5: Living to Please God (1Thess 4:1-12)
In the first
half of the epistle, Paul wrote mainly about his past ministry to the
Thessalonians, both in presence or in absence. But he feels that recounting the
past and expressing his affection for the believers is not enough (thus the
words “finally then…” in 4:1). He now devotes the rest of the epistle to giving
specific instructions about the various aspects of Christian living and urging
them to live in a manner in accord with the expectation of the Lord’s return.
“Finally then, brethren, we
urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as
you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God” (4:1).
Did You Know…?
1. “Sexual immorality” (4:3) “In
the first century moral standards were generally very low, and chastity
was regarded as an unreasonable restriction.”
including adultery, homosexuality, and prostitution, were rampant in ancient Rome. “Adultery was so
common as to attract little attention…, and practically every well-to-do woman
had at least one divorce.”
2. “Brotherly love” (4:9): Translates philadelphia,
a Greek word that outside the NT almost without exception denoted the mutual
love of children of the same father.
3. “Work with your own hands” (4:11): The Greeks
in general thought manual labor degrading and fit only for slaves. Christians
took seriously the need for earning their own living, but some of the
Thessalonians, perhaps as a result of their belief in the imminent return of
Christ (see 2Th 3:11), were neglecting work and relying on others to support
1. How do the last verses of chapter 3 lead
into the present passage?
1. Paul writes, “We urge and exhort in the Lord
Jesus….” What does this indicate about the nature of Paul’s instructions in
2a. “You should
abound more and more.” What does Paul ask the believers to do more and more?
2b. What does the command to “abound more and more” tell us
about the right attitude toward Christian growth?
3. What will of God is stated specifically in this
4. What is the meaning of “sanctification”?
5. How does abstaining from sexual immorality
relate to loving others?
6. What is the most important reason for
abstaining from sexual immorality?
7. Why do you think Paul mentions in verse 8 that
God has given us the Holy Spirit?
8. What is the extent of the love of the
9. What is Paul asking them to do concerning love?
10. In what
areas of your life can you increase your love more and more? Set some concrete
11. What kind of
“quiet life” should Christians lead? Why is such a life necessary?