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Sunday Services

9:45 am Sunday School
10:45 am Sunday Worship

Echo Evangelique

(590AM WEZE Boston)
Saturday 9:00-10:00PM
88.9 FM SCA
Thursday 8:00-9:00PM

 

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TV Channel 23
Sunday 7:00-8:00AM

Bible Study

FRIDAY NIGHT
7:30pm Bible Study
SATURDAY MORNING
8:30am Bible Study
Sunday School
9:45am  10:30am

The Call to Spiritual Growth in Holiness

Text: 1 Thess. 4:1-8

Key Concepts:

  • One cannot attain sexual purity by accident.
  • In every area of life, Christians are accountable for living in sanctification.
  • God’s will is for our holiness and for His glory.
  • Sanctification is about living to please God in all aspects of life.

        The apostle Paul, in this text, emits a very passionate plea to the Thessalonians and therefore to all Christians to maintain sexual purity in our lives. In order to promote sanctification in one’s life, one has to cultivate sexual integrity. Paul starts out with a general exhortation, by his own authority and in the name of the Lord (1 Thess. 4:1-2). This means we should pay heed to this warning and deem it to be from the Lord Himself. It is a directive to live in purity before God. The word ‘finally’ at the beginning of verse one does not indicate the conclusion of what Paul had to say in the prior chapter; it is instead the transition from the foundation already laid to the exhortation to come. Paul knows that the Thessalonians were living appropriately but he wanted to encourage them to do so “more and more” (1 Thess. 4:1, 10). He emphasized that “it is the will of God... to… abstain from sexually immorality” (1 Thess. 4:3). This was not news to them. Paul is reiterating what he had taught them already, which should lead us to conclude that sanctification is not a subject to be taken lightly.

         Sanctification remains a very important topic for the Church today. How does this apply to our current pandemic reality? Think how great the temptation to misuse technology is for those who are in isolation with not much to do. Right now, the need and call to sanctification is most crucial. Sanctification can never be a peripheral issue. Paul notes the importance of sanctification by reminding us that the Lord will call us to account for our deeds (1 Thess. 4:6). It is the purpose for which we were saved, the Holy Spirit was gifted to us for this reason (1 Thess. 4:7-8). God’s will for us is not primarily our happiness. What makes you happy may not be His will. The will of God is for our holiness through sanctification and for His glory. To be holy is to be set apart, from the world, for God’s purpose. Whatever the reason, in discerning the will of God for your life, ask yourself if what you are doing (or not doing) will result in your drawing closer to God. Consider as well whether it will it bring pleasure and glory to God. If the prerequisites are absent, then refrain from it. indeed, only through sanctification can we glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31). Because total depravity impacts every aspect of our lives, so should sanctification. When Paul wrote this epistle, sexual immorality was running rampant. It is also the case in our day. It is necessary to address the issue of sexual purity repeatedly, because if we are to partake of God, we must keep away from immorality.  

         How can one maintain a life of purity in a corrupt and impure society? How should one keep their distance from the filth of the world? Paul tells us that Christians must know how to possess their bodies in sanctification and honor (1 Thess. 4:4). No one can do this on your behalf. Each Christian must learn to exercise a level of control on your own person. Equally, we must not let our urges/desires/emotions to master us. This implies having the knowledge and skills to do so. It is a question of mind over matter. We cannot follow the model of the world that says, ‘if it feels good, do it’. Our bodies are not supposed to be dragged into situations that can dishonor the Lord (1 Cor. 6:12-13). Paul warns us to control our bodies for fear of disqualification from ministry (1 Cor. 9:27). Leaders, pastors, deacons may be disqualified from the work of ministry unless they learn self-control. Sexual immorality should never be excused for those who are serving in the church. The Holy Spirit is the key to controlling our bodies. This happens when we submit ourselves to Him and allow Him to lead our lives. Certainly, if we “walk by the Spirit, …(we)… will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16-17). The only means to walk and live by the Spirit is to “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). One becomes filled by the Spirit by letting the Word of God saturate one’s life (Col. 3:16). This saturation happens when we hide the Word in our hearts that we might not sin against God (Ps. 119:11). Consequently, we are admonished against living like the ungodly (1 Thess. 4:5).  The ungratified lustful passions, typical to the gentiles, should never characterize a Christian. Because those “who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24).  We have been raised to newness of life and thus must divorce ourselves from all filthiness. The way of this world is not the way of the Christian. Rather, the Christian should always seek permission from God before engaging in anything. God’s pleasure or displeasure matters far more than our own. His glory is our focus.

God established sex in the context of marriage. When you engage in fornication, you take advantage of another. Fornication robs the one who will later marry that person (1 Thess. 4:6). It involves selfishly taking something at someone else’s expense. Loving another means respecting them. This is not how Christians should behave, for, it is offensive to God who will judge such actions. His judgment can take any form He chooses. It maybe negative consequences, such as diseases, shame, misery, troubles, tribulations, and death.  Unless we learn to control our bodies, we may fall prey to such temptations and face God’s judgement. We know that the sins we commit do not go unnoticed by God. If you need a reason to stop sinning, consider that no one will escape the judgment of God (Deut. 32:35). If you wrong your brother or sister by engaging in sexual immorality with them, beware of God’s vengeance. We are called to sanctification not to uncleanness (1 Thess. 4:7). We were saved to live in newness of life to the glory of God (Rom. 6:4). Rejecting this warning means rejecting God who gave us the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 4:7). If you refuse the call to sanctification, you reject, and show contempt for God. And He will judge you for this. May God in His goodness and mercy bless you and equip you to live lives that will please Him all the days of your life.  

 

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575 American Legion Hwy
Roslindale, MA 02131
Phone: 617-323-3107
Fax: 617-323-3165
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Every Sunday at 10:45am