Summary: Part of a series in Philippians, we’re encouraged to praise the Lord no matter what.
Praise the Lord Anyway!
Little Johnny and Susan proudly walked into the house with a new house plant they had bought for their mother. “We even used our own money,” Johnny said. But then, Susan, with a sad face replied, “There was a bouquet that we wanted to give you that was real pretty, but it was too expensive. It had a ribbon on it that said, ‘Rest in Peace,’ and we thought it would be just perfect since you are always asking for a little peace so that you can rest.” (Source unknown)
(cybersalt.org/cleanlaugh) “My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I’ve finished 2 bags of chips and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.”
Please turn with me to Phil. 4:4-7. Last week, we looked at resolving conflict.
•Today, we’re going to discover how to have real, lasting peace today.
I know that sounds too good to be true, especially in this day and age, but this time, it is.
As is common with most of Paul’s letters, he closes with a list of various commands.
•Kind of like leaving a list for the babysitter (medicine in fridge, bedtime at 8, night-light, etc.).
That having been said, there’s still a common theme throughout these instructions.
What strikes me about these commands is that they slap us in the face of reason.
•They go against everything our natural inclination/human nature tells us.
Let me explain as we look at each command individually.
(My apologies to Warren Wiersbe for borrowing his idea of the “Be” commands.)
I. BE JOYFUL!
4REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS (at all times, in all things).
•And just in case you missed it - I WILL SAY IT AGAIN: REJOICE! He actually says it 8x.
Phil. 3:1 FINALLY, MY BROTHERS, REJOICE IN THE LORD!
Now hold it a minute. How can we rejoice always? What about the stuff we have to face?
•How can I rejoice when I’m battling cancer or my marriage is failing or I’m overwhelmed by debt or I’m all alone?
How can we rejoice in the midst of suffering?
Don’t you hate it when people quote Rom. 8:28 to you?
AND WE KNOW THAT IN ALL THINGS GOD WORKS FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM...
Yeah, right! Easy for them to say.
But do you know why do we dislike that verse and have trouble with this one?
•Because our human nature says just the opposite.
•Our human nature says when we’re suffering/struggling, we have a right to complain.
•We deserve to feel miserable. We deserve the joy/pride of wallowing in self-pity.
•What do they know about suffering? They don’t know what I’m going through.
Let me ask you this. Did Paul know anything about suffering/trials?
•Next to Jesus, he suffered more than any other person in the NT!
•He’s writing this letter from a cold, dark prison cell!
•He, more than anyone, is qualified to speak to us about rejoicing in our suffering.
Phil. 2:17 BUT EVEN IF I AM BEING POURED OUT LIKE A DRINK OFFERING ON THE SACRIFICE AND SERVICE COMING FROM YOUR FAITH, I AM GLAD AND REJOICE WITH ALL OF YOU.
Rom. 5:3-4 WE ALSO REJOICE IN OUR SUFFERINGS, BECAUSE WE KNOW (from experience) THAT SUFFERING PRODUCES PERSEVERANCE; 4PERSEVERANCE, CHARACTER; AND CHARACTER, HOPE.
Mt. 5:12 (when you’re persecuted) REJOICE AND BE GLAD, BECAUSE GREAT IS YOUR REWARD IN HEAVEN, FOR IN THE SAME WAY THEY PERSECUTED THE PROPHETS WHO WERE BEFORE YOU.
No matter what you’re facing, be joyful. REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS (no exceptions).
That doesn’t mean walking around with a big smile saying, “Praise the Lord”.
•It means an attitude of gratitude, rejoicing in God’s goodness through it all.
II. BE GENTLE!
5LET YOUR GENTLENESS BE EVIDENT (known) TO ALL. This takes joy a step further.
(BKC) – “Joy, an inner quality in relation to circumstances, may not always be seen; but the way one reacts to others—whether in gentleness or harshness—will be noticed.”
Don’t return evil for evil. Take the high road.
Again, this slaps in the face of human nature.
•When someone cuts us off, we get angry. When someone cuts us down, we cut back.
•An eye for any eye. You mess with me, I’ll mess with you.
Not if you’re a believer. Not if you expect to discover God’s incomprehensible peace.
When nature/society tells you to retaliate, God says to be gentle/show kindness.
III. BE SECURE!
THE LORD IS NEAR. Scholars differ as to just what Paul meant.
•Some say this means His return is near. Others say He’s nearby, in our presence.
Either way, it doesn’t matter.
We are to be joyful and gentle and all these other commands because Jesus is here now and He’s coming soon to make everything right.