Summary: 4 key instructions for the Christian life: 1. Keep adjusting your attitude (vs. 4-5). 2. Keep asking for God’s help (vs. 6-7). 3. Keep giving attention to the good things of God (vs. 8). 4. Keep taking action to do God’s will (vs. 9).
“I’m Saved! -- What Now?”
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - June 6, 2010
(Updated July 31, 2011)
*When Mary and I were in Chicago a few years ago, we went into a little coffee shop. Great cup of coffee, -- but I couldn’t figure out how to get it opened! I’m used to the pop-up lids. This one just twisted a little bit. And there were no instructions on the lid. I really felt like a cave man for a few seconds. Good thing Mary was there!
*The truth is that we all need instructions in life, and this is especially true when it comes to our spiritual life. Nobody can teach us like the Lord. And here in today’s Scripture, God gives Christians 4 keys to right living.
1. First: Keep adjusting your attitude.
*Everyone needs attitude adjustments from time to time. As Zig Ziglar once said, we need a “check-up from the neck up.” And I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need a week’s worth of attitude adjustment in just one day. Here in vs. 4&5, God reminds us that we need to adjust our attitudes from time to time.
 Vs. 4 tells us we need to get back to joy. That’s why Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”
*The very word re-joice tells us that this is something we should do again and again. It’s something we must get back to again and again. “Rejoice” is similar to words like restart, return, reattach, rebuild and reform.
*Now when you think about who Jesus Christ is, and all that He has done for us, it’s mind-boggling that we have to be reminded to rejoice in the Lord. But Paul stressed rejoicing 7 times in this short letter.
*We can’t always rejoice in our health or our looks.
-We can’t always rejoice in our finances, our family, our jobs, or our grades.
-We can’t always rejoice in our houses, our cars, our toys, or our accomplishments.
-But we can always rejoice in the Lord!
*Jesus wants to be our source of constant joy. Christians, we should have a nonstop, overflowing celebration of the Lord in our lives.
*And it’s important to remember that when Paul wrote these words he had been a prisoner of Rome, possibly as long as 4 years, bound in chains. His only crime was telling the truth about Jesus Christ. In Phil 2:27, Paul tells us that he almost had sorrow on top of sorrow.
*Paul could have been filled with bitterness. But he overflowed with the joy of the Lord. And we can too! Our hands are not in chains today. We are blessed far more than most people in the world. But if all of that was taken away, we would still have grace, we would still have Heaven, and we would still have Jesus!
*I really like this story about Professor William Phelps. He taught English Literature at Yale from 1892-1933. One year Dr. Phelps was grading tests shortly before Christmas. He saw a note that a student had written next to a tough question on the test. The student had said, “Only God knows the answer to this question. Merry Christmas.”
*The professor returned the test with his own note under the student’s comment. Dr. Phelps wrote, “God gets an A. You get an F. Happy New Year.” (1)
*I like that statement: “God gets an A.” When your world is falling apart and nothing seems to be going your way, God gets an A! Forever and always, God gets an A!
*He is wonderful all the time, so we can rejoice all the time in His goodness, love and grace. God wants us to get back to joy.
 But there’s another good attitude adjustment here: Get back to gentleness. As Paul said in vs. 5, “Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”
*“Let your gentleness be known to all men.” The KJV says, “Let your moderation be known unto all men.” But this word is not what we usually think of as moderation. (You know: Eat one Snickers bar instead of three.)
*William Barclay tells us that this word “moderation” is one of the hardest Greek words to interpret. It has been translated as “patience, softness, the patient mind, modesty, forbearance and gentleness.” The Greeks themselves explained this word as “justice and something better than justice, something beyond justice.”
*Here Paul is telling us to act properly, treating other people with gentleness, kindness, patience and restraint. Barclay said it’s the same way the Lord treated the woman caught red-handed in adultery in John 8. She was absolutely guilty. And under Old Testament law, those guys had every right to stone her. But Jesus wanted them to drop their rocks. (2)