Sermon Overview & Prayer: "Flee and Fight"

Flee and Fight | 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 | PRAYER POINTS

Pleasing God Through Sexual Holiness

These written prayers, are intended to fuel your meditation on this passage and your enjoyment of God in prayer.

If you have sincerely confessed and forsaken any sexual sin then God has graciously and fully forgiven you because Christ died for all your sin. Our passage this morning is not about past sin, nor is it meant to remind us of past sin. This passage is about...how we can be protected from temptation and...sin in the future.

PRAYER: My God and Father, I thank you that, “...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”  Thank you that nothing from my past defines me, confines me, or determines my future. You have forgiven me, cleansed me, and prepared for me a path of righteousness.

Murray Harris [describes the believer’s devotion to Christ as] - An exclusive preoccupation with pleasing Christ. Believers give satisfaction to their Master not only by obeying him, but also by devising innovative ways of pleasing him. ‘We make it our ambition,’ says Paul, ‘to be completely pleasing to him’ (2 Cor. 5:9). This was Paul’s magnificent obsession. 

PRAYER: Lord, may your lavish love, your forgiveness and grace, inspire and empower me to a life of purity. May pleasing you determine my desires, my gaze, my thoughts, my words, and my deeds.

The importance of holiness and Paul's priority of holiness for the people of God is present and pronounced beginning with his prayer in 3:13 that they be “blameless in holiness”...

So holiness is the defining characteristic of the people of God, distinguishing God’s people from all others.

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, please alert me to any inclination of mine to be conformed to this world. Keep me from self-righteousness, while empowering me to be salt and light, spreading the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ, especially among those I interact with most frequently.

God wisely forbids our participation in any form of sexual sin whether its visually, verbally, mentally or physically for our good and His glory. This exhortation is about what you do with your mind, your affections and your body to abstain or avoid sexual immorality and pursue sexual holiness.

PRAYER: Lord, as I read and meditate upon your Word, strengthen my conviction about such things as holiness, godliness, and purity. Deepen my understanding about the precious gift of sexual intimacy in marriage, and your abhorrence of the defilement and damage of sexual activity outside of marriage.

The Thessalonians are to please God by learning how to control their sexual desires and conduct.  They are to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit-self-control. And note this self-control is not only for the purpose of holiness but also “honor.”They are to control their own bodies in order to honor the Lord, their spouse and others. 

PRAYER: Father, help me to faithfully cultivate the fruit of self control – not only in sexual purity, but in every area of my life. Remind me that a heart of self indulgence in one area will produce bad fruit in other areas. And thank you that taking your Word to that same root in my heart will likewise bring forth good fruit in other areas. Let me set no worthless thing before my eyes that diverts me from self control.

So let no one who is married transgress or wrong his wife or her husband by committing adultery.

And singles should avoid any interaction that arouses sexual desire that is only appropriate in marriage.

PRAYER: Lord God, may my adoration of you, my love for my spouse, and my deep respect for my brothers and sisters, protect me (and them) from any and all impurity, unfaithfulness, or defilement.

You are vulnerable to sexual sin if you don’t have a theologically informed practical strategy.

PRAYER: Father, please help me to...

  1. Flee – In every way possible avoiding having contact with temptation and sin.
  2. Fight – Exercising self-control, governing my appetites and impulses by submission to God’s word in dependence on the Holy Spirit.

...that I might, in every way, please and glorify you. In Jesus name, AMEN!

 

SERMON OVERVIEW

Paul calls the Thessalonian church to a life of holiness, which is a distinct call to ALL of God’s people. The first exhortation is to walk in a way that is pleasing to God, and the second exhortation is to do so specifically in the area of sexual holiness. Pleasing God is the goal and purpose of every genuine believer who has been saved by Jesus. We are to pursue sexual holiness by abstaining from sexual immorality, practicing self-control, and by not wronging those around us. We need a theologically-informed, practical strategy for sexual holiness, or else we are disregarding God himself and are not seeking to please Him.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: 

  1. Read 1 Thess. 4:1-8 again. What is the primary relationship in view for this passage? How does that reshape our view of sexual purity?
  2. Each task this week could be an opportunity to please God. With that in mind, how can you please God by obeying Him this week? What innovative ways can you think of to please him?
  3. CJ talked about having a theologically-informed, practical strategy for pursuing holiness.  What is your strategy for fleeing and for fighting sexual immorality?
  4. What practical ways can your community group help you to live a life more and more pleasing to God?
  5. How would you share this passage with an unbeliever? What specific words and/or themes from this passage would you use to communicate the good news of Jesus to our culture?