Summary: Joy is found in unity with Christ and with Christ in others
NT Survey - Philippians, Jesus, Others, You
As we have looked at the books of the New Testament so far, we have seen some of the great doctrinal books. Romans and justification by faith, Galatians and how salvation cannot depend on our work and cannot be lost by our sin, Colossians and the supremacy of Christ, Hebrews and the fulfillment of Judaism, 1 John and the love of God. We have also examined some great books for our Christian attitude and practice such as 1 Peter and the nature of suffering, 2 Peter and false teachers, 2 John and our Christian inheritance, 3 John dealing with criticism, 1 and 2 Corinthians dealing with Christian maturity, 1 Timothy and our Christian battle, 2 Timothy and staying faithful, Titus and establishing the order and purpose of the church...
Philippians is another great book dealing with our Christian experience. Although it has some great doctrinal statements, which I love to preach individually, it is more known for something everyone wishes they could have in this life. It is most known for being about being a joyful Christian.
1. The difference between happiness and joy.
Paul sprinkled his letter to the Philippians with joy. He had good reason to remember them joyfully. Philippi was the first mission effort that reached Europe. Although Paul was thrown in prison there for preaching the Gospel, he had had a wonderful witnessing moment there. While they were singing in prison with joy, God sent a great earthquake that shook sense into the prison keeper who got saved with all his house.
Phil 1:3-4 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
Phil 1:18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
Phil 1:23-26 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
25And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
26That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
Phil 2:1-2 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Phil 2:17-18 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
18For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
Phil 2:28 I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, that I may be the less sorrowful.
Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
I am reminded of Fiddler on the Roof and the constant search for some sense of contentment and happiness.
Mordcha: If the rich could hire others to die for them, we, the poor, would all make a nice living.
Motel Kamzoil: Even a poor tailor is entitled to some happiness!
I am also reminded of a lot of people who use the pursuit of happiness to excuse their sin. "I deserve to be happy." No, we deserve to be in Hell. If we got what we truly deserved as sinners. One of my favorite quotes is from Joe Theismann, the former quarterback and later ESPN commentator. In divorce court his wife said she asked him why he had had an affair and he explained, "God wants Joe Theismann to be happy." (http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/keyword/joe-theismann)
However, Philippians is about joy, not happiness. There is a difference. A search on the internet you will find that even the world understands the difference.
Happiness is an emotion in which one experiences feelings ranging from contentment and satisfaction to bliss and intense pleasure.
Joy is a "state of being"..it could be connected to great or calm delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation. More permanent than happiness.
External sources: Events, Feelings
Inward sources: Spiritual presence
outward expression of elation
inward peace and contentment
You would feel happy, for a while, if you had a new car.
You could have joy even while in a Nazi death camp.
Happiness depends on what happens to you. Joy is a well of life springing up from within.
2. Paul had plenty of reasons to not be happy, but he had joy anyway.
Philippians was written while Paul was in prison. He knew joy, even though what was happening to him was no cause for happiness.