1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-24
PRIORITIES FOR PURPOSEFUL,
1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice evermore.
Paul was writing to people being persecuted for their faith in Jesus. How would it be possible for them to be consistently rejoicing? They could have joy because of the presence of the Lord in them via the Holy Spirit. Abiding in the Lord, His love, and His word, produces an attitude of joy.
John 15:10-11 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Does prayer play a part in your ability to rejoice always, in all circumstances? Yes! Prayer is paramount because we can unload our pain and receive His love, care, and joy.
1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
As we roll all our concerns onto the shoulders of Jesus, we can be assured that He will meet our needs and comfort us. Then we will be able to obey the words He gave through Paul:
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
We just saw that prayer is essential to maintaining our joy, but that is not the only function of prayer, is it? We lift up prayers of adoration, praise to God for Who He is rather than just what He has done. There are prayers of confession, agreeing with God when His Spirit convicts us of wrongdoing. What about intercessory prayer? We intercede when we take the needs of others to God on their behalf. We can intercede for their physical, spiritual, financial, or emotional needs. Do we pray for non-believers? We should because Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies. I have read stories of those who have been severely persecuted praying daily for the ones who tortured them to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. How much more should we pray for our loved ones who need to be redeemed?!!! Finally, to segue to the next command, we need to pray in thanksgiving. So, how exactly do we pray without ceasing? It is not always or only with our words that we pray. God knows our heart and hears our hearts, so if we are in an attitude of gratitude of prayer and praise, we pray without ceasing. If we consider that the Lord is ever-present, with us at all times, we should be able to pray as easily as making conversation with someone else in the room. If our minds are fixed on Jesus, every breath becomes a prayer. Since Jesus is everywhere at all times, omnipresent, prayer for the Christian should be as automatic within our spirit as breathing is to our physical bodies.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
I’ve heard it said that we are to give thanks IN all things but not FOR all things. However, we need to consider the following cross reference also penned by Paul:
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
That being said, how can we give thanks in and for difficult circumstances? My faith compass is not contingent upon natural circumstances, but on Christ’s control. The Holy Spirit, like the needle of the compass, continually points me toward the truth that God orchestrates or allows each thing in my life to help me be more like Jesus.
Romans 8:28-29 (NASB) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
It is NOT that everything that happens is good but that the God causes the events of my life to work His good into me. Therefore, as an act of faith and obedience, I can thank the Lord even in the midst of physical, emotional, or even spiritual difficulties.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV) Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Note that the above three verse are one sentence. The phrase “this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” applies to all three commands. It is God’s will that we rejoice always, pray incessantly, and give thanks in all circumstances. If we are continually doing these three things, there will not be any time left for pity parties.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.
Don’t be a fire extinguisher to the Holy Spirit! Fire symbolizes the presence of God, so to quench the Spirit is to douse the presence of God.
Exodus 13:21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
Acts 2:2-3 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
What would quench, put out the flame, of the Holy Spirit’s work in a believer’s life?
NEW SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE BIBLE
To quench carries the idea of dampening the flame of Holy Spirit fire, which is poured out to purify, enlighten, warm, melt and consume. Quenching may be either by an inadequate, chilled response or an exaggerated disruptive response.
It appears there are two extremes here. We quench the Spirit when we ignore the promptings of the Lord in our lives or fail to acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s work at all. We can also put out the fire by a disorganized, overly rambunctious response to the Spirit that disrupts others’ worship of the Lord. This can cause people to run from the Spirit in fear rather than running to the Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Prophesying is proclaiming God’s word, written or spoken by a confirmed messenger of the Lord. We should not take the preaching/teaching of the Bible lightly. We have a responsibility to verify the validity of a message by making sure it conforms to the written word of God, the Bible. It is our duty to check the veracity, the authenticity of a prophet against the instruction manual of truth, the Bible. We are to follow good teaching/teachers but run away from any who even appear to be evil. We need to flee from “posers,” wolves appearing as sheep. We will recognize them by their fruit.
Matthew 7:15-17 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
Let’s take a look at these two verses in the Amplified and The Voice translations:
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (AMP) Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [that is, separate you from profane and vulgar things, make you pure and whole and undamaged—consecrated to Him—set apart for His purpose]; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete and [be found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful and absolutely trustworthy is He who is calling you [to Himself for your salvation], and He will do it [He will fulfill His call by making you holy, guarding you, watching over you, and protecting you as His own].
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (VOICE) So now, may the God of peace make you His own completely and set you apart from the rest. May your spirit, soul, and body be preserved, kept intact and wholly free from any sort of blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus the Anointed. 24 For the God who calls you is faithful, and He can be trusted to make it so.
Paul prayed the Lord would sanctify the Thessalonian believers, make them holy, set apart for His holy purposes. Then he confirmed that the Lord is able and will make them who He wants them to be. We cannot, though any effort of our own, make ourselves worthy of the Lord. However, He does the work Himself to present us as whole and blameless in Him, His chosen bride.
1. What three attitudes or principles are we to emulate according to this passage? Which of them is God’s will for us?
2. What are we to use to test a prophecy or prophet?
3. Who is responsible for making us holy, acceptable as the Bride of Christ?