Today David concluded the ‘Living In-between’ series, focusing on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-28. Following on from last week’s passage where Paul focused on good Christian relationships, Paul finishes his letter with a list of practical instructions. He gives 3 brief (but massive!) instructions:
The original recipients of this letter were suffering persecution and abuse, yet Paul is calling them to a life of joy, prayer and gratitude! They are to do these things because it is God’s will for them – and for us – as an outworking of being holy:
1. Rejoice always (v.16). This is a joy that Jesus gives us (not dependent on our circumstances) and that makes us complete:
2. Pray continually (v.17). (See Deep Dive for 1st January 2023 to develop this theme.) Paul is calling us to a life infused with prayer. This involves both ‘practising the presence of God’ (Brother Lawrence) and having set times of prayer (personal and corporate).
3. Give thanks in all circumstances (v.18). The word ‘eucharist’ (celebrating communion) means ‘giving thanks’ – the Christian life is to be an unceasing eucharist in all circumstances.
In the next verse, Paul says:
This verse reminds us that we need the power of the Holy Spirit to meet the 3 challenges above. It also refers to the next section, where we are urged to have discernment:
Paul makes 3 final requests in vs.25-27: Pray for us; Greet one another with a holy kiss; Read this letter out.
He leaves the church at Thessalonica with a prayer (see below).
This week: rejoice, pray and give thanks – in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Pray Paul’s prayer for one another in Windsor Baptist Church:
MAY GOD HIMSELF, THE GOD OF PEACE, SANCTIFY YOU THROUGH AND THROUGH. MAY YOUR WHOLE SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY BE KEPT BLAMELESS AT THE COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST… THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST BE WITH YOU. (1 Thessalonians 5 vs.23,28)