1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice ever more.…
I. WHAT IS THIS REJOICING. There is a carnal rejoicing (Luke 12:19), and a spiritual rejoicing in God (Philippians 4:4).
1. God Himself, as God, is a lovely nature, and the object of our delight (Psalm 119:68; Psalm 145:2, 10; Psalm 130:3).
2. We are to rejoice in God as revealed in Christ (Luke 1:46, 47).
3. We rejoice in God in the fruits of our redemption (Romans 5:11; Psalm 32:11).
4. We rejoice in God when we delight to do His will and are fitted for His use and service (Psalm 119:14; 2 Corinthians 1:12).
5. We rejoice in God when we rejoice in the blessings of His providence, as they come from Him and lead to Him (Joel 2:23; Psalm 5:11; Deuteronomy 28:47, 48).
II. HOW THIS MUST BE PERPETUAL.
1. In all estates and conditions.
(1) Affliction is not inconsistent with it (2 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Peter 1:6; 2 Corinthians 7:4; Acts 16:25). Whatever falleth out there are always these grounds for joy.
(a) God's all sufficiency (Habakkuk 3:18).
(b) The unshaken hope of heaven (Matthew 5:12).
(2) Affliction much promotes it (2 Corinthians 12:10; Romans 5:3-5; Hebrews 12:11).
2. From first to last, because it is of use to us at all times.
(1) Christianity is begun with joy in the world, so in the soul (Luke 2:10, 11; Acts 8:8; Acts 16:34; Luke 19:2; Acts 2:41).
(2) Our progress in the duties and hopes of the gospel is carried on with joy (Philippians 3:3). Rejoice evermore —
(a) So as to pray without ceasing (Job 27:10).
(b) So as to give thanks in everything (Job 1:21).
(3) The end comes with joy.
(a) The joy of God is the comfort of our declining years.
(b) At death we enter into the joy of our Lord.
III. THE REASONS WHICH ENFORCE THIS DUTY.
1. God hath done so much to raise it.
(1) The Father gives Himself to us, and His favour as our felicity and portion (Psalm 4:6, 7).
(2) The Son is our Saviour. Consider what He has done to make our peace (Colossians 1:20); to vanquish our enemies (Colossians 2:14, 15); to be the ransom of our souls (1 Timothy 2:6) and the treasury of all comfort (John 1:16; Hebrews 6:18). Abraham rejoiced to see His day at a distance, shall not we now it has come (Romans 14:17).
(3) The Holy Ghost as sanctifier lays the foundation for comfort, pouring in the oil of grace, then the oil of gladness — whence "joy in the Holy Ghost."
2. All the graces tend to this.
(1) Faith (1 Peter 1:8; Romans 15:13).
(2) Hope (Romans 12:12; Romans 5:21.
(3) Love (Psalm 16:5, 6).
3. All the ordinances and duties of religion are for the increase of joy.
(1) Reading (1 John 1:4).
(2) Hearing (2 Corinthians 1:24).
(3) Prayer (John 16:24).
(4) Meditation (Psalm 140:34).
IV. ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF THIS DUTY.
1. Its necessity.
(1) That you may own God as your God; delighting in God is a duty of the first commandment (Psalm 37:4).
(2) That you may be thankful for the blessings God bestows in Christ.
(3) That yon may follow the conduct of the Comforter (John 16:22).
2. Its utility.
(1) With respect to the temper and frame of our own hearts (Nehemiah 8:10). It quickeneth us to a life of holiness (Psalm 40:8).
(2) With respect to God's acceptance. Rejoicing is —
(a) More honourable to God (Micah 6:8).
(b) Most pleasing to Him, since He so often calls for it.
V. HOW TO PERFORM THIS DUTY.
1. Be prepared for it.
(1) Our state must be altered, for we are the children of wrath, and under the curse.
(2) Our hearts must be altered.
(3) Our life.
2. Act it continually.
3. Take heed you do not forfeit or damp it by sin (Psalm 51:8; Ephesians 4:30).
4. When lost renew your repentance and faith (1 John 2:1).
(T. Manton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Rejoice evermore.
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