What makes us different?
How are we set apart from the world? The next few verses in this Thessalonians study go over what sets us apart as Christians. We’ll go over 2 of the 4 things today and then 2 more tomorrow. I think it will surprise and bless you when you see God’s heart behind why he asks us this.
1 Thessalonians 4:2-5; (KJV) For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, [even] your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.
In this section of verses there are 2 things that set us apart. Reading the literal translation according to usage, will help you tremendously.
You know what charges we gave you through the Lord Jesus. God’s will, and that which sets you apart, is this: 1) Avoid fornication; 2) exercise self-control of your own individual vessel in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion, even as the Gentiles who do not know God. 1 Thessalonians 4:2-5 literal translation.
Wow. That’s a lot to digest huh. The first word, not used much in today’s vernacular, is fornication. It may surprise you to learn its Greek word, “porneia.” Guess what we get from that word? Yep. Porn. It is used 11 times in the 7 church epistles (Romans – Thessalonians). About half the time its in reference to this first definition; which I copied straight from the Blue Letter Bible concordance, and half the time it’s used in reference to the second definition.
Fornication Porneia in Greek.
1. Adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
2. Of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols. The worship of idols.
How prevalent has porn become in our society? It’s everywhere! So what is God most concerned about here? I’d like to approach the subject a little differently than most people.
It all comes back to the heart of the matter. We seek to do God’s will and not be conformed to the methods of this world, that’s what sets us apart, right? Well, what if you happened to see porn while watching tv, or on the internet one day? Are you doomed?
What if you thought about what you saw for a long time and then went back to see more? Then are you doomed?
Some would say yes you’re doomed, and shuffle you right off to confession. I’d like to ask a different question.
What did you do about it? There is a difference between our thoughts and our actions. What sets us apart is not doing fornication definition 1 or 2. We are not worshipping the god of this world by trusting and obeying it, instead of your Father in Heaven.
God asks us to avoid it. That’s just plain smart and sure, I can do that.
But what about as things get looser and looser in our country and you can’t avoid seeing it, then what?
Examine your heart. Is that what you are worshipping? Or is God, the Father of Jesus Christ, and the one who gave you holy spirit, who you are worshipping?
This is a slippery slope and here’s where it starts. The reason God says avoid it, is because exposure is the lure to the trap. You may not want to have adulterous sex with your married boss the first time you meet him, but after working late nights together and finding yourself continually in situations that look or feel compromising, you may change your mind. The devil knows this.
I’m not saying avoid your boss, you could hardly do that. But check your thoughts. Thoughts lead to emotions, emotions lead to decisions, decisions lead to actions. Actions are the sin. (sin is harmatia, which is Greek for missing the mark) Once you land at decision you are there.
Just don’t even go there. Grab those thoughts and remember they are the key to your actions.
What if it’s too late?
Believers put away your pitch forks and hangman’s nooses. 1 John 1:9 comes into play.
1 John 1;9 says; If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If it’s too late and you’ve done the deed, then you need to decide what you really want. Do you want to continue doing harm to yourself or do you want to get out of harms way? God is always interested in your blessing and protection. The Devil on the other hand, wants to steal, kill, and destroy you. Your wants and needs must be parallel. You can say to yourself, “I need to quit doing this,” but if you don’t want to– nothing will change. I have a free seminar available on getting prayers answered that talks about that. Click here to listen.
I believe there is deliverance for anyone who really wants it. It may take a few steps to clear your life of the problem, whether it be adultery, homosexuality, or idol worship but each step is worth it. God wants the best for your life, but you have to want it too. That is why the next thing is; exercise self-control of your own individual vessel in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion, even as the Gentiles who do not know God.
Take care and God bless you today!
P.S. Tomorrow I’ll go over the next 2 things that set us apart.
Click here for part 3 of this series.
Click here for part 4 of this series.