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Summary:

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Intro.:

1. The Christian life should be a life characterized by JOY.

a. This we believe & Bible affirms--Christians have every reason to be happy.

1) What should this happiness & joy look like?

2) Answer will depend on how you view Christian joy.

b. Some feel that Christian joy should be expressed in:

1) Enthusiastic "hallelujahs" or hearty "amens."

2) Bumper stickers: "I Love Jesus" or "Honk if you love Jesus."

3) Philosophy: One should feel & look happy all the time!

c. Unbelievers look at this kind of joy & think one of several things:

1) To be a Christian means one must first disengage their brain.

2) Christianity is "pie-in-the-sky"; has nothing to do w/ real life

3) Christians are fakes--nobody could be that happy all the time.

2. I think those are valid criticisms.

a. Something IS wrong w/ someone who has simplistic approach to life.

b. Christian Joy:

1) Does not always express itself in outward shows of enthusiasm.

2) Not a roller-coaster ride of emotional ups and downs.

3) Deep, quiet, smoldering sense of JOY that remains constant despite outward circumstances.

c. Our illust. of true JOY tonight ................ Apostle Paul.

1) Philippians--"Epistle of Joy" even though Paul is in prison!

2) How can we have a Joy that remains constant .... regardless?

a) Harsh Realities of Paul's Life.

b) Indestructible Roots of Paul's Joy.

I. THE HARSH REALITIES OF PAUL'S LIFE. [ Circumstances that COULD have robbed Paul's Joy ]

A. Paul is in Prison.

1. There are few happy prisoners.

a. Life has been interrupted ...... freedom has been restricted.

b. Many prisoners become bitter at the "system" & at life.

2. Being in prison MUST have bothered even Paul.

a. His life & freedom were being interrupted.

b. Even some uncertainty as to his future (1:20).

B. Paul is being Criticized by those Who do not Like Him (1:14-17).

1. Hard to imagine ......... Not everybody liked Paul!

2. Some were envious and glad to see him out of the way!

C. Paul had been Worried about Someone Who was Close to Him (2:25-30).

1. Epaphroditus--sent by church in Philippi to Paul.

2. Became sick & nearly died.

D. Paul's Worried about the Problems of a Local Church (cf. 2 Cor. 11:28)

1. DISUNITY (1:27; 2:1-4; 4:1-3).

2. FALSE TEACHING (3:1 ff.)

II. INDESTRUCTIBLE ROOTS OF PAUL'S JOY. [ Reasons Paul maintained sense of joy regardless

A. Realities Paul Realized: of the circumstances ]

1. Paul realized he was not alone (1:3-5).

2. Paul was able to see that his work was acc. something (1:6-9).

3. Paul knew he had prayers of saints & help of Spirit (1:19).

4. Paul knew he had a purpose (goal) in life (3:10-11).

5. Paul was confident in his salvation (3:20-21; cf. 1 Jn. 5:13).

B. Attitudes Paul Possessed:

1. Paul's mind did not dwell on the past (3:13).

2. Paul strived to dwell only on what was good (4:8-9).

3. Paul looked to see the hand of God in bad circumstances (1:12).

a. New opportunities were opening up (1:13). (cf. Rom. 8:28)

b. Others were picking up the slack (1:14).

c. Even enemies were preaching CHRIST! (1:15-18).

4. Paul learned to be content with little (4:11-13).

Conclusion:

1. Christian Joy is not dependent on favorable circumstances.

a. Goes much deeper than that.

b. Related to things God gives that Man can never take away.


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