Pilgrim’s Keyboard

October 20, 2009

Be a Joyful – Praying – Thankful Christian

Filed under: Bruce — pilgrimskeyboard @ 4:36 pm

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  |  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. [ESV]

These three verses (16-18) are part of the closing exhortations found in 1 Thess. 5:12-22. These exhortations, along w/many others are found throughout the NT. These various exhortations were given in God’s Word so that Christians would know how to walk daily before a lost world.

Today it is no different than it was nearly 2,000 years ago when Paul wrote those words. Just as most people in Paul’s day were lost w/o a saving knowledge of Christ – so too are most of those we encounter on a daily basis. Therefore, just as the Thessalonians were exhorted to walk before others putting their trust in God’s sovereign ability to preserve them, so are we exhorted from these same words to walk before others giving a testimony that we worry not about what is going on around us because our surety lies w/God no matter the circumstances of life | cf. Romans 8:1, 28-39.

Greek Syntax – (Grammar) – All three of the verbs used here in the text of the original Greek manuscripts translated as: rejoice  / pray  / give thanks – are of an imperative class of Greek verbs. This type of verb is the strongest type of a Greek syntactical command given in the NT. Here these verbs are also found to be in the 2nd person plural making their subject of these exhortations being a plural “you” or as we say here in the south – “Y’all.”


Vs. 16 – [You] Rejoice always

John MacArthur*

The phrase translated rejoice always literally reads “at all times be rejoicing” and emphasizes that truly joyful Christians will always have a deep-seated confidence in God’s sovereign love and mighty power on behalf of His own, and in His providential working of all things according to His perfect plan (Matt. 6:33-34; Rom. 8:28-30; 11:33; Phil. 1:12; cf. Gen. 50:20; Ps. 139:1-5). Therefore, no event or circumstance in the Christian’s life, apart from sin, can or should diminish his true joy | [adapted].

Rejoice – Not of your works – but that your names are recorded in heaven – Luke 10:20.

Rejoice – That this is the day that God has made – Psalm 118:24.

Rejoice – In the Lord that you may have the desires of your heart – Psalm 37:4.

. What circumstance do you think can come up in your life that God cannot be there for you to face?

. What sin can you do that He cannot forgive? – So why be sad? / Unhappy? / Depressed? / Troubled? / Afraid?

. As Jesus rejoiced in securing our salvation, let us follow His example and “always” rejoice in Him!

Hebrews 12:1-2 –  … Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.


Vs. 17 – [You] Pray without ceasing

John MacArthur*

Paul’s exhortation … to pray without ceasing is thus a divine mandate to all believers. … It encompasses all the aspects of prayer: submission, confession, petition, intercession, praise, and thanksgiving. … [It is to be] constant and defines prayer not as some perpetual activity of kneeling and interceding but as a way of life marked by a continual attitude of prayer | [adapted].

Pray – To our Father – in a family relationship – Matthew 6:9-13.

Pray – In Jesus name – we may boldly come in His name – John 14:13-14.

Pray – By the Holy Spirit – He makes intercession for us – Romans 8:26.

. Because God is sovereign – Then in confidence we can call on His name in making our petitions known to Him – with a constant attitude of assurance that He hears and answers us.

Hebrews 4:14-16 – Since then we have a great high priest … Jesus, the Son of God … who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence [boldly – NKJV] draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


Vs. 18 – [You] give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

John MacArthur*

[This] simple, direct statement allows believers no excuses to be ungrateful. In everything … refers to all that occurs in life. No matter what struggles, trials, testings, or vicissitudes [i.e., unfavorable event; misfortunes] occur in the lives of Christians (with the obvious exception of personal sins), they are to give thanks. … It is God’s will that all those who are in Christ Jesus should express constant joy, constant prayer, and constant thanksgiving | [adapted].

Philippians 4:6-7 –  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

. How does a Christian accomplish rejoicing always, praying w/o ceasing, and being thankful for all?

.. He does so by trusting God.

2 Timothy 1:12 – For this reason I also suffer … nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. [NKJV]

. Trusting God – it is committing our way (life) to follow the Lord – Psalm 37:5 | Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.


* [MacArthur John, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 1 & 2 Thessalonians, (Chicago, Moody Press, 2002), 183-190.]

ba – October 21, 2009


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