Pathways to the King Part 4: Praise

This week I’m trying something a little different.  Instead of writing out a full sermon or blog, I’m handing some tools over to you to craft a message (I was pretty sick and didn’t want to talk for 25 minutes).  Below is a outline I would usually have early in the process of sermon preparation, with questions I ask myself to help teach the Scriptures and materials.  I encourage you this week to spend some time either by yourself or with a friend, and go through this together.

How to:

  • Pray before you do anything together
  • Do a quick read over the sheet so you know where things are going
  • Read over the Scriptures
  • Share ideas with each other over what you could say for the different points. How do you transition from one to the next?  What do you want to make sure people understand?
  • Try and keep discussion connected to the Big Idea, it helps prevent rabbit trails.
  • If you get stuck at any point, feel free to google stuff or ask Pastor Matthew

Pastor Matthew’s Super Secret Sermon Formula

Big Idea: Developing a habit of continuous praise is vital to a life of spiritual renewal.
Central Scripture:  1 Thessalonians 5:15-22

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt  but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.”

Opening Illustration:  Some kind of anecdote to set up “why” people should pay attention and listen for the next 20 minutes.  Think of situations where praise has made a significant difference.

Scriptural Context:  Before diving into the Scripture, it is important to get as much information about it as possible.  Verses pulled from the Scriptures and mined like quotes can mean anything.  But context and history can teach us a lot.

  1. Who wrote 1 Thessalonians and who was it written to?
  2. Are there reoccurring themes in 1 Thessalonians?
  3. Where does our passage take place? What is the message in the verse and sections before and after it?  Are they disconnected strings of commands, or are they leading up to something or stemming forth from something?

Point 1) Rejoice always, give thanks in all circumstances

  • What would it look like in a person’s life to always be rejoicing?
  • What circumstances make it easy to rejoice?
  • What circumstances make it hard to rejoice?
  • Can you think of any Bible stories where people rejoiced in suffering? If so, what were the circumstances and how did praise change the situation?
  • How does mental illness such as clinical depression change what it means to rejoice always?

Point 2) Pray continually

  • What are the functions of prayer?
  • Which of those functions would facilitate the development of a mind that continually gives thanks and rejoices in all circumstances?
  • What forms of prayer are there?
  • What form would continuous prayer look like?

Point 3) Do not quench the Spirit

  • What is the relationship between this line and the previous ones we’ve looked at?
  • What role do you see praise as having in spiritual revival?

Conclusion:  Cap the teaching off with a summary and tangible application.  If possible, refer back to your opening illustrations to solidify their message and purpose – or give a new one.

  Supplementary Scriptures:

  • Colossians 3:1-3
  • Luke 17:11-19
  • Psalm 77
  • Psalm 42
  • Philippians 4:4-7
  • Acts 5:40-41