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?