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Encouragement

July 28, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Jesus the Avenger Today

"and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just we also told you before and solemnly warned you."

1 Thessalonians 4:6 Page 1849  

     At times, some men treat women as sexual objects, even inside the church.  Paul has discussed the need to abstain from sexual immorality, and now extends the commandments against sexual sin with reasons to avoid lustful passion.  Paul uses the terms "transgress" and "defraud."

       Transgress means that you exceed the clear boundaries of acceptable behavior.  You know you should not have sex with anyone outside of marriage, but you will go ahead and do what you please.  You  step over the sexual boundaries set by Jesus Christ.  Not only will you be tempted to transgress sexually, but the effect of your lustful passion will result in defrauding your brother.  To defraud means that you take something that does not belong to you by using false words and false promises.  You take something by stealth without paying for it.

       Notice that Paul talks about defrauding the brother.  When you have sex with a woman who is not your wife, you are defrauding your Christian brother.  How will this woman ever explain to her husband what she has done with you?   Your lustful passions not only destroy your life, but they also devastate the lives of others.  Instead of presenting every female as a pure bride, you have now defrauded the future husband by taking something for your pleasure that never belonged to you and you could never obtain in righteousness.   Needless to say, the woman herself suffers and will never view you in the same light again.   God, however, focuses the spiritual attention upon the man here.

       God also pictures Jesus as the avenger of the people suffering from transgression, fraud, and sexual sin.  While every believer can rest assured that Jesus will not condemn you so that you lose your salvation (Romans 8:1, page 1768), yet, in this life your sin will bring forth heartache and problems for you and  your sexual partner in sin.  Furthermore, when you appear before the judgment seat of Christ in eternity, to receive your reward  (2 Corinthians 5:10, page 1809), your works will be tried with fire and you will suffer loss of reward (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

       Finally, we should remember that Paul had already warned the Thessalonians about the problems associated with sexual sins.  Today, with sexual sin so prevalent inside and outside the church, we should all heed the solemn warning.  We should remove from among ourselves every unrepentant brother involved in sexual immorality, until that person repents and turns back to God ( 1 Corinthians 511-13, page 1787).  Our love for everyone should never fail, but we should be vigilant in our application of church discipline to encourage the unrepentant to turn back to a loving Father and the fellowship of the congregation.

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

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we do not transgress and defraud our brethren.  We must abstain from all sexual sin.

    ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when we remind our friends that Jesus is the avenger in matters of lustful passion, but also a gracious and compassionate God.   

       ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we transgress and defraud our brethren by letting loose our lustful passions, and so defraud and transgress our brothers in Christ, and harm our sexual partners in sin.  Ignoring the problems does not make them go away, but rather promotes them through silence and disobedience to God's Word.        

Application for Today

        Today, I want to remind my friends of Christ the avenger.  He warns us not transgress and defraud our brothers by committing sexual sin springing from our lustful passions.  Today, I want to encourage my friends to heed the solemn warnings of Christ against sexual sin.  Will you be walking away from sexual sin today?