by Jerry Vines

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Christianity 101 (14 of 20)
The Elevated Life
Jerry Vines
I Thessalonians 4:9-12

The Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is writing to a group of new Christians. These are new believers who have just come to the Lord. He is teaching them in the basics of the Christian faith. If you were to outline I Thessalonians, you could easily outline the entire book around these main themes. In Chapter 1 you see the people of the church. He talks about God's people and what it means to be saved. In Chapter 2 he talks about the pastor and shows you what a pastor is supposed to be. He opens up his heart and gives you an x-ray view of the motives and the mission of a pastor. In Chapter 3 he talks about the program of the church. In that chapter he shows how that a church program is to be designed to help people grow in their faith. Your faith should grow as a result of the ministry of the local church where you attend. Then when you come to chapters 4 and 5, he begins chapter 4 this way. "Furthermore, then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus that as you have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God, so you would abound more and more."
That verse is really kind of the cover verse which carries us all the way through to the conclusion of the letter. He is talking about the practical living out, fleshing out, of our Christian faith. This is invariably the way Paul writes his letters. He first of all gives you basic doctrine, then he tells you how to live on the basis of this doctrine. He says, here's what we believe, here's how we are to behave. Christian conduct!
In verse 3 he has talked about sanctification. "This is the will of God, even your sanctification that you abstain from fornication." Sanctification has a negative aspect and it also has a positive aspect. Last week we dealt with the negative aspect. "Abstain from fornication. Abstain from sexual immorality. There is a negative side to being set apart to the Lord ...

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