Metropolitan United Methodist Church, Indian Head, MD
Take back your joy
December 13, 2020

Take back your joy

December 13, 2020

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

New International Version

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

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Background

In contrast, joy was not a characteristic of other religions of the era. The church was unique in its proclamation that joy was at the heart of its faith (see Rom. 14:17). Only Stoicism, with its dispassionate indifference, somewhat approached this Christian ideal. Epictetus (2.19.24) exclaimed, “Show me a man who though sick is happy, though in danger is happy, though dying is happy, though condemned to exile is happy, though in disrepute is happy. Show him! By the gods, I would fain see a Stoic!” The joy of the Stoic was not rooted in religion nor based on hope but arose out of the separation of people from their passions and the belief in the uncontrollable nature of fate. “Qué será, será, so why get ruffled?” The source of Christian joy was different. Christian joy, rooted in the gospel, is infused with hope, and grows in relationship with the Lord. The pessimism and lack of hope that generally characterized ancient society (see 4:13 and comments) found its answer in the salvation God offered through Jesus Christ.[1]

Point 1 

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Point 2 

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Point 3

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Summary

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[1] Gene L. Green, The Letters to the Thessalonians, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans Pub.; Apollos, 2002), 258.

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