More Prayer Produces More Rejoicing, More Rejoicing Produces More Thanksgiving!, Part 7 (Praying Through the Bible #460)
TEXT: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
William Law said, “Make it a rule to yourself to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you. For it is certain that whatever seeming calamity happens to you, if you thank and praise God for it, you turn it to a blessing.”
There is a quote from Charles Spurgeon that I have been sharing in nearly every message in this series because it is so powerful. Charles Spurgeon said, “Pray without ceasing comes immediately after the precept, “Rejoice evermore;” as if that command had somewhat staggered the reader, and made him ask “How can I always rejoice?” and, therefore, the apostle appended as answer, “Always pray.” The more praying the more rejoicing. Prayer gives a channel to the pent-up sorrows of the soul, they flow away, and in their stead streams of sacred delight pour into the heart. At the same time the more rejoicing the more praying; when the heart is in a quiet condition, and full of joy in the Lord, then also will it be sure to draw nigh unto the Lord in worship. Holy joy and prayer act and react upon each other. Observe, however, what immediately follows the text: “In everything give thanks.” When joy and prayer are married their first born child is gratitude. When we joy in God for what we have, and believingly pray to him for more, then our souls thank him both in the enjoyment of what we have, and in the prospect of what is yet to come. Those three texts are three companion pictures, representing the life of a true Christian, the central sketch is the connecting link between those on either side. These three precepts are an ornament of grace to every believer’s neck, wear them every one of you, for glory and for beauty; “Rejoice evermore;” “Pray without ceasing;” “in everything give thanks.”
In our last message we began looking at the command to give thanks in everything. Our attitude ought to be one that gives glory to God even in our darkest moments. John MacArthur said, “There are no exceptions, no excuses, nothing is outside those parameters, in everything give thanks. In connection with everything in life give thanks, no matter what it might be. With obvious exceptions of personal sin, he is saying no matter what happens to you in life, be thankful. No matter what lot, no matter what circumstance, no matter what struggle, vicissitude, trial, testing, be thankful, give thanks. No matter what the situation we are to find reason to thank God. Thanksgiving is the essence of Christian living and attitude. And being unthankful is the very essence of the unregenerate heart. When a person becomes a Christian, it is characteristic of that believer, that Christian, to thank God for everything. All of a sudden there is a new heart and a new soul and a new inner life, and there’s something different about the inner man. And built into that newness is a heart of thanksgiving that cries out in gratitude to God. But even Christians can become unthankful. For an unregenerate person to be unthankful is normal. For a Christian to be unthankful is abnormal. And so, because we can fall to the sin of ingratitude, the New Testament repeatedly calls us to thankfulness. I can be thankful for the pain that I go through in a surgery if I know that there’s healing coming because of it. I can be thankful for the difficulty I go through in preparation if I know that the product of that preparation is going to change lives. I can be thankful for the process of pain that I might inflict on my body if I know that in the end I’m going to be healthier because I exercise. There are many things in life that involve that. As long as you look at the end result you can be thankful, even for a process that’s less than happy, joyful. When we see the end result of what God is doing, blending everything in our lives for ultimate good and glory, then we can in everything give thanks.” Paul concludes by saying it is God’s will that we should give thanks in all things. This action is greatly pleasing to God and commanded by Him, and we as sinners saved by His grace should be swift to obey Him. In the words of Hebrews 13:15, “therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”
Charles Wesley wrote:
Pray, without ceasing, pray,
Your Captain gives the word;
His summons cheerfully obey,
And call upon the Lord:
To God your every want
In instant prayer display;
Pray always; pray, and never faint;
Pray, without ceasing pray!
In fellowship, alone,
To God with faith draw near,
Approach His courts, besiege His throne
With all the powers of prayer:
Go to His temple, go,
Nor from His altar move;
Let every house His worship know,
And every heart His love.
Pour out your souls to God,
And bow them with your knees,
And spread your hearts and hands abroad,
And pray for Zion’s peace;
Your guides and brethren bear
For ever on your mind:
Extend the arms of mighty prayer,
In grasping all mankind.
From strength to strength go on,
Wrestle, and fight, and pray,
Tread all the powers of darkness down,
And win the well-fought day;
Still let the Spirit cry
In all His soldiers: Come!
Till Christ the Lord descend from high,
And take the conquerors home.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.