“For This Is the Will of God”

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 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;– 1 Thess. 4:3 ISV

1 Thess. 4:1-5 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 NC

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. 6:18-2​0

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Just As We Love You”

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12 May the Lord greatly increase your love for each other and for all people, just as we love you. -1 Thess. 3:12 ISV

 1 Thess. 3:10-13 ISV

Paul’s love and concern for the new converts that he and his companions have led to Christ is a great example for us to follow.  We may never be missionaries in  a faraway land, but we are missionaries in a land that is not our home. We are aliens and strangers wherever we are on this earth. Therefore, we need to have the same concern for those new converts in our own churches. Every church body needs Barnabases and Timothys to encourage and teach new and older converts. We need Esthers and Priscillas to teach self-sacrifice, humbleness and obedience.

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”  –Esther 4:15-16 ISV

We need Ezras to teach leadership, fasting, praying and complete reliance on God.

21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer. — Ezra 8:21-23 ISV

We need workplace ministers like Paul who witnessed while carrying on his occupation as a tentmaker and Lydias to encourage, support and provide for those laboring in God’s fields.1

4 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. — Acts 16:14-15 ISV

We are all servants in God’s army and God needs us to serve and stand firm wherever we are and complete the tasks He has called us to do, whatever that may be.He has a plan and a purpose for everyone He calls.Have you discovered your purpose in the Kingdom?  If not, talk to Him today about it and get started.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“We Were Gentle Among You”

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Instead, we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother tenderly caring for her own children. – 2 Thess. 2:7b ISV 

2 Thess. 2:7-12 ISV

​Paul sets a great example for us to follow when we are witnessing to others. We should be doing this because our hearts’ desire is to show others the love that we have for them. We have this love for them because of the love Jesus has for us. No other motive is needed, not money, not fame, not popularity.  Even while spending his life as a missionary, Paul worked as a tentmaker, so that his presence would not be a financial burden on those to whom he was speaking. He and his companions did their best to mirror the lifestyle of Jesus, their Lord and Savior. Because Jesus cared enough to die for us, Paul spent his life caring for others, just like a Mother cares for her children.  Not only was he concerned about their physical welfare, but he cared even more about their spiritual welfare. He didn’t just preach the Gospel message and leave them, he spent time explaining the scriptures to them and living an obedient lifestyle while he was there with them.  He encouraged, comforted and urged them to live lives worthy of God. In other words, he was “making disciples”, teaching them how to grow in the word and not leaving them as babies without food and no one to feed them. He exemplified God’s love even more by writing letters to them after he had left as well as sending some of his companions back to check on them at times. Jesus’ command was not to “love them and leave them” or to “save them and send them’, it was to make disciples.

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” — Matt. 28:19-20 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Encouraged and Knit Together”

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 2 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. – Col. 2:2a NLT 

Col. 2:1-4 NLT

Paul continually intercedes with God for the churches that he has planted and for those churches that his coworkers have planted. He realizes that when there are only a few believers present, it is easy for them to become discouraged and start to drop out.  He wants them to be encouraged and united in love. All Christians, particularly new Christians need to be encouraged and taught the riches of the Gospel.  We do new converts a disservice when we fail to mentor them in their walk with Christ. The world, satan and his gang are going to immediately start a concentrated effort to make the new converts doubt that there has been a change in their lives.  We must strive to get them rooted and established in the depth of the riches of the word of God. If we or they are not consistent in our study and our walk with God, it is easy for satan to separate us and make our lives miserable and ineffective for God. We must understand and teach others that regardless of our own feelings and the exterior circumstances, there is great wisdom and greater joy in serving Jesus and living a lifestyle that follows His example. Just a glimpse of the vast expanse and depth of His love and power should be sufficient reason for us to carry on.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. — Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV

 “The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Be Of One Mind, Live In Peace”

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11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings. 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. — 2 Cor. 13:11-14 NIV​

Rejoice!  Isn’t it amazing that after all Paul has gone through and was still going through at this time, that he could say rejoice?  Through all the persecutions, beatings, attempts on his life and bearing the burden of wayward people in the churches he had established, Paul was still rejoicing and encouraging others to continue in faithfulness. One of our highest priorities as Christians should be to pray for and encourage others. Compared to what Paul went through and what our brothers and sisters in other countries are going through today, anything we have to suffer through is certainly “a light affliction”. Yet, some of us are so focused on our own problems that we walk around like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh thinking “Woe is me.”.  All of us need more encouragement and more reminding of who we are in Christ Jesus. We need to “zoom out” on our lives and look at the whole panorama that God has given us. The more time we spend focused on Jesus and others, the less time we will have to focus on our own issues. When we take time to fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we find that our spirits are lifted and we can truly rejoice.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.– Phil. 4:4-7

 “The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“His Indescribable Gift”

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15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!  ​- 2 Cor. 9:15 NLT​ 

2 Cor. 9:12-15 NLT

God doesn’t need our tithes, giving back to God and helping others is how we express our love for Him for all the wonderful things He has done and continues to do for us.  Jesus went about doing good and He expects us to do the same. We should cheerfully give expecting nothing in return.  Our acts of kindness in a world where lifestyles are based on greed will attract others to Jesus .  God doesn’t need any proof of who we are or where we are in our relationship with Him, we do these things to prove to ourselves and those around us that we are true, obedient followers of Jesus. This will show those around us that Jesus makes a difference in how we live and respond to others. We can only do this through the generosity of the grace God has shown to us  Acts of kindness will cause others to praise God and bring us joy. We should continually show forth the praises of God because of the indescribable gift He has given us. The gift of giving. Having received this gift of grace and mercy, we should pass it on to others for the glory of God.

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. — 1 Peter 2:9-10 NI​V

​“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Reaffirm Your Love for Him”

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8 So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him. – 2 Cor. 2:8

2 Cor. 2:5-11 NLT

It appears that someone in the church at Corinth had done something that was deserving of discipline by the church body. Whatever the action was, it had caused a great deal of grief in the church.  Paul is writing to tell them that the discipline has been sufficient and now it is time for the church to move on and let the healing begin.  The church now needs to restore that one to their fellowship and reaffirm their love for him or he could be completely overwhelmed. In every family, whether it be our church or our physical family, there are disagreements, some severe enough to be deserving of corrective action.  But once that action has been taken, it is time to restore and reaffirm our love for each other.

1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. — Galatians 6:1 NIV

The restoration is not a favor to the perpetrator, but a necessary step in the forgiving process that brings glory to God.  True forgiveness releases all anger and resentment against that person and allows us to enjoy the freedom we have in God’s forgiveness of our sins.  It also defeats satan’s schemes since it will keep us from allowing a root of bitterness to grow in us, which will steal our joy.

14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many– Hebrews 12:14-15 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“God Will Surely Judge”

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4 Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.​– Hebrews 13:4 NLT​

Hebrews 13:4-8 NLT

God warns us over and over not to participate in immoral sex because it is more than just a physical act. It involves the intertwining of the body, mind and spirit. Those illicit desires quickly become much too strong for the flesh to handle. Those who continue to participate in these sins will soon learn they have become captive to their fleshly lusts. It will become an abomination to our bodies, the very Temple of the Living God.

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.Therefore honor God with your bodies. – 1 Cor. 6:18-20 NIV

We need to flee from this sin and God always opens a door for us to leave if we choose to do so. The lust for money and power is almost as strong as the lust for sexual immorality, so we must be sure that our choices of how we use our finances and our positions honor God.  It is very easy to become addicted to any of these sins.  We don’t have to be millionaires or CEOs to misuse the resources God has entrusted to us.  We can sin in finances by refusing to help those in need around us. We need to watch for the opportunities that God gives each of us to do good in His name. It isn’t the amount or the “bigness” that impresses God, it is the willingness and the attitude with which we perform the tasks.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” — Mark 12:43-44 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Keep On Loving One Another”

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1 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some  people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.— Hebrews 13:1-3 NIV​

Keep on loving each other! Some of us have a real problem expressing our affections in words and actions.  We may have to overcome some hurts from the past before we are willing to open up to other people.  It helps if we realize that all of us need love.  If God had not loved us enough to send His Son to die for us, we would never have been able to experience the joy of loving others. So, let us show others the love and kindness of our God by showing our concern for them.  We can do this by praying for others, starting at home and praying for our families  Then for our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those who are being persecuted daily and imprisoned. Then we need to pray for those that are persecuting and killing our brothers and sisters.  Though we sometimes forget it, Jesus died for them as well. Being able to pray for our enemies is hard to do, but we must, if we are going to be obedient to Jesus. Above all, we must continue to love one another.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.—- ​Colossians 3:12-14 NIV

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. — 1 Cor.13:13


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Love Your Neighbor”

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. — Romans 13:8-10 NIV

God is love, Jesus was God in the flesh, so Jesus is love and therefore He was the fulfillment of the law. The death of Jesus on the cross for our sins was love beyond our comprehension.  It wasn’t just love squared or love cubed, it was, and still is love to the power of infinity. The flesh is incapable of love in any degree, much less to the level of love that God has for us. Yet, we are instructed to work toward that goal. Is it a work  of futility?  For the flesh, yes.  For the Holy Spirit, no. While there is a plethora of emotions associated with love and acts of love, those feelings and emotions are not the reason we love. It is a decision we make. The death of Jesus on the cross was not a result of some emotional explosion in heaven, it was a decision made by the Trinity. Jesus paid all of our sin debt and we can never repay Him for that.  But, we still have a continuing debt that we can never pay in full. It is somewhat like a “full life” insurance policy. As long as you live, you owe regular payments on it.  Our debt of love will never be marked “Paid in Full”.  But we still need to be sure that it stays “paid up to date”.  Are we making regular, daily payments on our debt of love?

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous