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Sermon Discussion + Prayer: "Ground That Doesn't Shift"

Preceding the commands given by these verses, we must consider Christ’s atoning work, contending these commands are not done by human will. First, the Christian should “rejoice always,” which is grounded in the fact that God is always acting for their good. Second, he called the listeners to “pray without ceasing.” Although this command on the surface seems to be a burden, C.J. provided evidence for the contrary by building this command on the believer’s communion with God. Third, believers ought to “give thanks in all things” and understand that God is faithfully working all these things for their good due to their union with Christ.  

Discussion Questions: 

  1. C.J. began his sermon by highlighting how many people during the pandemic have felt the ground shifting under their feet. In what ways have you felt the ground shift? How might these verses strengthen you?
  2. C.J. importantly placed these commands in the truth of the gospel. He clearly articulated that it is not by our own will that we do these “tasks.” How have you struggled with self-reliance in these spiritual disciplines? What role has the church played in helping you see and repent of self-reliance?
  3. Verse 16 says that Christians should rejoice always and should further expect God’s gracious movements. What practical means do you use to look for God’s gracious hand in your life?
  4. The command in verse 17 is not to be a burden but an encouragement to the believer. How are you, or could you be, encouraged by having your heart fixed in a constant state of communion with God?
  5. Verse 18 calls Christians to give thanks in all things. During this pandemic, what has caused you to have a thankful heart?

Praying the Passage:

1 Thessalonians 5:16 "Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
Father, help me to see those areas of life that I feel are shaking and shifting; and remind me of specific verses in your Word that provide faith on ground that doesn’t shift.

Obedience to God’s commands are an expression of our love for the One who first loved us. Obedience is to honor, not repeat Christ’s work.
Lord, continue to remind me of your steadfast love in the gospel, so that rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks are inspired by grace, and not laden with guilt.

These commandments are a kind invitation to grow in devotion, affection, and satisfaction.

Lord God,..
One thing I rejoice in today is_________________________________________.
One thing I pray for today is__________________________________________.
One thing I give thanks for today is____________________________________.

To rejoice always is to see God’s hand at work in whatever is happening; and God is always at work. A gracious heart spies out mercy in every condition.
Father open my eyes to see and rejoice in your providence and your hand at work, where I previously have been tempted to doubt, be anxious, or complain.

To pray without ceasing is a call to prayer, not restricted by time or place. It is an invitation to commune with our God -- Father, Son, and Spirit -- at any time Spurgeon suggests... “a few words of prayer between everything I do.”
Lord, remind me that you are always near, always at work, and steadfast in your love, so that I will acknowledge and enjoy you in all my ways.

To give thanks in all circumstances is not to give thanks for  all circumstances.  God is at work in all circumstances. We are surrounded with gifts to point us to God and to all he has done.
Father, prompt me by the Holy Spirit, throughout the day to...
Count my many blessings, To name them one by one
Count my many blessings, And see what God has done!

These commands are followed by the reminder that “...this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” These commands are given by the call and character of God, who fully and faithfully empowers us to obey.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
Father, open our eyes to all for which we can rejoice, pray, and give thanks; and hence embrace your invitation to enjoy you.
And remind us that with every command, comes the grace and power to obey!