Says Who? The One whose word is gold.
David Bahn-Reflections Podcast
Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. 2 For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
3 God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. 4 Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— 5 not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. 6 Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. 7 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
9 But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. 10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.
11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others. – 1 Thessalonians 4:1-13 [NLT]
From The World and Everything In It podcast:
Since 2014, Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research have conducted a biennial survey to gauge American belief—both inside and outside the church. The 35 questions measure what we think about God, salvation, ethics, and the Bible.
…one significant area is US adults and their view of the Bible. One of our statements is, “the Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths, but is not literally true.” Back in 2014, when we started the survey, 41 percent of US adults agreed with that statement—that the Bible is not literally true. …fast forward…to eight years later,… [now] 53 percent of US adults do not agree that the Bible is true. And in fact, say the Bible is not true.
The authority of the Bible is certainly important. For without the Bible, we are left to human inclinations, ponderings, and opinions. And these all change with the waves and winds of popular thinking. And don’t try to postulate any moral, ethical, or spiritual truth: Truth has become a subjective prospect of choosing that which seems right to us in the moment.
Paul reminds us to place our personal perspectives and preferences beneath God’s truth. We must remember that God has a better idea of what is good or evil, true or false. And Paul urges the Thessalonians to live in a way that pleases God, in the name of Jesus Christ.
That means a whole lot more than tacking the phrase, “In Jesus’ name,” onto a teaching or admonition. It means we are to hear these words as if Jesus himself were speaking them. He has a clear message for us if we are to please God. He affirms the Great Commandment and it’s essential application: Love God above all, and love your neighbor as yourself (cf. Mark 12:28-31). Jesus, himself – according to the Bible – spoke these words. They come from him who is truth incarnate.
Jesus calls us to abstain from sexual immorality, love one another near and far, and to live quiet, respectful, and productive lives. Such lives would stand out against the ways of the world in Paul’s day. They would make us stand out today as well. Jesus has saved us so that we can stand out, and by such a life gain a hearing by others.
What might we tell them? That God is love. That he has saved us. That he wants us to live in love toward him and one another. And that an eternity of joy awaits those who put their faith in him. So says Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of the world. His word is gold.