Summary: Seventh in a series "Restoring the Joy" a study of Philippians. In this message we examine "Three Things We Must Do To Keep Our Joy!" - (1)Realize It Is Worth Safe-Guarding!(2)Beware Of Those Who Would Have Us To Rely On The Wrong Things.and (3)Understand
Restoring the Joy
Sermon # 7
“Three Things We Must Do To Keep Our Joy”
When life goes well for people who do not know the Lord they feel elated. When hard times come they sink into despair. But true joy enables us to rise above the rolling waves of circumstance. Joy comes from a consistent relationship with Jesus Christ. When our lives are intertwined with Jesus, he is available to help us to walk above adversity without permanently sinking into debilitating lows and helps to manage the good times without moving into deceptive highs. But joy can be disrupted by life’s trials and our own sinful tendencies.
One of those tendencies is the tendency to define our worth in terms of our own efforts and achievements.“The 19th-century Bible scholar G. S. Bowes pointed out the ultimate futility of ambition that isn’t accompanied by dedication to God. Citing four powerful world rulers of the past, he wrote: “Alexander the Great was not satisfied, even when he had completely subdued the nations. He wept because there were no more worlds to conquer, and he died at an early age in a state of debauchery. Hannibal, who filled three bushels with the gold rings taken from the knights he had slaughtered, committed suicide by swallowing poison. Few noted his passing, and he left this earth completely unmourned. Julius Caesar, ‘staining his garments in the blood of one million of his foes,’ conquered 800 cities, only to be stabbed by his best friends at the scene of his greatest triumph. Napoleon, the feared conqueror, after being the scourge of Europe, spent his last years, in banishment.” No wonder Solomon warned of the poor prospects for anyone who strives to succeed without relying on God.” – [ H.G.B. Our Daily Bread, January 31 -//www.bible.org/illus/a/a-17.htm]
Charles Swindoll offers some advice in this area when he says, “Something within all of us warms up to human strokes. We are motivated to do more when our efforts are noticed and rewarded. That is why they make things like impressive trophies and silver platters and bronze plaques and gold medals… What does it do? It drives us to do more, to gain greater recognition, to achieve more valuable rewards, better pay, or higher promotions …. But how easy it is to forget that not one of those accomplishments gives a person what he or she may lack deep within – that’s why they can’t bring lasting satisfaction. And much more importantly, none of them earns God’s favor.” [Charles Swindoll. Laugh Again: Experience Outrageous Joy. (Dallas: Word, 1991) pp. 126-127]
Today we are going to take note of one of the chief joy stealers of our day – the demands of human achievement. This is a philosophy that is glorified in our day, the type A Personality - the workaholic.
This morning I want to Share with you “Three things We Must Do to Keep Our Joy.”
First, To Keep Our Joy We Must – Realize It Is Worth Safe-Guarding! (v. 1)
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.”
Paul reminds these believers that they are to be a people characterized by joy when he says “rejoice in the Lord” or literally “keep on rejoicing.” We are to keep rejoicing because joy acts as a barrier against all those things he has warned against, such as dissension, grumbling and attitudes of superiority. He says that we must safeguard our joy because not only are there enough pressures of life to steal their joy, there are the ever present legalist on the loose who would rob them of their joy.
To Keep Our Joy We Must – Realize It Is Worth Safe-Guarding And …
Secondly, To Keep Our Joy We Must - Beware Of Those Who Would Have Us To Rely On The Wrong Things. (vv. 2-6) “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! (3) For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,
Paul uses the word “beware” three times in verse one. Beware is a strong word meaning “look out for” or “be warned against.” Paul then uses three uncompli-mentary terms to describe those who try to add legalist additions to what is required to become a Christian.
First, He tells them to Beware of their Character – “dogs.” When he calls them dogs he is not referring to household pets, the dogs in Palestine at this time were large, wild scavengers that ran in packs through the streets and alleys ways of the cities. They posed a threat to anyone who got in their way.
Secondly, He tells them to Beware of their Conduct – “evil workers.” But the individuals he was talking about called Judaizers, were individuals who came along behind Paul and attempted to teach new believers in Christ that what they had was not enough. That something additional was necessary and in this case it was the ritual of circumcision. They taught that one must first become a Jew through circumcision in order to be a “real” Christian.