Being Ready for the Lord's Return (1 Thessalonians 5:16-23)
Introduction: 1. This morning we showed from 1 Peter 1:15-16 how God's children are to be holy. 2. According to 1 Peter 1:13-14, being holy plays a vital role in being ready for the Lord's return. 3. This evening we are studying some instructions written by the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23 that will help us to be ready when Jesus returns.
I. (vs.16) "REJOICE EVERMORE"
A. Similar admonitions are given in Philippians 3:1a; 4:4. B. Most people are able to rejoice when things go well in their lives; however, Christians are to rejoice "evermore." C. Our joy is an inner peace of mind that we experience because of our relationship with God -- it is not based on external circumstances. D. One thing that will help us to rejoice evermore is to . . .
II. (vs.17) "PRAY WITHOUT CEASING"
A. To help us understand: 1. (Luke 18:1) "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint." 2. (Ephesians 6:18) "Praying always with all prayer and supplication." 3. (Colossians 4:2) "Continue in prayer." 4. We must be like Jesus who prayed often. B. Prayer shows that we depend upon God and not on ourselves. C. As we pray we must remember to . . .
III. (vs.18) "IN EVERY THING GIVE THANKS: FOR THIS IS THE WILL OFGOD IN CHRIST JESUS CONCERNING YOU"
A. God is the source of the many blessings we enjoy (James 1:17). B. We must express our gratitude to Him (Ephesians 5:20).
IV. (vs.19) "QUENCH NOT THE SPIRIT"
A. (Ephesians 6:17) The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. B. (Hebrews 3:7) The Spirit speaks through the Scriptures which are described for us in Hebrews 4:12. C. If we turn a deaf ear to what He says, we quench Him. D. Rather than quench Him, we must "be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). E. Closely related is the next admonition.
V. (vs.20) "DESPISE NOT PROPHESYINGS"
A. Prophesyings: messages from God B. Messages from God must not be despised because they are for our benefit. C. As we are taught we must not accept what we hear blindly -- we are to . . .
VI. (vs.21) "PROVE ALL THINGS; HOLD FAST THAT WHICH IS GOOD"
A. All things are to be put to the test. B. The Bible is the standard for determining whether something is good or bad. C. If something is proved to be good, we must hold fast to it. D. If something is proved to be bad, . . .
VII. (vs.22) "ABSTAIN FROM ALL APPEARANCE OF EVIL"
A. When Jesus returns we will be judged by our works (2 Corinthians 5:10). B. We must be sure that our works have been good and not evil.
1. In closing, let us examine Paul's request in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. 2. In essence, he asked that the Christians in Thessalonica would be holy and remain holy until Jesus returns. 3. Are you ready for that great day?