Summary: In spite of difficulties, God has given us reasons to rejoice.

November 9, 2002

I. Introduction

A. Theme for this month of November is Praise and Thanksgiving

B. Fitting theme

1. In the month of October, we celebrated thanksgiving here in Canada

2. In the month of November, our neighbor south of the border is celebrating thanksgiving.

3. As we approach the last few days of the year 2003, it is fitting to pause for a moment and reflect on how God has brought us this far.

C. Today’s topic—Reasons to Rejoice

II. Body

A. Do we have reasons to rejoice?

1. Rebecca’s death

a) Yesterday, we had a funeral for a young Filipino lady who passed away due to a massive cardiac arrest.

b) For the last few days before she died, she complained about minor chest pain.

c) She took off few days from work, hoping that the pain would go away.

d) Finally, on Thursday afternoon, she could no longer bear the pain, she called 911.

e) When the paramedics arrived, they found the door to her apartment locked.

f) They forced the door open. They found her lying on the floor, already unconscious and no pulse.

g) They rushed her to the Montreal General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

h) She was only 46 year old.

i) No relatives around to claim her body. We had to wait for a niece from Chicago to be able to finally claim her body.

2. Man stabbed for breaking a fight

a) Few weeks ago we had a benefit concert for a young woman who had lost a husband.

b) As her husband was going to work one morning, he saw two men fighting.

c) He tried to break the fight.

d) In the process, he got stabbed. He died later in the hospital.

3. Jen’s sickness

a) In the last three years, I had seen my wife struggle with her condition.

b) I have heard hundreds of her complain about pain in several places of her body.

c) We had consulted different specialists. Their conclusion is unanimous—there’s nothing that they can do. You have to live with the pain.

4. Many problems; few solutions

a) Financial struggle

b) Problems within the family

c) Challenges within the workplace

d) Physical sickness

B. Why rejoice

1. It is a command from God

a) Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”

b) Psalm 5:11, “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.”

c) Psalm 96:11-12, “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice…”

d) Psalm 98:8, “Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together.”

2. We are to rejoice in all circumstances, at all time

a) When Paul wrote Philippians 4:4, he was in prison.

b) 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

c) Habakkuk 3:17-18, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

1) Our rejoicing must not depend on external circumstances

i. Presence of our friends and loved ones

ii. Comfortable shelter

iii. Delicious food

iv. Expensive clothes

v. Luxurious car

vi. Prestigious job

vii. Billy Sunday said, "If your have no joy in your religion, there is a leak in your Christianity.”

2) Our rejoicing must not depend on seemingly answered prayers

3) Our rejoicing must be permanent

i. Our rejoicing is not just a one time event; it must be ongoing.

ii. Illustration—The Hiding Place

1) Corrie Ten Boom relates an incident which taught her this principle.

2) She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the worst German prison camp they had seen yet, Ravensbruck.

3) Upon entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea-infested.

4) Their Scripture reading that morning in 1 Thessalonians had reminded them to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances.

5) Betsy told Corrie to stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters.

6) Corrie at first flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas, but Betsy persisted.

7) She finally succumbed. During the months spent at that camp, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings without guard interference.

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