NWA10 – Hugh Palmer on 1 Thessalonians, part three

In the third session on Thessalonians, Hugh honed right in on our purity. He urged all of us listening to make a decision to stop playing games with God. He warned us that if we reject the teaching on sexual purity we are not rejecting our preacher, or even Paul, but God himself.

But as Hugh explains, Paul begins by saying, “Be what you have been made by God.” We start with the gospel, but then must live in light of what God has done to us in saving us.

God intends for us to be transformed.  The proper response to the gospel is to please God and avoid sexual immorality.  If we are serious about being God’s people we will be serious about avoiding this.  Some muddle sex and love and blur them, when, in truth, they don’t always go together.

We see another warning and encouragement to love one another.  He says we have been “taught by God” to love.  Paul says he is pleased that they are loving each other, but urges them to do more.  We must learn to live a quiet life and mind our own business.  Not passivity, but that we might win the respect of outsiders.  Some people’s spirituality cuts them off from normal life.  Our faith should not take us away from our normal responsibilities.  God doesn’t want us to be idle. Elsewhere Paul says those who refuse to work should not eat. We must love and care for those in genuine need. But we must also help those who can genuinely help themselves to do so.

We are meant to be developing all the time.  The issue is not where we are, but rather what is the direction of travel.  God wants us to be getting ever closer to the mark of holiness and ultimately to appear before his throne as blameless and holy.

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