Thriving Through Thessalonians #8


Thriving Through Thessalonians #8

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (MSG)
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

A majority of the scholars report this is exactly what Paul means.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)
16 Always be joyful.17 Never stop praying.18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (RSV)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray constantly, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (Greek NT Tischendorf)
16 παντοτε χαιρετε 17 αδιαλειπτως προσευχεσθε 18 εν παντι ευχαριστειτε τουτο γαρ θελημα θεου εν χριστω ιησου εις υμας

Here’s my translation of the verse: This is God will for me in Christ Jesus, in all circumstances rejoice, pray, and be thankful.

Still discontent and wanting to argue I looked at the verses in context.

I realized that this new congregation was dealing with a great deal of opposition, with persecution and this was Paul’s advice as how to best deal with it.

 “What does the bible say about Persecution, about  being opposed because of one’s faith in Jesus?”

Matthew 5:10-12 (NIV)
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jesus is telling His disciples when people wrong you, maltreat you, offend and oppress you because of what you believe  it is a sure sign that you are living in the Kingdom.
                            
Why should this be my response to persecution? Because Jesus says, you are in good company; they did the same to all the prophets, and they did the same to me.


Acts 16:16-30 (NIV)
16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

Paul and Silas thought it was a great honor to be persecuted, mistreated and abused for Christ. It confirmed to them that they were following Jesus; and God counted them worthy to suffer for the cause as a living testimony.

I thought to myself—how in the world did those guys do what they did?
         
2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The Holy Spirit enables you to rejoice and be thankful in the midst of persecution.
                                       
The apostle’s response is an example of what I want to call the principle of persecution.

Acts 5:41 (MSG)
The apostles went out of the High Council overjoyed because they had been given the honor of being dishonored on account of the Name.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (RSV)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray constantly, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

To thrive spiritually when persecuted rejoice, pray and be thankful.

Did I rightful discern the meaning of what Paul wrote, or am I wrong and the majority of scholars got it right?

Prayer and persecution call for Holy Spirit power to enable you to do what doesn’t
come natural.

Matthew 5:43-45 (MSG)
43 "You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' 44 I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, 45 for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves

My first thought is payback. But Christianity teaches another response.

Romans 12:14 (MSG)
Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath.

When you are being persecuted your first place to go is to God

Hebrews 4:15-16 (MSG)
We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let's walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

Pray for what you need to overcome the persecution,
                  
Philippians 4:6 (MSG)
Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
         
When persecution happens, rejoice, pray and be thankful because it means you stand out of the culture as a Christian.              

Matthew 10:32-34 (MSG)
"Stand up for me against world opinion and I'll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I'll cover for you? "Don't think I've come to make life cozy.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.


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