Summary: WE need to keep our focus in the right places as we await the return of the Lord!
• SLIDE #1
• 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 our focus is supposed to be.
• It becomes a challenge for us at times not to stay focused on problems or on what is wrong with things in life.
• 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 on 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.
• SLIDE #2
• Let’s being with a short passage.
• 1 Thessalonians 5:16 ( ESV ) Rejoice always,
• The first area of focus we will examine is JOY!
• SLIDE #3
I. FOCUS ON JOY (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.
• Paul shares in 2 Corinthians 6:1-10 the fact that no matter what the circumstances
• The consequence of having received God’s salvation should be an attitude of joy.
• 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!
• It is too easy to focus on the negative, isn’t it? Is that really the way a joyful Christian should live their life?
• SLIDE #4
• 1 Peter 4:13 ( ESV ) But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
• Let us look at another short verse
• SLIDE #5
• 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ( ESV ) pray without ceasing,
• Next up! Focus on Prayer.
• SLIDE #6
II. FOCUS ON PRAYER (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 you 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.
• 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 the time and even allows you to use the phone for other things.
• Do not let things keep you from calling on the Lord!
• Let’s see what verse 18 tells us.
• SLIDE #7
• 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ( ESV ) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
• SLIDE #8
• Here is something important to consider.
III. FOCUS ON GIVING THANKS (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.