your sins (Ephesian 2) You are either a slave to Christ or you are a slave to Sin (Romans 6)

The Apostle Paul says “Walk or Live to please God” Often when we talk about sanctification, people claim we are talking about a “works based salvation”, this is generally their argument to remain in their sin. However we know from the Bible, that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and any of our good deeds are like filthy rags compared to God (Isaiah 64:6) Jesus even said “Nobody is good (morally excellent) than God alone” (Mark 10:18)

So why do we care about sanctification or holiness? Well because the greatest commandment, according to Jesus is “To love the Lord God is all your heart, your soul, and your mind” (Matthew 22:37) So the question isn’t “Does God love me”? We know God loves us , because he demonstrated that on the cross (Romans 5:8) The real question is “Do you really love God”? Many will say Yes, however their actions don’t reflect that true love. 

The Apostle Paul says “Everyone should know how to possess his vessel (body) in sanctification and honor”If your a true Born Again Christian, then your body is the temple of God filled with the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20) We shouldn’t pollute our bodies with sin. Think about a Church building, many of us act differently at Church than at our own homes. We respect the building, we wouldn’t start drinking alcohol at Church, or watch pornography, so then why is it appropriate to do these acts in the Temple of God, your own body?

Sanctification is a process of the Holy Spirit working in us to make us more like Christ. It doesn’t happen overnight, but we should strive to live to please God and honor him with our bodies, Amen!

1 Thessalonians 3- Return of Christ

For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. 1 Thessalonians 3:9-11

The Apostle Paul asks a good question here “For what thanks can we render to God again”? How can we possibly thank God adequately or properly for everything God has done for us? The honest answer is we can’t , and that’s why Gods grace is so amazing, it’s a gift we can never repay or earn, its a gift that is many times beyond our comprehension, however when we understand the immense love God demonstrated to us on the cross, our relationship with God grows stronger and deeper

Night and day the Church prayed exceedingly for Timothy and the other Christians, are we following that same pattern? Are we praying night and day for our brothers and sisters in Christ? If you want to see a powerful Church, there needs to be alot of praying! We don’t do anything on our own, we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Phil 4:13) we need to abide in Christ, and Christ will abide in us

How do we know what to do or how to respond? Paul says “May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way” Are we doing the will of God or are we doing our own will? We need to be in unceasing prayer, we need to strengthen our relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

Paul speaks a blessing over the Church, this should be an important part of the Pastor. First Paul wishes the Church would abound in love towards one another, wouldn’t this be a good message for all Christians? As Christians continue to divide and argue with one another over man-made doctrines, the true Christian should be more concerned with actually loving his brothers and sisters, a simple concept that doesn’t seem to be practiced anymore

Secondly Paul wishes the Church establishes their hearts and unblameable in holiness before God, Paul is praying for true Born Again believers of the Church and not false converts Only God truly knows our hearts, whether they have been transformed or not, however we can pray for the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of our fellow believers

Lastly, notice Paul talks about the Second coming of Christ, “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” We as the Church need to get ready for the return of Christ, we need to make sure were Born Again and have our lamps full of the Holy Spirit , Amen

1 Thessalonians 3- Stand Fast in Jesus

Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5

We as Christians, as the Church, are the hands and feet of Christ, we are the light of the world and the salt of the Earth (Matthew 5) I say these reminders because sometimes we forget, sometimes when we pray for God to send a miracle, we forget that God is working through and in us. We can be the miracle for others, we can do the work of Christ.

This is a good example here, the Church was under heavy persecution and was looking for a miracle, God sent Timothy to “establish and comfort you concerning your faith” The Holy Spirit was working through Timothy to be the Shepherd of this Church, during its darkest times. Just as God could be using you to help others in their darkest times also. This is what makes the true Church powerful and unstoppable, it’s a living and breathing entity, now just an organization

Notice what Paul says again “The tempter have tempted you and labor you in vain” We know the tempter is Satan, again this Church under attack by demonic forces. Just as we are under attack from Satan on a daily basis also, this is why we need the “Armor of God” (Ephesian 6) Unless the Church abides in Christ and is filled with the Holy Spirit, we will not stand

But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 3:6-8

Timothy reported to Paul the great faith of the Church of Thessalonica, even though the Church was being heavily persecuted, the Church never lost their faith in Jesus Christ. If someone was going to report your faith, what would they say? Paul said he “they were comforted by their faith” As Jesus said “Dont fear the one who can kill the body, fear the one who can destroy both body and soul in Hell (Matthew 10:28) The Church understood this, they didn’t fear Satan or the world, they put their faith in Jesus Christ!

Paul said “For now we live, if you stand fast in The Lord” Eternal life is only through Jesus Christ, stand fast in the persecutions of Satan, stand fast in the afflictions of this world, stand fast in The Lord Jesus Christ, Amen!

1 Thessalonians 2- The Persecuted Church

For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

Even though the Church of Thessalonica was full of the Holy Spirit and a true Church, they were facing severe persecution, as Paul says “You have also suffered and persecuted us”  As true Christians, we are going to be persecuted for our faith and might even suffer. This typically means you are doing something right, and Satan is trying to shut you down! As this was the case with this Church, as they we were “forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles” Satan was trying to stop the gospel from being shared

In fact, if your Church is not being persecuted, you might have to ask yourself “Are we fulfilling the Great Commision “? (Matthew 28:19) Satan is ok if you sit back and take it easy, he wants you to just remain silent and distracted. However when you start doing The Lord’s work, then the attacks will start coming. Satan won’t attack the Lukewarm Christians (Revelation 3:16) or the false Church, in fact he’s probably controlling them. Only when the Holy Spirit is present, do the demonic forces get worried, because they know they have been already defeated by Christ! (John 19:30)

Another thing to point out, religion won’t save anyone, only Jesus Christ can (John 14:6) The Jews were very religious and zealous , however they were blinded by Satan, and as Paul stated “They killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets” Even still today, many religious Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah, why? Because they love their religion more than they love God. Religion won’t save you, you must be Born Again through Christ (John 3:3)

But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy. 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20

Notice what Paul says here “But Satan hindered us” The Church was continually under attack by Satan and his demonic forces. The Church is not fighting against flesh and blood, the Church is fighting against the principalities of darkness (Ephesians 6) So with all this suffering, what is the hope for the Church? It’s the return of Jesus Christ!

The Lord has already Risen, defeating Sin , Death, and Satan! The foundational hope of the Christian is knowing we are already victorious through Christ! (John 16:33)Amen!

1 Thessalonians 2- Walk Worthy of God

For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12

Another thing that was very commendable about Paul’s ministry, is it was self funded. As Paul says here “For laboring night and day, because we would not be chargeable or a burden to any of you” Paul actually worked as a tentmaker (Acts 18:3) , this is actually how he found Aquila and Priscilla, who were also tentmakers. The point is Paul didn’t go around begging people for money to support his ministry, he actually worked side jobs to accomplish this. Now with that said, many Christians did support Paul financially as they were led in their hearts by the Holy Spirit, but Paul never demanded any money from anyone to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ

Paul goes on to say that they treated everyone as a Father would treat their children. Paul loved Christ, but he is loved the souls he was trying to share the gospel with. Today we see alot of YouTube street preachers just condemning everyone for their sins, how is this loving? Treat people as if their were your child, try to relate to them, try to have a real conversation with them, of course teach them the true gospel of Christ. As Paul said “You are all witnesses and God, how we behaved” These Christians behaved in a way that they were respectable and honorable. They were not just stirring the pot to get attention, they actually cared about these peoples souls, as a Father cares for their children

Here is a statement I love what Paul says “Walk worthy of God, who has called you unto his Kingdom and Glory” We need to walk in a manner that is honoring Christ. If we act immoral or unfruitful, then this actually brings dishonor to God. To be called by Christ is the greatest calling you can receive , live your life as a servant to Christ, a life that would be worthy to be called a Christian

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13

But lets remember that all the work we do is filthy rags, and the only one who can save people is God himself. Thats why Paul is saying “Be thankful for the elect, who heard the gospel and were able to receive it” Why do some people receive the gospel and some reject it? Only God knows the minds and hearts of people, we are just his vessels to spread the seed, the Word of God, and let the Holy Spirit work on their hearts

In your daily life, in your ministry, at your Church, at your job, walk worthy of your calling by God. People should be able to identify you as a Christian, just by your conduct and your fruits, because being a disciple of Christ is the highest calling a person can ever receive Amen!