Proper 26 · 1 Thessalonians 3:11–4:12 · November 5, 2017
By David Peter,
This sermon is the third in a series, entitled “Fatherly Encouragement,” based on texts from 1 Thessalonians. In this epistle the Apostle Paul encourages the Christians of Thessalonica who are young in the faith. He acts as their spiritual father. Today’s theme is based on 1 Thessalonians 3:11–4:12.
Fatherly Encouragement toward Sanctification
Sanctification is God’s will for how we live and is empowered by him.
That the hearer may grow in sanctified living.
Every parent has hopes for their children. We want our kids to grow up to be responsible and productive adults. Parents provide guidance and encouragement to their children regarding how they are to live.
The Apostle Paul considered the Christians at Thessalonica to be his spiritual children. He was like a father to them. Appropriately, he had hopes for them—that they grow in the will of the Lord. Paul states frankly, “This is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thes 4:3).
God’s desire is for our sanctification as well. The text today gives us guidance and encouragement regarding how we are to live sanctified lives.
I. The meaning of sanctification is to please God in how we live.
A. Paul is concerned with sanctification, or “how we ought to live” (4:1).
B. Sanctification is a process –“as you are doing”—and involves progress—“more and more” (4:1).
C. Sanctification is God’s will for us, and it pleases Him (4:1, 3).
D. Sanctification is only possible through union with Christ—“in the Lord Jesus…through the Lord Jesus” (4:1–2).
II. The modes of sanctification involve morality and ethics.
A. Sanctification involves sexual purity (4:3–8).
B. Sanctification involves brotherly charity (4:9–10).
C. Sanctification involves civil productivity (4:11–12).
III. The means of sanctification is the Lord Himself.
A. The Lord empowers us to increase and abound in love for others (3:12).
B. The Lord establishes us blameless in holiness before God (3:13).