Evening Bible Study
Paul had only been in Thessalonica for three weeks when persecution broke
out and he was forced to flee the city (Acts 17), eventually landing in
Just a few months later, Paul writes back to the Thessalonians from Corinth
to address issues of concern with this young church.
: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;
:2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
:1 we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus
There is something weighty that’s about to be said here.
The things Paul is about to address are coming from the very heart of
Jesus. These aren’t just going to be
Paul’s thoughts on an issue, but Jesus’ thoughts.
:1 you should abound more and more
These Thessalonians already know the basics.
Paul just wants them to keep going.
You can reach a point in your Christian walk where you begin to think that
you now everything.
The danger becomes twofold:
You can start to look for “new” things, things that nobody
has ever heard before. That’s one way
that heresy starts. Joseph Smith came up
with “new” stuff.
Growing doesn’t always mean “newer” things, but growing
deeper in what you already know.
You can also start thinking that you’ve gone as far as
You think you don’t need to grow anymore, and as a result
you become lukewarm.
Paul is going to address one of those basic commandments (purity).
:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should
abstain from sexual immorality;
:3 this is the will of God
What is God’s will?
I think that most people at one time in their life ask themselves this
What is God’s will for my life?
Often we ask that question when it comes to things like
“Who am I going to marry?”, “Where should I live?”, or “What job should I
Before you get the answers to those questions, be sure
that you are doing the things we clearly already know are His will.
God wants us to be saved.
Timothy 2:3–4 NKJV) —3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our
Savior, 4 who desires
all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
The word for “desires” is the verb form of “will”.
God wants men to be saved.
Being filled with the Spirit isn’t just for those crazy Pentecostals. God wants all His children to be filled with
NKJV) —17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the
Lord is. 18
do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the
“be filled” is a command.
It’s not optional.
Paul is going to focus on another specific aspect of God’s will that we
know for sure – our “sanctification”
:3 this is the will of God, your sanctification
God’s Will: Holiness
sanctification – hagiasmos –
consecration, purification; sanctification of heart and life
This word comes from the word hagiazo,
which means “to make holy”.
Another related word is hagios,
the word used for “saints”, or simply the idea of being “holy”.
The root idea of being “holy” is to be “set apart” from
something, or set apart for a specific purpose.
God is “holy” in that He is “set apart” or “different”
from sin. He is not like us.
A coffee pot is “holy” in that it is set apart to make coffee. It is not to be used for things like draining
toilets or mopping floors.
A husband and wife are to be “holy” in the sense that they
are set apart for each other and no one else.
A Christian is to be “holy” in that they are set apart for
There are three aspects of “sanctification” for the Christian talked about
We are “sanctified” when we first believe because Jesus forgives
us and we makes us right with God.
We are “sanctified” throughout our entire life as we allow
God’s Spirit to continue to shape us and mold us, shaping our character to look
more and more like Jesus.
This kind of sanctification is a process, like being on a
Paul is going to be focusing on that second aspect of
We will be completely “sanctified” when either die or are
raptured and we receive our new body that is free from sin.
:3 that you should abstain from sexual immorality
God’s Will: Sexual Purity
The subject of sanctification is a broad one and covers a multitude of
areas in our lives. Things like…
How we handle our finances.
How we drive.
How we dress.
How we eat.
Our relationships with others – both with Christians as well as
The heart attitudes we cultivate inside of us.
The list is endless.
Paul’s specific area he wants to address with the Thessalonians is the area
of sexual purity. We are to abstain
sexual immorality – porneia –
illicit sexual intercourse; adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism,
intercourse with animals etc.
We’ve already talked a lot about this on Sunday morning
Porneia is a
broad word that simply put is “sex outside the bounds of marriage”.
Hugh Hefner passed away yesterday at the age of 91. Hefner was the man who started Playboy
His parents were strict Methodists, and as he grew up he made it his goal
challenge his puritan roots.
an article on the Fox News website…
Asked by the New York Times in 1992 of what he was
proudest, Hefner responded: “That I changed attitudes toward sex. That nice
people can live together now. That I decontaminated the notion of premarital
sex. That gives me great satisfaction.”
One of his famous quotes,
“Life is too short to be living somebody else’s dreams.”
In other words, you better get all the pleasure out of
life as you can before you die.
Paul wrote that that kind of philosophy comes from someone
who lacks the understanding that there is indeed life after death, and that
there is a God we will face one day. The
Corinthians 15:32 NKJV) …If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for
tomorrow we die!”
I’m afraid that Mr. Hefner’s philosophy is a bit short
God was gracious and gave him 91 years to turn around.
But that time is now over for him. He’s had all the pleasure he’s ever going to
get, and now he faces an eternity of judgment.
Do you want to know God’s will for your life?
One of the things we already know is that God’s will is that we cultivate
Now Paul is going to narrow his concept of sexual purity…
:4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in
sanctification and honor,
:4 how to possess his own vessel
What does it mean to “possess your own vessel”?
While some see this as referring to the wife, and the idea is treating her
with purity and honor, I think it’s better to see it as –
Your own body
“Vessel” was a common Greek metaphor for “body” since Greeks thought of
souls living temporarily in bodies.
Show some respect
Paul is saying that when we learn to abstain from sexual immorality, we are
learning to treat our bodies with a little honor.
The world says that you deserve to give your body any pleasure it wants.
God says you are worth more than that.
Corinthians 6:18–20 NKJV) —18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man
does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his
own body. 19 Or do you
not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you,
whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were
bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which
You were designed to be a vessel within which the Eternal
God wants to dwell.
Let’s say that before I came to church I decided to take a sample of water
from our toilet … after I went to the bathroom in it. And let’s say I was a little thirsty right
now and decided to drink from that water…
Anybody grossed out?
We know enough about hygiene to not want to treat our
bodies like that.
Sexual immorality is like drinking “toilet” water.
Show yourself a little respect.
Watching porn isn’t harmless to you, it’s mistreating your body.
It affects your own brain.
Video: Dr. Simone Kuhn – Porn and
Give your brain some respect.
If you’ve been addicted to porn, you need to get it out of you. For good.
Video: LOTR – The Healing of the
Some don’t realize what porn has done to them and the
amount of help they need.
Don’t get me wrong, help from porn will probably take more
than a simple prayer, but you will be a different person the further you get
Let Jesus help you stop.
:5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
:5 like the Gentiles who do not know God
Don’t be quick to judge the people who don’t know God.
Just be careful you don’t live by their standards of morality.
You do know God.
:6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this
:6 take advantage of and defraud his brother
These words speak of “stepping over the line” and being greedy for
something that doesn’t belong to you.
Others are involved
Sexual immorality is quite selfish.
All I’m thinking about is myself.
What we don’t think about are all the other people that are going to get
hurt down the line.
If that other person you’re with is married to someone else, then you are
“taking advantage of and defrauding” that person.
You are stepping over the line. You are being greedy for something that
belongs to them, not you.
If that person isn’t married to someone else, but they’re not married to
you either, there’s no guarantee that you aren’t “stepping over a line” with
their (or your) future spouse.
Pornography is often seen as the “victimless crime”. People say that it doesn’t hurt anyone.
Besides the damage it does to your own soul, there are
plenty of other people who are hurt down the line.
You are patronizing an industry that it built on
exploiting other people.
There is a connection with pornography, sex trafficking,
and human slavery.
Video: Dr. Melissa
and Sex Trafficking
Porn is not so victimless.
When you are talking to a person who is not married to you, it’s important
that you learn to see a “line” around that person, a line which you must choose
to never cross.
:6 because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also
forewarned you and testified.
:6 the Lord is the avenger of all such
Be careful about getting caught up in the very sins that God will one day
judge this world over.
NLT) —5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have
nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t
be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this
world. 6 Because of
these sins, the anger of God is coming.
:7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.
:7 not … to uncleanness, but in holiness
holiness – hagiasmos –
This is the same word that was used in verse 4, translated
It’s related to the word hagios,
“to be holy”.
God is holy, and He expects His followers to be holy as well.
The book of Leviticus is all about holiness. Over and over God tells His people why He
wants them to be “holy”, such as…
NKJV) “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say
to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord
your God am holy.
We are to be holy because God is holy.
:8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who
has also given us His Holy Spirit.
Paul uses a rare word, and I think he’s trying to make it clear that he’s
drawing a clear conclusion in all of this.
:8 rejects … God
Purity is God’s idea
There are going to be people who do not like hearing anything about sexual
They will make up all kinds of excuses as to why sexual immorality is okay.
Some will want to make a point of saying that Paul was just a prude, and we
shouldn’t be paying attention to a prudish man like Paul.
But Paul’s clear conclusion is that if you reject these ideas about sexual
immorality, you aren’t rejecting him (Paul), you aren’t rejecting me (the one
teaching through this passage), you are rejecting God.
Because God has given us His “Holy” Spirit.
Separate that word out for a minute.
Holy – hagios
– most holy thing
This is the root word for what is translated
“sanctification” and “holiness”.
We are to be “holy” because the HOLY Spirit is living
inside of us as believers, and He is wanting to mold us and shape us into His
image, which is “holy”.
Holiness and sexual immorality don’t mix.
4:9-12 Loving and Working
: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;
:9 taught by God to love one another
That’s what God does when He’s at work in your life. He teaches us to love each other.
(1 John 4:7–8 NLT)
—7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes
from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone
who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
: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;
:10 that you increase more and more
Keep on lovin’
Paul has already made it clear that these folks knew how to love each other
(1Th. 1:3; 3:12; 4:9)
Paul asks them to go over and above where they were.
SHMILY (Author unknown)
My grandparents were married for over half a century, and played their own
special game from the time they had met each other. The goal of their game was
to write the word “shmily” in a surprise place for the other to find. They took
turns leaving “shmily” around the house, and as soon as one of them discovered
it, it was their turn to hide it once more.
They dragged “shmily” with their fingers through the sugar and flour
containers to await whoever was preparing the next meal. They smeared it in the
dew on the windows overlooking the patio where my grandma always fed us warm,
homemade pudding with blue food coloring. “Shmily” was written in the steam
left on the mirror after a hot shower, where it would reappear bath after bath.
At one point, my grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper to
leave “shmily” on the very last sheet.
There was no end to the places “shmily” would pop up. Little notes with
“shmily” scribbled hurriedly were found on dashboards and car seats, or taped
to steering wheels. The notes were stuffed inside shoes and left under pillows.
“Shmily” was written in the dust upon the mantel and traced in the ashes of the
fireplace. This mysterious word was as much a part of my grandparents’ house as
the furniture. It took me a long time before I was able to fully appreciate my
grandparents’ game. Skepticism has kept me from believing in true love-one that
is pure and enduring. However, I never doubted my grandparents’ relationship.
They had love down pat. It was more than their flirtatious little games; it was
a way of life. Their relationship was based on a devotion and passionate
affection which not everyone is lucky experience. Grandma and Grandpa held
hands every chance they could. They stole kisses as they bumped into each other
in their tiny kitchen. They finished each other’s sentences and shared the
daily crossword puzzle and word jumble. My grandma whispered to me about how
cute my grandpa was, how handsome an old man he had grown to be. She claimed
that she really knew “how to pick ‘em.”
Before every meal they bowed their heads and gave thanks, marveling at
their blessings: a wonderful family, good fortune, and each other.
But there was a dark cloud in my grandparents’ life: my grandmother had
breast cancer. The disease had first appeared ten years earlier. As always,
Grandpa was with her every step of the way. He comforted her in their yellow
room, painted that way so that she could always be surrounded by sunshine, even
when she was too sick to go outside. Now the cancer was again attacking her
body. With the help of a cane and my grandfather’s steady hand, they went to
church every morning. But my grandmother grew steadily weaker until, finally,
she could not leave the house anymore. For a while, Grandpa would go to church
alone, praying to God to watch over his wife. Then one day, what we all dreaded
finally happened. Grandma was gone.
“Shmily.” It was scrawled in yellow on the pink ribbons of my grandmother’s
funeral bouquet. As the crowd thinned and the last mourners turned to leave, my
aunts, uncles, cousins and other family members came forward and gathered
around Grandma one last time. Grandpa stepped up to my grandmother’s casket
and, taking a shaky breath, he began to sing to her. Through his tears and
grief, the song came, a deep and throaty lullaby. Shaking with my own sorrow, I
will never forget that moment. For knew that, although I couldn’t begin to
fathom the depth of their love, I had been privileged to witness its unmatched
S-H-M-I-L-Y ~ See How Much I Love You.
Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa, for letting me see.
: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,
:11 work with your own hands
Work and respect
When you are working hard at your own job, you don’t have the time to
meddle with other people’s business.
We’ll talk about this when we get to 2Thess. 3:10-12.
:12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that
you may lack nothing.
When we work hard at our job, it affects our witness to those who are not
believers, as well as keeps us from poverty.
:12 walk properly toward those who are outside
One of the reasons Paul encourages them to work at their job is for the
impact that it has on people outside the church.
Christians at work should be known for working hard, not hardly working.
:12 that you may lack nothing
Another reason to work at your job is so that you meet your own needs.