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For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.


1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 | NASB

Keep in mind that this letter was written to the church. We often gloss over material and think it doesn’t pertain to us. This is a common mistake when studying the Bible.

We know that history shows the Thessalonians as the church that set the standard for all others. They were persecuted and ridiculed quite often but persevered. Paul admonishes them to keep the faith and to “excel still the more” in verse one.

Like churches today, they had issues. When you get a bunch of broken vessels together, you’re going to have problems. I know some that blame church on their problems. I used to as well. Then I moved my efforts to blaming people in the church. I realized one day that people are not perfect–everyone has some type of hangup.

Apostle Paul is encouraging us to live a life full of the Spirit, apart from our sin. In today’s modern church, there’s a false doctrine of grace being taught, that God will accept you as you are, that you can still live your old lifestyle and live for God too. I call that double-minded. Sanctification means consecrated, set apart, separate.

I believe this is why we don’t see real change in people today.  Because The verse says “he who rejects this is not rejecting man, but God”. The miracles of healing and deliverance aren’t happening because there’s sin on both sides of the isle. You’ve got people not wanting to let go of their impurities and there are those in ministry who won’t get right with God either. Tough words, I know. Someone has to speak truth. We will not see a major shift in the church until the people allow Almighty God to fix their brokenness.

Recognize when the Holy Spirit comes, allow Him to strip away all that doesn’t belong there. Sanctify yourself before God. He wants you. He loves you. You’re worth it in His eyes. Be apart of something big. Be the church that He wants.  

From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus. 

~Apostle Paul | Galatians 6:17 | NASB

What apostle Paul is saying here is that all the beatings, the boiling, and imprisonment that he has endured was for the sake of Christ. No evil or hurtful thing will set him back in delivering the message of hope and love through Christ the Redeemer.
The scars remain as a reminder of what he used to do, and the person he used to be…nothing. But when he answered the call on that dark and lonely road to Damascus his life started! 


Do you remember your life before Christ? 


Does your body bear the brand-marks of Jesus?
 

They may not be visible to the eye, but the things you’ve been through have made their mark on your spirit- man. God knows. The Holy Spirit recognizes them and will help you use them for a testimony like no one else.
Be branded for Christ. Branded for life.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 


Genesis 3:7 | NASB

The very first spiritual battle took place at the forbidden tree. I believe that this was the first recorded murder as well. The serpent was able to convince Eve to commit spiritual suicide by twisting God’s word. God stood by and watched as a jealous and caloused fallen angel convinced Adam and Eve to eat. 

Sometimes I wonder: Do you think they were even hungry or did they feel forced to eat? 

There are times when in spiritual battle, that the body will make involuntary responses in a physical manifested form. This is proof that there’s a battle that wages war on the inside of you. You seem to feed off of things that aren’t necessarily good for you to eat physically or spiritually. 

In the scripture above, their eyes were not opened to the truth, but that the serpent had lied. They already knew the truth in that God told them not to eat or they would die.
Sin, when recognized, reveals one thing: shame. When in the middle of the battle,  its hard to separate the truth from the lie. When you come to the reality of the truth,  the shame of the sin is revealed, hence the need to clothe themselves. But when you are found in the arms of Christ the Redeemer, there’s no more shame or condemnation, only mercy and grace draped by the love of God.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  


Ephesians 4:2-3

The opening statement has several commands that seem to be unreasonable.  Completely humble,  gentle,  patient, and bearing are words we don’t use much.  I for one have trouble!  But the scripture is clear when it says “Make every effort”.  Bring peace to every situation through the Spirit of unity.  First off,  your soul,  body,  and spirit must be in agreement,  in unity.   How can one ask to accomplish all this without first getting themselves ready? 
Someone is always watching and waiting for you to ready yourself and they will follow when they see you do the right thing.  
Be bearers of peace,  this world needs it so desperately.  

O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”. 


1 Timothy 6:20 | NASB

Chatter.  It seems clear that the church in Ephesus had many problems, but one in particular that Paul was instructing Timothy to avoid was arguing about the truth verses a lie.  (There was fake news even back in the days of the bible.) 
Notice Paul says “guard what has been entrusted to you”.  There’s two things come to mind when I look at this scripture. 

1.) Guard the people at the church of Ephesus: 
Timothy is their pastor, it’s his duty to guard the sheep against the attacks  from worldly wolves. 

2.) Guard the truth.
Protecting godly people comes at a price–guarding the truth, which keeps them safe. 
Timothy was a young pastor with His hands full.  Paul gives sound advise on how to deal with rich people and their money, rumor mills, end-time scoffers, and now worldly chatterers.

When you hide God’s word in your heart, you become bearers of truth.   All false arguments and knowledge are quickly put to rest when light pierces through darkness.  

When empty chatter and useless arguments arise, bring truth to the situation. 
Don’t argue, don’t confront, don’t conform.  Change fragile minds with truth of the Light. 

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  


James 4:6 | NASB

There is a greater grace given. 
The credit, concession, blessing, and favor that’s awarded to us by God, comes through humility of heart.  James makes clear speech in saying that God opposes the proud.  The Greek word used for “oppose” literally means “to stand against in battle”
A greater grace is better than standing behind enemy lines.  But the greater grace all the more, is dissolving the enemy lines in your heart.  That’s where the war begins. 

If you remove the battle banner of pride and self, then it will be a quick victory.  Waving the white flag of surrender brings humility and a need to rely on God’s strength and favor.  There are others watching and waiting for you to lead by this example. 
Be the man or woman of God that you have been called to be. 
Lower the flag of self and allow God to raise His banner over you. 
The greater grace is yours. 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.        Romans 12:2 NASB

Three important words stand out and beg to be discovered this morning.  Conformed, transformed, and will.  Let’s take a quick look.

Conformed in the Greek is the word we derive schematics from.  It translates into assuming a certain form.  Being pressed into a mold and filtered through the world’s strainer causes such forms in the likeness of bitterness, resentment, and anger–just to mention a few. 

Transformed is where we get the word metamorphosis, meaning to literally transfigure. A complete change in appearance or attitude.  A word that’s not mentioned much anymore comes to mind–Revival.  The reason why it’s not heard of much is because Christians are too conformed in certain areas of their life, making it difficult to completely transform (Ouch and Amen).  Change hurts, much like growing pains, and it’s necessary to move forward in Christ.  Transforming your life means cutting off things that keep you from getting better. 

The last word is “will“.  The will of God.  We sometimes pray that “God’s will be done”.

Will
translates the meaning of desire.  Have you ever wondered what God desires? Wonder no more, look in the mirror.  That’s right, he desires you.  It’s never God’s will to hurt or destroy humanity by natural disasters or on other accounts.  When someone says “How could God do this?”, I always respond by saying “He didn’t, we did.”
You can imagine the looks I get.

The last part of the above scripture is misinterpreted often.  Most believe and teach that God’s will means for us to be good, acceptable, and perfect.  Humanity tries continually to do all three, but fail.  Jesus said that no one but God is good.  Jesus was the only perfect person that ever walked this planet, and Jesus is the only acceptable person that grants access to the Father.  It’s God’s desire (will) that is good, acceptable, and perfect towards us.  That’s what we must conform to, cling to, and allow to transform us into–His likeness.