Sexual immorality has caused trouble for the church from its earliest days to the present. Temptation comes from without and from within. The unsaved world is contented to live in open lasciviousness while Christians must face the enduring temptations that come from our flesh. Sanctification is God’s call of believers from their former lives of sin unto himself. Yet, Christians are often caught between the new life in God and the former sinful life. With all the confusing messages on sex that pervades society and the many public failures of church leaders, what is the biblical instruction on sexual immorality? How important is purity to God, and is enduring sexual temptation a worthwhile pursuit? We will seek to learn from Paul’s instructions to the Thessalonians how we might please God with our bodies and minds.
As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (NIV)