Live to Please God
Finish the Song:
“All You Is Love (Need)
I Left My Heart In (San Francisco)
L Is For the Way You At Me (Look)
You’ve Lost that Lovin’ (Feelin’)
All of these songs talk about or have to do with the idea of love. But what does love really mean? We throw the word around all the time without even thinking about what it truly means. Today, we’re going to find out what true, Godly love looks like, and how that should affect our lives. We will look at three ways we can love God. And to do that, I need you to turn to 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4.
Love God by Honoring Him With Our Bodies
Largely Gentile church located in Greece, present day Thessaloniki.
Thessalonians had been ministered to by Timothy most recently when Paul writes to them, and Timothy gives Paul a good report about them.
So Paul is pleased with the Thessalonians
But he still gives them some warnings and instructions. Which I think we can take an idea from.....notice Paul didn’t say, “Good job! You’ve achieved the goal of loving God, so you’re all set”
Maybe you are here today and you are living for God, you are trying to serve Him, and faith and love in God are a constant part of your life.
If that’s you, that’s great. But we must stay on guard....we never arrive at the summit of faith, it’s a constant daily year over year fight. So stay strong, and don’t check out on me here, because Paul is addressing the same type of people.
Paul opens up and encourages the believers to live to please God more and more.
Don’t settle, press on
But we like to settle don’t we?
Grades in school
But Paul then hones in on what he must feel is one of the biggest threats to the Thessalonians, and to our, faith.
Look at verse 3......abstain from sexual immorality
Paul knew they lived in a culture that was promoting sexual immorality. Sound familiar?
We live in the same type of culture today.
There’s nothing new under the sun
And Paul knew that this could derail their entire faith. So, even though they were living lives worthy of Christ, even though they currently were loving and living for God, he warned them about what could happen.
And guys, this is why I constantly tend to warn you about the same things that can derail your faith today.
We need to be reminded....we tend to be a forgetful people.
Morgan and the stove
Paul continues in verses 4 & 5.....read
We must show.....self-control
We shouldn’t base our lives off of those who don’t know God. This is where it gets real for us, because we all have this natural human desire to fit in don’t we?
So, our friends who we desperately want to fit in with, if they aren’t believers, most likely they aren’t going to model for us the way to live
Our team that we are on, we desperately want to fit in so we tend to want to act like they do.
Verse 8 - Paul warns us, if we choose to follow the ways of the world, to follow our friends, to give in to sexual immorality because “everyone is doing it”, look at verse 8:
Whoever disregards this, disregards not man (not Paul), but God.
“You’re not letting me down, you’re letting God down”
So, one way we love God is by living lives that are pure. We live lives that don’t look like the world. We live lives that honor God. It won’t be easy, it won’t be popular, but if we call ourselves Christians, then it’s 100% necessary. So, where are you with this one? And how do we do this? We set boundaries in our dating lives (this is where your parents can be helpful). Boundaries like maybe we don’t put ourselves in situations where we are alone, or we hang out in groups instead of one-on-one. I know, you may be thinking, I don’t have a problem with this, I’m good. But I promise you, temptation will come, and when it does, you’ll try to justify it by looking at the world. I’m telling you, it’s dangerous. How much you fight is an indicator of how much you love.
Love God by Loving Others
It is impossible to Love God without loving others.
- “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
Paul encourages the Thessalonians to love others more and more. More than they already do.
Meaning, yeah, you’re doing pretty well, but what about that kid who no one likes, how are you loving him?
But let’s go a little deeper here.
What is this love that Paul is talking about?
What does culture say love is?
If you do this for me, I’ll do this for you
I love certain people because they are wealthy and will buy me stuff
We talked earlier about how in our culture we use the word love for everything:
I love soccer
I love that dog
I love my boyfriend
I love my mom
I love food
But what is love? What is the sign of love that is genuine and pure?
See, worldly love is dependent so much on the situation.
For instance, we say we love Chinese food, but what about when we find out we are really eating cats and we get deathly sick from it....we no longer “love” chinese food, right?
It no longer serves us any purpose.
Or, we love our boyfriend or girlfriend until we break up and decide we don’t. Did we ever really love them? Or did we just love them because of how it made us “feel”?
True love is self-sacrificing and never ending, and not dependent on me.
So, what Paul is saying is love people unconditionally. Love people with a never-ending love.
How do we do that? We can only do that if we are rooted in God’s love first!
How is your love life? I realize that is usually referring to our relationship, but seriously, how are you loving others with a self-sacrificing love? How are you showing God’s love to others? Are you giving to those in need? Are you there for those that need to talk? Are you willing to risk status or popularity to love someone who isn’t loved? Or, is your love life one of give and take? Take Jesus as our example....he gave all He had because of His love for you. How well you love is an indicator of how well you imitate?
Love God by How We Live Our Lives
In today’s world of social media, this is extremely hard to do. We find ourselves intoxicated with this idea that we have to share everything we do with everyone.
Shoot, even on Snapchat now, you can see where everybody is (which by the way, you should probably turn that off)
And we don’t need to do that, nor are we supposed to.
I know, I know, you all are thinking, come on P.D., get with the times
But Paul’s right, if we truly love God, it becomes less about ourselves, so we quiet ourselves, and more about Him.
Mind Your Own Affairs
And hand in hand with living quietly, especially in our social media age, we are to mind our own affairs. Which is extremely hard to do isn’t it?
But we are to live peaceably with others.
So, we don’t always comment
We aren’t always involved in the gossip
We don’t find ourselves wrapped up in everybody’s business
And Ironically, if we pay less attention and time to being known and being involved in everybody’s affairs, we have more time to work hard.
And Paul tells us to work hard for what purpose?
To walk properly before others
To be an example to others
To be different on purpose
So, how can you improve in this area? Maybe take a break from social media and become more focused on loving God first. Or, purpose to work hard at your job, in school, with the idea of living as an example to others. Instead of getting caught up in the gossip or interest of others, maybe you commit not being involved in those type of things, and even walking away when they happen. But what are you going to do with it? How peaceably you live is an indicator of whether you have the true peace.
So, we’ve seen three ways that we can love God with a proper type of love:
We love God by keeping ourselves pure
We love God by loving others
We love God by How we live our lives, both peaceably and hard-working
How are you doing with these three areas, and what are you going to do to improve?