1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice ever more.…
Real Christians are rare; joyful ones more so.
I. THE DUTY AND PRIVILEGE.
1. It must be carefully distinguished from levity or sinful mirth. "I said of laughter, it is mad," etc. Gravity, mixed with cheerfulness, becomes the man and the Christian.
2. We are not to drown our sorrow in gratification of the senses (Proverbs 14:13), and thus obtain a temporary satisfaction.
3. This joy is not intended to render us insensible to affliction. There is a happy medium between impenitent indifference and overmuch sorrow.
II. THE DISPOSITION TO BE CULTIVATED IN ORDER TO A HIGH STATE OF RELIGIOUS ENJOYMENT.
1. We must guard against whatever might incapacitate us for holy satisfaction: sin especially. The wine of heavenly consolation is poured into none but clean vessels.
2. Divine interpositions in our favour should be carefully noticed. If God keeps a book of remembrance of us, so should we of Him. As He treasures up our tears, we should treasure up His mercies.
3. We must watch and pray against a spirit of murmuring and unbelief.
4. We must guard against unreasonable doubts and fears as to our spiritual state, or our tears will drown our triumphs, and our lamentations silence our songs (Psalm 46:1, 2).
5. The assistance of the Holy Spirit must be implored, who is the efficient cause of joy.
III. THE REASONS WHICH SHOULD RENDER OUR JOY PERMANENT. Some duties are to be performed at particular times — this always. Godly sorrow, instead of being an impediment, is a preparative to joy. There are times which more especially call for joy — our conversion, the day of our espousals — the time of spiritual revival, etc. Yet there is no time in which it would be unsuitable.
1. Because its sources are unchangeable. The love, purpose, and promises of God are without variableness; the blood of Christ never loses its virtue; the efficacy of the Spirit is evermore the same.
2. Its benefits afford a powerful inducement for its continual preservation. "The joy of the Lord is our strength." It invigorates every grace, gives a fresh impulse to every duty, lightens our troubles, sweetens our mercies, and gives glory to God.
3. It will be the work of heaven, and should, therefore, be our employment on the way to it.
(B. Beddome, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Rejoice evermore.
WEB: Rejoice always.