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Summary: Thanksgiving always brings memories and allows families to come together; but do we spend our entire lives being thankful, rejoicing always, and praying without ceasing? Paul's encouragement on this is clear, and God's will for your life requires it!

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Thanksgiving through the Gospel

1 Thessalonians 5:12-18

Introduction

- Thanksgiving is always a time of thinking back; a time of reflection for many

- It brings to some memories of family gatherings, and even some funny reunions

- For some though, it can bring sadness b/c of love’s lost or other tragedies

- But, no matter the memories, the reason we can celebrate is b/c of Jesus

- Even in the dark times; even in the bad times; we have a Savior to worship

- There is much to be said about Thanksgiving in the scriptures

- This morning, we will look at a famous piece of scripture for encouragement

I’d like to make an open ended challenge though this morning …

- Thanksgiving can be a joyous time; but is it b/c of the joy of the Lord?

- Or, are we joyful b/c of a man-made thing that we’ve created to dull the pain?

- It is something that we have to come face to face with; to draw closer to Christ

- APP: We need the joy of the Lord living IN us to be really joyful

-- Let’s talk this morning about how to obtain it and be thankful in the Gospel

-- We are going to look at three “standing orders” for the Christian to live by

- Stand and read 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18

- Pray

Point 1 – Rejoice Always

- Most of us would be willing to admit that we’d have NO problem if it read:

- “Rejoice sometimes; Pray occasionally; Give thanks when you feel like it”

- It is those definitive words that really mess us up: Always, continually, in all …

- What we see is what the Gospel really commands us to do when we don’t feel it

- APP: Christianity is either the genuine article or it’s a spiritual fake

- It is not something man can make up, and we must be totally sold out to this

- The first proof of the gospel’s power for most people will be what they see in us

- Joy does not depend on me having a job or not; or how we are treated by others

- It is a genuine reflection of what is going on inside of our hearts that others see

-- Jesus said (John 15:11), “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you”

- Consider what this means when we gather for worship.

- If we come with our problems first and foremost (as we often do), then we will judge the worship by how lifted up we feel at the end.

- APP: As long as church members focus on themselves, there will be no joy in the worship services.

- Some Christians just believe it is their duty to be miserable; to constantly scowl

-- The Bible teaches 100% the opposite of this at every turn:

-- Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”

-- Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”

- How can we possibly show Christ’s love and joy with a frown on our face 24/7?

- Honestly, I’ve seen enough joyless Christians that I prefer friendly unbelievers

- APP: Are we rejoicing always in who God is in our life? Do we possess joy?

Point 2 – Pray Without Ceasing

- Of the three “standing orders,” this one causes the most problems.


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