2 Paul’s Beatitudes 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.”If we are to rejoice everymore (always) the reason has to be something unchanging or constant. If you give thanks and rejoice over something changing, then you may not be able to do so another time. For example, you can’t rejoice over your health forever because it is changing eventually. Secondly, this should be not only unchanging, but also good. Thirdly, this should be also more important than anything else. I mean it has to have an absolute value. Suppose you inherited billion dollars. You probably would live and die as rich, which means you have something unchanging and good. However, if you lost your health or your loved one, your money wouldn’t help. So, if you want to live a life rejoicing and giving thanks to God even when you lost your money, health, even loved one, you must have a reason or value which is more important than those.
3 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 John 16:33“These things I have spoken unto you,that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”In the middle of the troubles of this world it is the duty and privilege of Christ’s disciples to remain cheerful. They should be truly sorrowful because of what the world is like, yet always rejoicing, always cheerful, even in tribulation (Ro 5:3)In Jesus there is peace; in the world, tribulation. That peace is only possible because in union with Jesus the disciples will share in His victory over the world.
4 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Philippians 4:4“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again Isay rejoice.”For Paul to repeat twice in 4:4 the injunction to rejoice must mean that conditions in Philippi were such as to make the call to rejoice seem unreasonable. So he is saying, in spite of circumstance—in spite of annoyance, disagreement, persecution—rejoice! This was a theme of the apostle’s life. In a letter to another Macedonian church he wrote, “Rejoice at all times” (1 Thess. 5:17), and in 2 Corinthians 6:10 he speaks of himself as “grieved but always glad.”The Lord is risen and reigning, the power of His Resurrection is available; to rejoice is to appropriate and rest upon the redemption won by Him for us, and to live in the freedom His redemption provides.
5 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God loves meJohn 3:16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”In a speech made in 1863, Abraham Lincoln said, "We have been the receipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prospertiy; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."
6 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God loves meJohn 15:13“Greater love hath no man than this, thata man lay down his life for his friends.”The highest proof of love for an individual is laying down one’s life for a friend to save their life. It is love at the highest level, that is strong as death (SS 8:6). See the excellence of the love of Christ. He has not only equaled but even exceeded the most noted love. Others have laid down their lives for their friends, but Christ laid down his for us when we were enemies (Ro 5:8, 10). “Those hearts that are not softened by such incomparable sweetness of divine love must be harder than iron or stone” (Calvin).
7 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God loves meRomans 5:8“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”Here God commended his love, not only proved but also exalted it and made it shine brightly, not only put it beyond dispute but also rendered it the object of the greatest wonder. He commendeth his love in order to bring about the pouring out of his love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. While we were yet sinners. He died to save us not in our sins but from our sins, but we were still sinners when he died for us.Paul uses strong words to describe those whom God loves and for whom Christ died. Three of the words express the deficiencies of human beings; we are “without strength,” “ungodly,” and “sinners.” We lack the power to live as we ought even though we may have the power to live as we wish because our standards are so low. We lack the attitude of reverence and holy awe which a correct understanding of God’s person requires and demands, and we lack the capability to hit the mark or achieve the divine expectations. This pitiful description would hardly move mankind to love such failures, but God’s love is demonstrated in the supreme sacrifice of the Son for such people.
8 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God loves meGod cares about me personallyI Peter 5:7“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”Peter’s use of the word “all” is most interesting. He encourages us to cast all of our cares upon Him. For some reason, many of us contemporary Christians seem to be pseudo- sophisticated about such things. Many have worked out quite an elaborate scheme regarding what kind of problems they should bring to the Lord. As one woman said to me recently, “I don’t bother God with my small problems. I only bring the big ones to Him.”God desires for us to be deeply dependent upon Him with all of our cares, sorrows, problems, needs, and questions. Nothing is too big for God nor is anything too small. Our Lord cares for a single sparrow and knows the very number of the hairs of our heads (Luke 12:6–7). And He cares about our small problems as well as the large. He desires for us to be dependent upon Him, to trust in Him with all of our hearts, and to lean not unto our own understanding (Prov. 3:5). We should cast all of our care upon Him because “He cares for you” (v. 7). Think of it. God cares for you. He loves you. He delights in caring for you! In this verse, the word for “care” is mérimna, meaning “to be anxious about” or “to be concerned.” God is interested in you; He is concerned about your needs. He cares for you. We can never know true liberty, we can never be truly free until we cast our cares upon the Lord. A mark of maturity in the life of the Christian is to become increasingly dependent upon Christ. The more we depend upon Him, the more mature and free we become in Christ.
9 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God loves meGod cares about me personallyMatthew 6:26 – “Look at the birds of the air, thatthey do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns,and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Areyou not worth much more than they?Jesus presents evidence that worry is irreverent, for it fails to recognize the God who gave us life and is sustaining it. Worry is irrelevant; it does not change things, nor does it help us in coping with problems. And worry is irresponsible; it burns up psychic energy without using it to apply constructive action to the problem. Jesus used the birds of the air to illustrate freedom from anxiety, the lilies of the field to illustrate freedom from status- seeking, and the grass of the field to illustrate our need to assess priorities. Interspersed with His illustrations are His admonitions. In verse 27, He says that by worry we cannot add to our span of life; we may even limit it!
10 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God loves meGod cares about me personallyGod wants to talk to meIsaiah 1:18 – “Come now, let us reasontogether”The Appeal to ReasonAs proof that God has not given up on the people of His choice, He invites them to dialogue with Him as intelligent and rational beings. Only God’s respect for the human mind could make such an invitation possible. After judging that the head, heart, and body of the people had been wholly corrupted by sin, one might expect God to give up on His highest order of creation. But no, He appeals to the distinctive powers of reason, which only humans know, with His offer of mercy. Two facts stand out in God’s invitation— “ Come now, and let us reason together.” One is the fact that God takes the initiative to redeem His people. Whether it is God searching for Adam in the garden, or Christ coming “to seek and to save the lost,” the initiative of love is the story of both the Old and New Testaments. The other fact is that God gives priority to reason over feeling or will power as the entry point to the human soul. Although reason alone is not sufficient for salvation, people have to be convinced of the truth before they can either experience the truth or act upon it. True to the character of God, the invitation to “come” naturally leads to the offer of forgiveness. As the Father who still loves His rebellious children, God promises to cleanse their sins and purify their nature. In this passage of Scripture, we foresee the parable of the prodigal son. No one would have blamed the father for letting the rebellious son suffer the full consequences for his sin, but love would not let the son go. As the father welcomed the return of the prodigal son, so God is ready to welcome home the children of His choice.
11 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God loves meGod cares about me personallyGod wants to talk to meJeremiah 33:3 – “Call unto me, and I willanswer thee, and show thee great andmighty things, which thou knowest not.”Why should God give more revelation to someone not willing to act on revelation already given? God stood ready to burst upon the prophet with great and mighty things that had been previously inaccessible. Right within the prison walls, Jeremiah was handed this expansive good news.Many of us find ourselves to be prisoners of certain circumstances. Instead of feeling shut up by them we can be like Jeremiah and allow that prison to be the very place where God whispers His holy secrets into our hearts. Perhaps I should not say secrets; God means for us to share what it is we learn inside those walls of difficulty and despair. He means for us to be risktakers and to act out the promises He gives us. Each time the risk being taken is more costly, but the revelation being given is more precious.
12 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 2. God cares about me personally3. God wants to talk to me4. God provides for my needsPhilippians 4:19 – “But my God shallsupply all your need according to his richesin glory by Christ Jesus.”Today is all you have Today is all you need Today is all you can handleWhat powerful thoughts! What a legacy to leave his friends.We can live with greater intention and purpose if we keep in mind that this day is all we have. We can only live now, and so we must make the most of it.To know that today is all we need helps us to focus our lives creatively. There are many things we can do and need to do today. Even in relation to our larger plans and life goals, there are some steps that we can take today—and those are the only steps we need to take.Today is all we can handle— but we can handle today. What freedom comes when we take our anxious eyes off the future, when we cease anticipating all the problems and difficulties of tomorrow and focus our energy on the present! We know that Christ’s power is sufficient for every day, but that power is available only moment by moment.
13 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God wants to talk to meGod provides for my needsGod offers me His wisdomJames 1:5 – “If any of you lack wisdom,let him ask of God”Wisdom is one of the great and unusual qualities of life—even for the Christian. James teaches that the only source for godly wisdom, or that which comes from above, is God Himself. God is the source of wisdom.There is a quality of the wisdom of men which comes primarily from the experiences of life. For example, a person shows wisdom when he or she does not touch a hot stove. Most of us have gained that little bit of wisdom through the painful experience of touching a hot stove at some time in our lives and gaining the desire never to do it again. That is the process of gaining early wisdom.Of course, the longer we live, the more “hot stove” experiences we encounter; older people are usually wiser people. James is inviting us, however, to employ a quality of wisdom that far exceeds the early kind of wisdom.
14 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God wants to talk to meGod provides for my needsGod offers me His wisdomRomans 11:33 – “O the depth of the riches bothof the wisdom and knowledge of God! Howunsearchable are his judgments, and his wayspast finding out!”Paul confesses himself at a loss as he contemplates the riches of the wisdom andknowledge of a God., and, despairing of seeing the bottom, he humbly sits down atthe edge and adores its depth. Those who know most in this state of imperfectionmust also be most aware of their own weakness and shortsightedness. The depth ofthe riches. Human riches are shallow — you can soon see the extent — but God’sriches are deep. There is not only depth in his purposes, but also riches, andthey are beyond knowledge. We do not know what he has in view; it is past findingout. We cannot give a reason for God’s proceedings.The judgments of God’s mouth (1Ch 16:12) and the way of our duty are, thank God, clear and easy. The judgments of his hands, however, and the ways of his providence are dark and mysterious, and these, therefore, we must not pry into, but silently adore. The apostle says this especially with reference to that strange turn, the rejection of the Jews and the reception of the Gentiles in order to include the Jews again in due time. It is nonsense for anyone to give orders to God or presume to teach him how to govern the world. God does what he wants, because he wants to, and yet there is no unrighteousness in him (Ps 92:15).
15 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God provides for my needsGod offers me His wisdomGod gives me His peaceIsaiah 26:3a – “Thou wilt keep him inperfect peace, whose mind is stayed onthee:”Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace — literally, “in peace, peace” — inner peace, outer peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, in all events. God will put this peace into — and keep it in — him whose mind is stayed upon God, because it trusts in him (v. 3). It is the character of all good people that they trust in God, submit to his guidance and authority, and depend on him to turn this trust and submission greatly to their advantage. Those who trust in God must have their minds firmly set on him, must trust him at all times, in all events, must be faithful to him, and must have complete assurance in him. God will keep in perpetual peace those who do so, and that peace will keep them. When there is bad news, those whose hearts are fixed, trusting in the Lord (Ps 112:7), are the people who will calmly await the outcome and not be disturbed by terrible fears rising within them.
16 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God provides for my needsGod offers me His wisdomGod gives me His peaceJohn 14:27a – “Peace I leave with you,my peace I give unto you: not as the worldgiveth, give I unto you.”Peace stands for everything good. Peace stands for reconciliation and love; the peace he bequeathed is peace with God. Peace within ourselves seems to be meant especially. It is the peace on which the angels congratulated people at his birth (Lk 2:14).
17 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God provides for my needsGod offers me His wisdomGod gives me His peaceEphesians 2:14 – “For He is our peace.”Is Paul calling to mind Isaiah 57:19, “Peace, peace, to the far and to the near, says the Lord” (RSV)? In its original context this word of Isaiah expresses God’s offer of peace to all Jews, whether in dispersion or in Palestine near Jerusalem. The words “near” and “far,” however, came to refer to Jews who were near to God and Gentiles who were far from Him. Paul is saying something radically new and revolutionary. A Gentile is brought near to God—through Jesus Christ:“He is our peace.” The peace offered in Isaiah’s prophecy is now a reality—no longer an abstract idea, but a person; not a state of mind, but a state of being, an actual fact. God has created something new. In Christ God died for both Jew and Gentile, bringing them both into union with himself, in his flesh abolishing the enmity which the law had created.
18 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 God provides for my needsGod offers me His wisdomGod gives me His peacePhilippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, whichpasseth all understanding, shall keep yourhearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”Ponder for even a minute the immediate circumstances out of which this word came, and let the movement of Paul’s life be flashed, however quickly, upon the screen of your mind. At every step of his Christian journey, the hound of anxiety was snapping at his heels. And even when the hound was not in biting distance, its howl must have sounded loud in his ears. Fears, uncertainty about the future, persecution, physical disease, mental anguish—again the list could become a catalog. Paul’s word comes from the sweaty arena of life where his word needs to be heard, and from a person who has experienced the answer he is offering.His offer of prayer is not an easy solution; no magic formula here, no bedtime or morning rote repetition of words that we have labeled prayer. He is talking about the serious business of bringing our lives before God, examining our dependence upon God, placing our lives in God’s hands to be used, remembering and celebrating what God has already done, confessing our needs and dedicating our gifts, commiting ourselves and all that we are to make our common cause God’s kingdom, not our own kingdom. When prayer is seen in that fashion, then it is not glib to say that anxiety is an attempt to carry the burden of the present and the future oneself; prayer is yielding it to and leaving it in the safe hands of God.
19 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 5. God offers me His wisdom6. God gives me His peace7. God grants me His powerPhilippians 2:14 –“For it is God whichworketh in you both to will and to do of hisgood pleasure.”So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;Work out your own salvation. We should be concerned above everything else to protect the welfare of our souls; whatever becomes of other things, let us take care of our best interests. It is our own salvation. It is not for us to judge other people; we have enough to do in looking to ourselves. We are required to work out our salvation. The word means “working thoroughly” and “taking true pains over it.” We must not only work at our salvation, doing something occasionally about it; we must work out our salvation, doing all that is to be done and persevering in it to the end. We cannot attain salvation without the greatest care and diligence. With fear and trembling, that is, with great care and carefulness. Fear is a great guard and preservation from evil.
20 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 5. God offers me His wisdom6. God gives me His peace7. God grants me His powerPhilippians 4:13 – “I can do all thingsthrough Christ which strengtheneth me.”Viktor Frankl spent years in a Nazi prison camp where persons were subjected to subhuman and antihuman treatment that threatened annihilation of decency, of the worth and dignity of persons, as well as physical being. Out of that experience Frankl developed a psychotherapeutic process called logotherapy and wrote an inspiring and insightful book entitled Man’s Search For Meaning. From his death camp observations, he documented the amazing coping powers of humans to retain inner freedom. He wrote:“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last pieces of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing:the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
21 Paul’s Beatitudes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 I Thessalonians 5:16 – “Rejoice evermore!”Because, God loves me; God cares about me personally; God wants to talk to me; God provides for my needs; God offers me His wisdom; God gives me His peace and God grants me His power!