Living to please God!
Scripture reading for October 11th: 1st Thessalonians 4:1-5:2
“Finally, 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.” (1st Thessalonians 4:1) These believers had listened to Paul’s message of the Gospel and responded in faith. They had observed his example and teaching about how to live and began to do it. Paul’s letter was to encourage them to increase their obedience level. This wasn’t to please him, but to please God. This is how Jesus Christ lived! (John 5:30)
A specific area of obedience was in sexual purity. Sexual sin harmed others as well as a person’s own soul. The pagan and idolatrous culture was full of sexual immorality. Idol temples employed prostitutes and homosexuality and incest were common. Paul reminded them of God’s will for sanctification. Sexual purity would please the Lord and disobedience would bring His wrath. “The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. for God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you His Holy Spirit.” (1st Thessalonians 4:6b-8) God’s word is truth and the Holy Spirit lives in us to lead us into all truth.
Another area of obedience involved work. A number of Thessalonians felt that because Jesus was coming soon that they could be idle. What was the use of working, when the church members would take care of them? “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, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (1st Thessalonians 4:11-12) Paul taught that a quiet life of work and caring for family was a good witness. Idleness was causing strife and bad reputations outside the church and inside!
Christ would come back and those who trusted Christ, whether alive or in the grave, would be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. No one knew the day or the hour, but they were all to be ready. This kind of faith pleases God and gives encouragement and hope.