Christ Followers Pursue Purity
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
July 17, 2022
Thessalonians: A Timeless Letter for Churches
-Timeless principles for living the Christian life
-for Christ followers, not seekers, unbelievers
-reinforces other Bible instructions
-positive and encouraging- not meant to heap guilt or shame
-practical: nothing mysterious or secretive
-1 Thes 4:1: “brothers and sister” we are all equal in Christ
-This is a family discussion among spiritual siblings
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Motivation for Purity
Obey Christ’s commands vs 1, 2, 7
-Paul reinforces what he had previously told them
-many other Bible verses reinforce what Paul is about to say
Live to please God vs 2
-2 Cor 5:15 we owe Christ our lives
-1 Cor 6:20 Jesus paid for our sins- honor God back!
Avoid consequences vs 6
-We will someday face Jesus to account for our lives
-not to enter into eternal life with Jesus (Eph 2:8-9
-we will answer for how we lived for eternity
-immoral choices affect our lives, other people
-freewill is costly when we don’t choose God’s plan
How to Pursue Purity
Trust God’s power within us vs 3
-sanctification- growing in holiness
-Rom 6:19 the Holy Spirit lives within us, empowers us for purity
-Hebrews 12:14 Pursue holiness- - we keep moving forward
Keep away from sexual immorality vs 3
-Thessalonica was like today- common, widespread immorality
-church members struggled to remain pure, similar to today
-pornea- any sexual expression outside the boundaries of
Marriage between a man and woman
-1 Corinthians 5-6 describes sexual immorality in that church
-Father and son shared the same woman sexually
-He didn’t say avoid sexually immoral unbelievers- impossible
-Paul explains that believers are accountable to one another
-we must encourage and instruct (1 Thes 4:2) one another
to flee sexual immorality (1 Cor 6:18) and pursue purity
-Today, most people seeking God or living for God in a local
church have committed some type of sexual immorality
-pornography, fornication, adultery, other behaviors
-EVERYONE may join us in our pursuit of purity
-All sins are forgivable, all of us can be renewed, restored
-TODAY, you and can begin again to obey and please God
Control our bodies vs 4
-Trust God’s facts, not our feelings
-begins with a correct worldview
-God is our Creator- the master designer
-Our vision and values grow out of our worldview
-behavior is our outward expression of inward belief
-We submit to God’s standards to enjoy true freedom
-freedom from guilt and shame, consequences
-freedom to influence future generations towards Jesus
Don’t take what isn’t ours vs 6
-sexual immorality steals intimacy
-our bodies belong to God first
-our bodies belong to our current or future spouse
-Rom 6:15-6 we become “one flesh” during sex, a oneness
And intimacy that only belongs to our marriage partner
How is God’s Spirit telling you to pursue purity today?
Trust Jesus to forgive your sins and give you eternal life
Depend on God’s power to pursue purity
Commit to a lifestyle that is pleasing to God vs 7
Today is Sunday, July 17th, 2022, and welcome to St. Joe Community Church. Today's message is entitled "Christ Followers Pursue Purity" and was delivered by Greg Byman. For more information, visit www.stjoecommunitychurch.org, click on the sermons tab and find today's broadcast. So now let's open the Bible, get a notepad and pen and prepare to hear from God's word. Here's Pastor Greg Byman.
One of the things that as I've gone through some discipleship training and encouragement in my own life and the past three or four years ago, had someone draw out from me, what is your heart passion? What do you really desire the most to see happen? And one of the things, the themes that has come through in my life in my prayer is that my life might help bring about a generational transformation. In my day in my life, as I move forward and as I am a blessing, may what we do bless beyond ourselves into future generations. It is our children who will carry on the mantle of faith. Not us.
You want to get a little bit sobered about things, about your reference point in history. I wonder if somebody - now, some of you are genealogy crazy good at this, but for the most of us, how many of you can name the middle name of your great great grandmother? Anybody? Okay. Let alone, what was her favorite ice cream? Wait a minute, did they have ice cream back then? I'm kidding. That's awful. That's awful. I mean, we don't know anything about great, great grandparents, very well. I sat on the lap of one. At 105 years old, I was just, you know, tiny. I was short then too. We don't know a lot about that generation, but we have a legacy from that generation that we may not even understand until heaven. The investments they made in prayer, the investments they made in their own lives, in the word of God and living for God in their generation, being faithful to the word of God and to Jesus Christ, so that future generations would have a foundation upon which to live and stand. May the Lord bless you, and a thousand generations from now bless you. But in the meantime, the blessing is that we might be a blessing to God and that we live our lives as a blessing to the future generations.
I love going through one particular book at a time in the Bible because there's a couple of reasons. One, you kind of get an idea of context. You see a letter like this that we're reading through, Thessalonians, it's a letter in its own way to a particular church in a particular time period with timeless truths that are also true for us today. It also forces the pastor to not pick on his favorite message topics; he has to pick on the topic that is coming up, and it doesn't look like the pastor's picking on anybody because it's just happens to be what came up. And so, every passage of scripture is important to us and we ought to read all of it, not just the parts we like, and we all not just harp on the parts we're good at. We are good at that, aren't we?
We men love to talk about the things we're good at, and we don't really talk about the things we're not so good at. We just stay away from those things. They're on our honey do list, and they're on the bottom of our list and on the top of our wives list. Anyway, that's beside the point. And it's the same way in studying the Bible. We study the parts we like, and we kind of ignore the parts we don't like. We're not like trying to be ungodly. We just naturally do that. And so, today we're looking at chapter four because it's after chapter three, so that's kind of why we're doing that. This is a letter, by the way, as I remind us of kind of a little intro to 1 Thessalonians, it's a letter to a church. It's a letter to brothers and sisters.
In fact, it starts out here in chapter four, "Additionally, then brothers and sisters," Paul is talking to fellow Christians. He's not talking to the world outside that doesn't follow Jesus. He's not talking about all the people that we don't like that are doing evil and bad things out there, he's talking to us. He's talking to us, he's talking to the body of Christ. This is a family discussion. And on a Sunday morning like this, it's not unusual that you'd have people come who are looking for God, looking for answers. They're not sure if it's God, they don't know what it is, but they're looking for answers. Then there's people that say, "Yeah, I'm looking for God, and I know you guys have those answers." And then they're looking. And then some people - like today, there's some that are going to enter into our church membership class, they're looking to belong. They're looking to be part of the body of Christ.
And then those of us who are already part of the body of Christ, we're looking to become more like Christ in our maturity. Others are saying, I'm going to become more actively involved in ministry and doing things for the Lord, Jesus Christ. I want to find my place in the body of Christ of how I'm supposed to serve. And then some are right now in the process of saying, "Where am I going to go next for the Lord, Jesus Christ? Where is God sending me to?" And for you, it might for many of us, most of us is going to be sending you right back to the workplace tomorrow or right back to your neighborhood tomorrow, or right back to whatever your sphere of influence is right here in Fort Wayne. And others, it might be that God's stirring in your heart to take you and send you somewhere that you don't even know where it is, or maybe you've had a longing to go somewhere and you don't realize why, and God is empowering you and strengthening you and He's resourcing you for such a day that you'll be sent out by our church to go somewhere for the glory of God, to serve Him and honor Him with your lives.
Primarily, to share the gospel of Jesus Christ so that people might know Jesus, but secondarily, whatever tools or the way in which, or whatever method or whatever vehicle that God is sending you to go out, like with this compassion ministry or whether it's discipleship or whatever it might be that you do. But it's primarily, to extend the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth until He comes again. You will be my witnesses here and everywhere Acts 1:8.
So Thessalonians, it's this timeless letter for churches that reinforces other Bible instructions. What we're going to talk about today, Paul mentions in Romans, he mentions in first Corinthians, he mentions in other letters; this is not a new topic to Paul. He touches on it here, unlike other letters where he harps on it because we think, or we sense that there was a problem. We know there was, he identifies it in 1 Corinthians. The Corinthians church was having a big problem with this topic, but this one, he just merely touches on it as something that's practical, there's nothing mysterious or secretive about, it's just this is what you ought to do.
I want to say on the outset that we read from Revelations 22, "Come all who are thirsty," and it echoes Isaiah 55, where it says, "Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the water, and you without silver, come buy and eat. Come buy wine and milk without silver and without cost. Why do you spend silver on what is not food and your wages on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me and eat what is good and you will enjoy the choices of foods." And isn't it Jesus himself in Revelations 3, where He says, "I stand at the door and I knock, and if you'll just open the door, I will come in and I'll eat with you. We'll have time together." Jesus wants a relationship with us. And there isn't anyone who cannot come to Jesus. Whosoever will, may come. Anybody who wants to taste and see that the Lord is good may come to Jesus.
There isn't any one person who's excluded from that. No matter what they've done, no matter what they've been through, no matter what they've engaged in, in the past; Jesus invites us all to come to Him. And today's message as we talk about it is simply the standards that God sets for His believers, because Christ followers pursue a life of purity as God's word defines it. Not as we think it is, not as we feel it is, but as God's word says it is.
Let me read from us 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, "Additionally, then brothers and sisters, we ask and encourage you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received instruction from us on how you should live and please God as you are doing, do this even more. For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus, for this is God's will - your sanctification, that you keep away from sexual immorality, that each of you knows how to control his own body and holiness and honor; not with lustful passions, like the Gentiles who don't know God. And this means one must not transgress against and take advantage of a brother or sister in this manner because the Lord is an avenger of all these offences, as we also have previously told and warned you. For God has not called us to impurity, but to live in holiness. Consequently, anyone who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who gives us his holy spirit. Christ followers pursue purity as God's word defines purity."
And as I said in the first service, if I had thought about it and spoken the title more often, I would not have said the topic because it's hard to say pursue purity. Say that 10 times fast. But what are the motivations? What is Paul saying here? And as a side note, as we see this, it seems like he's giving a soft touch to a very important topic. As you are already doing it; I gave you instructions, you're doing it. It seems as though this isn't necessarily a problem; he's just reinforcing for the church what they ought to be doing to honor and please God with their lives.
Why do we do this? Well, we do this first of all, to obey the commands of Christ. These are the commands from Jesus - instructions, verse one. Verse two, "For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord, Jesus." And verse eight, "Consequently, anyone who rejects this does not reject man, but they reject God. He's the one who gave us His Holy Spirit that told us what is right and wrong." This isn't something that Greg Byman thought up. This isn't something St. Joe thought up. This is something that God's word defines as how we ought to live our lives. Paul is reinforcing what he already told them, and what other Bible verses were said about what he's talked about in other letters to other churches.
But you know what, it's not just about obeying Christ's commands. I can remember as a kid not doing what my father told me to do and disappointing my dad or my mom. And it wasn't so much that I was being punished. I didn't like being punished. Who likes being punished? That's not fun. But it's that I disappointed them. And that was more of a punishment than being grounded or being spanked. I didn't want to disappoint. Oh, I'm so sorry that you did that. And you're like, "Oh, just beat me. Don't do that to me."
When you respect somebody and you've let them down, it bothers you more that you let them down. And so, it's not just obeying Christ's commands; it's living to please God, for you know what the commands are we gave you through the Lord, Jesus. We are here to please the Lord with our lives. In 2 Corinthians 5:15, it talks about the fact that we owe Christ our lives. He's the one that died and paid for our sins. He's the one that died on the cross that we might be forgiven of our sins, through His shed blood on the cross. And when he died for us, we have that; it's like I owe him my life. I owe him my everything. He gave me all I have that's worth living for. All I have to give him back is myself, and that's what I want to do. And when I don't do it, and I realize I don't do it, I feel like I'm letting God down, and I don't please Him, and it makes me sad.
That's the motivation - not the motivation of I'm going to get struck by lightning bolts. How many had some lightning bolts around your house last night? We had a few; the dog didn't like them at all. And you know, God is not sitting there with a handful of lightning bolts waiting for you to mess up and just scorches the earth behind you or scorches the earth in front of you and then scorches you. He's not here to scorch you. And He's going to correct you if you're in a situation for your own good, but He's not here to blast you. He's here to bless you. And the problem is, we want to live lives that aren't a blessing. We sing God bless America land that I love; are we blessing God back by the way we're living as Americans? That's the question! God bless us, but God, we want to bless you God, with our lives.
We live to please God, we also in real ways, we do want to avoid consequences. We're someday going to face Jesus to give an account for our lives. Now, this is not to enter eternal life. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For it is by grace that you're saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it's the gift of God; not by works so that no one can boast." I don't receive forgiveness and grace from God by earning it. I don't do anything to get God's favor. That is never the case. The Bible's very clear about that, but the Bible's also clear that believers at the end of our lives, at some point in the end of history, actually, at the end of time, we'll stand before God and give an account for lives, not to get in or out of heaven, but to be a blessing back to Him to say what you gave for me, you gave me gifts, talents, abilities. You gave me opportunity. You gave me influence. You gave me position and power. And whatever you gave me on this earth, I used it for your glory and your honor.
And all of us can say, there are probably times when we've taken all the things I just mentioned in our lives and we've used it for dishonor or we've used it, not necessarily dishonor; we just used it for things that didn't matter in eternity. We didn't invest in God or His word, or invest in helping others find and follow Him. We didn't invest in the things that God would call to be honorable things. And so, it says at the end of the day that there'll be a trial by fire, so to speak. The imagery is that those things that would burn up in a fire will disappear, and those things that would not burn up in a fire like gold and precious metals and jewels, those things which would endure a test of purity will last. And that's what we have to bring the Lord Jesus on that final day to say, this is what I have as an act of worship to you, of how you've allowed me to live in such a way that I live for eternal things.
Paul, in fact said, "You are my crown. You're my glory." He said that - we talked about that earlier, that pastors, we are going to give an account to God for how we were pastors of churches. And how we live out our lives in our calling as pastors will determine whether that day will be a day of rejoicing or a day of, oh, I could have done so much more. And I know I could have done more, and I already think about that, and I want to, even on this day, choose to do more than I've done before to honor, and please Him until I go home to be with the Lord. I want to avoid the consequences because immoral choices affect our lives. It affects other people. Free-will is costly. Free-will is not very free if we're doing things that God does not design for us to do.
So, how do we pursue purity? What are we talking about here? Trusting, first of all, in verse three, we need to pursue purity by trusting the power of God that lies within us. For this is God's will, your sanctification. Sanctification - growing in holiness, growing to become more and more like Jesus. We're redeemed - redemption, the word redemption is a huge word. We were redeemed by the blood of the lamb. Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. Jesus came and redeemed me from a life of sin and hell-bound life, into a life of purpose and meaning and salvation in Christ. But then there's the word sanctification, and that is that ongoing change that happens after we become a Christian. Not in the same way, but in a similar way, you might say that a baby grows up to be an adult, so a Christian who is a baby Christian grows up to be an adult Christian; we continue to mature in our faith, and is a process of growth, and everybody is at a different process.
And don't ever look across the island say, "Well, I guess I'm better than that person," because you might not have ever come from as far as they came from. And they may have actually had stronger and more growth in their life than you have in your growth because maybe they overcame some things you've never even thought about having to overcome. So let's be real careful that we don't start having a pecking order. Paul here says brothers and sisters for a reason. We're all siblings in Jesus, including the pastor. The foot of the cross is level. There's no hierarchy or pecking order. We're all in process. And every one of us - there's a Bible verse that says, "To him that knoweth to do good and doesn't do it, to him, that's sin."
Have you known to do something that's good and didn't do it this week? You're a sinner, repent of it. And when you know to do good the next time and you... then do it, don't put it off. Did I give you an order of which was more important - reading the Bible through in a year or reading one verse. I don't know what your good is that you're supposed to do this, but if God tells you to do something, go do it. Don't wait, and don't let me be the standard for what you ought to do. And don't let me be the lid for how high you ought to go. We all have a standard and it's God's standard. It's God's Holy Spirit working in us and we need to trust God's power to help us.
In fact, Roman 6:19 tells us that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. You know why purity is so important, because when we are living in sexual immorality, we are giving ourselves over to something that actually defiles us as a human body. And God says, "I live inside of you. Don't defile your temple of God. Don't defile where I dwell." I need to represent the temple of God and I need to live in a way that honors and glorifies the God who lives within me. Hebrews 12:14 talks about pursuing holiness to keep moving forward in our faith, so we trust the power of God.
And then he says here, "Keep away from sexual immorality." That word, sexual immorality, is actually coming from the word in Greek porno, where we get the word pornography. The same word that would refer to in throughout the New Testament, in the Greek New Testament; it's all written in Greek, which means anything that is outside the bounds of sexual intimacy between a husband and wife, anything other than between a husband and wife. And even if in that relationship there's a violation or some sort of a perversion of trying to get something that the other person ought not get. I'm not getting that. Come to my premarital class, we'll talk about that. But the boundaries are as we look in Genesis, as we look throughout the Old Testament and the standards that God set for his people, and in the New Testament it just continued all through; "except it be for fornication," Jesus said, that same word. We're talking about anything outside of the bounds of marriage is outside the bounds of Christian living.
And he's not talking to the world, he's not telling the world, "Look at that world out there and see that's what God's standards are." No, he's talking to the body of Christ. He's talking to us. He's saying get the house in order; don't worry about outside the house, get work in inside of the house. Look at your own people, look at us - what we need to do to set a model, an example of how to honor and worship God with our lives with our bodies.
Now, Paul doesn't mention, but it might be inferred that there were church members who were struggling to remain pure. And that would be similar today. In that particular time period, there were cult practices of ritual, worshiping ritually with cult prostitutes. It was a common thing. Homosexuality was common. It was a very common thing. The Roman world was full of doing whatever you want to do. And that was probably one of the reasons why the Christian Church in that time period was so persecuted because they were going against the flow of cultural life. And they were so different that they were looked at as weird or prudish or out touch, and probably say, oh, holier than now. Who do you think you are? And so, we're just following our Lord and savior Jesus. And probably many of the people who were in the Thessalonica church; many of Thessalonians that Paul's writing to, came from a life of sexual immorality - probably so; they didn't know any better.
And they were converted to Christ and they're now living a life of purity, and Paul saying, "Keep going after it just, stay away from that; flee sexual immorality," says to Timothy, who actually was a pastor who came to talk to them for a while and was ministering to them in Thessalonica. He told Timothy to flee youthful lusts, to flee the lifestyle that probably was true for many of the people that were now converted to Christ, to which I would say not much different in America. If we're going to see God do a movement among people who do not know God, who will then trust in God, and dare I say, even in the body of Christ at St. Joe Community Church, we have had our share and all of us in some way, we're either affected by or participated in sexual immorality in some way in our lives. We're in a sexually charged community. We're in a sexually charged world, and I'm not throwing a rock. I'm just saying we live in probably a very similar time period and cultural persuasion as was the case in the first century church. And so, this is as timely a message for us as it was then.
And just as I said earlier, everyone may join in our pursuit of purity. All sins are forgivable. Everybody can be renewed and restored. Everyone can start over and be fresh and pure for God in whatever relationship they pursue next. We are not chained to our past, and we do not have to pursue our past in the power in the name of Jesus. Today you and I can begin again to obey and please God. Maybe you clicked on something you shouldn't have clicked on this week, electronically. It's so easy to get to stuff today. It's so easy to just jump right into a rabbit hole of stuff that doesn't belong in our minds and eyes, exploiting and using somebody else's image for our own gratification. It's so common. Multiple men will come to me and say, "Hey, I got a problem." Multiple men will say, "I need some hedges of protection in my life." I've got accountability on my software, my phone and on my computers. I put hedges of protection around my own life.
I have a friend in Oklahoma that has said to me, oftentimes he said... he said to me just recently; we were talking and lamenting over some heroes of the faith that we found to be not such a hero in the backside of the secrets, part of their lives. There's people that I've listened to on the radio that I thought, "Man, this is an awesome guy." And when he died, all this perversion came out of how he was living his life in an ungodly way and was all hidden and behind the scenes. Because he had the opportunity, nobody was holding him accountable and he had the means. He had more money than you can think of and could have done anything with it. And he used that money and he used that opportunity to go after what he wanted to go after in the flesh.
And this friend said to me in Oklahoma, he says, "You give me the means and opportunity and I'm capable of anything. And I didn't want to admit it at moment, but I will admit it right now. I could probably do the same thing. I'm not saying I'm going to, but I'm telling you what; when someone says to you, "That'll never happen to me," they're on their way to destruction. I've had more than one man say to me, "Well, that'll never happen to me. I'll never do that." And the next thing you know, he's turning in his resignation because of some failure in his life, in the very area that he was pridefully saying, there's no way he'd ever fallen in that area. We need accountability. We need people in our lives, and we pastors need it just as much as anybody else in this room. Keep away from sexual immorality.
And then it says here, control our bodies. Control your bodies, verse four. In other words, we trust God's facts, not our feelings. We trust the word of God, instead of the words of our culture. We derive our worldview and our view of humankind, not based on what culture is telling us about humankind, but based on what God's word says about humankind. We start with God's view, not my view, not what I want to believe, not your truth, my truth; it's God's truth. And we start with his truth as the foundation, and we rise up from that our value system. And what you see above the surface of our lives is our behavior, what we choose to do based on our vision and values that are based upon our worldview. And so if you want to change your life in a behavior, you have to start to think first about what your worldview is.
Where is your source of information? Are you getting it from a bunch of people who have a lot to say about the word of God that haven't really read the word of God? Or are you getting it directly from the word of God? That's why I always say, even for my messages, don't ever take my word for it; go study it for yourself. And if I'm wrong, tell me, don't let me stay wrong. Correct me, because I'm not the final authority; God's word is. We control our bodies. We submit to God's standards to enjoy true freedom; freedom from guilt and shame and consequences, and of freedom to influence future generations towards Jesus Christ. And then finally he says, in verse six, let me read that for you; "This means one must not transgress against and take advantage of a brother or sister in this manner." In other words, don't take what isn't ours.
Sexual immorality steals intimacy from a marriage partner. Now, you and I know this really clearly, adultery. Husband and wife living together, sleeping, being together intimate, and one spouse, whether it be the male or the female, and I've seen both kinds in the 20 years of our church's history. People have come and gone and I've seen it both ways, where at one spouse thinks the grass is a little greener somewhere else. And they start having a conversation which leads to adultery. And sometimes, that adultery also affects somebody who's already married. They're stealing the intimacy that belongs in that marriage, and that person is stealing the intimacy from that person that belongs in this marriage. It's transgressing. And then if it's in the body of Christ, it's two brothers and sisters in Christ, they're defrauding one another in their Christian life with one another.
What does it say in Exodus 20:17? Do not covet your neighbor's wife. In other words, coveting is wanting something that doesn't belong to you. I always say, "Boy, I like that car. I don't want that one. I want to just like it, that somebody else has on a car lot that I can buy for free because I can't afford it." That's not coveting. Look at that car go by. Whoa, that Lamborghini, I want that car. No, I don't want that car. I'm glad he has that car. Old guy with a hat on, it's always, right? If you've got one, God bless you. If you're young, God bless you double. But anyway, it's always a Corvette, guy with a hat. If I had one, I'd be wearing a hat, especially with the top down. Okay, that's just how it is, right? You don't covet someone's car; that means you want his car. You want him not to have it and you want it in your driveway instead.
Well, it's the same way with, I want that wife, I want that husband, I want that person. And if you as a single person are looking at another single person and you're not married, and you're just wanting their body and you don't want them; you're wanting what belongs in a marriage someday. You're taking what don't belong to you. Because in Romans 16, it reminds us what the Bible says in Genesis 1 and 2, that we become one flesh during sex, of oneness and an intimacy that only belongs in a marriage.
So we trust God, we keep away, we flee, we run from sexuality immorality. And when we're by ourselves, we're controlling our bodies. It starts at home with us choosing to replace all the things that we've been doing with the things that God would want us to think about. And we know that ultimately we're going to reserve that, and we're going to reserve ourselves for that which belongs to our spouse or future spouse. How is God's spirit telling you to pursue purity today? What is he saying about your life? All of us have a step to take to become more careful in this area as the body of Christ. And maybe you're not a follower of Christ, you're still figuring out what it means to belong to Him. And for you, it just means that you're saying, "I get what you're saying, Pastor, but I don't have any. I have no gumption. This is all new to me. I want to follow Christ." Well, your first step is to trust in Jesus Christ. Put Him in your life. Let Him be the Lord of your life.
Trust Jesus, to forgive your sins and give you eternal life. I want to follow Jesus. It might be to be baptized. You say, "Well, I don't know what that means. I don't know what it means? You know, in our membership class, and you say, "Well, I can only stay for a little bit." Well, come for the first part because the first part actually explains what it means to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ, and I will go through Bible verses about how to trust in Jesus as your Lord and savior. And I would love for you to come get a free meal. Did I mention - free lunch, and hear what it means to belong to Jesus, and not just know about Him, but have a personal relationship with Him.
Maybe your next step is that you need to depend on the power of God to pursue purity, and that includes finding others around us to help us. Everyone has a bent somewhere to do wrong; all of us do. All of us do. You're not the only one. If you're in the room going, "Well, I'm the only one with the..." we all have this problem. We're all hypocrites in recovery. We're all moving in some direction forward. We all have a way in which we can take God's design and change it for our own pleasure and pervert it. So, all of us can take a step of moving forward and being more careful in our lives, in whatever area and however way that we are living our lives today, so we need to depend on the power of God to pursue purity. And instead just say, "God, by your strength and by your power, and through the power of others around me and encouraging me, I want to live for you the way you've said I'm supposed to."
And then finally this morning, be verse eight, not verse seven; that we commit to a lifestyle that's pleasing to God. Say God, whatever it is, I just want to please you, God. This isn't about rules and regulations. This isn't about even impressing other people around me. I just want to honor you God, with my life. My body is yours. I was bought with a price. I want to glorify you with my body, whatever that means. For some of you, you're single and you're going, will I ever get married? I'm not a fortune teller. I don't know what God has in store for anybody in this room. I do believe that God gives the desires of our hearts and as we pray and we work together, and I got a few guys on the list and some gals on the list, so if you want to talk to me, I can get - no, no I don't match make. I have mentioned a thing or two about some people and nudged, but that's all I do. I nudge. But honestly, I don't know that answer, but I do know that God will give you the strength and the power to be who God wants you to be, to glorify Him with your lives, right where you are, you can trust him.
And it includes reaching out and asking for encouragement, being a part of the body of Christ, coming and being a part of a community that wants to honor God with their lives. Don't expect to go out six days of the week, living in a culture that has no interest in what we just talked about this morning, and that hope that one hour a week on Sunday will fix everything you thought about during the six. It just doesn't work that way. We need each other. We need each other in small group. We need each other talking to each other. You need some phone calls. You know, I'm on the list of a couple of guys that'll call me at a randomness and say, "I'm about to do something stupid. Will you pray that I don't?" And one or two of them, they might call me back and say, "I did something stupid. Will you pray that I just find forgiveness for that?"
And I got guys in my life that I can do that for, that I can be the stupid one. Okay, that's what I meant, including, you know, talk to my wife - but you got to have people like that in your life. People that are your cheerleaders for good, because there's a bunch of cheerleaders out there to cheer you onto things that God never intended for you to be a part of. If we just stand our feet right now and just take this to the Lord. God, what do you want to do in each of our lives? Show us, God. I pray that someone would have the courage to put on that connection card that they like to talk to somebody. They might not even have the courage to put down what it is they need to talk about, but they know they need to talk to a pastor, they need to talk to, if it's a female, they need to maybe talk to another lady. I don't know what's going on in their lives, in this room. I am not the Holy Spirit and I cannot read minds and hearts, but you can.
And I believe in a room full of people like this, that you're doing a work in this room. You're moving people towards you. There are people that feel unlovable, and for the first time they're getting a glimpse that maybe you do love them. Oh, I know you love them. And I pray that they will just sense and accept and receive your love this morning. And show us as the body of Christ how to love them in your name, so that may not just think of it mystically, that somewhere up there or around here or around them that God loves them, but they know that God loves them because we love them. And so, I pray that anyone in this room that needs to reach out this morning to take whatever next step they need to take, that they will do so before they leave this place today. And I pray this in Jesus name.
Thank you for joining us today here at St. Joe Community church. And please consider this your formal invitation to join us personally each Sunday for morning worship services. We meet every Sunday at 8:30 and 10:30 AM. The 10:30 service is broadcasted live from the St. Joe homepage, www.stjoecommunitychurch.org. Even better, we'd love to have you visit the St. Joe family in person at 2900 North Anthony Boulevard, located just a few blocks south of the Purdue Fort Wayne University Campus on the Northeast side of the city. Thanks again for joining us today and we'll see you next week. By for now.
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