“Sex and the Christian Life” 1 Thess 4:1-8 [Sermon Notes on 1 Thessalonians, Week 10]


Note: These are sermon outlines, not full messages.

As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.

When I was taught the epistles of the New Testament, they told us – okay, these chapters are the “theology” ones, and then come the “practical” ones. So Romans 1-11 is doctrine, and then 12 to 16 is application. Ephesians 1-3, doctrine, 4-6, practical. Although there is some truth to that, we have to keep this in mind: sound doctrine must lead to holy living; if not, there is a breakdown somewhere.

And today it is popular to preach “here are practical tips for successful living” – but they avoid the underlying truths, the doctrine. (more…)

Published in: on August 26, 2015 at 2:41 pm  Comments (2)  
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Why didn’t I drop out of church?

Post after post announces that young people are leaving the church. I’ve read some good insights on the problems and the solutions.

It makes me ponder: Why didn’t I drop out?

Full disclosure: I first went to church because that’s what the family did; later I came to believe that it was part of my new life and necessary for my growth; then a place where I could minister – the church became my calling and from age 22 and onward I have been in part or full-time ministry. [1]

All to say that, my church didn’t have to try very hard to get my interest. And while in college, church attendance was mandatory anyway.

But why not put all that to one side, because beyond these points, there were “centripetal” forces that pulled me into the church. And I’m going to add in some insights from Facebook friends, who helped me work through this topic.


I was challenged to have a first-hand faith. This factor is frequently mentioned these days (more…)

Advice for a teenaged young man

mf6HAyEA few weeks ago, a young Christian friend of mine turned 13. His mom asked some of us to write out words of counsel for him. Here are things I wish someone had told me at age 13, given in no particular order and no with aim to be comprehensive:

  • At this stage, your brain is keyed to memorize things easily. It’s the best time of your life when you should memorize portions of the Bible. Believe me, it gets harder with every passing year.
  • You are also at an age when you can study the Bible for yourself. I read the Bible through for the first time when I was 14, and was pleased to see how much of it I could understand.
  • Always tell the truth, to people and to God, even about trivial matters. Always. Lying is for cowards and is one of the most corrosive practices in your relationship with God.
  • Choose your friends wisely. Don’t run with the cool people, run with the good ones.
  • Whatever bad habits you develop now will follow you the rest of your life (I’m thinking particularly of foul language, but the rule applies across the board). Even if you gain victory of them later on, they will never disappear completely, so I advise you to avoid them in the first place.
  • Treat women with kindness and respect, beginning with your mother and sisters.
  • Don’t just complain about problems, be a person who seeks positive solutions.
  • Extend your education, both formal and informal, as far as you possibly can. Read excellent books.
  • Seek out people of good Christian character and base your lifestyle on what you see in them.
  • Don’t be one of those Christians who just receives blessings; always keep an eye open to help other people in need.
  • When you are in a group, look around to see who is lonely; make them feel befriended.
  • Finally: You are at the stage when you can fully develop your own relationship with God, and not just relate to him through the church or through your parents. Go to him directly and build a good strong bond.

Happy 13th birthday! Gary