Living to Please God.
For as long as I have been in the ministry, since age 15, I have been asked by so many people: “What is God’s Will for my life?” I have even asked myself the same question!
Interestingly enough, that question comes from all ages, from both males and females. Young believers and older. In this country and in my home country. Everyone wants to know God’s will. The catch is: few want to really do what His Will is. Everyone wants to be told what to do but very few really want to follow that advise. Why? Because, we feel, we know best what is good for us!
"Don’t try to give me the facts; my mind is made up with my own thoughts and understandings. I don’t like being told what to do! I am my own person!"
Strong feelings here!
God’s Will! & Seems so dark and mysterious. So unknowing. Right? Not really. The Bible shows us so clearly the general rule of thumb as to what His Will is for us who follow Him &and for those who need to follow Him.
Here it is: Be His person and Think His Thoughts. Feel His feelings. Hurt when He hurts. Have your heart be moved as His heart is moved. Enjoy His presence in your life. Allow His Spirit to move you, teach you, lead you and keep you.
We are all concerned with the details of an agreement. The fine print is very interesting to read. Yet, ever look at the printed warning sections to some of the medicines we take? Or if you use the intranet, the fine print of YouTube or I Tunes? No, we just press ‘agree’ and move on.
But in life, it is way different. We want every 'T' crossed, every 'ga' marked. We want every day -every year- filled in and so the question I am asking is “Where is the Faith in that kind of living?” We really don’t NEED to know EVERYTHING. If we did, we would be so afraid. We would just stay in our beds!
However, Paul, here in this letter, spells it out very simply for us. God’s will is for you to live a life that is sanctified. In fact, we are living that way right now.
RIGHT? Not really. The people in that city might have been living that way but that was written a long time ago and they are all dead now. Paul had already instructed them how to live their lives in order to please God. (verse 1) Now, he adds, "we now ask you, URGE you IN THE LORD JESUS to do this AND more and more."
What is he asking? He is asking them (and us) to be more diligent in how we live out our days. If we loved people on Sat, we must REALLY love them today. MORE and MORE.
Also we must be more and more sanctified. What does that mean? Sanctify 1. to make something holy. 2. to free somebody from sin, for example, by a ritual act of purification. 3. To separate from an evil way to a way of purity. As in a marriage, the couples NEED to be at peace with each other because of the oath or vow they made to one another. To be set apart to be one. Let no man pull it asunder.
In this case, to be set apart from the evil society with it’s world-view which is 10,000 degrees off from where the Lord would have us be. Set apart TO Jesus. He owns us now. No longer can we live our lives as we where the boss. We both NEED Him and we should desire that needing. If it is not there, it should be a warning that all is not well with our soul. Not well and in need or some direct repair from His Hand.
Paul affirms that these words of instruction are not just from his lips he does teach it but it is by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
See verse 2, & verse 8.
2. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
8. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you His Holy Spirit.
Don t like this kind of teaching, don’t get mad at me! I am just teaching what Paul taught. Don’t be mad at Paul: he was only telling us what God told him!
And, here are some of those instructions: we should avoid sexual immorality! That we should control our OWN body-in a holy and honorable way, not in pagan or heathen ways. Don t reject these instructions.
One at a time: #1. AVOID SEXUAL IMMORALITY.
This comes in many and different ways. Sex and sexual imagery is rampant. It is used for selling coffee, to old cars, to meat to even Mangas. The problem of being desensitized to the problem even comes to rest in this room with what we allow into our own lives. Centers of learning have taken the forward step as to mold our students into a mindset where all is OK.
Tolerance is the name of the game. Our authority becomes our own thirst for lust. Standards change over time and after a few years, what used to be NOT spoken of in private, is now being shown on a 40 inch HD screen and it is supported by the society’s standards which always change.
A moral compass is missing. What’s the point of a moral compass if there is no True North? I believe there is a True North. One would say this is OK to allow while another would go even further and offer the sky as the limit. Who is to say who is right and who is wrong? The one with the biggest support? The one who is cute? The person who can say it in five languages? Or the lady who gives away $100,000,000 every forth Tuesday? There HAS to be someone who is in charge and who is right! I’d say that would be Jesus. But some would disagree! Still the fact remains that Jesus is The Authority. The sole authority-or should I say soul authority?
Jesus transcends culture. He transcends time. Economic status and color and personalities. He is above them all!
The Bible sets up the standard. Paul and others in the New Testament time taught His teachings. They continue today and the questions still come up.
2. Don’t reject these instructions.
If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and He is your Lord than your life is not your own to live out. It matters what you say and how you say it! It matters what you do with your body and with your mind & eyes. It belongs to Jesus and you need to put it under His control. That means that any form of sexual misconduct is wrong. Don’t be mad at me!
1 Thess. 4:8 says he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you His Holy Spirit.
You know, God is most interested and concerned with how we walk the Christian walk. He came to us (incarnation) not just to make us God s children and to get us into heaven, but also to engage us to live as Children of God in a dark and perverted world as people who walk in the Light. In this world, there are many who do not know Him. By our walking in the light as He is in the Light, the world will know He lives and that He restores broken people like us and like them.
How is that done? Paul seems to feel that those people in Thess. already know. Do we know? By loving one another. And to love more and more.
1 Thess 4:18 Therefore, encourage each other with these words!
3. That we should control our OWN body-in a holy and honorable way ¬ in pagan or heathen ways.
Now this is the most active concern of them all for Paul. The society Paul was addressing was as active in sin as we are today. We got the Internet and world travel added to our list of ways to exploit people. When it comes down to it, YOU are to watch after yourself. You are the one who will be judged and you alone are in trouble IF you have not controlled your body. Paul, in effect, is declaring; control our tongue, your attitude, your words, your temper, your lust, and your expressions of the heart. And in doing so, we are to follow 3 or 4 more directives, which is found in verses 11-12.
11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
Don‘t be a loud person. Rom 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Keep your nose out of people's business! Don’t be a busy body. Be active in the support of yourself and your family. Don t have a lot of idle time. Work with your body and mind. Work with your hands does not mean only be involved in manual labor. It means if you expect to eat, work. No free lunches.
The reason for this kind of lifestyle is clear. As people watch your life and they do and they will your daily life may win the respect of those outside the Faith. We are not to be dependent on anyone. We live interdependently with the Body but, again, not trying for a free handout.
So, what to do with this information? Number One: Take it seriously. Don't mess around with sin. Keep yourself PURE before the Lord. Seek out a clean and unsoiled mind. Be active in keeping yourself set apart to the Lord.
Sanctified. Set apart. No longer part of the old way of life. No longer addressing issues with the old mindset but now, with the renewing of the mind, pressing on to be more and more like Jesus. Allowing Him enter into the inner parts of our lives. In the inner parts of our homes. Into the inner most parts of our relationships. Then you will be living a life that is pleasing to the Lord.
__Next week is the FIRST SUNDAY in SEPTEMBER__
That means COMMUNION SUNDAY!