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Sunday Services

9:45 am Sunday School
10:45 am Sunday Worship

Echo Evangelique

(590AM WEZE Boston)
Saturday 9:00-10:00PM
88.9 FM SCA
Thursday 8:00-9:00PM

 

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Bible Study

FRIDAY NIGHT
7:30pm Bible Study
SATURDAY MORNING
8:30am Bible Study
Sunday School
9:45am  10:30am

Living in Light of Christ Return: Always Rejoicing

Text: 1 Thess. 5:16-18

Key Concepts:

  • Believers are called to always rejoice in Christ
  • The key to the Christian’s joy is its source
  • The joy of the Christian is the product of the Gospel
  • Our rejoicing must remain a present-day reality

How do we live in light of Christ’s return? Paul answered that very question for the Church of Thessalonica, who also was living with the expectancy of the return of the Lord, by commanding them to “rejoice always…for this is the will of  God in Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:16-18).  Thus far, Paul has been concerned with matters of responsible behaviors in our interpersonal relationships, within and out of the Christian community. Next, the apostle addresses spiritual duties, an integral part of Christian living. In his letter to the Philippians, another city of the Macedonia area, Paul also speaks of the believer’s duty to rejoice in the Lord. He calls them to rejoice because of what Christ has accomplished in their lives. Indeed, the basis of their rejoicing is the fact that they are saved and secured in Christ.

Believers are called to rejoice always in Christ

Paul’s edict to rejoice always came to the Thessalonians while they were facing persecution and hardships. Can believers “rejoice always” while facing social injustice and police brutality? The answer is yes. Paul is telling us that affliction and joy can coexist. The believer can rejoice in times of tribulation. Though it may seem impossible, knowing our identity in Christ, He who controls everything, we can certainly rejoice in Him. How can the believer “rejoice always”, regardless of life’s circumstances? Believers can rejoice always by being spiritually disciplined and being willing to be obedient to the will of God.

The key to the Christian’s joy is its source

The Christian’s joy does not depend on our possessions nor our circumstances. If the Christian cannot rejoice in his/her circumstances, maybe pain, sorrow and grief may stand in the way, he/she can rejoice in Jesus Christ, the source of our joy. We rejoice in the Lord because He will never forsake nor abandon us. Things may be hard and painful, but the very presence of God makes all the difference. Joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian should manifest the fruit of the Spirit. The more we grow in grace, the more we are spiritually disciplined. The more we progress in sanctification, the gentler we should be, the more patient, the more faithful, and the more joyful. Paul is definitely not telling us to live life with an attitude of resignation. When Christ warned us of the trials and tribulations that would be part of the believer’s life, He did not say that tribulation would define our entire lives. Pain, stress, suffering, death, and various struggles will continue to plague us until the Lord returns. Yet, through it all, we are called to rejoice, sometimes with tears and a heavy heart (Ps. 40:2-3).

The joy of the Christian is product of the Gospel

Often, believers are miserable because we disregard the Word of God. When we do not devote ourselves to the study of the Word, we cannot know God. For the Bible teaches us that “… faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). If you are not living according to the Word of God, you have no faith and therefore cannot be a joyous individual. The command from Paul to “rejoice always” is not about an emotional high. It is rather the focus of an inner attitude to abide in joy. It is a disposition to recognize who has called us into a relationship with Himself. To respond with joy in the midst of our sufferings is to take pleasure knowing that our God watches over us faithfully. As we know, affliction is a test of our character. The Thessalonians knew this as well. They received the Gospel in the midst of many great afflictions and suffered great injustices (greater than we know today.) Their tormentors were people from their own community. Paul urged them to take pleasure in God, the object of their hope, the God of justice. He encouraged them to focus on the day of God’s judgment. When you are going through tough times, do not keep your eyes on your circumstances, lest your distress consume you and steal your song of joy. Rather keep your eyes on Christ, our blessed hope and He who controls our suffering. This is the reality of the Christian life.

Our rejoicing must remain a present-day reality

The believers are able to not only choose to be joyful now, but must also look forward to the eschatological future of our joy. Our joy rests on the confidence of this future salvation. The time is coming when our current suffering will be no more. Paul’s rejoicing was grounded in God’s working among His people. Without the conviction that God is in control, joy is not possible. The Thessalonians maintained their faith under great pressure. Likewise, we must keep the faith.  We must continue to sing the glory of God through the hardships. Through it all, our God remains faithful. If you belong to Christ, you will rejoice in Him no matter the situations of life. The basic characteristic of Christian personality is joy. Our joy is defined by our relationship with Christ. “Rejoice always” is a command and it is God’s will. It is a necessity. You will overcome your depression when you embrace a lifestyle of rejoicing.  To enjoy the blessing of joy, we must choose to obey God’s will. Christians should be the most joyous people around, for we have the Father, the Creator, Sustainer, Provider, Protector. We have it all. Indeed, because He is our shepherd, His sheep will not want.

In conclusion…

In Paul’s theology, joy is a characteristic of a healthy Christian life. Joy is produced by the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer. Christian joy is not self-centered. For, we rejoice for and with others. The Bible teaches us that our rejoicing is a demonstration of our obedience in the Lord. The command to “rejoice always” invites us to express our delight in the goodness that God has bestowed on us. We also rejoice in anticipation of what God will do. We rejoice as well over the forgiveness of our sins. Surely, as we have eternal life in Christ, we all need to live with that in mind. Our suffering will come to an end someday. Those who set their hearts in Christ will “rejoice always”, stand firm in the faith, and experience the peace of God. We can rejoice for the breath of life, for the provisions God has blessed us with, for our families, and for our health. Let us choose to “rejoice always”, even in the midst of our suffering for that is the will of God for His children.

 

More Info
575 American Legion Hwy
Roslindale, MA 02131
Phone: 617-323-3107
Fax: 617-323-3165
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Every Sunday at 10:45am