I Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice evermore.
I have been mentioning the death of my brother-in-law over the past couple of devotionals. I mentioned that we were travelling to the funeral this past week. Yesterday was the funeral. It was a very secular funeral. The preacher was certainly a people pleaser. There was to be an open mike event in the afternoon, but that never happened. Thus I did not have the opportunity to speak to the entire group in attendance. I did talk to some people personally and gave them some literature to read. It is sad that preachers are not interested in providing the only place of true comfort for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Every person will try to remember certain things about the deceased person. It is important for those who are left behind to be sure they are ready for the moment they will take their last breath. Most are not ready and most are sailing through life as if it does not matter.
From personal experience, I know my brother-in-law changed his focus on life in the last week of his life. He did not need to be told to do that. He knew he was dying and he knew he was not ready. I am thankful for the opportunity the Lord gave me to encourage him with the Word of God. God knows what he did with those Words. In the short time I had with him, I tried to give him what was needed to make a wise decision. God knows if he finally did that. There are things he said that suggest he may have done so, but God knows for sure.
I trust and pray that those who received the literature I gave out will read and carefully consider those words. I know one man, on whom the smell of liquor was prominent, looked at the literature and stated that he had already received it. I told him he had not and told him to take it. He was intoxicated, but I did remind him of the need to be prepared to face death and to know how to live.
In our text, Paul was giving some concluding words in this letter to the saints in Thessalonica and to all who would read this letter. God wants us to know His blessings and when we do, we can rejoice evermore.
The word “rejoice” means “to be full of cheer, calmly happy or well off.” As we look at our world, there is much that will be of concern to a saved person. The Bible teaches us that for those who are saved, our hope and confidence is not in our surroundings. We are not riding a roller coaster. We are walking along a narrow way that leads to life. That narrow way has many “bumps” along the way. God does not give us a detailed plan of what we will meet on that way. He does tell us we will face persecution on that way. He also tells us we can know His peace on that way. He also tells us that we are held in Jesus’ as well as His Father’s hand once we are on that way. They are one. Since we are in His hand, we can rejoice evermore.
In Acts 5:41 we read:
Acts 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
The Greek word translated as “rejoicing” in that verse is the same word we have in our opening text. Peter and John were not excited about getting beaten. They did not enjoy the pain of having their skin ripped open by the beating. They were rejoicing in the fact that God was pleased to have them identified with His Son.
It is shuddering to hear or to witness a professing Christian talk about some rock song they like or holding a beer in their hand or any other thing that is sin. Secret sins are just as bad and God has His way of exposing those who want to hide their sins. The world has such a wrong understanding of what a true child of God is. There are lost people who have such an aversion to the truth. They know they are wrong, but they do not want to change. They do not want to be reminded they are going the wrong way.
The true child of God has the privilege of reminding the lost of the truth. One way they can open the door for such an opportunity is when they rejoice evermore.
When Paul and Silas sang hymns while sitting in stocks in prison, after they were beaten, the jailor knew exactly where to run when the prison was severely shaken by God. He knew there was only one place to find real help. HIs physical life was on the line. God had brought him to this place. He needed to come to that place before he would turn to God for real help. He needed to know where to turn in his time of desperation. He needed to know how to avoid such situations in the future and how to have God’s peace in his heart. He needed God’s gift of eternal life.
There are so many that have expressed ‘I’m just doing my job,’ over the past three years. They have shown no regard for truth. Those who are saved will have opportunity to show those people that there is a right way to go through life. No person will take their pay check beyond the grave. They might have it put in their coffin, but it will not benefit them at all. The Philippian jailor came to understand that the health of his soul was of far greater consequence than his pay check or even his human life. The threat of death was real for him. God spared his physical life and also gave him eternal life. He would no longer be content to disregard the things that truly matter. He would no longer want a pay check to consent to the abuse of human life. Not only was he impacted by Paul and Silas’ testimony, but his entire family was impacted. They were all saved!
Not every person will respond as that jailor did. That prison had other prisoners in it. We do not read of any of them being saved due to the earthquake God sent. God chose to focus on one man. He would impact his family and possibly others through his choice.
Every born again Christian needs to learn how to respond as Paul and Silas did. Every born again Christian needs to know how to rejoice evermore.