Seeking Holiness: Pursuing Purity (Part 1)

Seeking Holiness - A Study on 1 Thess 4

“God wants you to be holy, so don’t be immoral in matters of sex. Respect and honor your wife
(1 Thess. 4:3, CEV).”

What is Sexual Immortality?

The Greek word, porneia, is how we get the word “porn”. The Greek word shows us what exactly it means, so we can avoid it at all costs. Its definitions include three areas we would be wise to stay away from: Adultery (sex outside the confines of marriage), incest (see Lev. 18:6), and idolatry. Knowing its intended meaning will help us keep from any misunderstanding as to what God’s Word is talking about.

Before we begin, I want to share a commentator’s thoughts on the passage to help frame our perspective as we walk through this difficult – yet important subject.

“God’s will is to have a holy people in contrast to the unregenerate Gentiles. This means that sexual immorality has no place whatsoever in the life of any believer. Adultery and lustful passion is out. To reject this clean and holy teaching is to reject God and His Holy Spirit (The Bible Panorama).”

Jesus on Adultery

In Matthew 5, we are reminded that adultery can even be lusting after a woman (or man).

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart (vv. 27-28, ESV).”

Jesus is expounding on the commandment that we have all heard. We know we must not commit adultery, but Jesus takes us a step further. Why? Jesus, the Messiah, knows our hearts. Our hearts are evil. We attempt at seeing how far we get before we cross “the line”. Our Lord knows this. This is exactly why we are taught that if we even crave after a man, we are committing adultery in our hearts. Ouch! Hard truth to handle? Yes, it is. This is what makes this topic of such great importance.

How have you lusted after another in your heart?

Choosing Sanctification

It’s important to remember why we want to honor God in word and deed. We need to remember that the Lord is holy! He knows what is best for us. Like the song says, “He is a good, good Father. It’s who He is!”

Sanctification is this process of choosing God over our own desires, knowing that we will become more Christ-like. We will resemble Him to the world, and glorify God as a result.

How are you choosing God over your own desires, emotions, and will?

So when we choose sanctification (God’s way, God’s will), we are choosing to stay away from this world’s approach to sex. We are choosing the better way, but it causes us to wait for the right time to engage in this better gift to bless our marriage bed!

Marriage bed? Hold that thought.

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous (Heb. 13:4, ESV) .”

What is the best way to honor our marriage before it even starts? To save sex for marriage. God designed sex to be enjoyed between a man and his wife. When we choose not to wait, this gift gets misused and becomes a curse instead of the blessing God intended it to be!

The Study –

  • Write out 1 Thessalonians 4:3 in the Amplified translation.
  • How has God called you to be separate?
  • How is He calling to separate yourself from the way the world devalues sex?
  • In the Bible, God reminds us that sex is this beautiful gift between a man and his bride. He reminds us that it is well worth the wait. Regardless of our marital status, purity is something we need to seek. Not only in our sex lives, we need to seek purity in all areas of our lives. How is God calling you to understand the truth of purity?
  • How would you define God desire for purity?
  • What does 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1 (The Voice) teach you about God’s design for your life?
  • Where are you in developing (or receiving) a desire for purity?
  • Take some time to spend in Matthew 15:1-20. In this passage, Jesus recounts the truths that there is a deeper problem to be dealt with. Sexual immortality points to a heart problem.
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