1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 


3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 


As we started this year, we learned Philippians 2: 12-13.

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.


We learned from this verse that..we do not work for our own salvation, but work out our own salvation for God is working within us so that we may willingly do what is pleasing to Him. 

God is giving us the courage and strength to do what He is pleasing. 

Our part in all of this is to trust and obey God and to do hand in hand with God. 

And the inward working of our salvation may be manifested out through our lives for others to see. 


As we start the year 2019, I searched bible verses about "the pleasing of God, the will of God" on the online. 

Many verses appeared in internet but I could summarize in 4 things: 

Sanctification(holiness), witnessing(feeding sheep), thanksgiving, doing good(the light of the world) 

So I want to deliver the messages about that twice: this week and next week. 


I. Sanctification

Look at 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 

3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 


God wants believers' be holy. 

Why must we be sanctified as a christian? 

Why does sanctification please God? 

Because God’s very nature is holy. 


Leviticus 11:44-45 

44 For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. 45 For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”


v.3 "this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality..."

What is the sanctification? 


There are three phases: Justification - Santification – Glorification...

“Sanctification”, the Greek word hagiasmos, means “holiness” or “a separation.” 

The word sanctification has to do with holiness and separation. 


God gave us justification, positional holiness in Christ by His grace. 

And God guides us to sanctification (maturity), a practical, progressive holiness. 

In the future, God will give us glorification, a permanent, ultimate holiness. 

These three phases of sanctification separate the believer from the penalty of sin (justification), the power of sin (maturity), and the presence of sin (glorification).

We are now in the process of holiness. 

The holiness is not option but commandment. 


Look at v. 3 

"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;"


Sexual immorality, the Greek word porneia, is a general term that includes extramarital sex, homosexuality, and premarital sex. 

The Thessalonian believers lived in a pagan culture in which sex outside marriage was often considered an act of worship, one that honored Greek gods. 

Paul reminds them to abstain from every form of sexual sin, no matter how acceptable it is to their culture. 



"4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;" 


Controlling one's body is an important way to deny inappropriate sexual passions. 

In 1 Corinthians 9:27 Paul says 

"But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."


He did not mean by "disqualified" that he would lose his salvation. 

He meant being disqualified from receiving a reward in heaven, just as a runner who failed to abide by the rules would be disqualified from receiving a prize at the end of the race. 


When I was in high school, there was a half marathon in my high school, and a third grade student took first place.

But many students wondered and doubted about him. It was because he was not the one who was good at running or practicing enough to win the 1st place. 

Later it was revealed that he had been cheating. 

In the middle of the run, he was getting on the bicycle of one of the race supervisers who was his friend.


This happened in the marathon in China.

It is a scene caught on a CCTV camera at a half-marathon held in China. 

These runners took shortcuts. 

258 runners cheated or broke rules and became disqualified.

If we do not want to be disqualified in the race of faith, we must abide by the rules.

In the long race we need the hard training and the practice to complete our running and to abide by the rules. 

We must control the body to abide the rules. 

Our flesh and body wants the easy cross but crown...


John Bunyan said in his book "Pilgrim Progress" there are Satan Babylon body that continue trying to make us fall. 

Satan constantly interferes...

The splendor of Babylon, the world, tempts us.

The flesh constantly makes us fall.


We are forgiven of sin by accepting Jesus as Savior and believing in the blood on the cross and resurrection of Jesus. 

And we put on the new garments of Christ. A new clothes means a change of status. 

Our status is changed as children of God. So we live in a changed identity on the earth. 

We are going to the kingdom of heaven, our home. 

Is it easy? No...Why? Because there are the enemies. 

So we need to control our own body in holiness and honor. 

Our faith life is like a marathon. We have to pass the finish line to win the crown of the long race of faith.

To pass the finish line in accordance with the rules, we must constantly control our bodies.


There was a movie-like scene in the '2017 BMW Dallas Marathon'. 

The runner, who ran first, fell down, leaving about 25m of the finish line.

It was a opportunity for the 2nd runner to take the lead. 

But the second runner went to her without any hesitation.

Then, she grabbed the opponent's arm and supported her and ran together to the finish line.

The legs of the first runner lost power few times more and the second runner helped her to pass the finish line. 

The second runner was willingly handing over the winner prize to her. 

The marathoner who yielded the top place was a 17-year-old high school student, Ariana Luterman. 


She said in a interview, 

“The only thing I could think of to do was to pick her up, so I picked her up and I think she was a little confused at first,” Luterman said. “No way was I going to start sprinting and just leave her there. … You saw, those last 20 meters, she was just down and I was so worried she wasn’t going to make it. So I picked her up with all my might. Right when we got to the finish line, I just kind of pushed her in front of me so she would be the one to cross that line.”


We are marathoners of faith. 

Let's encourage and help each other and let us all pass the final line successfully. 

Then we will receive the prize from the Lord at that time. Amen


Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14

"Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."


Hebrews 12:1

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us“


In 2 Timothy 2:20–21 Paul uses the analogy of a large home with vessels of gold and silver, and vessels of wood and clay. 

2 Timothy 2:20-22 

"20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. 22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.“


Some of the vessels are used for honorable purposes and some for dishonorable purposes. 

He makes the point that "if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house." 

After these words, Paul exhorts Timothy to "flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22).


II. witnessing 

1 Thesalonians 2:4 

"but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts."


Sanctification is not just being set apart from sin, but being set apart for God. 

We are set apart for Jesus. 

We have to set apart Jesus as the Lord and be more concerned with what He thinks, than what men think. 

One of the most important ways is in our witness and testimony for Jesus. 

Jesus asked Peter. "Do you love me?" 

When Peter answered, "I love you. Lord!" Jesus told him, "feed my lamb."


Paul says, 

"just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts."


God has entrusted us with His precious gospel of what Jesus did on the cross. 

He has entrusted us to speak that truth to other people. 

Paul says, not to please men, but to please God who tests our hearts. 

When we speak to please men, we water down the truth so that we will still be popular and won’t offend anyone. 

When we speak to please God, we say as accurately as possible what the word of God teaches, and leave the consequence up to God. 


Paul wrote in 2 Cor 2:14-16 

14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?


That is the attitude we are to take in our testimony about Jesus. 

We are to speak the truth and spread the knowledge of Him. 

To some, it will be the smell of death. And that’s not exactly pleasant! 

They won’t like what we say, but we speak as those who want to please God, not man. 

Yet to others, it will be life, a sweet fragrance, and the very answer for which they have sought. 


Why would God entrust something so precious (the gospel) to you and me? 

We must seek to please God, not man.

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