1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8



Many people agonize over God's will for their lives. What career should I pursue? Who should I marry? Should I buy this house or that house? They look for signs, open and closed doors, dreams, impressions, feelings of peace, etc. How do you discern God’s will for your life? How do we know what God wants for us?

The will of God for his people is a holiness that involves sexual purity and self-control.


Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 aloud.


  • Many wonder what the will of God is for their lives. In this text, Paul tells us that the will of God for his people is sexual purity and self-control. This kind of purity, according to Paul, pleases God and is a form of holiness. The Thessalonians, like us, lived in a sexually licentious and immoral culture, leaving them vulnerable to constant temptations and pressure to compromise their sexual purity. What do you think are the most significant cultural pressures and temptations the church is facing today in the area of sexual purity and sexuality?

  • Sexual immorality can take many forms, and God wants us to reject them all. The Bible is clear that any sex outside the bounds of a marriage between a man and a woman is sinful and forbidden. This would include things like premarital sex, extra-marital, gay sex, bestiality, rape, and the like. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul explicitly says that those who reject the commands of Christ and pursue lives of sexual immorality, adultery, or homosexual activity will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Furthermore, he instructs the church in 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 to have nothing to do with people who call themselves Christians yet actively live lives of sexual immorality. 
    • What do you think about Paul’s strong warning? 
    • Paul addresses both heterosexual and homosexual sins. How should this affect how we think about and address these sins in our lives and churches?

  • There was a time in American culture when most Americans agreed, at least in principle, with the sexual ethics of Jesus. Most Americans, for example, would have agreed that sex outside of marriage, adultery, pornography, and gay sex were all inappropriate things. A significant shift has occurred, however. According to recent Gallup polls, 90% of Americans still agree with Jesus that adultery is morally wrong, while 70% of Americans disagree with Jesus and support gay marriage.
    • How have these cultural shifts affected your discipleship?
    • Why do you think our culture largely affirms gay marriage but still rejects adultery?

  • Jesus deepens our idea of sexual immorality by going to the heart level. He said that to even look upon a woman with lust is a form of adultery. Jesus is concerned not only with what we do with our bodies but also with what we do with our minds.
    • How should this affect the entertainment we allow ourselves and our families to watch? In other words, is it okay for Christians to entertain themselves with sexual immorality? Why or why not?
    • How could affect the way we dress, knowing that immodesty can inflame lust in the hearts of others? In other words, do we have any responsibility toward others in terms of doing what we can to protect them from temptation?

  • Families with kids: How are you discipling your children in this area? When are you having certain conversations? What safeguards do you have in place to protect them?