Php 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Php 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Php 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Php 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Some of the most popular verses in the Bible
Several people would state verse 13 as fav, as it is mine
I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me
As we approach the end of another year
We participate in an hear about several traditions
Of course there are the parties, some of them wild
Eating black-eyed peas and hog jowl
Cabbage, all supposed to bring good luck
Happy New Year will be said and heard for at least the first few days or weeks
And the ever popular New Year’s resolutions
Modern resolutions are usually things like, lose weight, quit smoking, get out of debt
But did you know that early Babylonian’s most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment
Times have changed
Unwanted tradition, writing wrong date on checks
I’m real bad about that
Least popular tradition of this time of year
Very painful one, tradition of depression
These last few months of the year
Thanksgiving - New Years can be the hardest for some to go through
Family is the focus of these holidays and this can be very hard on people that have lost loved ones
Mrs. Jessie Lee, hates fall
So these holidays are depressing
Many are going through that as we speak
Maybe you are or someone you know
Questions like What happened? Why? What do I do now? How will I get through this?
Plague people of all sorts
And not just this time of year
And not just people that have lost loved ones
Many people, even Christians battle depression
And it can be so hard to find the good in any situation
But we must focus on the good
Reminds me of a story about a newlywed farmer and his wife
Mother-in-law visit demanding an inspection
Genuinely tried to be friendly
Hoping for non-antagonistic relationship
To no avail, nagged at every opportunity
Demanding changes, offering unwanted advice and generally making life unbearable
Walking through the barn during forced inspection
Mule suddenly reared up kicked mother in head killing instantly
Shock no matter their feelings toward her
Funeral few days later farmer stood near casket and greeted folks
Pastor noticed whenever a woman whispered to farmer
He would nod and say something
When man walked and talked he would shake his head no
And mumble a reply
Pastor later asked farmer what that was all about
Explained women would say what a terrible tragedy
And I would nod and say yes it was
The men would ask, can I borrow that mule
And I would shake my head no and say
Can’t, its all booked up for a year.
There is always a sunny side of life
But sometimes it can be to difficult to find
To find the joy in certain situation
But we can get through tough times
Only with God’s help
I can get through this God, because of your strength
The book of Philippians is Paul’s joy letter
To thank the Philippians for their gift
To send along some instruction on Christian unity
To mainly strengthen these believers
How? By showing them that true joy comes from Jesus Christ alone
The concept of rejoicing or joy appears 16 times in these 4 short chapters
Leads us to the key verse of the book “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say rejoice”
I. I Can Rejoice - REJOICE!
A. Rejoice in the Lord
Paul tells them to rejoice, in the Lord
This is the 13th time joy or rejoice appears
But the 1st time said in the Lord
This signifies the sphere in which the believer’s joy exists
Our rejoicing shouldn’t depend on circumstance in life
Its related to our unchanging relationship to our Sovereign Lord
Unchanging in the fact that God never changes
Our perception or level of happiness may change based on our sinful lives, our part of the deal may change, but God doesn’t.
B. Rejoice, Are you Happy?
Happiness evokes visions of
Unwrapping Christmas presents
Sunset stroll on the beach with a loved one
Laughing until you cry
Emily said shopping all the time (8 going on 15)
Everyone wants to be happy
It can become a life long pursuit
Spend life time spending money
Searching for new experiences
But that all is dependent happiness
What happens when
The money runs out
Loved ones die
Our health deteriorates
And the party’s over
Our dependent happiness flees and often despair sets in
Are you happy?… A better question is…
C. Are you Joyful?
Joy runs deeper and stronger
Joy is quiet confident assurance of God’s love and work in our lives, in our church, in everything we do
That joy will be there no matter what
Joy depends on Christ!
Christ will not let you down (Don’t let us down Lord?)
God didn’t call us to be happy, He called us to be holy
So rejoice IN THE LORD, always Rejoice
I can rejoice
II. I Can Refuse to Worry!
Verses 5-6 “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (or the Lord is near) Be careful for nothing: but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God”
A. The Lord is near
Not over there yelling encouraging words from afar
What a comfort
God Himself encompassed all believers with His presence
15 times throughout His Word God states that He will not forsake or abandon His children
Hebrews 13:5 “for He saith, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”
Ro 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Ro 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God’s force will be with you … always
The LORD IS NEAR!
So that should help us to have…
B. No anxiety
Anxiety is self-centered, counterproductive worry
Not legitimate cares and concerns
Its ok to have cares and concerns
Its ok to worry about how bad the Razorbacks are going to get beat in the Cotton Bowl
Fret and worry indicate a lack of trust in:
So I can’t worry?
How do I do that?
Now I’m worried that I worry to much, should that worry me?
Here is a story from Amy in Miami Beach about anxiety and worry Dancing Potato Chips
Not long ago I had “one of those days. I had company arriving in a couple of days and the toilet was clogged. I went to the bank, and the “its my first day” teller processing my deposit had to start over three times. I swung by the supermarket to pick up a few things and the lines were serpentine. By the time I got home, I was frazzled and sweaty and in a hurry to get something on the table for supper.
Deciding on mushroom soup, I grabbed a can opener, cranked open the can, then remembered I had forgotten milk at the store. Scratch the soup idea. Setting the can aside, I went to plan B, which was leftover baked beans. I grabbed a Tupperware from the fridge, popped the seal, took a look and groaned.
My husband is not a picky eater, but even he wont eat baked beans that look like caterpillars. Really frustrated by now, I decided on a menu that promised to be as foolproof as it is nutrition free: hot dogs and potato chips.
Retrieving a brand new bag from the pantry, I grabbed the top and gave a hearty pull. The bag didn’t open. With a loud pop, the bag suddenly gave way ripping wide open from top to bottom. Chips flew sky high, I was left holding the bag, and it was empty. It was the final straw. I let out a blood curdling scream. I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!
My husband heard my cry for help and was standing in the kitchen doorway within seconds. He surveyed the damage: an open can of soup, melting groceries, moldy baked beans, and one quivering wife standing ankle deep in chips. My husband did the most helpful thing he could think of at that moment. He took a flying leap, landing flat-footed in the pile of chips. He then began to stomp and dance and twirl, grinding those chips into the linoleum in the process. I stared, I fumed, pretty soon I was working to stifle a smile, eventually I laughed
Finally I decided to join him. I too took a leap into the chips then I danced. Now I’ll be the first to admit that my husband’s response wasn’t the one I was looking for. But the truth is it was exactly what I needed. I didn’t need a cleanup crew as much as I needed an attitude adjustment and the laughter from that rather funky moment provided just that
Has God ever stomped on your chips? There have been plenty of times when I’ve gotten myself into frustrating situations and I’ve cried out for help, all the while hoping God would show up with a celestial broom and clean up the mess I’ve made of things
What often happens instead is that God dances on my chips, answering my prayer in a completely different manner than I had expected, but in the manner that is best for me after all. Do I trust Him? Even when He’s dancing and stomping instead of sweeping and mopping? Can I let His joy adjust my attitude? Am I going to stand on the sidelines and sulk, or am I willing to learn the steps of the dance He’s dancing with my needs in mind?
He really does know what He is doing. He loves you and you can trust Him. Even when the chips are down.
It is to easy for us to worry about everyday things
Even the little things
Delighting in the Lord and meditating on His word are a great antidote to worry
Delighting in His Joy
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything…present your requests to God.”
It says but in everything
Well not work, God isn’t concerned about that meeting I have this week or that project I absolutely must complete over the next few months
Everything? No not at school. He isn’t concerned with World History class, or Algebra, or what my team is doing this year
Everything? No He’s not concerned with how much work I need to get done around the house, and those projects I have planned for this coming year.
YES HE IS CONCERNED, about those things
Things that are important to you, because you are important to Him
Its easy to think God is concerned about church things
I mean, He’s God
But He is concerned about every aspect of your life
And since He is concerned about the little things
How much more is He concerned about spiritual things
Imagine never being anxious about anything
It seems impossible doesn’t it?
Follow Paul’s advice
“by prayer and supplication ( or petition) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
Turn your worries into prayers
Do you want to worry less? Then pray more
Whenever you start to worry, stop and pray.
C. His answers? What are His answers
I can refuse to worry, the Lord is near, No anxiety
But How will God answer these petitions?
Verse 7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
He answers with tranquility AHHHHHH!
Crystal Light commercial
It transcends all understanding
The full dimensions of God’s love and care are beyond human comprehension
It says he shall keep you hearts and minds
Another way to say this would be he will guard your hearts and minds
This is actually a military term meaning “to keep watch over”
Like a sentry standing guard
God’s peace guards believers from anxiety, doubt, fear and distress
Another version translates this verse this way
“And then the peace of God which transcends all our powers of thought will be a garrison to guard your hearts and minds in union with Christ Jesus”
A garrison = body of troops stationed at a military post
That is the kind of protection provided by Jesus Christ to guard our hearts
So no need to worry for
I CAN REJOICE, I CAN REFUSE TO WORRY…
III. I Can Remain Content!
Verse 11 “For I have learned in whatever state I am in, therewith to be content”
What does it mean to be content?
Willing to accept a situation or comply with a proposed course of action
Accept something as adequate despite wanting something more or better
Lets look at Paul’s situation
Letter written in A.D. 61
While in prison in Rome
Hardly seems the place to be speaking of being content and joyful
In order to get an idea of what the world thought of Christians (a derogatory term) at this time I want to read the historian Tacitus’ account of the famous burning of Rome…
“Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find there center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crossed, or were doomed to flames and burnt, to serve as nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.”
And you thought Christians have it rough today?
Now the burning of Rome happened after Paul had wrote this letter
But it shows how Christians were treated in those days
Paul had spent years inside dark filthy prisons
Eating foul food
Put into stocks, his legs and arms stretched as far as could
Locked in those stocks for days, muscles knotted and aching
Tortured and beaten, stoned and left for dead
But he still rejoiced, still was content
No matter the circumstances
Sure he wanted better
He had rather stayed at Rome’s Holiday Inn Express or Hawthorn Suites (where every rooms a suite)
So how can he say to be content?
We would think Paul had every right to complain
The beatings and torture
People making up lies, turning church folks against him
He knew how to be content
How to be satisfied
What is his secret?
IV. I CAN REALLY DO ALL THINGS
Verse 13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”
Difficulties in verse 12
How to get along with humble means
But also in prosperity
Live in prosperity
The word strengthen the Greek word for strengthen means “to put power in”
Because believers are in Christ, He infuses them with His strength to sustain them
I can get through the good times and the bad
I can make it until that next pay check
I can make it through this medical problem
I can get through this amazingly hard time in my life
I can get through this next year
How? With Christ who strengthens us
Can we really do anything?
The power we receive from Christ is sufficient to do His will
And to face any challenges that arise
We always hear there are two things for sure
Death and taxes
But Job 5:7 says there is another
“For man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward.”
Job is saying as inevitable as it is that sparks off a fire go up
So inevitable it is that people are going to have trouble
You may be having troubles
This next year may be full of troubles
And how we handle those troubles is so important
We can respond in so many different ways
Fear, doubt, confusion, sadness, depression
But these all stem from worry, lack of trust
We can rejoice
We can refuse to worry
We can remain content
We can really do all things
We must do as Paul did and look at life from God’s point of view
Upward Basketball, my viewpoint vs. Jayna’s
We do not need to focus on what we can’t do, but on what we can do
Insert page here
As we wrap up another year we may have lots of things on our minds
Things to worry about
But we must not worry
Because I can really do all things through Christ
This it the time of year for resolutions.
And usually resolutions focus on negative things
And they focus our attention on ourselves
I ask you, please don’t make a resolution
Because they are never kept.
A recent study states that January 24th is the most depressing day of the year.
Why that day?
The Credit card bills from Christmas are coming in
The weather is bad
And most people have broken all their resolutions by then.
That’s the problem with resolutions.
They are based on our abilities.
We sometimes lose proper perspective and try and focus on the I part of “I can do all things”
But we need to focus on Christ
Because He is the source of strength
I hope that the beginning of this new year can be a new beginning for you and your relationship with Jesus Christ
That you can rely on Him in any and every situation you face
And if you do not know Him as Savior that this can be a wonderful opportunity for you to change your life and live for Him
A true new beginning for He can make you a new creature
If you would be willing to give you life over to Him
And can call Him Savior
Make this a truly Happy New Year