1 Thess 5:16-18, You Won’t Find Happiness By Looking For It.

Class Outline:

Tuesday May 2, 2023


Theme: A believer can find Christ. Happiness, gratitude, and a great prayer life only result from finding Christ.


Main passage:


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.


  1. Believers are the light of the world. If we do not shine God’s light, no one will.
    1. Your light is to shine before others and they see your good works (MAT 5:16).
    2. If you are generally unhappy, uncaring, and ungrateful, there is not much light coming from you.  
    3. True happiness, consistent prayer, and gratitude are the best things for us too.
      1. We have to be careful not to seek happiness for ourselves while we also desire it greatly.
      2. God tells us how to have full lives of joy, prayer, and gratitude. Seek Christ.
  2. What does it mean to grow but not increase?
    1. We have to grow enough to see God’s way of doing all things and then we will become happy and thankful people who pray.
      1. We cannot find happiness. We can only find God in life.
    2. A vision of the community of believers who all selflessly give and serve one another.
    3. We enter Christianity possessing only a worldly background. We know the system of the increase of earthly things.
      1. If we do not learn and mature (grow) we will only know the world of commerce and the worldly manner of relationships.
      2. If this is all we know then we unwittingly bring the world’s way into our Christianity thinking it normal.
      3. The result is we do not become happy and thankful people who pray and so we see the commandments as unattainable ideals.
    4. Serving two masters is compromising God’s ideal life with the worlds.
      1. If we single-mindedly serve God, the life of Christ will soon come into focus.
        1. The life of Christ is abnormal to the world.
      2. We each need an understanding that is going to break down forever the wall of compromise.
  3. Application: Keep seeking the things above where Christ is.
    1. When you find those things, set your mind on them - understand them and make them a part of your fabric.
    2. Our true life is hidden with Christ. If we find Him, we find us.   


Auxiliary Passages:


COL 2:2-3

having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.


What is also hidden in Christ is our life.


COL 3:1-4

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.


Phm 4-7

I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; 6 and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ's sake. 7 For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.


And Philemon had a real world economic issue. His slave ran away and seems to have stolen some valuables as he did. That slave became a believer and by God’s providence ended up in the service of the apostle Paul. Paul, of course, did the right thing in sending him back to his master Philemon, but not without some suggestions.


Phm 10-21

I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, 11 who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. 12 I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, 13 whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel; 14 but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will. 15 For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.


17 If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me. 18 But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account; 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand, I will repay it (not to mention to you that you owe to me even your own self as well). 20 Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.


21 Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say.


Our new world is abnormal to the old world.


LUK 22:24-27

And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. 25 And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called 'Benefactors.' [socioeconomic system of the fallen world - necessary and always flawed] 26 "But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. 27 "For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.