1 Thessalonians 5:16-21
1 Th 5:16 (KJB)
Rejoice evermore.
Evermore - Perpetually or at all times
Paul is giving three commands here to the Thessalonians, both as a body of believers and as individual Christians. One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit given to the believer is joy. That joy allows us to rejoice even under the harshest circumstances. This is why Paul and Silas were able to sing hymns in the jail at Philippi. They could have been moaning and murmuring about what had just happened to them, instead, they chose to rejoice in Spirit. This did not mean that their bodies were not in pain from the flogging because they were. They chose to look beyond their present circumstances through rejoicing in the Lord. Rejoicing in the Lord can actually minimize the seemingly immense circumstance we might be in by keeping it in proper perspective when comparing it to the greatness of God. This is why rejoicing is to be a perpetual part of the Christian life. It is as much a part of the Christian life as proper living.
1 Th 5:17 (KJB)
Pray without ceasing.
Here Paul also speaks about incessant prayer. Now this does not only mean a specific time and place to pray, it means in addition to that, we can pray throughout the day and in any situation. It means we can pray silently when the situation warrants it. I like what Dr. Robert A. Cook said on his broadcast, “Pray your way through the day.” Whether you are doing a project at work, you bathe it in prayer. You pray for your children and friends. You pray for parents and extended family members. In other words, this verse is teaching that we continue in prayer in every and any situation. As we go from one chore to the next, we bathe it in prayer. Now we do not have to make long, extensive prayers all the time. We can follow the example of Nehemiah who prayed short prayers while he was building the walls of Jerusalem and being vigilant in watching out for the enemies. (Neh 6:9 KJV) For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. Whether the prayer is long or short like this one, it shows a dependence upon God in every and any situation. As we pray, God will guide every step of the way and soon we will find that praying has become a major part of our life and we will not even want to start the day without prayer. Praying builds confidence in our lives because we are confident in the one we are praying to.
1 Th 5:18 (KJB)
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Paul finishes up his trilogy of Christian responsibility with the giving of thanks. He makes sure that the believers know that praying, rejoicing, and thankfulness is the will of God for the true believer. This is because being in Christ and being in Him means that we will never face the wrath of God for our sins gives us a great reason to truly rejoice, pray, and give thanks. (Col 4:2 KJV) Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Paul wrote that same encouragement to the Colossians. Now there is one aspect of thankfulness that we must never neglect. (Psa 107:22 KJV) And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. In Psalm 107:22, it speaks about the sacrifices of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving should not just be mere words but should be a tangible show of gratitude for what the Lord has done for us. We show true thanksgiving when we give of ourselves and of our substance. It is not a question of tithing, but we give in thankfulness of what the Lord has given to us. Someone else gave so we would hear the Gospel and we should be so thankful, that we would want to do the same for others. True thanksgiving is shown in deed and not just in word. If a person is disabled and cannot show thanks by doing something or even giving money to missions, they can sure pray for others. You can only do what your body can do.
1 Th 5:19 (KJB)
Quench not the Spirit.
Quench - Suppress or extinguish
Previously Paul had mentioned to the Thessalonians that their zeal for the Gospel must be disciplined to make it more effective. Paul was not saying for them to stifle their testimony which could quench the Spirit, but was telling them that if they refined their methods of evangelism, they would have a much wider, coordinated outreach. It is a shame that it is possible to quench the Spirit in the life of a believer. Here are some of the ways that we quench the spirit. Fear is one way, if we are afraid to reach out in our Christian lives, then we have quenched the Spirit by disallowing an outreach based on our fear. Sin is another way that we quench the Spirit because if we are living in sin or committing sin, then the flesh will override the Spirit and we will have no testimony except our sin. Another way we quench the Spirit is through pride. If we refuse to take counsel from other Christians and think that we know it all, then we are quenching the Spirit because we are taking His place in Biblical understanding. Another way we quench the Spirit is through modern Bible versions. The Holy Spirit inspired the writing of only one Bible, which includes both Old and New Testaments. These modern versions change with every new one that comes out. The Holy Spirit is not changing God’s word every six months. Whenever we walk contrary to the word of God, we will quench the Spirit.
1 Th 5:20 (KJB)
Despise not prophesyings.
Despise - Disdain, make of no account, or ignore
(1 Cor 14:3 KJV) But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. Before the Bible was completed, God would use certain people in the congregations to prophesy or bring His word. Paul is telling the Thessalonians that when they hear these prophecies and if they are truly legitimate, then they are not to be set aside or made of no account. Sometimes we judge the message by the one who is bringing it and the important thing is the message and not the messenger. The application for this verse today would be that whenever we hear the word of God being proclaimed, we must never disdain it, especially if the message being preached has pricked our hearts. We must never set aside the teachings of God. The only times we set aside teachings, is when we know they are false. Even if the teachings seem basic, there will always be something for us and if we are engaging in sin and the message we are hearing speaks of it, then we must never despise the teachings, instead we must despise the sin. Prophesying is declaring God’s Word as we have it written in the Bible.
1 Th 5:21 (KJB)
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Prove - Scrutinize, test, or examine
If there is one thing Christians must do, it is to test every teaching according to the Scriptures. Just because something is taught by a favorite teacher of ours, does not always mean it is going to be true. (1 John 4:1 KJV) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. The Apostle John made the same statement . There are many false teachers which pervade our airwaves and pulpits, and they must be tried according to the word of God. If they are found to be false, then they must be rejected and not supported with any funds. If anyone supports a false teacher, then they are as guilty as that false teacher because support means they are in agreement with their teachings. Another idea that is foreign to Scripture is the belief that Christians must never judge. Making judgments is an integral part of the Christian life and we must make judgments on the teachings of others, whether they like it or not. If we do not make judgments then what would be the purpose of scrutinizing the teachings of another? A few verses back we are commanded not to quench the Holy Spirit and when one accepts false teachings, they are quenching the Spirit because the Spirit is going to guide us into all truth. He will help us identify the false teachings so we can walk away from them without ingesting the poison of falsehood.