I Thessalonians 4

Vs. 1, “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.”  The worldly influence of the Roman culture was strong in the capital city of Thessalonica.  This new way of life and holy living was new for these converts to the faith.  Question: Why should we live a holy life?  Our answer is found in the verse above: To please God.  It is certainly possible to obey God, yet not please him.  The prophet Jonah is an example of that.  Yet, Paul is still reminding us that pleasing God is a part of His will for us (vs. 3).  Another example in pleasing God is loving each other with a philia and agape love (vs. 9-10).   There was a misunderstanding in the church that many thought Jesus would come soon, so they just gave up working (vs. 11-12).  They were a young church, so Paul also had to reassure them of what would happen to believers when they die (vs. 13-15).  Though we grieve death for a time, we realize that we will be reunited with other believers when Jesus returns (vs. 16-18).

Regarding application…Why Live Pure?  Vs. 7, “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”  Because God said so.  Because Jesus set the example.  Because God created our bodies to be pure and holy.  We live in a society that revels in the fact that we can “choose” our own way of living.  You can choose abstinence, but schools and Government programs also offer safe sex products.  Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean we should follow the “herd” mentality.  People are shocked that a single person by the age of thirty would still be able to claim they are virgins.  This is the way of thinking that we are surrounded by.  But, we must remember that God called us to live pure.  When I married my wife at the age of 34, I was able to tell her before God that I was a virgin!  Don’t allow the tempter or the world around you to influence your choice to honor the Lord!

Ezekiel 44

Vs. 5, The Lord said to me, “Son of man, look carefully, listen closely and give attention to everything I tell you concerning all the regulations regarding the temple of the Lord. Give attention to the entrance of the temple and all the exits of the sanctuary.”  Ezekiel is given a further vision and instruction regarding the prince, the priests and the Levites.  The instructions of Mount Sinai (Exodus 24) were not followed in the past, so we are now actually given even more strict regulations based on how people responded in the past.  The sanctuary of God and how we enter it is not to be taken lightly.  Serving God in any capacity must always be looked at as a privilege. 

Regarding application…Impure Ways. Vs. 6, “Say to the rebellious house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Enough of your detestable practices, O house of Israel!”  Question: Why would this happen?  In Psalm 19, it states, “the fear of the Lord is pure…”  When God’s people entered His house in the past, they brought their impure ways with them.  Sadly, this application is something that we have continued to do to this very day.  When we bring our impure ways to God, there are consequences to this.  It’s easy to point our fingers to others: blame the Pastor, blame the elders, blame the coach, blame the CEO, blame the teacher, etc.  God does deal with the leaders in good ways and bad ways in how they live, but He also deals with each of us in how we live this life.  I urge you brothers and sisters not to underestimate our impure ways.  Ask the Lord today to convict your heart and let His word dwell richly in you.