Daily Scripture reading for the week is at the end of the page.
Dr. June Normil
As followers of Christ, the Thessalonians Christians lived in a way that was pleasing to God, just as Paul had taught them during his time there ( Thessalonians 4:1-2). One of the major issues facing the Gentile world at that time was sexual immorality. Fornication, adultery, prostitution, incest, rape, pedophilia, homosexual relationships, and every kind of sexual perversion were prevalent in the societies of the Gentile nations, often as part of their religious practice. In remaining the Thessalonians to stay away from immorality, Paul warned that God is the punisher of those who God commit sexual sins (verse 6). He also instructed them on how important it is for them to continue walking in moral purity (verses 3-5). Paul clarified their call to walk in holiness by admonishing them to not disregard God (verses 7-8). We are called to not only abstain from evil, but also to be proactive in doing good through the power of the Holy Spirit, who is given to us by God.
[For Personal Reflection] Why is purity and holiness so important for the Christian?
The Thessalonian Christians, though young in their faith, were obediently loving one another in response to the gospel. Paul said he had no need to write to them regarding brotherly love (Christian love), because they were taught by God to love one another (1Thessalonians 4:9). When we are regenerated through our new birth in Christ, we receive God's gift of love for us, offer love for him in response, and, through this experience, practice sincere love for others. This God-given, Christlike love creates a positive and genuine influence on those around us. Though we are unsure exactly how the love of the Thessalonians for their fellow Christians had been demonstrated, apparently there was communication, and possibly actual fellowship, between them and the other churches established by Paul and Silas in Philippi and Berea in Macedonia. Paul was clearly pleased by this and encouraged them to continue in this love. Paul continued encouraging the Thessalonian believers by instructing them in how to live responsibly, working to provide for their own material needs. Making it your ambition to lead a quiet life (verse 11) promotes words spoken in wisdom at the appropriate time. It also means refraining from stirring up, minding your own business, and doing the work that is yours to do. Paul also noted that having a good work ethic provided a good example to those outside the church.
[For Personal Reflection] Do you feel having a good work ethic can promote Christ?
As you ponder how your way of living impacts others, do you think God is pleased with how you live? Do you exhibit the brotherly love and hopeful joy that is described and celebrated in this lesson? As you go about your week, remind yourself of the Scriptures addressed here, thus hiding God's Word in your heart, that you might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). Think about practical ways you can live pleasing to God, avoiding evil and working toward good. Also consider how you can best love your fellow Christians and influence those who are unsaved with the love of Christ. Finally, find comfort in the fact you have hope for everlasting life to come with your Savior.
Copyright Reference: Radiant Life, Volume 101 Number 2 Dec. Jan. Feb. 2019 by Gospel Publishing House, 1445 N. Boonville Ave, Springfield, Mo 65802.
Dr. June Normil
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