A Holy Life
Summary of 1 Thessalonians 4. Holy living in light of the Second Coming. Holy living means a pure heart, a loving heart and a practical heart.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes this is your friend Bob Cook, and I’m back once again with you and the Word of God. The miles drop away, we’re together around the Word of God. Aren’t you glad? Oh I cherish these moments that we can invest together over God’s Eternal Word – the inerrant, infallible, inspired Eternal Word of God, the Bible.
I tell you, at the college we start with the Word of God. We don’t reason up to it, or fool around with it, or try to explain it. We start with God’s Word – the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And that’s why we require 16 semester hours of the Bible if you’re going to graduate– that’s in addition to your major field, because we consider God’s Word so important.
Well, we’re sorta recapping the truth as it’s found in 1 Thessalonians. Last time we got together we were talking about Chapter 3 – the impact of affliction and trial on our life in the light of Christ’s coming. Now Chapter 4 has to do with holy living in the light of the second coming, as well as that classic passage having to do with the resurrection and the meeting in the air – let me get to that in a minute.
He said, “Now you, you received from us how you ought to live every day, and to please God. Well,” he said, “I want you to abound more and more in that. How you ought to live every day and to please God.” Why? Because Jesus is coming. 1 John 2 – “He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure. He that said that he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” So yeah, the teaching is very plain. If I really believe Jesus is coming again, my life ought to show it.
And so he said, “I told you before how you ought to live every day, and how you ought to please God. And so I want you to do more and more of that.” – that’s verse 1. “Now you know what commandments we gave you. The first has to do with moral purity. This is the will of God even your sanctification that ye should abstain from fornication and possess your body in sanctification and honor.”
He goes on to talk to us about the fact that, “God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” Now that’s his first step. Especially in our day you can understand how important that is. I suppose the question that I have to face most often from questioners on radio and TV panels which I engage in from time to time is, “What are you gonna do about all these , these television evangelists that have slipped and fallen? What are you gonna do about this and that?”
Well, the problem is while you’re pointing your finger at one or two people who have had high visibility, you tend to forget that there are thousands – literally thousands – of God’s servants who are doing a great job. They’re minding their own business, they’re keeping their lives clean and above reproach, they’re winning souls, they’re giving good account of God stewardship. You see, people forget that while they’re hollering about one or two who were highly visible, and the media of especially just have a ball with that, yeah?
I was on a panel some time ago in New York, put on by the, the Television Academy, that the New York Chapter actually. And there were some radio commentators, there was a vice-president of a network, there was another minister – protestant minister, there was a Rabbi, and then there was the, the host chairman and my, and myself.
And so we sat there on the platform and people talked about this and that and, and pointed questions. And as I listened to their comments, it dawned on me that most of these people even though some of them were quite religiously inclined because they were professional ministers – most of those folk were, were concerned not about the morals of the situation but over the fact that a good deal of money that changed hands.
So I said when it was my turn to speak later on, I said, “You know, it occurs to me that, that most of my friends here on the panel don’t really care about what went on and who slept with whom, but you really are upset about the money.” (Laughs) And the, the man sitting next to me without, without thinking he said, “That’s right.” (Laughs) Well we had sort of a chuckle at his expense. But if you’re going really to be effective for the Lord Jesus, you have to live above reproach – it’s that simple.
He’s coming again. And, and what is important is not what the, the, the media say about you, or the district superintendent, or the Bishop, or your other ministers, or your other church members and, and Sunday school teachers, or whatever it may be. What’s important is not the comment of other human beings. What’s important is that you’re gonna meet the Lord Jesus. “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that every man may receive the things done on his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
There’ll come a time when you have to meet your Lord. Yes Calvary covers my sins, halleluiah! That little chorus that we used to sing, it’s out of vogue now but it was, it was and is beautiful. ‘Calvary covers it all, my past with its sin and shame. My sin and despair Jesus took on Him there, and Calvary covers it all’. That’s true. Bible says, “There is forgiveness with thee that thou mayest be feared.” That’s true. You’ll never come into judgment for your sins – that’s true.
But you’re going to have to meet the Savior, and He knows who and what you are. And so Paul says, “Listen, how you ought to live everyday and, and abound more and more, let it just spill over. Starts,” said he, “with purity, holy living.” And holy living is reflected by the way I use my body. It’s that, it’s that direct? Well you say you know, “How do, how do you covet that?” Romans 12:1. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your ‘what’?” Your body, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. That’s what Paul said.
Holiness is reflected in the use of your body. And if you want to be sure that you’re ready for the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure that you’re living in a way that honors Him in every day living. Amen. Well what else? Well he said, “Brotherly love, as touching brotherly love. Ye need not that I write unto you. Yourselves are taught by God to love one another, and you do, to the brethren and all of the rest.” Brotherly love.
The outreach of our heart of love toward others is part of being ready for the second coming of Christ. Had you thought of it that way? You see, all of us who are believers, we, we are taught: yes we ought to love each other. Yeah, some of us find it a little difficult don’t we? And, and some of us it must be admitted put thought into making it difficult for others to express love to us.
Well be that as it may, this is part of being ready to meet your Lord. A loving heart is part of being ready to meet your Lord. First of all a pure heart. Second of a loving heart, toward others.
How do you get that way? Some people are, are just naturally reserved in temperament anyway. It’s hard for them to express any kind of affection toward other people. How, how do you get over that? And some let us say are shy and, and, and embarrassed even to make any kind of overture toward another human being in exhibiting brotherly love and compassion. All right let’s, let’s admit that people differ and that many of us have difficulty in expressing real compassion and, and Christian love toward others. Let’s agree that that’s true. Now then, what?
I want to tell you something. Back to that verse that I quote so often in Romans 5:5, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us.” Now the first part of that verse says, “Hope maketh not ashamed, not ashamed…” which is you don’t draw back, you don’t cringe, you don’t shrink, from others, because God’s love is shed abroad in your heart.
Now, any time, any, anything I tell you, I’ve been there. And this is something through which I have gone, I assure you. Any time that you spend time with your Lord until your heart is tender, and your eyes are wet, and your will is submissive, and your conscience is cleansed, and your sins are under the blood, and you’re ready to do His will, you spend time with your Lord until you know you’ve met Him and He’s spoken to your heart. I can assure you that the next time you meet a human being after that, you’re going to show love to him or her because it’s in your heart.
Now you try that for yourself, try it on for size. I know that it’s true because I live it, I’ve been through it. And I know that God can give you compassion and, and Christian love for people who otherwise would repel you. And, or you might resent them because of what they’ve done to you. Heaven knows that we have our share of hurts, and nicks, and abrasions in the process of living just because people do things to us, isn’t it true? And so some people might, might be rejected, or repelled, or resented, because of what they’ve done or not done, or because of their attitudes, or whatever.
You spend enough time with your Lord until your own heart is tender. And you know you love Him with all your heart. And your sins are under the blood, you’ve confessed and turned your back on everything that’s against Him. By faith you have accepted Christ’s righteousness instead of your own poor guilty conscience.
How much more shall the blood of Christ purge your consciences,” he says, “to serve the living and true God.” And so your conscience is clean, and your heart is tender, your eyes are wet, your will is submissive, you want to do God’s will, you’ve yielded yourself to him. You get up off your knees and I can guarantee you the next person you meet, you’re going to show Christian love to him or her. Why? Because it spills over. “The love of Christ,” Paul says, “constraineth us” – that is, makes us act the way we do.
Now we are, this is getting ready for the second coming. Holy living, a pure heart. Holy living, a loving heart. And then holy living, a practical heart. Study to be quiet, mind your own business, work with your hands, live honestly, and succeed. Isn’t that something?
Just the practical nature of the Scripture always thrills me. You want to get ready for Jesus to come? There you got it. A pure heart, a, a loving heart, and a practical approach to everyday living that’s going to lead to success. And then of course you got this blessed hope of His coming. “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout.” And we’re going to be caught up together with the risen dead and be with Him, “So shall we ever be with the Lord.” Halleluiah, He’s coming again.
Dear Father, oh may we live in such a way that we are ready for Jesus when He comes, I ask in His name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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