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1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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August 19, 2021 6:00 am

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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August 19, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Book of 1st Thessalonians 4:1-8

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If you were wrong, you're wrong, but I tell you, I have justified you. I've set you on the side for me, and I'm going to glorify you one day. You're going to be holy and pure. And so forget those things which are behind, but preach and reach for those things which are ahead.

It's not an exact quotation, but that is certainly the interpretive rendering. Forgetting those things which are behind. Why? So I can reach for those things which are ahead, because if I don't forget, I won't reach. I'll be overwhelmed with guilt. The Church is to deal with moral impurity, sexual impurity. We're not just to act like it's not there. When it surfaces, when it comes to our attention, we can't go, oh, that didn't happen. We have to deal with it. And as a pastor, you begin saying, well, you better have some foxholes around the church so when you deal with this, you can jump in them, because people are going to shoot at you.

But then you learn, well, you know what, I'm right. There's an honor here to hold up God's word. I'm not diving in the foxhole, but keep them.

I'll throw the other guy in. And if you were pastors, you'd be laughing on the floor right now. Oh, that was funny.

Why didn't I think of that? Anyway, back to this. Remember the essence of sin is abuse of something that is legitimate. Legitimate behavior. When it is abused, it becomes sin. Jeremiah, chapter 10, Jeremiah says, oh, Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself. It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. Man gets into trouble.

He cannot write laws that really, in the end, produce the justice that we all want. And so we must beware of the sinfulness of legitimate things. Something can be relatively innocent, but it's really sin. It's running interference from Satan.

It's going against righteousness and holiness. Okay, I've got to get to this. I'm still holding it out because there's more. We have to get about the beer and church and all that other stuff. We've got a little time, but first, this is a group that they want to change the world. They're Christians, they say. And I'm sorry, the world's not going to be changed.

It's going to be destroyed. God so loved the world, not the system of the world, but the human beings on it. But the system is, by definition, scripturally opposed to God. James says, if you have that friendship with the world, you are at war with God.

Their opinions, their ideas, their standards, when they conflict with God, that is the world. And the university has become the leading pulpit of the world. Entertainment industry also being their alternate pulpit.

So here at this particular conference or whatever it is they're having, I'm reading the background on these speakers. One of them, they both said he delivered the sermon at the inaugural prayer in Washington, D.C. If I was allowed to do that prayer right after the prayer, they would have taken me out back and shot me. What do you say to people that are making legal every dirty thing they could get their fingers on? My sermon would, you know, you say this, that's why guys like me don't get invited. They vet them. They listen to their sermons, see what they, okay, he's good. They would listen to one of my sermons and then they'd send the IRS and the EPA.

The EPA is getting to the point where they'll claim your head as theirs. Anyway, then this other one, this is a writer. Now, she has written a book called Christianity After Religion, The End of the Church and the Birth of the New Spiritual Awakening. Now, I don't know what's in that book. Well, I can tell from what some of the other things I'm going to read about this person. And now some of you might not be very uncomfortable with this, lampooning them and all. That's the problem. That's why they've gotten this far. Someone in their childhood did not laugh at them for laughing at God. Well, anyway, this one, does she understand that the church is the body of Christ purchased with his blood and with all her failures to attack her is a grave mistake.

It is better to build her up and mind your field and never mind the other guys. But it says she blogs at the Huffington Post. Do you know what the Huffington Post is?

Do you know what they're about? What Christian would want to blog there? Then, it also says, also for USA Today, Time, the Washington Post, CBS, CNN, PBS, NPR, all of these vilify Jesus Christ consistently.

It's their agenda. You love the Lord. You raise your hands. You sing to him.

They hate him. No Christian ought to be boasting about, yeah, I was schmoozing over there. We notched on chips for a while and dip. Then there's the third one. The fourth one is the big one. This one, she's been featured in interviews on the Today Show and PR, Huffington Post, She has a book called Evolving in Monkey Town. What does that have to do with Christ? We got to read the book?

No. Once I see Zondervan printed it, I wouldn't read anything Zondervan prints. Then there's this one. Now, maybe this sums it all up. Do you want this in your church? This person says that he's in his fourth decade as chief dreamer. I'm not kidding you.

What is that? Would you like a pastor or a chief dreamer? I mean, and then he goes on that he is a spiritual entrepreneur of ministry marketplace innovations.

You might not be disturbed by this. I happen to believe people really go to hell. And I happen to believe the role of the church is not to play with this sort of language. We are to preach the love of God but the truth first. There is no agape if there is no truth. Truth. The truth of God trumps the love of God or else you cannot get to love.

You have affections or you have erotic love or some other thing called love that's affection or perversity or anything if it's not held together by the fact of God. That's what it means. The truth of God is the fact of God. And the church's role is not to appeal to people. It is to tell the truth.

Paul said it is the pillar and the ground of truth. Why does this disturb Christians? Why do they get upset when I don't like how you go about exposing them?

Too bad. They need to be exposed. Elijah mocked the prophets as they cut themselves and blood gushed out. They were sincere in their worship but they were wrong. And they were leading Israel and the people in Israel to hell.

And the prophet decided to deal with them as they needed to be dealt with. I always have to be careful with this. I have more. That's just phase one.

I want to get to phase two to see where this lands us. Verse four he says that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel and sanctification and honor. Again, no honor in this behavior that wants to sort of be accepted by the world. You know there was a time when the evolutionists were coming along with their lies.

No evidence. And the church was embracing it because they wanted to be accepted by the universities. Well, we can't say God created man out of the clay of the earth because the people who know everything, they will turn on us. They'll call us bumpkins. They'll say when one of them has a book here, something about the Bible Belt, the one with the monkey evolution, writes Christianity in the context of the Bible Belt and a year of the biblical womanhood, how a liberated woman found herself sitting on a roof covering her head and calling her husband master. Well, I guess if he put her on the roof, he's the master.

But okay, we won't go into that. Do these people mean well? I'm sure they do. I'm sure they mean well. I don't think they got up in the morning and said let me see who I can damn today. But that's not good enough.

Why? Because the grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of God stands forever. And they have the word of God.

And when they read things that are offensive, they skip over them. And they look for things that spiritual entrepreneur of ministry of marketplace innovation. I mean if you came to the church and said, listen, I'd like to serve here.

I'm a spiritual entrepreneur, chief dreamer of marketplace innovation. They'd have to take me out on a stretcher laughing so hard. Doctor, we can't stop him from laughing. All right. I'm not mocking them for the sake of mocking them.

But we need to stand up when people try to give us this stuff. Oh, did you read the latest book? Did you read the Bible? Have you ever read the Bible?

Ever? Have you read a good commentary on the Bible? Why don't you get a Warren Wiersbe commentary? Very insightful, packed with scripture, easy to read.

If you've read the Bible and you need some understanding, this is a good place to start. Get a Harry Ironside. Read A.W. Tozier.

Oswald Chambers. There's so much good stuff out there. Why would you waste your time with this stuff? Verse 4, self-control. He says that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel and sanctification and honor. This is self-control. It is underrated.

It is understated. The battlefield that we are going to meet the enemy and the world and ourselves on is the battlefield of self-control. And when he says, possess his own vessel, he's meaning yourself. 2 Corinthians 4, 7. We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God, not of us.

Some commentators like to say, no, he's talking about the wife. But that then rules out the value of everything Paul is saying for the women. That is, I think, a wrong understanding. In fact, the ancient Romans would refer to the body as a vessel. And Paul knew that when he wrote to these Thessalonians. And so purity and self-control are what is intended here. And sanctification and honor. Now, having dealt with sanctification in verse 3, we'll just discuss honor. Honor is not an entitlement. It is an achievement. Now, the media thinks they are entitled to be honored.

You should believe everything they say. I have a problem with the courts, you know, calling the guy your honor. I know it represents, I know it all of that, and I still just have a problem with it, because there's a lot that's not very honorable in the court systems, and it's always been that way. But, lest we offend, it's not an entitlement. And people who think they are entitled to honor while their behavior is anything but honorable are arrogant.

You just use definitions to come to this conclusion. It's not a personal tirade. Now, faith without honor is not an asset to God. It's a burden to Him. And honor is found in doing right no matter what the costs are. That's what honor involves. Now, taken too far, honor becomes a hijacked virtue.

An example of this would be feudalistic Japan. To maintain the honor, they were killing themselves. Oh, you're going to have to kill yourself now.

Oh, look at that, you spilled your tea. And it was just way too far, but that is the case with every virtue. It can be abused. Verse 5, he says, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God. Now, a Gentile who did not know God might protest. Or someone in the church might say, how are we going to reach him if you're going to say things like that.

It's not about appealing to people according to their understanding of what is appealing. It is about preaching God's truth. I almost went to hell because Christians wouldn't tell me the truth. They would talk to me about tongues, they would talk to me about going to church, about being confirmed, about lighting candles.

They wouldn't tell me the truth about Christ and myself and sin. And Paul writes, he says, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. There again, the will of God spoken of.

Now, we've got a few minutes left and we're going to get to other interesting things. Verse 6, that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter because the Lord is the avenger of all such as we also forewarned you and testified that no one should, well that includes all of us, take advantage here and the Greek is to overreach or to go beyond. The idea of trespassing. I want to read this proverb, but some of you might benefit from it.

Some of you are victims of it. Proverbs 25 verse 17, seldom set foot in your neighbor's house, lest he become weary of you and hate you. Well, this becomes a trespass after a while.

No one has time to say, I think we should be going. Then he says in verse 6, defrauding his brother in this matter. That is to rip off someone else because of sexual impurity, to steal someone's sexual innocence. And this is practiced way too much even in the churches. Sexual predators, they defraud and they spoil the relationship. David and Bathsheba is a biblical example. Premarital sex does this also.

It robs the future partner of a chase partner. You've spoiled it. You've soiled it because you did not obey God.

Now, those of us in Christ who may have been in the world before coming to Christ, he's wiped all that away. Says, listen, I'm not lowering my standard. If you are wrong, you're wrong. But I tell you, I have justified you. I've set you on the side for me. And I'm going to glorify you one day. You're going to be holy and pure. And so forget those things which are behind, but preach and reach for those things which are ahead.

It's not an exact quotation, but that is certainly the interpretive rendering. Forgetting those things which are behind. Why? So I can reach for those things which are ahead. Because if I don't forget, I won't reach. I'll be overwhelmed with guilt. I should have done that.

I feel so bad about this. He says, because the Lord is the avenger of all. Here in verse six, God is not mocked. He will deal with those who they want forgiveness without repentance.

That's not going to happen. I'm reading in verse six, as also forewarned you and testified. The word testified there in the Greek is in an intensified form. It would be as though Paul were saying, you know how I stressed this when I was there.

You know how I made it patently clear. Or you could say, you know how I slammed this subject in the presence of God. And so when he says, I warned you about sexual impurity.

He had every reason to do this. And so he is revisiting it with them. In verse seven, he says, for God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. You better not tell that to a lot of Christians. They'll charge you with being a legalist. Upholding God's word is not legalism.

Forcing others to do things your way, that's legalism. Maybe you have heard about the churches. They are now offering alcoholic beverages in the churches.

I call them the Salston God's house squad. What are they thinking? That somehow this is going to make God attractive? How can we trust, oh and they cover, well we limit it to two beers.

So you wonder when I talk about these other liberal minded approaches to the holiness of God. Well it's connected. Let me read something.

This is from in Forth Worth, Texas. A church in a pub gets church goers into the spirit. Now an unbeliever had to have written this, so to speak.

Worship leaders hold communion at the bar and even sing hymns and songs of praise. Phil Hentz, who is part of Calvary Lutheran, churches bold new initiative, said the idea is to spark curiosity in those around. Now curiosity killed the cat and now it's killing the church.

You want to spark curiosity? He says I'm interested in having people have significant relationships around Jesus, says Phil, part of Calvary Lutheran's church's new initiative. And if it turns out to be craft beer, fine. A parish in Portland, Oregon does much the same. The first Christian church holds an event called Beer and Hymns once a month attracting about a hundred swilling and singing young people. And to keep things in check, the church enforces a two beer maximum casual environment far from the notions of being in your starched Sunday best lends itself to attracting those who wouldn't be seen sitting in the pew. How did the church get to be like this? They have to find a righteous church to get designated drivers for people to go home, I guess.

I don't know how that works, but what has happened here? Paul says those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all that the rest may fear. That's why I've been telling you these things. We're not to sweep them under the rug and pretend, oh, they're okay. Oh, they want to reach Jesus.

What a noble cause. They're sincere. Leave them alone. Have they ever read the seven letters to the churches in the book of Revelation? These are twaddle artists and gibberish maestros. That's what they are. They come up with stuff that they've worded it so perfectly.

They've packaged it so finely. And people who don't want the word of God will take this and they are claiming they're getting the word of God from Christians and they're not getting anything from God from people who seem not to even belong to God. Now, one batch, again, resents that I would lampoon their stupidity, their uncleanness in Christ's name. Look, you want to do those things, do them, but don't go putting Jesus' name on them.

Another batch resents that I dare expose them or disagree with them. Live and let live. That's Satan's line, incidentally. When Jesus said go into the world and make disciples, he wasn't saying go let live. Go help people believe whatever they want to believe.

For let them worship me any old way they want to worship me. Still another group want to knight themselves as advocates of the ridiculous. We see this in homosexuality.

We see people saying, well, it's not for me, it's not my lifestyle, but I don't think anybody has a right and they go on to present themselves as an advocate for the underdog. And in so doing, they're undermining any sense of righteousness, sensibility, and when it's in the church, it is no question it is Satan. We don't walk across the aisle. We Christians don't compromise the truths of God. It's not, okay, Satan, we'll give you a little and we'll take a little and that'll be fair. And then we walk away with something that is impure and destructive, it doesn't work, and it's nothing like what God told us to do, and yet this is happening all the time. Because we have people who are entering the pulpit with credentials such as, I wrote a book, I have a blog, I have a this, I have a that, I have thousands of people come to hear me every Sunday speak. Again, my cure for that is let me speak there.

I'll get your thousands down to a couple of hundreds really quickly. We're not entrusted to give a popularity contest. Again, looking at verse seven, God did not call us to uncleanness, but holiness. You don't need the Greek words because they mean just as much in the English. Holiness is something that people can't even define any longer. And we reject them as failures who have been entrusted with pursuing success in Christ. In other words, I'm no better than any of these people, but I am much better off following Jesus than I am these folks. I am much better off following churches, and there are many good churches in this country, in the world, that uphold the things of scripture. Even though we may not agree with them on many points, the essentials we agree with them on.

They are our brothers and they are our sisters. But when someone begins in Jesus' name to take from Jesus his right to define holiness and cleanliness, I think for me, that's where we begin to part ways. And you now become the worker of iniquity. You're leavening the church. You're making a mockery of the things that men and women have died for, not only in the scripture but in history. In verse 8, he says, Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man but God, who has also given us the Holy Spirit. Man was created in the garden.

Man is made in his environment. And I don't come from a place in my upbringing where people fluffed things over. If you got caught in a bold-faced lie, you were liable to get beat up. And when I find them doing this about Christ, I don't know how to be at peace with it.

I don't know how to communicate my disdain for it in what they would say is a civilized way where what they really mean is layoff. Civility is not defined for me by the universities. The debate team does not define for me what civility and debate is. In fact, Paul in Corinthians said, Where is the scribe? Where is the wise man? Where is the debater of this age? For has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

He swept all of that away. He said, I'm not here to discuss this on your terms. I am here to speak a message. And that's what we are doing.

And so I close with this. 2 Timothy chapter 1 verses 13 and 14. He says, Hold fast a pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love, which are in Christ Jesus, that good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. Paul says, You're not hurting man. Again, verse 8, Therefore he who rejects us does not reject man, but God, who has also given us the Holy Spirit. Some of you have said, You know, pastor, I love it that you tell it like it is.

Well, sometimes I tell it like it is about something maybe somebody you care about is guilty of. It's not what I say. It's what Jesus says. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in the book of 1 Thessalonians. Cross Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more information about this ministry, visit our website, Once you're there, you'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. When you subscribe, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio. You can search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app as well. That's all we have time for today, but we hope you'll join us next time as Pastor Rick continues to teach through the book of 1 Thessalonians right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-14 13:40:23 / 2023-09-14 13:50:16 / 10

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