Summary: In the midst of trouble, we need to keep our focus
• As we live our lives, it is easy to lose focus on what is important. It is so easy to get caught up in the problems of life that we forget where are focus is supposed to be.
• Throughout this letter to the church, Paul has reminded us that Jesus is going to return at any time and it is our job to be ready for Him to get us.
• We need to live our lives with a sense of urgency. Our walk with Jesus should be more than coming to church each or some Sundays. We are called to live our lives for the glory of God. We must live with an awareness of Jesus in our lives, with an awareness that Jesus is going to come back and take us with Him.
• As we close the letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul gives us some quick hit thoughts some reminders of things we need to focus on as we strive to please Jesus with our lives.
• When you are facing tough times, what are you focusing on? When you are in the midst of prosperity, what are you focusing on? When you are confronted with a choice between two things that claim to be truth, what are you focusing on?
• Today I want to share six areas for us to focus on as we live our lives.
• Losing focus in these areas can make life more difficult, like a baseball player trying to hit a ball he is not focused on.
I. FOCUS ON JOY (16)
• READ VERSE 16
• The church was facing a lot of persecution. Just living life was very hard. It would have been easy to be depressed about life in general. It would have been easy to think that God had abandoned them because of what they were facing.
• Paul encourages us to rejoice ALWAYS.
• The verb tense of the word indicates a continuous action.
• The consequence of having received God’s salvation should be an attitude of joy.
• READ 2 Corinthians 6:1-10
• Joy is not dictated by circumstances. Joy does not come from outward conditions. Joy is something that comes from inside of us because of our spiritual riches in Christ. Joy comes from the assurance of what we have in Christ!
• When things get tough, we need to focus on the joy we have in Christ!
• 1 PETER 4:13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
II. FOCUS ON PRAYER (17)
• READ VERSE 17
• Joyful believers will also be prayerful believers. Those who live their Christian lives in joyful dependency on God will continually recognize their own insufficiency and therefore constantly be in an attitude of prayer. (MacArthur Commentary)
• When we are struggling and facing difficult situations, what do you do? What is the first thing you think to do? I hope it is to pray.
• Prayer is often the means by which obstacles are removed which stand in the way of our joy.
• To pray without ceasing means our souls are to be constantly elevated to God. God means for prayer to be a constant in the life of the Christian.
• ROM 12:12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,
• If we have a confident dependence on God, we will want to be in constant communication with Him.
• (DIAL UP VERSES DSL INTERNET ILLUSTRATION) Dial up is only on when you dial, DSL is on all them time and even allows you to use the phone for other things.
III. FOCUS ON THANKSGIVING (18)
• READ VERSE 18
• How many of us are thankful when bad things happen in life? That is almost a crazy thought isn’t it?
• Constant joy with constant prayer will develop an attitude of constant thanksgiving.
• PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
• We are told that in everything we are to give thanks! NO EXCEPTIONS.
• Sometimes we have to look and pray really hard to find the reason for being thankful, but we are called to be thankful.
• If we focused on being thankful, it will help keep us from feeling sorry for ourselves when things are tough.
• ROMANS 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.