Summary: Paul reminds us that our Joy must be defended against things that rob of us of Joy.
NTRO: 1. So far Paul has taught us that it’s important for us to understand or define triumphant Joy, then he revealed to us how we can refine or develop that Joy… but tonight Paul sees it important to remind us that our joy must always be defended.
2. It may came as no surprise for you that there are Joy-robbers.
a. Although trouble and hardship can’t strip away that joy from our inner-man there are things that can take our joy away.
b. May be surprised to learn that the enemies of our joy are not external, but internal.
c. They are subtle because often they promise to bring us joy… when in fact they replace it.
3. Multitudes of professing christians are living joy-less lives because they’ve bought into the trap of these three enemies Paul outlines here.
4. Paul begins this chapter by again reminding them to “rejoice in the Lord,” then he confronts our enemies of real joy.
5. The church at Philippi was bombarded by three enemies or groups of enemies… same enemies we fight against today.
6. The enemy doesn’t care if he takes your joy in the hospital or in the church.
a. If he can’t steal your joy using the circumstances of this world, he’ll try and use religious tools to strip it from your lives.
I. LEGALISM CAN STEAL OUR JOY
a. Legalism defined is simply…When your life revolves around the law instead of around a relationship with God.
b. It’s a matter of our motive… why we do what we do.
c. Many a young christian has been crushed by the weight of the law because they attempted to carry it out of will-power instead of spirit power.
d. Let me make one thing absolutely clear here, God demands a holy life… we’ll see that clearly as we look at the third enemy… Carnality.
e. However, Paul a truly righteous man warns the philippians of a faith that relies more on the flesh to secure righteousness than the spirit.
f. Paul in vs. 3 tells us the difference from original christianity from legalism.
A. SUBSTITUTE A PHARISEE SPIRIT FOR JOY
1. No one group so stood out as stark opposite to Jesus more than the Pharisee.
2. That was odd, they where the strict ‘keepers of the law.’
3. But in keeping the letter of the law they had lost the spirit of the law.
4. When you have a living relationship with Christ we will not have a proud, arrogant, self-righteous spirit that glorifies ourselves.
5. We must always remember that our life isn’t designed to be a reflection on us… but a reflection on him.
6. True holiness comes by way of osmosis… the closer I get to God the more I look like, act like and walk like him.
ILL. As a young christian I remember writing on the inside of my bible the “sin list.” But that list was ever growing and I constantly failed to live up to it and it became a burden I just couldn’t bear. I remember the day when my life changed, I was going to God with my farewell prayer. God told me that I was doing it all wrong and lead me to really hear what Paul was saying and learn to revolve my life around a relationship with Him and He’d place His heart and mind in me and give me power to overcome sin in my life. Then there was the peace, the joy I had long forgotten.
B. SUBSTITUTE MERIT FOR JOY
1. In vs. 5, Paul was saying that when it came down to doing all the right things and “earning” his righteousness he had done everything right.
2. Paul was saying that he was living by what He could accomplish, not what Christ had accomplished.
3. You will live a miserable life if your life focuses on merit instead of grace.
4. You can never measure up without God’s grace.
5. If you could measure up with your good works, there would be no need for calvary.
6. Paul discovered the liberty of knowing that I can measure up by letting Christ live through me.
C. SUBSTITUTE ZEAL FOR JOY
1. Zeal is not the same thing as Joy… they are both passionate and powerful.
ILL. On 9-11, a number of terrorists high-jacked three planes, they were are zealous in their faith in Allah, but there was no joy there. Nights before they drank heavily to numb their senses.
2. Joy comes from our spirit, Zeal from our will.
3. There is nothing wrong with ‘zeal’ in and of itself… but it cannot replace joy.
4. I’d rather have someone working in the church out of joy than out of zeal.