The War Within Us
The Battle of Our Age
· Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
· We live in a culture today where it is increasingly difficult to live a pure and holy life.
· The culture is rapidly deteriorating around us, where what would have been considered immoral and unthinkable just 50 years ago is today considered the norm.
· You don’t even need to turn on the television today to be inundated with sexually explicit messages.
§ Explicit music (all genres are affected)
§ Go into the mall and walk around (Victoria, Abercrombie, etc)
§ Sports (commercials, cheerleaders)
§ Grocery stores
· The effects of these things are wide-spread:
§ Disintegration of marriage
§ Alienation from church
§ Child predators
§ Rampant promiscuity at all levels of society
· We live in a culture that is so sexualized, that it is more difficult to life a pure and holy life today than perhaps ever before.
· This is one of my greatest concerns for my son and daughter growing up today.
· So the question arises, along with the Psalmist, “How can a man or woman in today’s age keep his way pure.”
· How can we live the holy a righteous life which God has called us to?
· This is truly the battle of our age.
Body: How do you Live a Holy Life?
1. Avoid Sexual Immorality: It’s God’s Will (v 1-3)
· This is a transition in the book of Thessalonians. We are transitioning from descriptions to proscriptions. From telling us what has occurred to telling us how we should respond.
· He begins by urging us: encouraging us strongly to do the things that are in our best interest.
· He is encouraging us to live out the implications of the Gospel.
· Our motivation in live should be to live in a way that is pleasing to God, and that we do so more and more.
· My heart’s cry is that my life be more pleasing to God today than it was yesterday.
· Regeneration takes a moment. When you are saved, you are given Christ’s righteousness, and we are forgiven of all of our sins because of what he has done for us on the cross.
· Our salvation is settled for eternity when we trust in Jesus.
· But how is real salvation evidenced in our lives. We evidence our salvation through a process of inner transformation which the Holy Spirit enables us to do. This is called sanctification, and it is a process that takes a lifetime to complete. It is the process of being made holy.
· This should be encouraging to us, as we look at the topic of morality. We are to day by day be conformed to the image of Christ. We should be closer to Jesus than we were yesterday, but not as close as we will be five years from now, by the grace of God.
Phil 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.”
2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
2 Cor 6:1 “We appeal to you, not to receive the grace of God in vain.”
· You know what to do! These are the commands which come from the Lord Jesus himself. So what are they?
· This is God’s will for your life! Many people come and ask me, “How do I know God’s will for my life?”
§ Who should I marry?
§ What career should I go into?
§ How do I know when it is the right time to make a major purchase?
· The good news is that God’s will has a lot more to do with your character than it does with your calendar. It has to do more with who you are than what you do.
· God’s will is very plain: Abstain from sexual immorality.
· He says that it is our sanctification.
§ Separation, being set apart
§ Holiness (being whole)
§ Produced by the Holy Spirit in you
§ Being equipped to recognize the rights of God in your life, how He has the authority to call the shots.
§ Living the sanctified life, being dedicated to God.
· This is totally counter-cultural.
· Abstain: to distance yourself from. Stay as far away as possible! Stop! Hands off! Don’t be involved in! Treat it like the plague!
· Sexual Immorality: porneas: All kinds of extramarital, unlawful, or unnatural sexual intercourse. Comes from the root meaning “to sell” It is also used to describe idolatry.
1 Cor 6:18-20 “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, who you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
2. Learn to Control Your Body (v. 4-5)
· Psalm 119:9 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.”
· Job 31:1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.”
· Practical Issues:
§ Where is the computer in your house? Keep it in a place where everyone can see what you are doing.
§ Subscribe to one of the accountability services that records every website you are going to, and have it emailed to your accountability partner (B-Safe, Covenant Eyes).
· Avoid situations where you are tempted.
· No: Say no to lustful thoughts within 5 seconds. “In the name of Jesus, No!” Be killing it or it will be killing you.
· Turn the mind to Christ. Attack the promises of sin with the promises of Christ.
· Enjoy a superior satisfaction. Come to the place where you can be satisfied in Christ alone. Delight in Chrsit, Fight for Joy.
· Move into a useful activity. “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”
3. Motivations for Morality
Five Motivations to Live a Pure Life:
1. Pleasing God (verse 1)
2. Doing God’s will (verse 3)
4. Christian love which seeks the Good of others
5. God’s Vengeance
a. Col 3:5-6 “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.”
· Know the Patience of God
· Know the Power of God (1 Thess 3:11-13)
· Know the Preciousness of God and the Pleasure He is to us. He is the greatest treasure in all of the universe