The Book of 1 Thessalonians Bible Study Chapter 4 Part 1

We go on to 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Holiness is a process whereby we grow, mature and submit more and more to the will of Gd. This is a chapter that speaks about holiness – living in a way to please G-d.
v1: Finally: Paul is preparing the Thessalonians to listen to the final thing he has to say to
them. Usually that final truth is the main or primary truth, that Paul wants to share.
• Urge and exhort: This means to strongly recommend and to greatly encourage – to
put pressure on someone to do the right thing (turn away from the things/thinking
of the world and embrace the purposes of G-d).
• L-rd: Yeshua is not only our Saviour, but He is also our L-rd – we submit to His Lrdship, His authority, in our lives.
• Just as you received from us how you ought to walk: Paul and his friends had shown
them how to live, how to behave (walk is related to lifestyle). “Walk” is also the
same word in Hebrew that relates to Jewish law (Halacha). G-d requires us to live
lives of obedience to Him. If we want to please G-d, there’s only one way to do so –
living our lives in submission to His purposes, being obedient to Him. What happens
when we live in this way? We ‘abound more and more”. We begin to live lives of
abundance, lives beyond what we could expect or imagine for ourselves.
v2: Commandments: As has often been said – we are not saved by keeping the
commandments or instructions of the L-rd, but our behaviour is important to G-d. Behaving
in the right way, in a pleasing way, has great benefit. When we submit to the
commandments of G-d, they bring about G-dly activity in our lives (the power and anointing
of G-d, the Spirit of revelation that we need in order to make wise decisions and to have Gdly discernment etc).
• L-rd Yeshua: Once we have been saved, we are called to demonstrate that Yeshua is
the L-rd of our lives – He is our authority and we do what He commands us to do.
We need to make decisions that are in line with His will.
v3: This is the will of G-d: your sanctification: Wow! Can’t get any clearer than that! We get
to the heart of what Paul’s going to address in this chapter. Sanctification is a lifestyle, a
behaviour, a process whereby we get to demonstrate holiness. Holiness is ALWAYS
connected to the purposes of G-d. Titus tells us that it is G-d’s grace that causes us to deny
the desires of our flesh so that we can say yes to the commandments of G-d.
• Abstain: Do not welcome it into your life. This means saying “no”. Sanctification
implies rejecting that which is not according to the commandments of G-d.
v4: Know how to possess his own vessel: We need to be able to govern our own bodies – in
holiness, in sanctification, in honour. We need to learn how to control our bodies so that
they function within the parameters of G-d’s commandments. His commandments tell us
what is acceptable and what’s not acceptable for our lives. When we are able to govern our
bodies, they become instruments that bring honour to G-d.
v5: Gentiles – Paul doesn’t use this term so much to separate Jew from non-Jew. He uses it
to distinguish between those who have a covenantal relationship with G-d and those who
do not. Until we enter into a covenant with G-d, we will not have the resources, the
revelation, the power, the anointing etc to discern truth.
• Who do not know G-d: Knowing G-d here is not theoretical but is experiential.
v6: Noone should take advantage of and defraud his brother: This is still talking about our
lifestyle – showing brotherly love to others and not exploiting them (the second greatest
commandment). Until we love G-d we cannot truly love others.
• In this matter: This is the word ‘pragma’ (pragmatic). When we are pragmatic, we
deal with things sensibly and realistically – based on practical rather than theoretical
considerations. This is our basic obligation to our ‘neighbour’.
• The L-rd is the avenger: We need to take this seriously. The L-rd takes vengeance
concerning all of the things which are in violation to the obligation that we have to
love our neighbour as ourselves (ie violating His Word).
• Forewarned and testified: Paul has testified thoroughly that we need to be people
who walk in submissiveness, not exploiting G-d’s grace but living in holiness before
Him.
v7: There are only two ways in which humans can walk – in uncleanness or in holiness
(impurity or purity).
v8: Why does he mention the Holy Spirit in this verse? Because the Holy Spirit is the One
who works in our lives and empowers us so that we can have discernment and understand
G-d’s revelation, so that we can apply it to the different circumstances we find ourselves in.
It is the Holy Spirit who teaches us how to live righteously.

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