1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice ever more.…
I. STUDY THESE ADVICES SEPARATELY.
1. "Rejoice evermore." Rejoice because of —
(1) Your conversion.
(2) Your privileges as children of God.
(3) Your apprehension of Christ and His love.
(4) Your hope of glory. These are always available, and if we sometimes rejoice in them, why not evermore?
2. "Pray without ceasing."(1) This implies a praying habit, and relates to our thoughts, affections, and feelings. Oral praying is occasional, and is merely the outburst.
(2) The reasons we should pray at all always exist, and therefore we should "pray without ceasing." Prayer betokens —
(a) danger, and our dangers surround us every moment.
(b) A sense of personal weakness and destitution, which are permanent.
(c) Is essential to dependence on God, which ought to be without intermission. All the reasons why we should pray at all urge us to pray unceasingly.
3. "In everything give thanks."(1) In everything; for however great the trial, it is invariably accompanied by many mercies. No case is so bad but that it might be much worse.
(2) The "in" also means "for." "All things work together for good," etc. God's children cannot receive from God anything but mercies. Both for and in everything we should give thanks. Not afterwards merely, but in the midst. This is the real triumph of faith, and this is the will of God concerning us in Christ Jesus.
II. VIEW THESE ADVICES IN THEIR CONNECTION WITH EACH OTHER.
1. How does a state of constant joy in the Holy Ghost lead to prayer? One would think it might lead to praise rather than prayer. Now, prayer is something more than a selfish craving, it is communion with God. But such is impossible without joy. When we rejoice in God, we are at once impelled to tell Him all our wants, lovingly and confidently; and thus the highest exercise of prayer results more from a sense of God's goodness than of our necessities. Supplies of blessing, then, provoke thanksgiving.
2. Why is not this our experience? We rejoice, etc., but not always. Our defectiveness is owing either —
(1) To our shallowness or lack of thorough earnestness.
(2) To our insincerity, or the mingling of selfish and worldly motives with our piety.
(3) To our unbelief or want of hearty confidence in God's love and faithfulness. Or(4) To our sloth, which refuses to make the requisite effort for our growth in grace. Let these hindrances be removed.
(T. G. Horton.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Rejoice evermore.
WEB: Rejoice always.