1 Thessalonians: A Life that Pleases

Sermon & Small Group Resources

This is the fifth sermon in our series looking at 1 Thessalonians. Preacher: The Rev’d Adam Lowe. Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

Download the Small Group Questions, Going Deeper, and Sermon Transcript (PDF).

Next Steps this Week

BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

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.

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.


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CONNECT: What are some practical ways we can rejoice in, encourage, and pray for one another as we commit to maturing as disciples of Jesus this week?

WARM-UP Questions

  1. Why do you think our culture elevates the idea of living lives to please ourselves?

  2. What can be the unhealthy ways in which we obsessively live to please others?

READ 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2

  1. What is so counter-cultural about living to please God instead of ourselves or other people?

  2. If the Thessalonians were already living in such a way, why was Paul urging and asking them to do even more? Does this mean that God is never satisfied with us?

  3. On what authority does Paul make this appeal to the Thessalonians? Is that same true for us?

  4. What is the difference between being confident in salvation and the process of sanctification?

  5. What is meant by living in ‘holiness’? How does this point both to what Jesus has done and all that we will be when he returns?

READ 1 Thessalonians 4:3-12

  1. Why was Paul so concerned about the Thessalonians’ avoiding sexual immorality? Are there any similarities between their highly sexualised culture and ours?

  2. What does Paul mean by bringing the body under control? Why should we do it?

  3. What is meant by ‘taking advantage of a brother or sister’? How does sexual immorality hurt people?

  4. What do you think are the main dangers for us? Is there a risk of a ‘private paganism’?

  5. What is meant by the brotherly love that the Thessalonians showed one another?

  6. What would it look like for us to be famous for the way in which we love one another?

  7. As Paul addresses the topic of work, why were some of the Thessalonian Christians seemingly abandoning their steady jobs? How would this have hurt the community?

  8. Why is it evident that Paul is addressing people who do not want to work rather than those who cannot find work or are unable to work? Why is that important to understand?

  9. What do you think Paul has in mind when he says that their daily life (through work) would win the respect of outsiders? How might that be true for us too?

APPLY This Week: What is one aspect of your life (especially considering the topics covered this week) that you can orientate more to please God?


Gracious God we thank you that when Jesus returns that sin will be completely eradicated. Please help us to increasingly live lives that are pleasing to you. Please help us to submit to your standards, pointing to Jesus as Lord, in the power of your Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.