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Encouragement

July 27, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

No Lustful Passion Today

"not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God,"

1 Thessalonians 4:5 Page 1849  

       Jesus really knows all about advertising today.  Just about anywhere I turn on television, I see advertising using sex to sell products.  Lustful passion lives within everyone, and can pop out to produce sin and death.  Jesus never gave in to lust or passion when it came to His body.  He used His body for the glory of God every moment of every day for a lifetime.  He gives us hope, power and joy to live holy lives before him.  Jesus knows the hearts of people, and He knows that we need His power to control our minds, hearts and bodies to glorify Him.

       In Galatians 5:24, page 1825, we read: "Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."  Notice the two words "passions" and "desires."  Paul uses those same two words here in 1 Thessalonians 4:5.  Paul never teaches that sexual desire in itself is evil.  Instead, Paul makes the point that uncontrolled sexual desire and passion lead to sin, and specifically the dishonoring of our bodies.  Paul teaches us that we control our bodies by the power of Jesus Christ who sanctifies our lives.  When we consider the Galatians passage, we see that our flesh with its sinful passions has been completely crucified with Christ.  In other words, our bodies do not control us, but Christ has already won the victory over our flesh by crucifying it to the cross.  Powerful theology here leads to powerful living.  I have heard many people talk about how natural sex outside of marriage is, and how it is now normal to live together before marriage, and even have children by multiple people, all outside of marriage.   Television promotes all of those "lifestyles," while Jesus commands us to sanctify our bodies for His use.  He has already done the hard work by crucifying our flesh, and its passions and desires, on the cross.  We could never have gained the victory ourselves, and people are often powerless outside of Christ to change their sexual behavior.  But in Christ, with His power, our sexual passions and lusts no longer have to rule us.  Now each of us makes a choice about overcoming our strong sexual desires, and living instead for Christ.  We see Christ making very serious changes in our lives, as He sanctifies our bodies and lives for His use.  God created sex, and gave married people a wonderful gift to share between spouses.  Paul does not teach us to forsake sex in marriage, but rather to have sanctified bodies, whether married or single.

        Finally, notice in 1 Thessalonians 4:5, page 1825, that Paul does not want Christians acting like Gentiles who know all about sexual lustful passion, but they do not know God.  Sure, unbelievers know all about licentious behavior, but they do not know God.  They know nothing and care nothing about sanctification.  They want to have great sex as often as possible.  The love to indulge the desires of flesh and of the mind, while walking under the control of satan (Ephesians 2:2-3, page 1828).  Because we know God, we know we have been freed from our crucified bodies with its uncontrolled passions.  Now Christ controls us, and wants to make our entire lives holy to Him.  For some of us, this freedom from sexual lustful desires stands as a great deliverance from slavery to the flesh, the devil and his deeds.  In Christ, we know His power. 

       So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we honor our bodies and promote sanctification with all our friends.

    ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when we see our friends leaving lustful passions behind, and having Christ control all our lives to His glory.   

       ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we let our lustful passions burn within us, and never ask our friends for prayer and accountability.        

Application for Today

        Today, I want to encourage you to consider your body crucified with Christ, and its lusts and desires crucified forever.  By the power of Christ, He will sanctify your body for His glory.  Will you put away all lustful passion today and live in sanctification with Jesus?