Summary: In today’s text, Paul challenges followers of Jesus to “rejoice in the Lord” even when their surroundings are less than ideal.
LIVING IN CHRIST- Part 4
(Philippians 1:12-26; 2:1-13; 3:7-21; 4:4-19)
REJOICING IN CHRIST
Three weeks ago we began a series of messages to explain the Biblical basis on what it means to give Christ a position of primary importance in our life, encouraging us to be Christ’s person in every situation and to seek to glorify Him “whether it be by life, or by death.” It also emphasize what it take on His mind, or attitude; how Christ can help us persevere in our struggles when we feel like giving up.
Today’s message is entitled “Rejoicing in Christ,” is taken from Philippians 4:4-13. This would be our last message in this series on LIVING IN CHRIST. In today’s text, Paul challenges followers of Jesus to “rejoice in the Lord” even when their surroundings are less than ideal.
We should keep in mind that Paul’s words were not written in a vacuum. He was a prisoner of Rome when he wrote this letter. His faith challenges us to evaluate our circumstances in light of our faith in Christ, not to evaluate Christ in light of our circumstances. Regardless of our situation, Christ is unchanging and always faithful.
1. Always Rejoicing (vv. 4-7)
A. God’s Presence (vv.4,5) Rejoice in the Lord always. Continual rejoicing requires a constant, steadfast basis. We find that constancy only in God, of whom we sing, “Rejoice in the Lord, rejoice in the Lord. Celebrate in the presence of the Lord for He is worthy to be praise.”
That basis for rejoicing is most evident when circumstances seem to undermine any reason to rejoice. This does mean, however, we didn’t feel sorrow. We feel sad when our love one got sick or died; we feel sad when we faced hard trials in our Christian walk. But the joy is overall for we know our God is in control. He is above all. He is our comfort our strength our hope our peace.
To rejoice in the Lord involves understanding the Lordship of Christ – his benevolent and powerful reign. This time, he tells them twice in one verse and he tells them to rejoice always, even in the face of persecution and relational difficulties. Paul seemingly goes over the top.
If we learn to rejoice in the Lord, to direct our minds to the awesome truth that Jesus Christ is on the throne of creation and is bringing everything under the power and goodness of his lordship, then we’re in position to respond to whatever the Lord wants of us. Rejoicing always, regardless of circumstances, is counter-intuitive. That’s why we need to hear the command as often and Paul issues it.
Christian Joy is always “in season.”
I want you to notice, dear brothers and sisters, that this rejoicing is commanded. It is not a matter that is left to your option.
Again I say, Rejoice. Paul had said it before (3:1), and, like any effective teacher, he will say it again and again.
“This was, first, to show Paul’s love for the Philippians. He wanted them to be happy. They had been so kind to him, and they had made him so happy, that he said, "Oh, dear brethren, do rejoice; dear sisters, do rejoice. I say it twice over to you, "Be happy, be happy,’ because I love you so well that I am anxious to have you beyond all things else to rejoice in the Lord always." (Charles Spurgeon)
Read verse 5. Let your gentleness be seen by all Here, what the Lord wants of the Philippians is that their “gentleness be evident to all,” even and particularly those in opposition to the gospel, those who would otherwise give them every reason not to rejoice. Hw who constantly rejoice in the Lord will not respond angrily in word deed to small vexations.
The point is well-taken: we must be gentile and forbearing in dealing with one another. A response of gentle forbearance tends to surprise those who oppose us and give credence to the gospel. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”(Proverbs 15:1).
Paul then says, “The Lord is near,” in reference to the return of Christ. We can rejoice in the Lord because his return is near, when he will set everything right.
B. Prayer and Peace (vv. 6,7) Do not be anxious about anything. The phrase means, “don’t worry” or “have no anxiety.” It echoes the themes of part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25-34)
What “things” that would be most anxious about? Particularly, we worry about the opposition to our plans, hopes and dreams. Some of us were having to struggle for the necessities of life: food, clothing and shelter.
We’re concerned that something or someone – or maybe even God himself – will rise up to prevent us from realizing career, relationship or ministry hopes. Simply, we don’t know if we’re going to get what we want, so we’re anxious.