1 Thessalonians 4
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 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. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; 11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
There is one theme I see in the verses above. I see God commanding holiness in our lives. Not to make us subject to bondage but to keep us free from the affects of death. In this holiness not only should we be pure in our actions, such as being sexually pure, but we should be pure in our attitudes. We are to keep a quite life. This doesn't mean we don't stand for righteousness in a fallen society and make the will of God known in the public square. That, especially in the USA, we SHOULD do. But this does mean that we don't brow beat people who never asked for our opinions. The Church at large has done such a poor job of loving the sinner. We hold the sinner to our standards. We say unless you be like us, you are to be shunned. We forget, that at one level or another, we WERE that sinner before Jesus. Even the one raised in Church and believing in Jesus from a young young age has his or her past and current sins. Rather than trying to be perfect and make everyone else perfect... let's learn to love people with the love of God. That is what the chapter goes on to say. LOVE one another.
Does love mean accepting sin? NO! Does love mean accepting the sinner WITHOUT trying to make them just like you and make them believe what you believe? YES! That means I can walk up to my Gay female co-worker. I can ask her how her girlfriend is doing... JUST as if I was asking my straight co-worker how his wife was doing. I can mean the question sincerely. I can be honestly interested in their welfare. They never asked me my opinion on whether being Gay was right for them or any of my opinions on the subject. To bring it up wouldn't be acting in LOVE. IF, the day comes that my walking in LOVE with those coworkers who don't believe as I believe causes them to ask me about the HOPE that it is in me. I'll tell them. I still won't brow beat them over the sin in their lives. Jesus died for ALL sin. I won't bring up theirs or mine. It's all under the blood, even if they don't know it yet. And they are never going to ask me to help them receive that forgiveness if I'm arguing about their life choices.
I'm going to keep my preaching to myself... LISTEN MORE... TALK LESS... and SHOW people the LOVE of GOD, rather than TELL PEOPLE about the what they're doing wrong... Thank you Jesus!
Father, help me! I need to remember your GRACE IN ME so that I can be YOUR GRACE THROUGH ME to others! Holy Spirit, help me to remain firmly rooted in your love for me. Thank you for the opportunity today to love others, as you have loved me! Darrell
I call you empowered 2 prosper with good success!
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