Nov 14, 2021. I Thessalonians 5:16-18

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THE ALWAYS DO LIST.  I Thessalonians 5:16-18.  11/14/2021.  #16.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 [New King James Version]

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

  • Joy beyond the darkness
    • Paul gives 3 commandments always to obey: always rejoice, always pray, and always give thanks
    • The always part is a problem for most of us – we don’t  feel joyful all the time or are praying or are thankful
      •  Rejoicing, praying, and gratitude are not states of mind or emotional reactions
        •  Joy is a response to a deeper relationship that transcends the difficulties of life
    • Joy is often mixed up with happiness
      •  Happiness is tied to blessing in the Scriptures
        •  Happiness is a response to good circumstances, but can be a response to realizing the blessings of God in his promises (The Beatitudes)
        •  Joy deals with eternal peace given by Lord
    • Rejoicing, then, is tied to our relationship with the Lord
      •  John 15:11 Jesus gives us a joy that remains and cannot be taken away (15:1-8 abiding in Him)
        •  Hebrews 12:2 for the joy that was set before him (the redemption of many), Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame and now is enthroned
        •  Philippians 4:4 Paul commands continual rejoicing
        •  John 16:22 no one can take our joy away
        •  Romans 14:17 the kingdom of God is peace and joy
        •  Philippians 4:1 those we lead to Christ = our joy + crown
        •  James 1:2 be joyful for the trials that strengthen us
    • Internal joy exists for believers even when grieving, in pain, or suffering trials
      •  Paul was at times grieved, in pain, under persecution, angry, and anxious, but he still rejoiced
        •  The Lord was in anguish in the Garden of Gethsemanes but he rejoiced in obeying the Father’s will
    • Rejoicing was a great trait of persecuted believers in their trials and martyrdom (Stephen, Polycarp, Jon Hus, Amy Carmichael, Jim Elliot, David Livingstone, Hudson Taylor…)
  • Continual prayer
    • We think of prayer as a formal time of communicating with God (set time and pattern)
    • Pray without ceasing does not me long durations of formal prayer (Matthew 6:7)
      •  There’re times for long prayer sessions (Luke 6:12)
        •  Prayer should be persistent and fervent (James 5)
    • Praying without ceasing goes beyond formal prayer
      •  While we are going about our daily tasks, we are in constant communication with God (a moment by moment dialogue)
        •  Prayer is not always formal; it can be conversational and ongoing (Hebrews 4:14-16)
    • If the only praying we do is scheduled times dedicated to the activity, then we are mostly out of touch with the Lord
      •  No one schedules only dedicated times to talk to spouse or children if home life is right
        •  God wants more of us than 2 or 3 times a day
  • Thankful in all things
    • We are to be thankful in, not for all things
      •  Romans 8:28 everything brought into our lives that are not from our own choices (Gal. 6:7-10), are for our own benefit (II Corinthians 12:1-10)
        •  I Peter 4:12-19 – there is an identity with Christ in his suffering for his glory and testimony
    • We must trust that God has a reason for our trials
      •  Joy is in knowing that God is working through the trials for his glory and our reward
        •  Even when we do not understand the purpose of our grief and pain, we rejoice in his holy purpose
    • The practice of rejoicing, praying, and gratitude fortifies us

Key Verse: 1 Peter 4:12-1912 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this [d]matter. 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.