1 Thess 5:12-18, Why Aren’t You Happy?

Class Outline:

Thursday April 27, 2023


1TH 5:12-22

Theme: An attitude of love and thankfulness in the church will provide an environment for spiritual growth. 


The Day of the Lord is coming like a thief in the night.


2TI 4:6-8

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.


In our section, the unity of the family that is the church is in view. Paul shows us unified together in heaven:


1TH 5:9-11

For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.


The dead and the living at His return will live together with Him. If we are together with Christ, we will all be perfect.


While on earth we are to comfort and build up one another - attempting to create the togetherness of heaven.


These are commandments and in the context of the returning Lord we are to do so to others. Encourage also means comfort.


In Ephesians Paul describes the church as a building in which the members are properly fit together and all are fitted to the cornerstone. He then told the members of the church to build up one another.


EPH 4:12

[spiritual gifts] for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;


The act of building up others is demanded of all in the congregation and not just the leaders.


EPH 4:13-16

until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.


1CO 8:1

Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies [oikodomeo - builds up].


He starts with the relationship of the leaders and the congregation.


He then continues to explain the relationships within the entire congregation.


1TH 5:13-14

Live in peace with one another [all]. 14 And we urge you, brethren [all], admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.


Then, we are all to do what we can to prevent any conflict, which has resulted from sin, from escalating.


1TH 5:15

See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all men.


Now Paul transitions to the attitude of the congregation - the individual members. He uses three commands with three adverbs. The adverbs are perpetual: always, consistently, and everything.


Therefore, Paul is referring to consistent attitudes that are occupied with God and His blessings.

Joy, Prayer, Thankfulness. [put on fire background: Do not quench the Holy Spirit]


1TH 5:16-20

Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances.


These are a means of worshipping God.


It is a misunderstanding when Christ try to force these in their lives. They find that joy is illusive. Prayer is mechanical and boring, and thankfulness only lip-service. The misunderstanding is that you have to first come to know Christ as a Person and with Him you will know the Father and then joy will come.


1TH 5:16-18

Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.


This translation brings out Paul’s words just right. We will return to them in kind.


“this is God’s will for you.” This claim refers to all three - constant joy, consistent prayer, thankfulness for all of life.


Let’s look at these three commands in vv.16-18 a little more closely.


“Rejoice always” - Paul’s word order: “Always rejoice.” Emphasizing the consistency.


Why isn’t this true for Christians? Like seeking pleasure, the problem isn’t pleasure but the source of it. With joy, the problem isn’t that people have no joy at all, but that it is not consistent.


We cannot make our own happiness. It always comes as a result of something or someone.


The whole lack of perspective with people in the world can be summed up in one line:


Php 3:1

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.


Php 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!


The simple, but profound answer to why people are not consistently happy is because they either do not know the Lord or they only know Him a little and so easily get occupied with other things that they look to for stimulation to happiness. He, or she or it were never designed by God to make you happy.


Knowing that your Lord is resurrected and that you will see Him.


JOH 16:22

“Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”


We rejoice in the hope that Christ gives us.


ROM 12:12; 5:2

rejoicing in hope … we exult in hope of the glory of God.


REV 19:7

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”


The reward for being persecuted.


MAT 5:12

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


The spiritual success of others.


COL 2:5

For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.


Paul rejoiced over the success of the Thessalonians, as we have seen.


1TH 3:9

For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account


The joy of the fellow ministers of the gospel.


JOH 4:34-38

Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.  35 "Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.  36 "Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.  37 "For in this case the saying is true, 'One sows and another reaps.'  38 "I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor."


If you don’t minister the gospel and work with others to do so, you won’t see this one.  


Experiencing the sufferings of Christ.


1PE 4:12-13

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.


Suffering for the gospel.


Php 2:17-18

But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 18 You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.


LUK 6:22-23

“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.  23 Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.”


Love rejoices with the truth.


1CO 13:6

does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth


There are more, but this is enough of a sample for us to determine why any of us are not consistently happy. Our minds are on the wrong things, looking for the stimulation to happiness. We cannot make our own happiness. It always comes as a result of something or someone.


Joy is:

In the Lord, in resurrection, hope in the future with the Lord, being persecuted for His sake, the spiritual success of others, ministering the gospel (sowing and reaping), experiencing the sufferings of Christ, suffering for the gospel’s sake, and getting to know the truth.


None of these are temporary. They are all of a permanent nature. They all are designed for increase. They are all gifts from God to us.


Why aren’t you happy? You’re seeking the wrong things. God is waiting for you and He will be happy to run to you and embrace you and welcome you into the realm of His joy.