Daily Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-28

Paul closes his letter by instructing the Thessalonian believers to rejoice always. Show your joy again in celebration. Party like something good has happened. Out of all the people on God’s earth, Christians are the ones with most reason to have a good time, celebrate, and rejoice. The rejoicing does not stop. God is doing good things. He has provided good things. What reason do we have to complain? What reason do we have to become stagnant or somber? None. Rejoice! Celebrate! Sing, dance, cheer, clap, and toast. Celebrate good times and a good, good Father! Rejoice always.

Pray without ceasing. Now, it is impossible to have one’s head bowed and eyes closed 24 hours-a-day. We certainly do not want to maintain that pose while driving or in a meeting. We also want to obey Jesus, who instructs us not to pray so others might see but to go into our secret place and pray to the Father who sees us in secret (cf. Matthew 6:5). To pray without ceasing, I think, is to maintain a spirit of prayer throughout the day, knowing that the Spirit is omnipresent and is with us—counseling us and guiding us. We are sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and we talk to God through the Spirit often throughout our day. There are times to take a prayerful posture, but we are to pray without ceasing.

It is God’s will for us to give thanks in everything, meaning everything that happens and every circumstance is orchestrated by God so we might learn to give thanks in everything in Christ.

Paul instructs the congregants not to quench the Spirit. There are many thoughts about what it means to quench the Spirit, but Paul clarifies for us by further instructing the Thessalonians not to despise prophetic utterances. To prophesy is to proclaim the word of the Lord. Old Testament prophets received God’s word before it was written. Modern day prophets receive God’s word by the writing since the canon of Scripture is closed. A modern prophecy, then, is an expository preaching or teaching—which is what the New Testament is of the Old (yes, even Revelation). When a preacher or teacher presents God’s word, do not despise it. Don’t sit there and try to poke holes in what is being said or listen with disdain. This is how you quench the Spirit. Instead, when something is said, examine it carefully. Examine everything you hear—search the Scriptures in order to discern bad teaching from good. Hold fast to that which is good but abstain from every form of evil (here referring particularly to the teaching). So, we quench the Spirit by disdaining prophecy from any preacher or teacher for any reason. We receive the Spirit’s work when we listen and search the Scriptures in order to hold fast to what is good.

Paul blesses the congregation. May the God of peace sanctify you entirely. Since God is the God of peace, He will teach His people peace through sanctification. When the Lord Jesus comes in judgment, may your bodies and soul be preserved complete and without blame because of His work. God has called you. He is faithful to complete your salvation. Do not worry. 

Paul instructs the congregation to pray for him and those with him. He instructs them to greet other Christians with a holy kiss, be affectionate. He instructs them to read this letter to all Christians. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

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