Sunday, July 19, 2020

Thessalonians Words ~ Day 14: Live

Day 14: Live

Happy Sunday! I pray that today you are enjoying being with your community of God's people, whether you are in person in a church building, or participating online. Many of our church buildings may be closed, but God's people have learned new ways of flexibility and resiliency during this pandemic to continue to meet together and be the church! 

Over the past few days, as Paul has progressed through the letters to the Thessalonians, we have seen that through our union with Jesus Christ we are made holy (sanctified). We are then called to grow in holiness (sanctification) in order to please God. We please God by how we live our life, which is what we will look at today.

"For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy live." 1 Thessalonians 4:7
Earlier, at the beginning of chapter 4, Paul states that he had instructed them when he was with them in how to live in order to please God. He then urged them to live this way more and more (1 TH 4:1-2). The Greek word Paul uses for 'live' is peripateo. It is a favorite word of Paul's. One he uses in almost every one of his letters. Paul does not write a letter that does not include instructions for how to live God's way of life. In fact, he will often contrast the Christ-follower's former way of life with that of their new way of life in God, and remind them of this to encourage and call them on to greater holy living. 

Peripateo literally means "to walk around' and is used figuratively in the New Testament to refer to the way Christ-followers behave or conduct daily life. It refers to their manner of life. It encompasses not just what one does, their behavior, but also one's speech, attitude and character. It encompasses all parts of life in order to live to please God. John Stott says, 
"Pleasing God is the foundation on which Christian ethical behavior is built."
We never want to separate our character from our behavior lest we fall into a lifestyle  like that of the Pharisees in Jesus' day. They practiced holy laws, behaviors that were meant to make then holy, but became self-righteous, actions divorced from the heart, merely giving them an outward appearance of holiness. Read Mark 7:1-23 for an encounter Jesus had with the Pharisees that describes this..

 What pleases God is living life by the way of life that is holy and worthy of Him. (1 TH 2:12, 4:1 & 7). So in his first letter, for example, in chapter 4 Paul gives some instructions on what holy living looks like in daily life in areas such as sex/marriage (4:3-6), work (4:11-2), and bereavement (4:13-18). Holy living is to penetrate every area of our lives as Christ-followers.

Jesus told us, "I have come that they [His followers] may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). He is "the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6), and calls us to be holy. Why? 
"Just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16. As Christ's followers we are the people of God, called to imitate and live out His holy character in all that we do and say, and to be holy in who we are. Paul will remind us later in the book that Jesus died so that we may live in union with Him (1 TH 5:10). That union with Christ is the work and power of His Spirit living within us enabling us to live holy lives.

Today on the Bible Study Techniques page, you will find an overview of my Bible Study Method. It is a brief walk through of the process. Each of the technique pages develop and explain the steps of the process. The techniques page will be updated throughout the words challenge with further documents describing the techniques and steps.

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