Focusing on 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12, David continued from last time on the subject of ‘Loving one another’, stating that this is a holiness issue, one that makes Christians distinctive from others. It’s one thing to know this teaching but another to live it out practically.
Two overarching principles of living this way are to walk in a way worthy of God, and to be God pleasers – not people pleasers.
This was part of a prayer that John Stott prayed each morning, and it is reminiscent of what it means to walk before and please God.
In 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 Paul identifies three areas where Christians are to be holy – set apart. The first concerns how Christians conduct themselves in sexual matters, which David spoke about last week. The second area that should set Christians apart is their love for one another.
In the New Testament this is known as ‘phileo’ love, the brotherly love that Jesus modelled to his disciples, and commanded:
How have the Thessalonians been taught by God to love each other?
Christians today also have the indwelling Holy Spirit to teach, remind and guide them to live in a manner worthy of God and to please Him. Paul says we do this by reflecting the love of Christ in our love for one another.
If you want to live in a manner worthy of God and to please Him, this is a priority!
Sanctification is a journey. It was an ongoing process for those in the early church and, like them, we also never stop growing as Christians. We encourage each other as God’s Word urges us to walk in a manner worthy of and pleasing to Him, by loving one another more and more.
Paul finished the section with advice on how Christians should conduct themselves beyond the walls of the church:
- Aspire to live quietly – free from conflict and hostility towards others
- Mind your own affairs – not passing comment or judgement on other people
- Work with your hands – being willing to do this, where possible, as part of
- God’s created order for our lives and as a witness to others
In chapter 4 Paul has been giving us instructions about how to walk before God, how to please God and how to be holy in three core areas of Christian life and practice:
- Your sex life – control your body by abstaining from sexual immorality
- Your love for one another – do it more and more
- Your life before non-Christians – live a quiet life, concentrate on your own affairs, work hard
How are you living in these ways before others today?