Special Note: This article is included in Jim’s book “Christian Devotions & Quick Studies” along with 33 other articles and is available for purchase in Hardback, Paperback and eBook formats at this link: Jim’s Books
Paul wrote the first of two letters to the Thessalonians soon after his rather short stay in Thessalonica where he preached in the local Synagogue on three successive Sabbaths. Paul preached that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, which so many had long been seeking.
Luke provides a brief synopsis of Paul’s Thessalonian ministry in Acts 17:1-10. As a result of Paul’s convincing preaching “Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women (Acts 17:4 NIV).” Disagreeing vehemently with Paul’s teachings, some jealous Jews “rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city (Acts 17:5 NIV).” Under darkness, Paul and Silas were sent away to Berea by their new-found Thessalonian brothers for their personal safety. Because of his brief stay Paul was moved to write his letter to commend the Lord’s followers for standing steadfast in their faith in the midst of such turmoil and ridicule. Paul explicitly reminded them of the Godly truths he taught them while they were together.
As Paul closed out his letter, he seized the opportunity to clear up some doctrinal questions the church had regarding Christ’s return. Paul provided seven keys for successful Christian living that applied so well in that day and still do for modern-day Christians who are living in the turmoil and ridicule of today’s society.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 (KJV)
16Rejoice evermore. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19Quench not the Spirit. 20Despise not prophesyings. 21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
Key #1 – Rejoice evermore. Be positive and enthusiastic in our faith and actions. Be joyful as Christians have no reason to be sad.
Key #2 – Pray without ceasing. Pray continuously and not sporadically or just in times of trouble.
Key #3 – In everything give thanks. It is God’s will that we give thanks. We don’t have to pray for His guidance here. Giving thanks is His will … even in tough situations!!
Key #4 – Quench not the Spirit. This is key to the other rules. Quenching the Holy Spirit has dangerous consequences. Quenching interferes with the successful application of the other six rules. Quenching is like putting out a fire abruptly. Christians at all levels have a special responsibility to protect the “spirit” of the church, the Christian school, Christian institutions of higher learning such as colleges and universities, and other Christian organizations. Let the Holy Spirit do His work. Don’t try to do it for Him. It is His work … not ours!
Key #5 – Despise not prophesyings. The prophets were inspired to preach and to teach. Their teaching was inspired directly by God … not man. At the time of this writing, the New Testament was not yet available. “Despising” the preached word of God (as so many choose to do) in and of itself would quench the Spirit.
Key #6 – Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. To prove is to test. We are to choose “right” no matter the cost. What is “right” is defined in God’s Word and is not subject to man’s definition. We should NEVER, repeat NEVER, support decisions of convenience that are in conflict with God’s Word.
Key #7 – Abstain from all appearances of evil. As my pastor regularly says, “All is all, and that is all that all can mean.” The Christian is to stay away from places and practices where it could appear that we agree with some form of evil and/or sinfulness in opposition to what the Word teaches.
Christian, are you going through turbulent times because of your beliefs? Persecution is inevitable when you stand for what is right in the Word of God. Paul’s advice to the church at Thessalonica rings true for you as well.
Verse 24 provides the Christian absolute assurance that God will not let you down … under any circumstances! Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it! You can be positive that God has called you for a purpose. He is the source of your strength and power. You are simply the conduit for God to work in this world. There is no need to question any of God’s promises. Why not plug into these seven keys for successful Christian living as we await the return of our Lord Jesus Christ?