As we are beginning this ministry the Lord has had me look at the subject of holiness, so I am sharing this here.
1Th 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;
1Th 4:2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
1Th 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;
1Th 4:4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,
1Th 4:5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
1Th 4:6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.
1Th 4:7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.
1Th 4:8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
1Th 4:9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;
1Th 4:10 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more;
1Th 4:11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,
1Th 4:12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
This passage calls us to holiness and calls us to walk in the Spirit, to love one another, to be watchful and sober, we are to flee from the temptations of this world. The Thessalonian church were already walking with the Lord but Pauls prayer was that they might abound more and more, that their revelation knowledge might increase. In the previous verse (1 Th. 3:13) Paul had spoken about the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And in verse 13 of this chapter, he continues speaking about the return of Christ. The verses which are in between (v. 1-12) are not disconnected from that subject.
Rev 19:6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Rev 19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Rev 19:8 Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
Rev 19:9 Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' " And he added, "These are the true words of God."
Rev 19:10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
Jesus is coming back for a pure spotless bride, who has prepared herself for Him, who have walked in righteousness, who have walked in holiness serving a holy God. Notice the kind of authority that Paul has in verse 2 In verse 3 we see there is a warning against sexual immorality. The lust of the flesh is one of the main ways that the enemy attacks believers and stops them from walking in righteousness, disturbs their walk with God. The Lord wants us to keep ourselves pure and we cannot hear from God properly if we allow those things or other things to come in the way. Adultery can take many shapes and forms, spiritual adultery is anything we obsess over that takes our focus away from Jesus. It could be even our own self importance, our ministry that gets in the way, our business for Christ that gets in the way and very few of us are able to say it doesnt happen to us, I know I certainly cant.
Holiness is not just for some in the body of Christ it is for every all in the body of Christ. We are to "possess" our "vessel." We are to walk in our Spirit Man not in the flesh. It is the spiritual part of a person, which is the Christian's true self, that has been made new through the new birth. Our body is just allows us to function in this physical world. Our body is just a "vessel" for our regenerate spirits which. Our bodies are just a temporary home for our spirits.
Our lifestyle should be as different from the world's lifestyle as the difference between God and the devil. We are new creations in Christ, and our flesh life needs to disappear.
Paul states that we should be honest in our dealings with others. We should not defraud a brother or sister. Those who are truly born again have a covenant with God which ensures them that He will never hold their sins against them. Our sins-past, present, and future were placed on Jesus.
Rom 4:7 Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Rom 4:8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.
This does not give us an excuse for unrighteousness for we are called to be holy as God is Holy. He will put the spotlight on a believers sin and convict us of our unrighteousness and bring us back to the foot of the cross where we confess that sin, to cleanse us and when we have hurt someone else be assured He is always on the side of righteousness. Its not that He turns against us, but like any good Father He disciplines us His children.
God has not called us as believers to live in uncleanness but He wants us to live lives separated unto Him. Anyone who advocates differently is not representing God.
When a minister is truly directed by the Lord, then it is God and not the man who is speaking. We should not be so gullible that we accept every word that men speak. But we should not be so skeptical that we reject God when He speaks through men
1Th 2:13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
There are two different Greek words for love used in verse 9. PHILADELPHIA was translated "brotherly love" in the first part of this verse, and AGAPAO was used at the end of the verse.
fraternal affection: - brotherly love (kindness), love of the brethren.
to love (in a social or moral sense): - (be-) love (-ed). ( my own note here i.e. to love like the one who is truly moral , to love with love that comes from being transformed into the nature of God)
The Thessalonians had expressed their love throughout all parts of the province of Macedonia. Paul's admonition was to increase more and more in this Christian virtue. It's impossible to love too much.
In verse 11 we see that the Lord does not want the body of Christ to be lazy, we are to be busy about the secular work or ministry in which our Lord has placed us. Work should never be despised by Christians. God ordained it as a part of life before the fall. "And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it" (Gen. 2:15). It is a responsibility given to man. "Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest..."
2Th 3:10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.
Our prayer is that we will never be weary of serving our Lord, that all that we do will be done as unto the Lord. May the people out there and reading this see Jesus living in and through us.
1Th 4:12 We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends. (MSG)
It is a great advertisement for Christianity when those who profess Christ are of meek and quiet spirits, diligent to do their own business, and not busy-bodies in other men's matters and not lazy sponging off of others. We are to live in a way that commands respect from those outside the body of Christ. Our lives should be exemplary, in fact people should see Christ living in and through us and be drawn to Him.
2Co 2:14 But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ's victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere,
2Co 2:15 For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which exhales] unto God, [discernible alike] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing:
2Co 2:16 To the latter it is an aroma [wafted] from death to death [a fatal odor, the smell of doom]; to the former it is an aroma from life to life [a vital fragrance, living and fresh]. And who is qualified (fit and sufficient) for these things? [Who is able for such a ministry? We?]
2Co 2:17 For we are not, like so many, [like hucksters making a trade of] peddling God's Word [shortchanging and adulterating the divine message]; but like [men] of sincerity and the purest motive, as [commissioned and sent] by God, we speak [His message] in Christ (the Messiah), in the [very] sight and presence of God. AMP
1. A believer's triumphs are all in Christ. In ourselves we are weak, and have neither joy nor victory; but in Christ we may rejoice and triumph.
2. True believers have constant reason to triumph in Christ, for they are more than conquerors through him who hath loved them, Rom_8:37.
3. God causes them to triumph in Christ. It is God who has given us the victory, and hearts to triumph. To him be given all the praise and all the glory. 4. When we see the results of our labour and people being saved, healed, delivered and going on with the Lord we have good reason for joy and rejoicing.
We should give off the sweet fragrance of Christ, be such carriers of His presence that we breathe life and hope into the world around us and draw others towards the one who died for them, towards our Lord and Saviour, but for this to happen we need to be holy.
PUT ON THE NEW MAN, OFF WITH THE OLD
Eph 4:18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;
Eph 4:19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
Eph 4:20 But you have not so learned Christ,
Eph 4:21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:
Eph 4:22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,
Eph 4:23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
Eph 4:24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Christians need to avoid and reject the worlds way of thinking. We are in the world but not of this world. Realize that thinking as the world does will unavoidably lead to sensuality and impurity.
We see here, Paul admonished the Ephesians not to live the lifestyles that were typical of the unbelieving Gentiles all around them. The unbelievers lifestyles were characterized by futility, being empty and without purpose. The understanding of unbelievers had been darkened because they had chosen to reject Gods revelation, their hearts were blinded.
2Co 4:3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
2Co 4:4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
These people remained alienated or separated from the life of God and so they could not hear His voice; they were willfully ignorant of God and His truth. The Lord Jesus is the Shepherd and His sheep hear His voice. If you havent heard His voice, then you are not one of His sheep. The believer looks to the Lord Jesus as his Shepherd. He listens to His Shepherd and he follows Him.
Their hearts had become blinded and hardened so that they were insensitive to God and had no fear of the consequences of their actions.
Moule translates it: having got over the pain. How expressive! When conscience is at first denied, there is a twinge of pain; there is a protest that can be heard. But if the voice is silenced, presently the voice becomes less clear and clamant; the protest is smothered; the twinge is less acute, until at last it is possible to get over the pain.
1Pe 1:4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
They had given themselves over to self-indulgent immorality characterized by greed for more.
Joh 12:37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him,
Joh that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:
"Lord, who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?"
Joh 12:39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:
Joh "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,
Lest they should see with their eyes,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them."
(Gk. kainos anthropos) (; Col. 3:10) Strongs #2537; 444: This Greek word for new does not mean something more recent in time, but something having a different quality or nature. Thus, the new man is the new humanity created in Christ, of which all believers partake, both individually and corporately. Since Paul has already spoken of the new man created in Christ in terms of a new unified corporate humanity (, 15), the new man in this verse must also be thought of corporately (Col. 3:911). In the immediate context, Paul is exhorting each believer to put on his or her new human nature.
Nelsons Bible Commentary.
Just like the Ephesians we as believers are to put off the old man, a phrase referring to the old sinful lifestyle driven by desires that deceptively promised joy but did not give it; we are to allow the Holy Spirit to renew our thought patterns and renew our minds. The putting off the old man and putting on the new man cannot be done by self-effort, nor can it be done by striving to imitate Christs conduct. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer and it is the Holy Spirit that brings forth change in us.
We are told in Romans that the old man has already been crucified in the death of Christ.
Rom 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
So, the old man has already been crucified with Christ, and we are to put it off by the power of the Holy Spirit. This doesnt mean that the flesh, the old nature, is ever completely eliminated in this life. However, we do have a new nature and this is the result of regeneration by the Holy Spirit for if any man is in Christ he is a new creature. We are to live in that new nature, that new man. Since we have been declared righteous and we are in Christ seated in the heavenlies, (See Eph1:20) our walk down here should be commensurate with our position.. Righteousness means right conduct toward others. Holiness is piety towards God, which puts Him in His place, as F. W. Grant defines it. We are to become like Christ. We who were once afar off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. see Eph 2:13. Praise be to God! We are to be holy for he is holy.
1Pe 1:15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
1Pe because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
When we get new clothing do we want to hark back to the old stuff we have binned? No, I'm not going to rake through the bin, are you?
So, let us put on the new man, and put aside the old, let us strive towards holiness, and righteousness with the help of the renewing power of the Holy Spirit.
2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.