Title: STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT MORAL PURITY
Text: 1 Thess. 4:1-8
One of the most telltale sign of a deteriorating society is it’s loss of moral integrity. When this foundation stone begins to crack and erode away, the effect is nothing short of disastrous. The Church of Christ is to be the strong pillar that holds up God’s standard of personal holiness.
Especially today, Christians must fortify their stand on this eroding issue, because we are facing increasingly lax moral standards that encourage us to compromise our stand. Added to that, movies and the TV flash before us images that can make us relax our resistance against that which invades our minds. What areas of moral compromise do you see taking place within the Christian community today? What factors are contributing to this moral decay?
Paul talks very candidly to the Thessalonican church about this matter. It’s often a “hushy” subject within Christian circles. Let’s decide right not to hear God’s counsel by taking down our defenses and determining to submit wholly to Him in this area. Read Text!
How is the moral scene in our society today different than it was 15 years ago? What happens to the religious community when the leaders of the church weaken their stand on moral purity, or even fall themselves? What are the immediate effects? Long-term effects?
In the midst of a rapid moral decline, God sends a strong message through His prophets to call God’s people back to purity. Jer. 6:13-15 When we grow so accustomed to living in immoral purity that our faces fail to blush when we encounter impurity, that’s an unmistakable, telltale sign of a lack of holiness.
1. Do only bad people fall to immorality? Do you think there is anyone who is exempt from this temptation?
2. Make some comparisons of impurity to living in fog. Make some comparisons of divine truth that pierces fog like light.
Comment: Paul conveys three basic directives that are imperative for us to heed if we are to obey God’s command to be holy: 1) In our walk, excel still more (v.1-2); 2) In our morals, abstain from sexual immorality (v.3-6); 3) In our reasoning, remember why God called us (v.7-8).
3. How is a Christian to walk so as to please God? Do you think a good Christian has room for improvement? How often do we think about those necessary improvements? Why don’t we make those improvements?
4. What is the outcome to passive or lazy spiritual walks? What did God use to stir you out of a passive or lazy walk in the past? How did you take it?
5. Can we follow the commands of the Lord (v.2) passively? What is delayed obedience in the eyes of the Lord? How does God view disobedience or rebellion? 1 Sam. 15:22-23; Deut. 10:12-13; Rom. 6:15-18
6. Why is sexual sin a successful tool of Satan to destroy our personal holiness? Prov. 5:1-5; 6:24-29; 7:6-27 How can a young man keep his way pure? (Ps. 119:9,11)
7. Why does God take such a strong stand on sexual sins? 1 Cor. 6:13-20
Comment: Abstaining from sexual immorality includes the knowledge of how to possess our own bodies in “sanctification and honor” (v.4). In other words, we need to know how to control our own body and sexual drives in a pure and upright way. We are not to lose control of ourselves and act “in lustful passion like the Gentiles who do not know God” (v.5).
8. What things do we need to steer away from that can such us into immorality? What would you call the person who plays around with these things thinking they won’t get hurt?
9. Notice verse 6 is part of the same sentence preceding it. What do you think Paul means about not defrauding his own brother? God will not allow wrong doing to go unpunished, even on the family level.
1 Cor. 5:1-5
10. Verse 6 states that God is the avenger in these things. Certainly God will punish them on Judgment Day, but do you think He punishes them even while they live? Rom. 1:26-27
11. Paul wraps up this section on impurity in verses 7-8 by telling us to remember why God called us to be His child. What does this verse say that God called us to be? 1 John 1:5-7
12. Does God intend to give us everlasting life so that we can continue to live as if we were still headed toward everlasting death? When we remain engaged in an immoral lifestyle, we are not rejecting man, but the God who gives us His Holy Spirit (v.8). That’s serious business!
When it comes to living a pure life before God, there are only two options: We can live in the weakness of the flesh, or we can live in the power of the Holy Spirit. Both are absolutely opposed to each other, and both have a certain consequence. You must decide which consequence you want to live with and die with. Consider them carefully. You must choose one or the other, you cannot straddle the fence that separates them.
To choose to drift into moral decay is to play a foolish game that will become increasingly polluted. You will be haunted with guilt and grief; and you will forfeit your salvation.
To choose to live purely before God in your moral life will result in confidence before God. You can look all men and women in the eye and know that you defrauded no one. And you will have a holy walk that will result in being with God for all eternity.