1. In vs.14-22 some important instructions are given that the Lord's people are to practice. 2. Practicing these instructions will enable us to receive 2 special blessings mentioned in vs.23. a. God will sanctify us wholly. b. We will be preserved blameless unto the Lord's return. 3. In our lesson we are concentrating on vs.16 that teaches us to "rejoice evermore." 4. Have you found it difficult lately to do what this verse teaches us to do? 5. Let us begin our study by showing that . . . Discussion: I. WE DEVELOP "JOY" WHEN WE BECOME CHRISTIANS
A. In Acts we read about many people who were filled with joy when they became Christians, including: 1. people in Jerusalem on Pentecost (Acts 2:37-38, 41, 46-47) 2. people in Samaria (Acts 8:5, 8, 12) 3. the eunuch of Ethiopia (Acts 8:35-39). B. The Bible shows in 2 Corinthians 5:17 why joy is associated with becoming a Christian. II. AFTER WE BECOME CHRISTIANS THE BIBLE TEACHES US TO MAINTAIN OUR "JOY"
A. In addition to 1 Thessalonians 5:16, this principle is taught in: 1. Galatians 5:22-23 -- Joy is one of the nine characteristics that collectively make up "the fruit of the Spirit." 2. Philippians 3:1 -- "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord." 3. Philippians 4:4 -- "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice." B. Not only does the Bible teach us to be filled with joy, but it also teaches when we are to be filled with joy -- "always" and "evermore." C. Thankfully, we have some positive examples in this area, including: 1. Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3) 2. the apostles (Acts 5:40-42) 3. Paul and Silas (Acts 16:22-25). D. We must properly understand what the Lord requires of us. 1. We often think of joy as a feeling of happiness that is based on some pleasant experience. 2. The joy we are considering is the gladness of heart that a Christian possesses because he has a right relationship with the Lord. a. This type of joy is not based on how well things are going for us. b. This type of joy can be experienced when things are not going well for us. E. In addition to teaching us to maintain our joy, . . . III. THE BIBLE TEACHES US HOW TO MAINTAIN OUR "JOY" SO WE WILL NOT LOSE IT
A. We must practice the Lord's teachings (John 15:10-11). B. Some helpful information is given in Philippians 4:5-9. 1. We must practice "moderation" [forbearance] (vs.5). 2. We must avoid anxiety (vs.6). 3. We must think properly (vs.8). 4. Please note the special blessings mentioned in vs.7, 9. Conclusion:
1. "Joy" is certainly an important part of Christianity. 2. We have reason to rejoice when we become Christians. 3. We are to continue rejoicing after we become Christians. 4. By following the guidelines that the Lord has given in His Word we will not lose our joy. 5. Let us strive to the best of our ability to "rejoice evermore."