Summary: In this sermon Dr. Tow outlines 5 reasons to rejoice. This sermon will compel you to nurture an attitude of gratefulness and encourage you to view life's events through an eternal perspective.
Five Reasons to Rejoice
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” At least four different Psalms begin with those words. Of course, the command for thankfulness runs all through the Scripture. Probably the most familiar verse is Phil 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” That is our theme this morning.
I had planned to speak on a different subject; but when I woke up Saturday morning God gave me this word. That produced a struggle in me; I did not feel like rejoicing and I couldn’t image preaching this subject with the right emotions to go with it. Saturday morning, I woke up grumpy. I felt discouraged. The crazy part is there was no particular reason for feeling that way. Nothing bad had happened. Have you ever woke up that way? I’m thinking, “God, how can I tell them to rejoice when I’m not rejoicing myself?” Of course, God had a pretty direct answer for that! So here I am this morning reminding you and me of the importance of gratitude.
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Neither passage asks how I feel. Like all biblical commands, we don’t just do it if we feel like it. We do it and then we let our feelings catch up with our obedience.
In John 15 Jesus was teaching His followers about the importance of abiding in the vine, staying connected with Him. In verse 11 He says, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” The joy Jesus gives is different from the joy the world experiences. Worldly joy is about getting what I want . It’s excitement about things and experiences. But the joy Christ gives flows out of our relationship with Him. It is not dependent upon externals. We thank God for His provisions in our lives; but our joy is found in our relationship with Him. That’s why Phil. 4 tells us to rejoice “in the Lord”—in our relationship with Him. And He is the eternal God who does not change.
The prophet, Habakkuk, live during a difficult time in Israel. Because of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God, Babylon was able to attack and plunder Israel. Habakkuk is baffled that God’s chosen people would be defeated by such an ungodly, wicked nation (Hab. 1:12-2:1). God teaches Habakkuk to trust Him regardless of the circumstances (Hab. 2:4) . So listen to Habakkuk’s declaration of faith in Hab. 3:17-18. “Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls -- 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Nothing will steal my joy. I will (I choose) joy in the God of my salvation.