On Sunday night, Charlie preached on 1 Thessalonians 4:1–8. Chris and Sylvia from the 6pm meeting, reflect on what we heard, and how it might start to apply.
We’re married (to each other!) A talk on sexual control at the 6pm could leave us switching off. Why does this matter to us? Surely this is for the single people? Or maybe you are single, but you too thought “I’ve just been on the day about relationships”. I’m satisfied in my singleness. I’m not misbehaving with my boy/girlfriend. Nor am I a vicar moving away from the Bible's teaching on this subject. Why do I need to hear this?
Here are some thoughts!
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 applies to all Christians.
There’s no moral high ground—we’re all sexual failures: Charlie helpfully reminded us there was no one on Sunday, nor is there anyone reading this, who can approach this subject with anything to be proud of. We have all fallen short of God’s standard in this area (Rom 3:22). It is essential that we approach this subject, and each other, with a humility and gentleness as failures equal before God.
But all Christians have turned to serve the true and living God who loves them—this motivates all Christians to please him: Christians know God, who loves us and delivers us from the wrath to come (1 Thess 1:9–10). We know his will-our sanctification (1 Thess 4:3). Living to please God is not an extra for ‘keen Christians’, but should be true of all Christians. As we saw on Sunday, we are all to please God more and more by controlling our bodies ‘not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.’ (1 Thess 4:5). Sex in marriage is really good. But we are all to live to please God more and more, as we practise sexual self control.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 applies to all Christians, so how do we all think about its applications? Here are some questions we’ve been asking ourselves.
- Are we living to please God? Are we motivated by knowing him and his will? Are our desires to serve him, or idols (e.g. sexual self-gratification?)
- Are we striving to please God more and more? Are we content simply avoiding wrong things, or are we striving to please God more in how we treat others and our own bodies?
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 is part of a letter, written to a church, exhorting them to love each other more and more (just as Paul loved them). That helped us ask ourselves some more application questions. (If these are issues you struggle to think/talk about, but would love help on, why not start by chatting to your RML leaders, or a Christian friend (eg in a prayer triplet/your RML group)?)
- At the 6pm, do we love one another enough to talk about these issues? Are we afraid to bring up the subject of sexual purity because we think it’s out of bounds? When someone brings up the subject of sexual self control with us, do we appreciate it as a loving thing to do?
- When we do bring it up are we loving and humble? Are we concerned to helping each other live to please God more and more, or inclined to gossip and condemn?
- Do we really believe that all Christians should strive to please God more and more by controlling their bodies? (ie those who are: single and married, male and female—girls struggle with porn too, whoever they are attracted to, whatever their history?)
As we all keep applying Sunday’s sermon, let’s all remember 1 Thess 4: 7; ‘God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.’