Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3
Thesis: Paul's focus upon the believer's personal sanctification is upon three issues: rejoicing, praying, and responding to grace.
Introduction: As we work our way to Paul's conclusion to his letter, we have seen that he has addressed the focus of life for believers as it takes on an "outward" perspective: how to act toward others. This evening we are going to look into what he has to say about that focus of life as it takes a "circumstantial" perspective: how to react toward circumstances.
March 29, 2015
- I. Always Rejoice.
- A. This "always" is the same word as found in 5:15 and carries the same idea.
- 1. It has very little "wiggle room", though there are a host of complications regarding the definition of "The Good" and to whom one must be committed in the performance of it.
- a. The "always" covers "all" actions taken toward others.
- b. The complications all rest in trying to decide "which" others are to be given the greater consideration.
- 2. It is used six times in this short letter (compared to two times in 1 Corinthians) and the most interesting one (to me) is the "promise" of 4:17.
- a. The most straightforward sense of the term is "always" in the sense that there are few situations that fall outside of its parameters ("sleep" may be one such).
- b. In respect to the "promise", 4:17 addresses what we should anticipate in the "forever after" of God's kingdom plans.
- B. The "rejoice" term is only found in this letter twice (3:9 and our text), but it is directly tied to the concept of "reaction for cause".
- 1. In Jesus' instruction in Matthew 5:12 and Luke 6:23 reveals that one has to choose "which" of the "causes" in a given setting should capture our attention unto "rejoicing".
- a. There are no purely "singular" settings where only one thing is going on.
- b. The instruction is to deliberately focus upon the promises of God with regard to what is going on.
- 2. The idea of the word is that there will be an emotional reaction to most events in life and we are to "react" to the realized/expected positive outcomes.
- C. "Always rejoice" boils down to evaluating everything in light of "The Hope" and allowing the soul to react accordingly.
- II. Unceasingly Pray.
- A. Paul switches his terms as he moves to this second exhortation regarding circumstantial developments.
- 1. This ought to make us aware that he has a different idea in mind than the "always" concept.
- 2. The term he uses is only used four times in the New Testament and three of them are in this letter (1:3; 2:13; and our text).
- 3. The idea seems to be "without stopping" without the linear concept: Do not quit praying.
- B. The issue of "prayer" is very general, but it has the strong implication that the circumstances of life are going to require us to respond/react and we have a great need to "see to it" that our reactions are legitimate; thus, "pray".
- 1. Many have ignored this exhortation because of some traumatic event wherein a certain anger toward God was allowed to "settle in" and "conversation with Him" ceased.
- 2. It is a most soul-threatening situation to have a "fight" with your "Husband" and stop talking to Him.
- III. In Everything Give Thanks.
- A. This "in everything" is a third way of making sure that we understand that Paul is writing about things we cannot afford to let slide ("always", "without stopping", and, now, "in everything").
- 1. This situation is not addressed as a "for" everything (Ephesians 5:20 doesn't even really say that), but rather as an "in" every situation.
- 2. Like the above "rejoice" exhortation, there is a built-in issue of "perspective" and which of the issues of focus we will allow to come front and center.
- B. The "giving of thanks" runs straight out of its roots.
- 1. Giving thanks requires that we recognize "grace" and respond to it properly.
- 2. In everything give thanks means, automatically, that there is "grace" in the situation; though one may have to look carefully to see it.