Our text is 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.
In chapter 4:1 through chapter 5:22, Paul embarked on the second major portion of this epistle, offering instructions on several subjects: principles for Christian conduct (4:1-12), assurances and challenges regarding Christ’s return (4:13-5:11), and an assortment of brief final guidelines (5:12-22). In chapter 4, verses 1-8, Paul provides instruction on sexual purity. In their culture, marital infidelity, at least for males, was the norm, and some of the pagan religions from which these Thessalonians had been liberated sanctioned gross sexual defilement in their ritual. God’s will for us is that we be holy, abstaining from unchaste behavior.
Click here for the link to download the audio file for the sermon to your computer. The sermon is also available for you in video form. Click here to watch the sermon.
Children’s Message: Pastor Chad Sadorf has been including a series of Children’s Messages. This series of Children’s Messages is entitled “Biblical Foundations.” Today’s message is provided as a video; this link appears just after the Gloria Patri in the service (where it would normally occur in our church service). Click on these links for a children’s bulletin and an activity page to accompany today’s message: Children’s Bulletin and Activity Page.
Service for Family Worship:
Call to Worship:
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (ESV)
Almighty God we are in awe of your holiness, your perfection, and your majesty; the fact that you are high and lifted up—completely other than.
You created, sustain, and rule over all that exists.
You are holy beyond all comprehension.
So how could you relate to us with the intimacy of Psalm 23, and so many other places described for us in your holy word?
How could you send your own Son that we might have the privilege of knowing you and coming into your presence in worship?
Triune God, we bow before you in utter amazement this morning in worship and submission. Enable us to worship you in spirit and in truth, for your glory and for our edification.Block out the cares of the world, and reveal to us by your Spirit—in our prayers, in the singing of hymns, in the giving of your tithes and our offerings, and in the preaching of your word—reveal to us again this day the resurrected and living Christ. Cause us to place all of our affection upon you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Worship in Psalm:
Over the course of July, our congregation will be singing Psalm 86. In introducing this psalm, Charles Spurgeon wrote, “A Prayer of David. We have here one of the five psalms entitled ’Tephillahs‘ or prayers. This psalm consists of praise as well as prayer, but it is in all parts so directly addressed to God that it is most fitly called “a prayer.” A prayer is none the less but all the more a prayer because veins of praise run through it. This psalm would seem to have been specially known as David’s prayer; even as the ninetieth is “the prayer of Moses.” David composed it, and no doubt often expressed himself in similar language; both the matter and the wording are suitable to his varied circumstances and expressive of the different characteristics of his mind. We may learn from the present psalm that the great saints of old were accustomed to pray very much in the same fashion as we do; believers in all ages are of one genus.” from The Treasury of David, by Charles Spurgeon, www.spurgeon.org/treasury/treasury.php
Corporate Scripture Reading:
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ– by grace you have been saved– 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)
Almighty and most merciful Father, we are thankful that your mercy is higher than the heavens,
wider than our wanderings,
deeper than all our sin.
Forgive our careless attitudes toward your purposes,
our refusal to relieve the suffering of others,
our envy of those who have more than we have,
our obsession with creating a life of constant pleasure,
our indifference to the treasures of heaven,
our neglect of your wise, gracious, authoritative, all-sufficient word.
Forgive us for the totality of our sin.
Enable us to change our way of life
so that we may desire what is good,
love what you love,
and do what you command,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: 1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (ESV)
This is a wonderful promise we have in the gospel. Glory be to God!
Affirmation of Faith:
The Westminster Larger Catechism
Question 72: What is justifying faith?
Answer Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and Word of God, whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition, not only assents to the truth of the promise of the gospel, but receives and rests upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.
Question 73: How doth faith justify a sinner in the sight of God?
Answer: Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are the fruits of it, nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for his justification; but only as it is an instrument by which he receives and applies Christ and his righteousness.
Response in Praise:
Biblical Foundations: Romans 8:28 (Click here to link to the video of the Children’s Message)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV)
(You may want to take a moment to pray with your child or children for your family, your church family, our country and world.)
For our offertory call this morning, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said, “I came to seek and save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
As part of our worship we have the privilege of giving back a portion of what he has entrusted to us.
May he use his tithes and our offerings to seek and save.
(Online giving is now available for your convenience. This link, https://www.faithpresarp.org/give/, will take you to the page that explains this process and includes a button which will redirect you to the secured giving platform.
Our hymn was written in 1871 by the Anglican Bishop William W. How. His sermons, books, and hymns are noted for their simple, warm, and direct nature in conveying the Gospel. Bishop How is included as one of the characters in the 1977 play, The Elephant Man. He is depicted as sympathetic to the social and spiritual welfare of John Merrick, the real-life Elephant Man, unlike others that see and treat Merrick as something less than human. Our hymn invites us to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of Trinitarian worship!
Pastoral Prayer: (Click here for the Pastoral Prayer)
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
The 19th century poet and hymn writer Henry Francis Lyte had convictions about the cross. His conviction enabled him to have the confidence to say to Jesus that he had taken up his cross. To our writer the cross would have been much more than just a symbol. Our hymn was not written on the basis of hollow beliefs. Throughout the hymn there are numerous theological and practical implications laid out for us. Due to his weak health (possibly tuberculosis), several common themes shine through: a prominent focus on the brevity of life, the joy in trials, the comfort of God, the dependence on Christ, and the bliss of heaven.
Benediction (Click here to hear this week’s benediction)
Questions for Further Discussion
- Take a moment to ponder what it means to “please God” (1 Thess. 4:1; see also 1 Thess. 2:4). What does this simple yet profound truth—that we can bring pleasure to our Maker’s heart—imply about who he is and what he is like?
- Have you ever wanted to know the will of God for your life? Thankfully, this passage offers a definitive answer. What is God’s expressed will for you, according to 1 Thess. 4:3?
- We find ourselves amid a sexualized culture, even a sexual revolution, in the West. Words like “abstain” (1 Thess. 4:3) and “control” (1 Thess. 4:4) in reference to sexual expression sound prudish, even intolerant, to many. But in what ways does our culture misunderstand the Bible’s sexual ethic? How is God’s design for sexuality both counterculturally beautiful and counterintuitively freeing?
- If Paul were writing to the church today, what do you think he would say regarding sexuality?
Biblical Foundations: Romans 8:28
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV)
Not everything goes my way. Sometimes bad things happen to me and I ask the question – why did this happen, what good is this, why is my life so hard?
We just cannot see sometimes how anything good can come from a bad thing. But I don’t know how “everything” works in the world. I don’t know how everything is connected, but God does!
An illustration: A few years ago I visited my dad in the hospital and he was very sick, in fact he was dying. But while I was visiting him in the hospital, I got very sick myself, and I had to be put in the same hospital as my dad. If I had not been in the hospital visiting my dad when I got really sick I might have died. I lost my dad but because of what was happening to him, even something sad and hard like him being very sick, God saved my life through the quick action of good doctors and medicine and because I was right where God wanted me!
At the time it looked like something bad was happening to me, but God was working it for my good.
And I am here today because of what happened to me then!
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Are you building your life’s foundation on God’s Word?