Thursday, March 5, 2009
The Lord God Has Called Us To Be Holy
(I wanted to title this, "The Lord Is Coming Back For Us!" However, I have already titled one that. )
Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to remain pure for the second coming of Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (NCV)
1 Brothers and sisters, we taught you how to live in a way that will please God, and you are living that way. Now we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus to live that way even more. 2 You know what we told you to do by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 God wants you to be holy and to stay away from sexual sins. 4 He wants each of you to learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable. 5 Don't use your body for sexual sin like the people who do not know God. 6 Also, do not wrong or cheat another Christian in this way. The Lord will punish people who do those things as we have already told you and warned you. 7 God called us to be holy and does not want us to live in sin. 8 So the person who refuses to obey this teaching is disobeying God, not simply a human teaching. And God is the One who gives us his Holy Spirit.
Paul and all the other apostles are serious about what they say. They do not just say it to be speaking. They say it to build the body of Christ up into what they should be. I accidentally looked up the New International version of the Bible this morning that reads a little more serious I thought. Let's look at verses 1 & 2 in the NIV.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 (NIV)
1Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
Paul says that they instruct you, or teach you how to live in order to please God. Want to please God? Listen to what the Bible tells you. Paul also says they (apostles) ask and urge you to live more and more like Christ to please God.
Now I know some will argue that we will never be without sin, correct! However, that doesn't mean we don't try with all our heart to not sin. You know what I see when I am tempted and walk away from that temptation with out sinning, I see God smiling down on me and He says, "He did it! Look at my creation, he did it. I'm so please with what I made." He says that about you to when you rebel against sins temptation. We all have had victories over some form of sin in our life. We need to strive towards more victories. Life is like a game, you play to win right? Then live your life to win.
OK, I'll get off my soapbox now. I am no better than you are. I am struggling in areas of my life too. However, we are all being made into God pleasing children. Admit it, you want to please God. I do too.
I kind of left you hanging without discussing verses 3-8, lets' look at those.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (NCV)
3 God wants you to be holy and to stay away from sexual sins. 4 He wants each of you to learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable. 5 Don't use your body for sexual sin like the people who do not know God. 6 Also, do not wrong or cheat another Christian in this way. The Lord will punish people who do those things as we have already told you and warned you. 7 God called us to be holy and does not want us to live in sin. 8 So the person who refuses to obey this teaching is disobeying God, not simply a human teaching. And God is the One who gives us his Holy Spirit.
OK, you don't have to hit me up side my head Paul, I get it. Paul says to be holy and stay away from sexual sin. Learn to control your own body so that you will be holy and honorable. Who are we being holy and honorable to? God! Look at verse 7's bold type. God Himself calls us to be holy and not live in sin. If we refuse to obey that teaching, Paul says we are disobeying God! Oh, that stings. I get it Paul. I can see God either with a smile or with a frown depending on my actions.
Now understand, this doesn't change God's love for us. He will always love us. Remember the verse that says do not grieve the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 4:30. In verse 8, Paul continues after telling us obey God with the fact that God is the one who gave us His Holy Spirit. You know how when you sin you feel separated from God? Then you repent and feel God's forgiveness and acceptance again. Well, I feel that when we sin, the Holy Spirit is grieved and leaves us. That is why we feel separated from God. We don't have that connection through the Holy Spirit. That doesn't mean our line to God has been cut or our calling to God comes back with a no signal like your cell phone. OH NO, We are in the dead zone! God still listens for you to repent. He still loves you and is always waiting for you to come back to Him. Thank the Lord there are no "dead zones" with Him.
(Afterthought: We will all be tempted, that is not sin. If we act on that temptation in any other way than walk away from it, that is sin.)
1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 (NCV)
9 We do not need to write you about having love for your Christian family, because God has already taught you to love each other. 10 And truly you do love the Christians in all of Macedonia. Brothers and sisters, now we encourage you to love them even more.
Love the people of God even more than you do right now. My love for the people here at CB has grown to the point I consider you family. Now I cannot call you or come and see you, because it is against CB policy to share that info. Yet I understand their reasoning. Still I can be connected to you all through prayer and those great comments we can leave to encourage one another. Love God's people. We are all in the same race. This is a game we will all win. There is not just one winner in God's plan.
I also love all the people at my church and other churches in town, don't get me wrong. Paul wants us to love ALL
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NCV)
11 Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Take care of your own business, and do your own work as we have already told you. 12 If you do, then people who are not believers will respect you, and you will not have to depend on others for what you need.
Paul is talking about work. Now I know some of you are not working because you don't have jobs for one reason or another. I pray you will find the job God has set before you. Then Paul tells us to take care of our own business.
Oh no, I've been worrying about other peoples business at work. Guess I had better change that. Paul says, "do your own work as we have already told you." Oops! Short attention span I guess Paul.
Look at what happens if we do like Paul says, "people who are not believers will respect you, and you will not have to depend on others for what you need." People will respect you and you will be self sufficient...in the human aspect of life anyway. You still need God.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NCV)
13 Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about those Christians who have died so you will not be sad, as others who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and that he rose again. So, because of him, God will raise with Jesus those who have died. 15 What we tell you now is the Lord's own message. We who are living when the Lord comes again will not go before those who have already died. 16 The Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And those who have died believing in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive will be gathered up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.
OH HALLELUJAH! The Lord is coming! THE LORD IS COMING! Paul talks about the dead and the second coming of Christ. The dead will rise first, verse 16. Then if we are still in the living when he comes, we will rise with Him too to meet the Lord in the air. AND, we will be with the Lord FOREVER! OH JESUS! Thank You Lord!
Are you pumped? Are you excited? You should be. The Lord is coming back for us. He hasn't forgotten us. He is in heaven petitioning to God for our souls. Petitioning: demanding for action with a signature. A signature Jesus wrote with His own blood to get the father's attention for you and me. We get to go to heaven. We get to go to heaven! It is like the best trip we will ever take. It will be more exciting than any ride you have ever taken at Disney World or anywhere. Fasten you seatbelt.
Father God, I thank you that Your Son Jesus Christ will come back for us some day to bring us home to You to live with You forever. Lord, we want to please You. Continue to make us strong against the evils of this world and to say "NO" to sin. We want to be the holy children You desire us to be Lord. Continue the good work You have started in us Lord until the day our Lord and Savior comes back to take us home. In Jesus Mighty name I pray. Amen.
In God's Love,