1 Thessalonians 4:1-5
1 Th 4:1 (KJB)
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
Furthermore - The rest, the others, or remnant
Beseech - Ask or request
Exhort - Encourage
Walk - Live or conduct oneself
Abound - Exceed or excel
Here Paul begins the practical portion of the letter. He has stated how glad he was that the Thessalonians were growing mightily in the faith and the report that Timothy brought him gave him much joy. Now he speaks to the rest of the issues which he wants to cover in this letter concerning practical Christianity, of which, the Thessalonians were experiencing it already by reason of their evangelizing. Paul is asking them and encouraging them by the Lord Jesus. Only the Lord Jesus can really encourage the true Christian because He lives inside us by means of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are able to help or verbally encourage another Christian but the true encouragement comes from the inside through divine implanting. This encouragement comes through the testimony of the Apostle Paul and his band. They received the way they should be walking in the faith from the Apostle Paul and they also saw how God prospered them spiritually by growing them in the faith. Paul wants them to continue to grow so they continually abound in the faith and that abounding would lead to more boldness and that leads to a wider testimony coming from Thessalonica. The way to please God is to walk in His will which is according to the dictates of Scripture. The Bible is not just a study book for knowledge but it is to be studied so we can learn how to walk according to it and know the mind of God on many matters.
1 Th 4:2 (KJB)
For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
(Heb 1:1-2 KJV) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, {2} Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Here is a good understanding that the commandments that were given by Paul were not his but came from the Lord Jesus Christ. As we read in Hebrews 1:2, in these last days, which are from the cross to the last day, we are to receive the commandments from the Lord Jesus through Scripture, even though a person might be bringing the true teaching, nevertheless, all true biblical teaching is from the Lord Jesus Christ who confirms the teaching as our spirit bears witness with the true teachings from Scripture.
1 Th 4:3 (KJB)
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
Sanctification - Consecration or dedication
Abstain - Give up or hold back one‘s self from
Here Paul states directly one aspect of the will of God for these believers. He speaks of their sanctification. Possessional sanctification is the growth which a Christian experiences after they become saved. Positional sanctification is what you have at the moment you are saved, that is, you are made holy and put aside out of the world for the Lord Jesus Christ and this happens only once in contrast to possessional sanctification which is life long. Paul is pointing them to the fact that if they are to grow, they must give up any form of fornication. There are two types of fornication in Scripture. First, it is the sexual fornication which the Greek society was famous for. The Parthenon had over 1,000 prostitutes and those outside of Athens would surely have known about it. This would mean that there was probably little cells of prostitutes in many of the cities which adhered to the cult of Athena. Paul had warned them if they were to grow in the faith, they could not engage in sexual fornication which was sin and would be judged by God. The second type of fornication would be spiritual fornication. This would be partaking in any aspect of false religions. Once cannot hold to true Christianity while adopting the teachings of false religion. In Thessalonica, beside the religion of Athena, many in the church came out of Judaism which is a dead religion. They could not grow in Christianity if they were still holding to any of the tenets of Judaism. Grace and law do not mix, they are antithetical to each other. God’s will is for the believer to grow in the true faith and that growth is continuous throughout our whole life. Do not think that a seminary degree equals growth because it doesn’t. One just needs to look at the condition of the church and see how many seminary trained pastors rule over dead churches.
1 Th 4:4 (KJB)
That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
Possess - Procure, obtain, or get
Honour - Value and respect
Each Christian needs to know how to obtain or procure their vessel, which is their body, in sanctification. We possess our vessels in sanctification by rejecting intentional sin in our life. (2 Cor 4:7 KJV) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. As was stated in the previous verse, abstain from fornication and when we do that we are then procuring our bodies for spiritual growth which is sanctification. In other words, we are taking a body which was used to a sinning lifestyle and when we become saved, our souls were made pure without sin, but our physical bodies were not redeemed and still have a proclivity toward sin. So this is why Paul is stating that we procure our body for sanctification.. It would be like owning a car while we are unsaved and then we become saved and now it is like we are buying a new car because the old car was used for sinning but the new car is used for the Kingdom of God. Same with our mortal bodies. Before we were saved we used them to sin and satisfy our lustful desires but now we use them to the glory of God. It is like getting a new body because this one is now spirit controlled and used for Kingdom work. As we use our bodies for the glory of God, it is taking them from a point of valueless existence to respect and value. Whereas in the old life we may have abused them by drinking or doing drugs or whatever but now we respect those bodies realizing that they need to take us through our whole life and it is through them that we do the work of the Lord.
1 Th 4:5 (KJB)
Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
Concupiscence - Lustful passion
In contrast to respecting our bodies for the Kingdom of God, Paul is warning that they must never be in ready mode to act on any lustful passions. He speaks about the Gentiles and in Scripture the Gentiles were the non-Jews who were not saved. The term Gentile does not apply to the Christian. As you can see it is defined as those who do not know God AKA the unsaved. We are to keep our bodies in sanctification and we do that by keeping our minds sanctified also. Sin begins in the mind and when the thoughts become strong enough, they will manifest in an action to satisfy whatever is being dwelled upon in the mind.