Rejoice evermore, Pray without ceasing, In everything give thanksBro. David Chancellor
12/1/2002 6:00 PM
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
What does the writer mean? He says, "Rejoice", "Pray", and "Give Thanks." These should be a part of the life of a child of God. This isn't just give thanks whenever, pray when you feel like it, or rejoice sometimes. It indicates consistency. "Rejoice evermore." This means even when you don't feel like it. "Pray without ceasing." Don't quit praying. "In everything give thanks." Are you consistent, or is it just "hit and miss"?
1 Thessalonians 1:1-2
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
Paul didn't just admonish them to do these things. He knew what he was talking about. Paul had care and concern, but he was still thankful. Be thankful for those who are endeavoring to live for God. Paul was still thankful for these although he had suffered many things in regard to them. He encouraged them to live a consistent Christian life, as he did. It can be lived. Others have lived it before us. The situation about you isn't the primary consideration. The condition within is what is important. Prayer affects the other two (rejoicing and giving thanks), but it does not stand alone. A person effectual in prayer is thankful in prayer. Previous answers to prayer can encourage us to pray more. All our challenges are the same to God. We are the ones that see things as big or little. God is able for everything. We just need to trust him.
1 Samuel 12:19-25
And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king. And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the lord with all your heart; And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people. Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.
It grieved Samuel that the people had asked for a king. Up to Samuel, God had used judges. The people had asked for a king because they didn't want Samuel's sons to judge them, as his sons were unfair and unkind. Choosing a king didn't solve the problem of the son continuing after the father, however. When Israel got its king, the people were out of line, but Samuel was faithful to continue to pray for them. Things may not be going like you think that they should be, but that doesn't mean to give up and quit. Samuel kept on praying although the people of Israel had turned aside. Paul's prayer list, as he went from place to place, just got longer and longer. A child of God should be a friend for life, whether the other serves God or not, the care should be there. We don't want to cease to pray for those on our hearts. Keep looking to God for the needs that are there. It's possible to get discouraged. Be faithful in prayer. Daniel is a good example of being unceasing in prayer. It means coming to God with our cares and concerns, bearing the needs and burdens of others to God day after day after day. There were times where it was easy to grow weary of the Israelites - Moses did. "Continuing instant in prayer..." Be ready to pray and bear the burden and talk to God about it. Take the needs of others to heart and talk to God about it. Everything we face provides opportunity for prayer. Paul no doubt spent his time in prison still praying and carrying a burden. Paul and Silas sang in prison. They were in there unjustly, but they sang and prayed. It will take this level of consistency for the work of God to be done in our lives.
When the or God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
Paul had a desire to go and be at Rome. He had a desire, and went by way of prison. He made mention of them always in his prayers. We desire that people would prosper in their souls. This was Paul's prayer, too. God needs people who are willing to call on him until they get an answer. Elijah prayed seven times for rain; he quit because he got an answer. Be faithful in prayer. Seek God in such a way that you receive what you desire. This doesn't mean having your own way, but, when it comes to spiritual growth, keep asking until you see the growth you desire. Seek after God with all your heart. Life may be busy, but don't let up on prayer. It's for the good of your soul. Don't expect to prosper spiritually if you don't spend time with God for your own soul.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.
People like to be happy. As God gives you happiness, there should be a thankfulness for what God has done. Thanksgiving is between you and God. Praising the Lord is telling what he has done. Tell what God has done for you in a personal way. Tell what God has done for you. Make it personal. People need to hear what God can still do today. Praise should tell what God has done. Thanks should be given to God. We need to go back to God and say "Thank you." Of the 10 lepers, only one had thanksgiving. When we go to God in prayer, it is important that we thank him for the prayers that he has answered. This has another benefit: it builds our faith. We should never not be thankful. We should be thankful regardless of whether what we got was what we thought we wanted or not. Be thankful for the answered prayers. God wants our thanks as well as our praise. We want our attitude in our thankfulness to be good and right.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Gladness in the heart comes from the Spirit of God. If your disposition and personality need to be changed, let the Spirit of God make a real and lasting change for the better. Drugs and alcohol may change these things, but the change is usually neither lasting nor good. Everyone that has God's Spirit ought to have gladness and joyfulness within, a song in the heart. A song can be within. "Giving thanks always for all things." There's something to be thankful for in everything. If nothing else, be thankful that God was there. Thankfulness is part of our being focused on God and keeping him first.
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
What's inside will come out. It is the expression of the joy that is in the heart. God wants some of the joy to make it to the outside. A smile needs to make it out to your face sometimes. God never intended that his people have a "long-faced" religion. His people are a happy people. The world of sinners needs to see that you're a happy person. The devil will tell them that there's no joy in serving God. God's way isn't always trials and tests. People shouldn't claim to live for God and act like it is almost more than they can bear. There should be some happiness and rejoicing in the life.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Rejoice always doesn't mean that we are to rejoice only when things are going good. What happens when troubles abound? Can you rejoice then? Trouble can help us to know that there has been a change in us. We can rejoice in that. We can rejoice when we see what changes God has made in us. God can help us to rejoice, even in our troubles. The change makes it where we aren't hateful and hating one another anymore. The world may be hateful, but that doesn't mean that we have to be. We can rejoice at the handiwork of God in us. Failing Christ hurts the child of God more, and is cause for not rejoicing, more than anything else. You have something to rejoice about when you have been changed within. You can be happy to know that you have the kingdom of heaven, and are in the good company of others who have been faithful down through the years. It was a real trial for Christ to walk among men and be rejected by those who should have been accepting him. He showed us how to be when we face these things.
1 Peter 1:3-9
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
Peter recognized that these had an inheritance "incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away." We want to be worthy of this inheritance. Even though trials and tests come, we want to have joy unspeakable and full of glory. Others have trials, too. Worship God, regardless, with joy in your heart. Rejoice in God. Be refreshed in the joy you feel in being in the presence of God. When trials and temptations come, encourage yourself in the Lord. Build up yourself in God. Rejoice always, and again, I say rejoice.
We need to pray, give thanks, and rejoice, and be consistent in it. Seek God for help to be consistent in his service. We can be more than conquerors through Christ.