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1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
Wednesday AM Bible Study
April 14, 2004
Paul continues to write to the Thessalonian believers about their walk
(4:1). He has spoken about their walk with respect to matters of personal
purity (4:2-8), civil holiness (4:9-12), hope in the face of death (5:13-18),
expectation in the face of persecution (5:1-11), and conduct among the
brethren (5:12-15). Now, he speaks to their Christian conduct with respect
to what we might call their "internal life". As a part of the command
to walk in a way that's pleasing to the Lord, they are to . . .
I. REJOICE ALWAYS (v. 16).
We are to be characterized by "joy unspeakable" (1 Peter 1:8). The
apostle himself set the example for this (1 Thess. 3:7-9; see also
Philippians 3:1; 4:4, 10).
II. PRAY WITHOUT CEASING (v. 17).
When it comes to communication with God, we're to always be "on
line". To pray with out ceasing means to keep it as our regular habit
of life in all circumstances. Again, the apostle sets the example
(1 Thess. 3:10; 2 Thess. 1:11; see also Eph. 1:16; 3:14).
III. BE THANKFUL FOR EVERYTHING (v. 18).
William Hendrickson wrote that prayers without thanks have clipped
wings. This is a call to give thanks to the sovereign and all-providing
God for all things in all circumstances. What a reason this is to
rejoice always; and what a motivation it is to pray without ceasing!!
IV. BE SPIRITUALLY DISCERNING (vv. 19-22).
Since the New Testament had not yet been completed (and since this
is one of the earliest letters written in the New Testament), the
church was reliant upon the ongoing work of the Spirit in communicating
truth (see Acts 21:10-11). Hence . . .
A. DO NOT QUENCH THE SPIRIT (v. 19).
We are not to constrict the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst.
We can certainly do this by holding active sin in our lives. But
we can also do so by refusing to allow the Spirit the freedom to
B. DO NOT DESPISE PROPHECIES (v. 20).
Wherever God sets up a church, the devil sets up a chapel nearby.
Hence, many false prophets arise. The church was not to respond
to this by dismissing all prophecies out of hand. Rather, they were
to discern (see Acts 17:10-11).
C. TEST ALL THINGS (vv. 21-22).
All things - not just prophecies - were to be put to the test
and discerned. And in doing so they were to hold fast to what is
good and abstain from every form of evil.