Summary: Living the Christian life is all about attitude.
Text: Phil. 4:4-9
1. Illustration: The story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, "This is good!" One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, "This is good!" To which the king replied, "No, this is not good!" and proceeded to send his friend to jail. About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way. As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. "You were right," he said, "it was good that my thumb was blown off." And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. "And so, I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this." "No," his friend replied, "This is good!" "What do you mean, ’This is good’? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?" "If I had not been in jail, I would have been with you."
2. Proposition: Living the Christian life is all about attitude.
3. Two of the basic attitudes of the Christian life are...
a. Joyful Attitude
b. Positive Attitude
4. Let's stand together as we read Phil. 4:4-9.
Transition: One of the hallmarks of Christian's is a...
I. Joyful Attitude (4-7).
A. Full Of Joy
1. As Paul concludes his letter to his dear friends he wants to leave them with something to live by; think of this as Paul's Christian Manifesto.
2. He begins with, "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!"
a. The two adverbs always and again tell us much, especially that this is not just "typical" and therefore to be passed over as a nice Christian cliché, but crucial to the whole of this letter.
b. To be glad; to rejoice; to celebrate; to be merry. It means to be joyful and full of euphoria, full of God's presence and glory (Practical Word Studies in The New Testament, 1711).
c. Joy, total, unrestrained joy, is ”or at least should be” the distinctive mark of the believer in Christ Jesus.
d. The wearing of black and the long face, which so often came to typify some later expressions of Christian holiness, are totally foreign to Paul's version; Paul the theologian of grace is equally the theologian of joy.
e. Christian joy does not come and go with one's circumstances; rather it is predicated altogether on one's relationship with the Lord and is thus an abiding, deeply spiritual quality of life.
f. It finds expression in "rejoicing," which is an imperative, not an option.
g. With its concentration in the Lord, rejoicing is always to mark individual and corporate life in Philippi.
h. They who "serve by the Spirit of God" (3:3) do so in part by rejoicing in the Lord, whatever else may be their lot (Fee).
3. Then Paul says, "Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon."
a. The second imperative, "let everyone see that you are considerate," follows from the first.
b. Considerate: Gentle toleration for others, in spite of having justification for intolerance,” (The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Delta-Epsilon, 1918).
c. The Lord to whom they belong has graciously set them free for joy always.
d. At the same time others should know them for their "gentleness" toward one another and toward all, including those who are currently making life miserable for them.
e. This is the Pauline version of 1 Peter 2:23, spoken of Christ but urged on Christian slaves: "when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly."