1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
1. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. Reread 1 Thessalonians 4:1.
· What was to be their goal?
· Is this to be our goal in life today?
· Do you truly believe this? If not, why not?
Think About It: The Christian life is not a set of rules to be obeyed or a list of prohibitions to avoid; it is the outworking of a loving desire to please God who chose us. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, p. 700)
2. From what we have learned so far in Thessalonians, describe a life that is lived in order to please God. Use specific verses to support your answer.
3. From 1 Thessalonians 1:9, we learned that repentance means “to change one’s mind.” The Thessalonians changed their minds about whom they worshipped—from idols to the living and true God. Paul said that their lives changed as well—from self-dependency and self-sufficiency to Christ-dependency and Christ-sufficiency. How is such change possible? Research the following verses plus any other verses you can find.
· John 15:5—
· 2 Corinthians 10:5—
· Romans 12:1-2—
· Galatians 2:20—
· Ephesians 2:1-5; 8-10—
· Other verses—
4. Gaining Perspective: Who are you living to please? If you have chosen to live in order to please God, what is the evidence in your life? If you have not previously chosen to live to please God but choose to do so now, apply the scriptures given above and trust God to make the necessary changes in your life through His Holy Spirit.
5. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. As believers, we sometimes fret because we can’t figure out God’s will on some matter in our lives. Yet, He has given us specific direction about a great many things. Discuss what is declared with certainty to be God’s will in verses 3-5. Does God say what He wants?
Focus on the Meaning: The term sanctification sounds important but unintelligible. It refers to being “set apart for the Lord.” It can also mean “made holy.” God Himself sanctifies us:
(1) through our position in Christ—being declared “holy” by the work of the Holy Spirit through our faith in Christ’s atoning death on the cross (1 Corinthians 6:11), and
(2) through our ongoing relationship with Christ—being made holy by the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians (1 Thessalonians 3:13). This influences conduct.
6. Looking at verses 4 and 5, contrast learning how to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable with acting in passionate lust, a characteristic of those who do not display in their lives that they know God (the heathen).
From the Greek: The Greek word ktaomai, translated as “control” or “possess” in verse 4 means “to procure for oneself, acquire, obtain.” It carried the idea of gaining mastery over something. (Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, p. 477)
7. It is often said that holiness and sexual immorality are mutually exclusive. Do you agree? Why or why not?
8. Paul is writing to believers who have already been declared holy by their position in Christ. His teaching is now referring to their future conduct. Discuss the significance of believers being “set apart for the Lord” regarding sex. See also 1 Corinthians 6:13-20 and Ephesians 5:8-10.
9. Concerning God’s design of sex, read Genesis 2:24-25; Proverbs 5:18-19; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:1-7. Does God say what He wants?
Scriptural Insight: “Physical love in marriage, symbolically uniting two personalities by the outward act of sexual intercourse, is beautiful in the eyes of God. And it is holy. . . The Song of Solomon is a very romantic book in which God communicates to us His delight in the wonderful relationship between a man and woman in marriage. . . God made us sexual beings. Marriage has been provided to satisfy such needs, and every scriptural prohibition has to do with sexual activity outside marriage. Don’t let anyone tell you the Bible prohibits sex or represses your sexuality.” (Influential Woman by Vickie Kraft, page 64-70)
10. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. What do you think Paul means by saying not to wrong, violate, or take advantage of a brother/sister in this area?
Scriptural Insight: “Sexual immorality wrongs the partner in the forbidden act by involving him or her in behavior contrary to God’s will and therefore under His judgment…The initiation of the act takes advantage of his [her] partner in sin by fanning the fire of passion till self-control is lost.” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, pp. 701-702)
11. What does God promise to do about it?
Think About It: The better translation for the end of verse 6 is “the Lord is the avenger/will avenge.” What do you think this means? How would God avenge the wrong done by one believer to another? Have you seen this to be true with anyone who has been immoral? How?
13. As you have seen from today’s passage, God takes a position on sex. Why do you think God cares?
14. Gaining Perspective: In the first century, moral standards were generally very low, and chastity was regarded as an unreasonable restriction. Sound familiar? According to recent surveys, the morality of Christians is not much different from that of nonChristians in the area of sex. Apply God’s directive specifically to today’s American society. To your daily life. To your home. To your children. Be specific.
15. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. All sin (past, present, and future) is forgiven the moment anyone trusts in Christ. Yet, the sin nature remains in our bodies as long as we live on this earth. Because we are not perfected, we will continue to sin both unintentionally and intentionally. Our sins are forgiven, but our God knows that continuing sinful behavior is not good for us and does not please Him. How does God deal with deliberate sin in a Christian’s life? Read Hebrews 12:1-11.
Scriptural Insight: “The indwelling Holy Spirit has power enough to enable any Christian to learn how to control his own body, even in a pagan immoral climate. The exhortation is to avoid sexual immorality; the enablement comes from the Holy Spirit.” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, pp. 702)
16. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:8 again. Read the following verses to see the various functions of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
· John 14:16-17;26—
· Romans 5:5—
· 2 Corinthians 1:22—
· Galatians 4:5-6—
· Titus 3:5—
· 1 John 3:24—
17. Gaining Perspective: In light of what you studied so far in this chapter:
· Apply verse 8 to your life.
· What can you say to someone, especially a Christian, who says they don’t accept biblical standards because they don’t apply today?