1 Thessalonians 4:8
Anyone, then, who rejects this command does not reject man but God, the very One who gives you His Holy Spirit.
A Word to She DespiserG. Barlow.1 Thessalonians 4:8
The Cause of DespisingW. Cawdray.1 Thessalonians 4:8
The Causes Which Induce a Despising of Divine RevelationT. Archer, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:8
The Impotence and Folly of Despising the TruthC. H. Spurgeon.1 Thessalonians 4:8
The Sin of Despising GodC. W. H. Kenrick, M. A.1 Thessalonians 4:8
The Sinfulness of the DespiserJ. Parker, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:8
A Deepening ConsecrationS. B. Bossiter.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
A Fuller ConsecrationC. Simeon, M. A.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Abounding More and MoreH. K. Burton.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Earnest Exhortations to a High SanctityG. Barlow.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
How to Walk So as to Please GodG. Burder.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Of Abounding More and MorePlain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times."1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Pleasing GodB. Pugh.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Pleasing God IsD. Thomas, D. D.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
So Ye Would Abound More and More1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
The Christian's Walk and its ObjectW. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
The Necessity of ProgressBp. Westcott.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Walking So as to Please God1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
The Law of PurityB.C. Caffin 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
How Personal Purity is to be MaintainedT. Croskery 1 Thessalonians 4:4-8
1 Thessalonians 4:4-8
1 Thessalonians 4:4-8.

How personal purity is to be maintained. The sanctification which is God's will requires that "every one of you know how to possess himself of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust." The vessel is not a wife, but a man's own body. If it meant a wife, it might be said that every man would be bound to marry. The wife is no doubt called the "weaker vessel," the evident meaning of the term of comparison being that the husband is also "a vessel;"


1. Negatively.

(1) It is not to be regarded as outside the pale of moral obligation, as antinomian perverters say, basing their error on the words of the apostle, "It is not I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me;" "In me, that is, in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing."

(2) It is not to be injured or mutilated by asceticism, after Romish example. The apostle condemns "the neglecting of the body" and "the not sparing of the body" (Colossians 2:23).

(3) It is not to be made "an instrument of unrighteousness" through sensuality - "not in passion of lust." Sensuality is quite inconsistent with the very idea of sanctification.

2. Positively.

(1) The body is to be kept under control; the Christian "must know how to possess himself of his own vessel." He "must keep under the body;" he must make it servant and not master, and not allow its natural liberty to run into licentiousness.

(2) He must treat it with all due honor - "in sanctification and honor;"

(a) because it is God's workmanship, for "we are fearfully and wonderfully made;"

(b) because it is "the temple of the Holy Ghost" (1 Corinthians 6:19);

(c) because it is an heir of the resurrection;

(d) because it is, and ought to be, like the believer himself, "a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master's use," for the body has much to do in the economy of grace.


1. The knowledge of God received by the Christian ought to guard us against it. The apostle here attributes Gentile impurity to ignorance of God. "Even as the Gentiles who know not God." The world by wisdom knew not God, was alienated from the life of God, and thus sunk into moral disorder. The apostle shows in the first chapter of Romans how God, as a righteous retribution, gave over the idolatrous Gentiles to all sorts of moral dishonor.

2. Another dissuasive is the regard we ought to have for a brother's family honor. "That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in this matter." A breach upon family honor is a far worse offence than any breach upon property. The stain is indelibly deeper.

3. Another dissuasive is the Divine vengeance. For "the Lord is the Avenger concerning all these things." If the vengeance does not reach men in this world, it will in the next, where they will have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. They shall "not inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9).

4. The nature of the Divine call is another dissuasive. For "God did not call you for uncleanness, but in sanctification." They had received "a holy calling," a "high calling;" and though "called unto liberty," they were "created unto good works." They were "called to be saints;" for God says, "Be ye holy, for I am holy."

5. Another dissuasive is that the sin involves a despisal of God, who has given us his Holy Spirit that we may attain to sanctification. "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit." God has ordered all our family relations, and any dishonor done to them involves a contempt of his authority. We have in this passage God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - interested in man's salvation and holiness. - T.C.

He therefore that desptseth, despiseth not man but God
The things set at nought are not specified, because the apostle wanted to draw our particular attention to Him whom in them we despise. It is, however, easy to see that they are all religious duties, moral laws and precepts, the observance of which makes up the sum total of a religious life.

1. Instinctively our thoughts turn first to that low value which many persons enter. rain of life. They live to waste, or, as they say, using an almost criminal expression, to "kill" time: they occupy themselves with worthless books or newspapers, and regard reading solely as the diversion of the hour; they take up some work which is good in itself, but having no perseverance, fling it aside unfinished the moment they are weary of it; they spend their days in one long course of pleasure, harmless or harmful they care not which, and at the end ask themselves the question, "Is life worth living?" They are earnest, if earnest at all, only about the things of time and sense, and treat all matters merely as pastimes, means by which serious thoughts of death and eternity may be diverted.

2. There is another more open, yet possibly not more perilous way of despising than the above. There are those who from their youth, if not from their childhood, have been steeped in the sins of the flesh, who not only commit such things, "but have pleasure in those that do them;" forgetful, it may be, of the apostle's words, that "the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God."

3. Then there are those who are living in unbelief — open scoffers of things Divine — men who do not want to believe in a Lawgiver, because, if they did, they would feel obliged to keep His laws; men who ridicule religion in order to deny its claim on their lives; who think, or pretend to think, that religion is not true, because in their case the wish is father to the thought. To them this question should be brought home. Be honest with yourselves and say, what if, after all, the God whom you affect to deny be the Lord of the universe, the Sovereign to whom you owe allegiance? what if you find at the last that you have had light enough, and you are forced to admit then that you have had no excuse for your obstinate unbelief? How will it be with you then, when you shall see eye to eye, and the truth, no longer hidden beneath the veil of your own weaving, shall stare you in the face in all its tremendous reality? To refuse to see and hear Him is to despise Him to whom nature pays her willing homage; for when the voice of man is dumb, "the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handywork."

(C. W. H. Kenrick, M. A.)


I. THAT THE CHRISTIAN MINISTER IS SPIRITUALLY COMMISSIONED TO EXHORT MEN TO HOLINESS. "Who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit." The apostles were endowed for their special ministry by the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost. Though miraculous gifts are no longer bestowed, Christian ministers are nevertheless called and qualified by the Divine Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:20).

II. THAT THE MOST FAITHFUL EXHORTATIONS OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTER MAY BE DESPISED. This is done when men reject the word spoken, refuse to listen to it, neglect to meditate upon it, and decline to enter upon the course of holy living with its counsels. This conduct shows —

1. The voluntary power of man. He can resist the truth, or accept it. He is responsible for the exercise of all his moral powers; and, therefore, incurs guilt by any abuse of those powers.

2. The blinding folly of sin. It darkens the understanding, perverts the will, petrifies the affections, and banishes the good that elevates and saves. To wilfully reject the overtures of righteousness is to relinquish eternal life, and to doom the soul to spiritual death.

III. THAT TO DESPISE THE FAITHFUL EXHORTATIONS OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTER IS TO DESPISE GOD. "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man but God." The contempt of the true minister does not terminate in his person but reaches the majesty of that Being by whom he is commissioned. To disregard the message of an ambassador is to despise the monarch he represents (Luke 10:16). As the edicts proclaimed by the public herald are not his own, but the Prince who gives them authority and force; so the commands published by the divinely commissioned minister are not his own, but belong to Him whose will is the law of the universe. It belongs to God to reveal the law, it belongs to man to declare it. The exhortation, whether uttered by a Moses, or by a Simeon Niger, is equally the word of God, to which the most reverential obedience is due. To despise the meanest of God's ministers, is an insult to the majesty of heaven, and will incur His terrible displeasure. Lessons:

1. The Divine commands concern man's highest good.

2. Take heed how ye hear.

3. To despise the Divine message is to be self-consigned to endless woe.

(G. Barlow.)

I. The rejection of Christianity CANNOT ARISE FROM A SUPERIOR INTELLECT on the part of infidels. Infidelity is not an intellectual state. But if great names are cited as giving sanction to unbelief, we can quote greater names as allies of faith.

II. Nor can it be traced TO THEIR SUPERIOR KNOWLEDGE. The same sources of learning are open to believer and sceptic, and it has yet to be shown that the former have been less assiduous in drawing from them than the latter. On the contrary, the infidel must be charged with ignorance oral.

1. The language of Holy Writ.

2. Philosophy.

3. Historical facts and monuments.


1. Can the despisers point to superior moral examples? It is well known that many fall off to infidelity through immorality.

2. Can they produce a superior system? The world does not contain the equal of Christianity.

3. Can they present superior motives? Anti-Christian morality, whatever may be its achievements, and these are small indeed, is ever based upon the motive that is either weak or low.

(T. Archer, D. D.)

As they who are displeased with all things that profit them not; or as a blind man, who, groping by the walls of a fair house, doth find fault with the windows because they are not so smooth as the walls; even so, such are they that find fault with the Scriptures because they show the spots as well as the beauty, the vice as well as the virtue.

(W. Cawdray.)

Rest thee well assured, O scorner! that thy laughs cannot alter the truth, thy jests cannot avert thine inevitable doom. Though in thy hardihood thou shouldst make a league with death, and sign covenant with hell, yet swift justice shall overtake thee, and strong vengeance strike thee low. In vain dost thou jeer and mock, for eternal verities are mightier than thy sophistries; nor can thy smart sayings alter the Divine truth of a single word of the volume of Revelation. Oh, why dost thou quarrel with thy best friends and ill-treat thy only refuge? There yet remains hope even for the scorner — hope in a Saviour's blood, in the Father's mercy, in the Holy Spirit's omnipotent agency.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Here is a man who says to his poor wife who is a Christian, who, because she sometimes has a slip in temper or does now and then what he does not approve, "Ah, that is your Christianity, is it? Well, if that be your church and chapel going, I will have none of it." Beast, fiend! There are such creatures to be found. They are to be found amongst men and amongst women. Oh, the unkindness, the cruelty, the heart slaughter! It were nothing to kill a man — stab him right through the heart and let him die. But when he is struggling towards light, towards God, and has to fight with all these demoniacal passions and influences round about, over which he seems to have little or no control, when he just stumbles on the road and they point at him and say, "Ha, ha, that is your Christianity, is it?" that is thrice dying, that is intolerable pain! We know we are inconsistent, we know we are selfish, we cannot boast of ourselves.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

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