Memory Text: “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life” (1 Thessalonians 4:7, NIV).
Key Thought: Though human sexuality is a gift from God, as with all gifts, it can be abused.
The three opening chapters of 1 Thessalonians focused primarily on the past. In chapters 4 and 5, however, Paul turns to the future. There were things that were lacking in the faith of the Thessalonian believers (1 Thess. 3:10),and he wants to help them remedy these deficits. The letter would begin the process, but more could be done only after Paul and the Thessalonians could get together again.
Beginning with 1 Thessalonians 4:1, Paul builds on the friendship he had affirmed in the first three chapters to offer practical advice for the Thessalonians’ everyday life.
The main area of concern (but not the only one) in the verses for this week deals with sexual misconduct. Though we’re not told what specifically prompted his admonition, Paul speaks very clearly about the need to avoid sexual immorality. He’s very strong in his language here, saying that those who reject his instruction are, in fact, not rejecting him but the Lord. All one has to do, though, is look at the suffering that sexual misconduct has caused in so many lives to understand why the Lord would speak so strongly through Paul on this topic.
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, August 18.