Up to now the Apostle Paul has spoken of the salvation, the nurturing, and the grounding of the saints at Thessalonica. The life that began with a step of faith is now a walk of faith. Throughout the New Testament we have the comparison of the Christian life with a walk.
In his letter to the Ephesians Paul said, · "…walk worthy of the vocation where with ye are called…" · "…walk not as other Gentiles walk…" · "…walk in love…" · "…walk as children of light…" · In 2 Co. he said, "…for we walk by faith, not by sight…"
Walking suggests progress, and we must make progress in our Christian life. Walking also demands strength, and God as promised to supply the strength we need to walk with Him. At the end of life's walk, we will step into the very presence of the Lord.
"And Enoch walked with God, and He was not, for God took him." Genesis 5:25
I. Walk in Holiness v1-8
A. To please God. (1)
1. Everybody lives to please somebody.
a. Many people live only to please themselves.
b. They are insensitive to the needs of others.
c. Then there are others who live to please men and give little effort to pleasing God.
2. Pleasing God ought to be the major motivation of the Christian life.
a. Children should naturally seek to please their parents.
b. Jesus said, "I do always those things that please Him." cf John 8:29
3. Pleasing God means more than simply doing His will.
a. It is possible to obey God and yet not please Him.
b. Jonah serves as a good example of one who did what God commanded, but he didn't have a heart for it.
c. Definition of obedience = doing what we are told with the right heart attitude.
d. Our obedience should be "…not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart" cf Eph. 6:6
B. To obey God. (2-3)
1. When Paul ministered in Thessalonica, he gave the believers the commandments, of God regarding personal holiness.
2. In v3 he reminds them that there are some things that you do not have to seek God's will about. (like sin!)
3. We are commanded to abstain from fornication!
4. We are to be sanctified or holy and set apart from sin!
C. To glorify God. (4-5)
1. This is the positive side of God's commandment.
2. Christians are supposed to be different.
3. Those who do not know God live ungodly lives for that very reason.
4. But we, who know God, are obligated to glorify Him in this world!
D. To escape the judgment of God. (6-8)
1. God is no respecter of persons.
a. He will deal with sin where He finds it.
b. Whether it be in the life of the unsaved or in the life of His own children.
2. The fact that we are Christians does not excuse us from His judgment upon sin.
(Gal 6:7) "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
3. We should be encouraged to live holy lives because we are saved.
4. A holy walk involves a right relationship, with the Father (who called us), God the son (who died for us), and God the Holy Spirit (who lives within us).
5. This will result or be evidenced by a right relationship with those around us.
II. Walk in Love v9-10
A. Brotherly love knows no boundaries.
1. They had been taught the principle of brotherly love.
2. They understood the principle to a certain extent.
3. They practiced it toward the brethren in Macedonia.
B. Brotherly love must encompass all.
1. It is not enough that we love the brethren of our fellowship.
2. We must expand our love to include all the brethren.
3. We must increase our love to extend throughout the world. cf. 3:1
III. Walk in Honesty v11-12
A. We need an honest testimony at our jobs.
1. Many of these believers in Thessalonica had quit their jobs.
a. They had misunderstood the doctrine of Christ's return.
b. They had become a burden on the others and meant poor testimony toward the merchants they were in debt to.
2. Unfortunately there are many Christians who will just not work.
3. As a result, their poor testimony reflects upon all other Christians.
4. And worse than that it is a reproach upon Christ.
B. We need an. honest testimony to win the lost.
1. A Christian who does an honest day's work…
2. One who is careful to maintain a good testimony…
3. Will be the proper influence toward the unsaved.
IV. Walk in Hope. v13-18
A. We have God's Truth. (13-15)
1. Without Christ, there is no hope for the future.
2. The authority of God's Word gives us the assurance and the comfort we need.
a. The basis of our hope is that we believe the gospel.
b. The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
c. The comfort is in knowing that the dead in Christ will live again!
B. There will be a resurrection. (16)
1. The Lord Himself will return personally to claim His own.
2. When He returns, He will issue a shout of command and the dead in Christ will rise.
3. He has already demonstrated His power to call forth from the dead when He raised Lazarus!
4. But Lazarus died again .... when Jesus comes back and calls forth all dead in Christ, they will begin an eternity with Him!
C. There will be a rapture. (17)
1. We will be caught up with them in the air.
2. Where we will meet the Lord.
a. Although we have never seen him before, we have known Him and His presence in, our lives.
b. Like Fanny Crosby wrote, "I shall know Him by the print of the nails in His hands."
3. We will continue to be together with Him throughout eternity.
D. There is comfort in that hope. (18)
1. There is comfort that death for the believer is but sleep…not of the soul but of the body!
2. There is comfort in knowing that there will be a reunion.
3. There is comfort in the fact of eternal blessings with the Lord forever.
How is our walk tonight?