07: Living Holy Lives – Thought Starters

Image © Jack Pardue from GoodSalt.com

Introduction: Do you know anyone who seems to have lived a holy life? What was that person like? When you saw that person, did you wish more than anything that you could be holy like him or her? To be honest, how many of us live perfect, holy lives every wakeful minute? What are the consequences of living less than a life of holiness? Does that frighten you? Should it? Why or why not?

[Thought Questions for Living Holy Lives August 15, 2012]

1. No room for sexual
misconduct.Remember the deep and abiding affection Paul felt towards his fellow believers in Thessalonica in the last couple of lessons? Now he’s pleading with them to abandon sexual immorality. What? These wonderful Christians? What went wrong? How did he keep from losing his temper as he preached for them to reform?

2. Abounding in love. Do we have a word today that we use instead of “abounding?” Suppose there’s a twelve-year-old in your family, and that youngster is excelling at doing cartwheels and other gymnastic feats at school. Would you say the youngster is “abounding” in athletic ability? Or “learning more and more?” Or “doing better and better?” Even if we read wonderful books, study the Bible, and never miss a worship service, what will it take for us to be “abundant” in God’s love? Does God give each of us the ability to fll the gaps and be dominated by God’s love? How does that happen?

3. Holiness is God’s will. How holy have you become in your walk with Jesus? Can you remember a time when you didn’t want to have anything to do with God? Even now, are there times when your holiness is in short supply? or times when you feel discouraged because of indications you aren’t perfect yet? Does it seem that sexual temptations and immorality are more effective than other types of sinning in tempting God’s people and luring them away from Him? Who invented sex? Then why is it such a temptation?

4. Not like Gentiles. If they’d had TV then, don’t you think there would have been at least one Gentile channel on the local TV when Paul was preaching? What would have been the content of that channel? Have you ever flipped the remote to your TV and been horrified by the sex and violence or recklessness you see? Is it hard for you to have sympathy for the person who seems to fill his or her mind with sensual stimulation? How should we treat those who have fallen in this area of their lives?

5. God’s Design. In what way is it a beautiful and rewarding choice to save sexual intercourse until after marriage? Have you ever seen a woman who has spent many years as a prostitute? Or a young man who is suffering from AIDS because of homosexual activities by himself or his wife? What guarantee did God give us to keep us from suffering from these degrading and humiliating conditions? How can we share our knowledge of God’s design and purpose for our lives with those who don’t know what they are doing to themselves? Or can we?

6. A better form of love. English may be a rich language, but don’t you think Greek does a better job with words like “love?” Do the words “eros,” “philos” and “agape” have strikingly different meanings? How’s your Greek today? Can you explain the different meanings of these words? The Greek could say “philos,” but we would have to say “brotherly love” to convey the same meaning. Why does Paul advocate a quiet life style? Does your love for God give you meaningful support when you must be alone for long periods of time? Or when your life is crowded with noisy and careless and demanding people? Did Paul lead a quiet life?

7. The Avenues of the Soul. What are the consequence of living an unrestrained life? If it’s natural, is it wrong? If so, does that mean we should live “unnatural” lives? Does Satan have access to the avenues of your soul? Can you suggest a few tips that would keep him from letting himself in at your heart’s gate? What role does the Holy Spirit play in keeping the channels of communication and pleasure pure and open to God’s influence at all time?



07: Living Holy Lives – Thought Starters — 5 Comments

  1. The question of Holiness touches sanctification. The apostel Paul gave instrucions to the Thessalonians through the Lord Jesus regarding santification (1. Thessalonians 4:2). The apostels delivered to the church what they had received from Christ by eyewitness-account (1. John 4:1-4), oral tratidion (1. Corinthians 15:1-4) or even revelation (Galatians 1:12). In his instruction as to sanctification Paul points back to Christ as the author of sanctification. In His prayer to His Father Christ said: "Sancify them in the truth; thy word is truth." (John 17:17)

    God is the agent of sanctification. His word is the instrument of sanctification. The manner of sanctification consists in an intimate communication with that sanctifying agent through His instrument of sanctification-- the word of the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). In this living communication with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we shall be aware as to what is pleasing to God and what is not (1 Thessalonians 4:1). We shall love what God loves and hate what He hates -- whatever that may be. Much more than a mere theory, sanctification is a living experience in every day life.

    Winfried Stolpmann

    • This so true that God wants the best for us only if we accept his plea for our hearts. God has given us eternal life through his son Jesus Christ. All we have to do is live the way that is pleasing in God's sight.

  2. "To be honest, how many of us live perfect, holy lives every wakeful minute?" This question is inappropriate. The Bible clearly teaches in Job 9:20,21, if man were perfect or holy he would not know it. God is the only One that can read hearts, but holy living is something God has always bid His people to - Ex 19:6, 1 Pet 2:9, etc....

    • God's command to us has always been, "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Mat 5:48 NKJV). The problem is that there are other texts that tell us that we are not and won't be so in this life (1 Jn 1:8; Phil 3:12-13; Isa 64:6, etc.). That is the reason why we need sanctification as a work of a lifetime and at the end of it we like Paul will declare that we are still imperfect.

      As for people like Job, he was justified by God, therefore considered perfect because of God's declaration. In spite of that he still received a rebuke from God because he was like you and I, a sinner in need of Christ.


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