Nobleton Community Church
29084 Sentinel Street PO Box 224
Nobleton, Florida 34661

Rev. Paul V. Lehmann, Pastor



Nobleton community Church
April 28, 2024
TEXT: I Thessalonians 4:1-12
Pastor Paul V. Lehmann

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I would like to emphasize verse 7 in this section of chapter 4.

“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”

We saw last week in chapter 3, after Paul left Corinth and went to Athens because of the persecution of the Jews, he sent Timothy to Thessalonica to find out the progress that this young church had made. When Timothy returned with a good report of how well they had received the gospel and that they were faithful. Paul then writes this letter back to them and answers some of the questions they have. He wanted to establish them in their faith, but also to encourage them about those who had died. Last week we talked about how prayer is the way we become perfected in holiness, and learn to please God. Now Paul wants them to know that he was glad to hear that they were living to please God, and he encourages them to do so even more. The Thessalonians along with most of the New Testament Christians were saved out of an impure society of the Greek-Roman world. We see in I Corinthians 6:9-11 that they were caught up in discussions about the evil habits of their environment. They were reminded of what they were saved from; We read; “…do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. These conditions existed in Thessalonica too, That’s why when Paul received the report that their faith was known everywhere, how they had turned from idols to the true and living God.

In our society, we face everything they did, only in different forms. However what we read in If Corinthians isn’t so different. We must make sure that we as 21st century Christians are totally sanctified and set apart and are consecrated to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives so that we can have victory over the desires of the flesh.


Beginning in Chapter 4, Paul makes a move from the theoretical to the practical. He could be very brusque when necessary but he could also be very diplomatic. He wanted the Thessalonians to do better but he did not want to discourage them in their present achievement; so he suggested that they continue in the way they have been walking. —to walk and please God, but they needed more teaching in order to face a culture that was so ungodly. God’s will necessitated a clean breach of pagan standards. The terrible sex pressures of our own age necessitate investigation into the Apostolic teachings concerning Christian conduct and behavior.

We must walk in the way of holiness. We don’t have to be victims in a world that has chosen to live according to the desires of the flesh and not according to God’s standards. Jesus reiterated God’s standards when he gave his sermon on the Mount, where he emphasized that the matter of adultery and fornication were conditions of the heart and of the mind rather than overt acts. He also gave a supreme exhibition of moral purity in his own life.

Sanctification, or holiness is explained as keeping oneself pure. Living in purity. This has a negative aspect in the refraining from all corruptions of the body and a positive aspect in the fulfillment of the principal ordinance of God in holy marriage. This is an example of sanctification or setting apart (especially today) of the equivalent to separation and consecration. This is within the power of the individual but the holiness resulting is the effect of the Holy Spirit’s influence, when the couple is committed to Jesus Christ.

We see in this passage:


The moral climate in the Roman Empire was morally decadent: “Immorality was a way of life; and thanks to slavery, people had the leisure time to indulge in the latest pleasures. The Christan message of holy living was new to that culture, and it was not easy for these young believers to fight the temptations around them. The late pastor and commentator William Barclay gives good historical background on all of the New Testament. He says, in Rome, for the first 520 years of the Republic, there had not been one single divorce, but now, under the Empire, as it has been put, divorce was a matter of unpredictable change, on a whim or notion. It was said: “Women were married to be divorced and divorced to be married.” In Rome, the years were identified by the names of the consuls, but it was said that fashionable ladies identified the years by the names of their husbands. There was an instance of a woman who had eight husbands in five years. Morality was dead. Well if that was the case then, for the first half of the 20th century we were almost if not equal to that attitude. But then the “sexual revolution” of the late ’60s, and into the 70s, until now 24 years into the 21st century, it is no longer necessary to get married to have children. A girl who has a baby can even choose not to put the name of the father if she doesn’t want to.

In Rome, one of the philosophers said; “We have courtesans (this is an old fashion term for wealthy prostitutes. We might say “call girls”) for the sake of pleasure, we have concubines for the sake of daily cohabitation, we have wives for the purpose of having children legitimately, and of having a faithful guardian for all our household affairs.” So in Greece, home and family life were near to being extinct, and fidelity was completely non-existent.”

The Psalmist declares in Ps. 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” But the opposite always occurs when nations either ignore the Lord or turn away from Him, as we see happening in our country today.

But through the gospel of the Lord Jesus, God comes into our lives, regardless of our condition or culture, joins us into union with Him through faith in the Savior, and begins—

A reformation movement to transform us into the moral character of the Savior.

This occurs as His life is lived out in ours by the Holy Spirit according to the Word. This is not a matter of simply changing cultural patterns like Westernizing natives, (we don’t call people in other countries that anymore—they are Nationals) but changing the spiritual and moral fiber of men and women. God who is holy, is deeply concerned with our walk.

As a result, a number of passages like 1 Thess. 4:1 –address the concept of the believer’s walk. Paul reminds them “We instructed you, how to live in order to please God.” The Christian life is compared to walking. Walking becomes a visual aid to teach us how to live. By means of walking, we move from one sphere to another; we seek to carry out certain responsibilities at work, at home, in the church, and in society. We do many things, some good and some not so good. But walking also means taking one step at a time, and with each step, while one foot is off the ground as we move forward, we are susceptible to being knocked off balance, to stumbling or stepping into trouble.

Phillip’s paraphrase of verse 3 is, “God’s plan is to make you holy, and that entails first of all a clean cut with sexual immorality.” The exhortation is to flee the fornication of the pagan world. The Bible warns against promiscuity, easy women, loose relationships, and affairs before marriage. This was true in the New Testament period and it is certainly true today. From the Christian point of view, the body is to be under discipline. Again quoting from Phillips in verses 4 and 5, “Everyone of you should learn to control his body, keeping it pure and treating it with respect, and never regarding it as an instrument of self-gratification, as do the pagans with no knowledge of God.” The whole sex relationship is to be consecrated to God. The discipline over the body must stand in marriage and out of marriage. The body must be sanctified as well as the mind and spirit.

Paul added that such immorality resulted in the defrauding of one’s brother or sister Relations with the opposite sex based upon gratification or selfishness always defraud, hurts, and wounds another. It is a repudiation of the dignity of men and women as the children of God. It treats them as things rather than persons. As the result of such practices, there are millions of people who have been seriously hurt.


Paul speaks of purity as being “according to the will of God.” God’s plan for men and women is a sanctified relationship of monogamous marriage with procreation, love, responsibility, and character development. Our bodies are to be kept in a righteous relationship to God, whether in or out of marriage. Thus man is to be sanctified body, soul, and spirit and kept blameless into the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God will punish all who violate this standard (verse 6) Judgment is the function of God, is committed to Christ, and will be executed on the wicked at Christ’s coming. Granted there is a difference between the sexual immorally that was present at Corinth and Thessalonica, where temple prostitution and other forms of sexual immorality were present—that is different from two people today who say they love each other and decide to live together for a while. But you see, it may be different in our eyes, but not in God’s since His standard is the same. This does not remove the subjective effects of such sin is present judgment. Sex sin hardens, makes selfish, and enslaves the victim. Thus those who plunge into an unclean life are in great spiritual jeopardy.

God has made provision for deliverance from such enslavement. (verse 8) Anyone who rejects this instruction (Paul says) does not reject a human being but God. The very God who gives you his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit who regenerates us indwells us and empowers us, enables us also to partake of God’s holiness. Through the Spirit, we, therefore, sanctify ourselves. Any physical sin will grieve God’s Spirit, will terminate His ministry in us and will cause Him to resume His work of conviction, chastisement and rebuke. The New Testament standard is that we should not accommodate ourselves to the lax moral standards of the non-Christian world.