On Sunday mornings, Pastor Osborne has been preaching through 1 Thessalonians.  In one of his recent sermons he came to the following verses:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV)

From these verses, Pastor brought a message entitled – Growing a Healthy Church:  Traits That Make Us Infectious Encouragers.  He gave us three specific instructions:

Be Constantly Joyful – “Rejoice Always”

This exhortation to rejoice always may seem absurd and impossible to obey given life’s inevitable difficulties.  But, as a divinely inspired command, believers must heed it.  Any failure to do so is a direct disregard for the clear teaching of the scriptures and is sinful disobedience. Pastor shared 10 reasons why we should rejoice:

  1. Because of God’s righteous character
  2. Because of Christ’s redemptive work
  3. Because of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives
  4. Because of the spiritual blessings God gives us
  5. Because of God’s gracious providence
  6. Because of our future in heaven
  7. Because God answers prayer
  8. Because of God’s wonderful gift of His Word
  9. Because of genuine Christian fellowship
  10. Because the gospel of Jesus is being preached

Joyful Christians are more concerned with glorifying God than with avoiding temporary difficulties!

Be Constantly Prayerful – “Pray without ceasing”

Joyful believers are praying believers.  Those who live their lives in joyful dependence on God will continually recognize their own inadequacies and therefore be in a constant attitude of prayer.  The New Testament emphasizes prayer in order to:

  1. Glorify God
  2. Have fellowship with God
  3. Understand that God will meet our needs
  4. Have God’s wisdom in a crazy world
  5. Have deliverance from trouble
  6. Experience relief from fear and worry
  7. Express our gratitude to God
  8. Thank God for the freedom from guilt
  9. Pray for the salvation of the lost
  10. Grow spiritually

Be Constantly Thankful – “In everything give thanks”

Being unthankful is the very essence of the unregenerate heart.  Then God regenerates a heart, He makes a new creation that longs to obey the divine command, “in everything give thanks.  John MacArthur has written,

“It is spiritually abnormal for Christians to be unthankful.”

What Can We Learn?

Pastor closed his message with three lessons that we can learn.

  1. Does joy permeate your life?  Does laughter ring through your home?  If not, then perhaps you are allowing circumstances and not the power of God to dictate the way you live.  Look beyond yourself and your feeling sand your petty faults to our Sovereign all-powerful God and He will fill your heart with joy.
  2. Prayer begins the process of helping us to think like God.  Prayer puts us in contact with God, the Supreme source of wisdom.  Prayer can free us from the anchors of life that drag us down and drain our joy.  Be honest!  Do you really pray?
  3. We may not always understand why certain events occur in our lives.  We may not see, without the aid of hindsight, the good that God is bringing out of our circumstances.  But we do have God’s infallible assurance that He will cause “all things to work together for good” to those who are a part of His forever family.  That should be enough to prompt us to be thankful in everything.

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