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I THESSALONIANS (17)
Eight Keys to Happy Christian Living (1)
I Thessalonians 5:16-20
Victor M. Eskew
A. As we near the conclusion of Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica, Paul begins to issues one brief command after another to the saints.
B. In our last lesson, he set forth commands involving our relationships: to the elders, to one another, and to all men.
C. Tonight, we are going to be examining I Thessalonians 5:16-20.
1. This is the first of a two-part series.
2. We have entitled this lesson: “Eight Keys to Happy Christian Living.”
I. REJOICE (I Thess. 5:16)
a. Strong (5463): to be full of cheer…calmly happy
b. Thayer: to rejoice, be glad
a. Strong (3842): every when…at all times
b. Thayer: at all times, always, ever
c. Vine: at all times, always, at all occasions
B. Paul is talking about something that begins in the heart.
1. It is a choice that we make.
2. I choose to be full of cheer or I choose to be filled with gloom and doom.
a. The first brings bright eyes and joy to life.
b. The latter brings depression and sorrow to life.
C. Some might ask: “What do I have to be happy about?”
1. How about life? Living in the U.S.? Health? Plenty?
2. Even if we had none of these things, we could still rejoice in that we are “in Christ.”
a. This is a saved condition (II Tim. 2:10)
b. It is the place of all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3).
c. It is the only place where in there is hope beyond this life.
d. NOTE: We have this blessing always. Thus, we should rejoice.
II. REACH UP (I Thess. 5:17)
Pray without ceasing.
A. As Christians, we have direct access to God through our Lord Jesus Christ. All we have to do it speak to our Father.
B. We can tell God anything we want to tell Him in full confidence.
1. We can pray for all situations.
2. We can pray for outcomes.
3. We can pray for people.
4. We can pray for what we want.
5. We can pray for forgiveness.
6. We can pray to praise God.
7. We can pray to thank God.
C. Our prayers should be offered up “without ceasing.”
a. Strong (89): uninterruptedly, that is, without omission
b. Thayer: without intermission, incessantly, without ceasing
2. Paul is talking about regular, constant prayer within our lives.
3. The example of Daniel (Dan. 6:10)
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being opened in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
a. Three times a day
b. As he did afore time.
c. NOTE: We can pray at any time, but we might be wise to set aside specific times in the day to pray, as Daniel did, so our prayers will always be without ceasing.
D. Why pray?
1. We access the one who loves and cares for us the most.
2. We access the one who has all-power and all resources at His disposal.
3. We don’t have to bear our problems and burdens all by ourselves.
III. RELISH GOD’S BLESSINGS (I Thess. 5:18)
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
A. Far too often we are sad and upset over the things we do not have.
B. God wants us to be grateful for the things we DO have. Note the words: “…for this is the will of God…”
C. What giving thanks does:
1. Expresses appreciation for the things others do for us.
2. Focuses us on our blessings.
3. Displays a kind character.
4. Keeps us close to God.
5. Reminds us that we are not self-sufficient.
6. Keeps us from hardening our hearts to our blessings.
7. Makes us like Christ (John 6:11; 11:41).
D. NOTE: He commands us to give thanks “in every thing.”
1. It is easy to give thanks in the good times.
2. It is not easy to do this in the difficult times of life.
a. Thanks for what we learn
b. Thanks for what we become
c. Thanks for doors of opportunity
d. Thanks for His presence, assistance, and comfort
e. Thanks for the promises He fulfills
f. Thanks for the example we can display to others
g. Thanks that God can be glorified in all things
IV. REPRESS NOT THE SPIRIT (I Thess. 5:19)
Quench not the Spirit.
A. Definition of quench:
1. Strong (4570): to extinguish
2. Thayer: to extinguish, suppress, stifle
3. Vine: quenching the Spirit, by hindering His operations in oral teaching in the church gatherings of the believers
B. We must remember that Paul was writing during the miraculous age.
1. The churches did not have the complete written revelation of God. Therefore, miraculous gifts of the Spirit were given to the believers (I Cor. 12:8-11).
2. These gifts were given by the laying on of the apostles’ hands (Acts 8:14-17).
3. Paul tells the purpose of these gifts in Ephesians 4:12.
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
4. The use of these gifts was at the discretion of the individuals who possessed them
a. I Corinthians 14:32
And the spirit of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
b. Example: Jeremiah (Jer. 20:9)
C. Paul did not want the church to quench the Spirit. He wanted them to use the gifts they have been given to fulfill the purposes for which they were given. To quench the gifts would hinder the work and growth of the church.
D. The Spirit no longer works in a miraculous way in our lives. Today, He operates through the teachings of the Word of God.
1. When the Scriptures are being taught, the Holy Spirit is speaking (See Mark 12:36 & Ps. 110:1).
For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
2. If we refuse to put the Word of God into practice in our lives, we are quenching the Spirit. We are extinguishing its influence in our lives.
A. Just these four things could alter the course of the lives of many Christians.
1. Rejoice instead of being down.
2. Reach up instead of depending upon yourself.
3. Relishing the blessings of God instead of ignoring them.
4. Receiving the teachings of the Spirit instead of letting them slip by.
B. God wants us to have a good life. He tells us how to do it. It is up to us to implement these principles in our lives.