1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Furthermore then we beseech you, brothers, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus…
I. THE CHRISTIAN'S WALK.
1. You young Christians have just got a walking power. There was a time when you thought you could stand, and you tried, but fell helplessly by the wayside. But Jesus of Nazareth passed by and said, "Wilt thou be made whole." You responded in faith, and like the man at the Gate Beautiful you found a new energy and walked and leaped and praised God.
2. This new power was given you to enable you to realize that "they that wait upon the Lord shall...walk and not faint." The sun may be very hot, and you ready to give way, but remember this promise; and remember it when the goal of the journey seems a great way off. Don't be discouraged.
3. Paul had given these Christians directions how to walk. He did not leave them to wander about in the darkness. We, too, have directions. Look up the word "walk" in your concordance. We are to —
(1) "Walk by faith." We do not behold the form of Jesus leading us on to victory, nor is our reward visible, but we apprehend both by Faith.
(2) "Walk in the Spirit," opposed to which is "walking after the flesh," by worldly considerations, and a desire for gratification.
(3) "Walk in wisdom." Do not give unnecessary offence, or obtrude your religion in a disagreeable way. The perfect Christian is a perfect gentleman.
(4) "Walk honestly," or rather honourably. There is a certain un affected dignity that belongs to the friend of God, and commands the respect of men. The child of the heavenly royal household cannot stoop to social meannesses, or commercial sharp practices.
(5) "Walk circumspectly," i.e., accurately. Be particular about little things, little vanities, self-indulgences, worldlinesses, sins of tongue and temper. There are some who have only a vague, not an accurate notion of what a Christian's walk ought to be; others walk timorously always expecting to make mistakes. Some strike out wildly never thinking of where they are going; others go painfully as though they were walking on egg shells or glass bottles. Let us avoid these two mistakes — not to allow ourselves to be so bound and hampered as to lose our spiritual liberty; but not to disregard trifles which put together make such a great thing in the end.
II. THE MOTIVE. "To please God." We shall not walk rightly without a right motive. God looks at that as well as at the effect.
1. What are you going to live for? To be happy? To get to heaven? You may get both, but these are not what you were sent into the world for.
2. If you want to find out what should be the object of your life, look at Jesus. From first to last He lived simply to please the Father. He came to do the Father's will, and He did it.
(1) You may do a man's will because you are his ,servant paid to do it, and therefore your duty to do it, or because he is your friend and you delight to do it. Between these two classes of motives lies the difference between the law and the gospel.
(2) There are two ways of seeking to please God, We often notice in earthly relationships that there is less of conscious anxiety to please where love and confidence are strongest, while on the other hand strenuous efforts to please are frequently the results of misgivings as to the disposition of the person they are designed to please. The same may be said of our relationship towards God. There are some who really wish to please Him, and yet say, "I wonder whether this or that has pleased Him." But the blessedness of the Christian position is this, that we are accepted in the Beloved so that He can regard us with complacency in order that we may go on to please Him.
3. Let the thought of pleasing God ever take precedence of the thought of pleasing ourselves and others.
4. You are pleasing God much if you are trusting Him much. To doubt Him is to cast a reflection on His changeless love.
(W. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.