4 Each of you must know how to control his own body in a holy and honorable manner, 5 not with passion and lust like the gentiles who do not know God. – 1 Thess. 4:4 ISV
Paul, in his letters, to the churches reminds them of the things he has taught them about how to live a Christian lifestyle. He continually encourages them to study, to pray for and encourage each other. These letters were written to churches whose members understood persecution. They lived with it every day. He was a great example to them because of all the beatings and persecutions that he endured on an almost daily basis. We don’t have to face those types of offenses every day like they did. But, the temptations of the flesh that Paul warns them against are just as real today as they were then. As long as we are on this earth, we will be tempted to sin. But, we are also told that we will never be tempted above that which we can bear and there is always a way out, if we want to avoid the sin badly enough. Our flesh tempts in some many areas, we can sin when we gossip, when we hate others, when we withhold our abundance of worldly goods from those around us, when we see others hurting and don’t take the time to comfort them. When we think unkind thoughts about others, even though we don’t say the words, the harm is done to us and our relationship with God. The world is a cesspool of temptations for the flesh. All of these sins are outside the body, except for sexual sin, which defiles the temple of the living God, Our bodies were created by God to glorify God. When we participate in illicit sexual activity, whether in thought or action, our bodies and souls are bound with those bodies and desecrate the Temple.
15 Surely you know that your bodies are parts of Christ himself. So I must never take the parts of Christ and join them to a prostitute! 16 It is written in the Scriptures, “The two will become one body.” So you should know that anyone who joins with a prostitute becomes one body with the prostitute. 17 But the one who joins with the Lord is one spirit with the Lord.. — 1 Cor. 6:15-17 NCV
So, we must be careful to avoid all temptations, but, especially sexual temptations. So, when you feel that nudge to walk away from a situation, don’t just walk away, Run!
18 So run away from sexual sin. Every other sin people do is outside their bodies, but those who sin sexually sin against their own bodies. 19 You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves, 20 because you were bought by God for a price. So honor God with your bodies. — 1 Cor. 6:18-20
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. – James 1:25 NLT
Never say that someone or something made you mad. If you get angry, it is because you didn’t control your emotions. There certainly can be a righteous anger, but, we have to be honest because we know that most of our anger is from our pride. We also know that in our times of anger, we think and say things that we should not have said and those words are often very vile and evil. We must plant God’s Word in our hearts because it is out of the heart that the mouth speaks. Don’t just plant the Word, but water it and feed it everyday. That means that we have to spend time meditating on God’s Word so that we remember it and act accordingly. If we study, meditate and act according to that word, God can and will bless us.
Psalm 1:1-3 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
29 “The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions. — Deut 29:29 NLT
Mark Twain once said “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”. How true! We are accountable for everything we understand about the Bible and we are accountable to learn and understand everything we can about the Bible. We are also accountable to teach those truths to our children. God has given us the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. As Paul directed Timothy, we are to study and work hard so we can present ourselves to God for His approval.
15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. — 2 Tim. 2:15 NLT
Ephesians 1:9 tells us that God has revealed to us “His mysterious plan regarding Chirst” and in 2 Timothy 3, He tells us what that mystery is:
16 Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith:
Christ was revealed in a human body
and vindicated by the Spirit.
He was seen by angels
and announced to the nations.
He was believed in throughout the world
and taken to heaven in glory.
There are still mysteries to be revealed at a later date, but there is enough revelation available to us now to keep us busy learning, understanding and telling it to the world. That is what we will be held accountable for and that is our misssion. If we do this, God will get the glory and that is our purpose int the world — to give God the glory.
12 The heavens are shocked at such a thing and shrink back in horror and dismay,” says the Lord. 13 “For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me — the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all! — Jeremiah 2:12, 13 NLT
We look around us and see all the violence, evil and chaos and we wonder why? Why is this great nation that God has so abundantly blessed for over two hundred years in such disarray? Could it be that we, as a nation, have “abandoned the fountain of living water”? We, like King Solomon have gone out over all the earth looking for pleasures and “new” things only to find that every earthly thing is really meaningless. Solomon, the wisest man in the world “set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly”. His discovery was that greater wisdom brings greater grief and more knowlege brought more sorrows. He learned that nothing was really new, it only seemed new because we did not learn from history and that there is little hope that future generations will learn from our mistakes. In the end, Solomon found that it is best to “accept the way God made things for who can straighten what He has made crooked?”
Let us be wise and learn from Solomon’s misadventures. Any thing we do on earth that does not advance the kingdom of God is like pouring water into a broken bowl or putting our money into pockets that have holes in them. All of those efforts will net us nothing in eternity. Instead of spending our time and money seeking earthly pleasures and adventures, let us do the works of the Father which wll make us rich in rewards in eternity.
19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. — Matt.6:19-21 NLT
7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him — Hebrews 5:7-9 NIV
Jesus suffered many things in His walk here on earth. He was exposed to every temptation that we are exposed to but never sinned. Again, we sometimes forget that Jesus was completely human when he suffered these temptations. We need to be very careful in assuming that Jesus did not sin because He was all God as well as all man. He suffered as a human. His sufferings taught Him obedience because he was totally submitted to the will of His Father. We might say that Jesus knew He was going to be tempted and suffer here on earth, so He had an advantage. But if we read, study and really believe the Scriptures, we also know that we are going to suffer. The difference is that we often give into the desires of the flesh rather than trust our Father to deliver us. Suffering is not to let God know what our response will be, He already knows. It is so that we will know where we are in our walk with God. Our sufferings are not to be avoided, they are to be embraced. Testing and temptations are stepping stones to maturity and to help us become more intimate with Jesus.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4 NIV
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
— Romans 8:17, 18 NIV
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.—1 Cor. 12:21-22 NIV
There is a reason for every part of the human body. In today’s world, we know that there are parts of the body which we can live without. We can live without an appendix, but our excretory system will not function as well as it was designed to function with a healthy appendix. Scientists have now determined that the appendix holds good bacteria. After a bout of diarrhea that destroys the good bacteria in the gut, the appendix repopulates the good bacteria. Tonsils and adenoids help prevent infections from entering the body. We have two eyes and two ears which suggest that we should watch and listen more than we talk. We can live with one eye and/or one ear, but we will be hampered in some areas. The body of Christ is the same. It can function without everyone using the gift that God gave them to edify the body, but it will not be as effective as it should be. Each of us should seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit in determining and using the gift that God has given us. Then our part of Christ’s body (the congregation where we worship) will be helping and not hindering the work of the Kingdom.
8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.—1 Cor. 3:8,9 NIV
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.—Ephesians 6:10-13 NIV
Since we don’t actually see the angels and the demons surrounding us, it is hard for us to stay aware of the continuous battle going on around us everyday. But there are several examples of this in the Scriptures. The example in Daniel 10 involves at least two demonic princes and two angelic princes.
20 So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; 21 but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.–Daniel 10:20, 21 NIV
Just as Daniel was not physically involved in the battle, neither are we. Our battlefield is our mind. That is why our armor is not physical armor, it is invisible things that protect our thought patterns from being overwhelmed by evil. These weapons are truth, righteousness, readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, faith, salvation and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. For us to be fully dressed in the armor God has provided for us takes time. It is not a piece of clothing that you can just throw in the corner and then grab when bad times come. It takes hours and hours of prayer, Bible study and meditation to get fully dressed. satan knows where the holes in our armor are. We must pray daily for the Holy Spirit to show us the holes and then spend whatever time it takes in prayer and Scripture study to mend those holes. While we reside in this old piece of decaying flesh, we will never be able to fill all the holes. That is why God has His angels encamped around us.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.—Psalm 34:7 NIV