Rejoice in the Lord
27 December 2020 AM – Philippians 4:4 – Joy – Scott Childs
Introduction: The year was A. D. 62. Paul had been arrested for preaching the Gospel more than two years previously. He was presently a prisoner in Rome awaiting his trial. Though he hoped to be released, yet his situation was such as led him to look death in the face. Nero, the Emperor, had a reputation for being cruel and unjust. It is possible that the fires of persecution had already begun to burn in Rome.
It was in this bleak setting that Paul penned the words, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.“
As we conclude 2020, it has been a year made difficult and often deadly by the COVID-19 virus, a year of sad political changes in the USA and of increasing anti-Christian legislation in our own country. We now face an uncertain future in the year to come. In times like this, we must heed the command to “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
Transition: This morning I want us to examine God’s command “Rejoice in the Lord always” one phrase at a time that we might see what God is trying to teach us.
1. Rejoice in the Lord Always
Joy and rejoicing are emotions of the heart that radiate on our faces, sparkle in our excitement, and spring from our lips when our hearts are overflowing with gladness.
a. Rejoicing is a Scriptural admonition
1) We find hundreds of verses in the Bible encouraging joy, rejoicing and gladness. Here are a few examples.
a) (Psalms 9:2) “I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.“
b) (Psalms 32:11) “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.“
c) (Proverbs 23:24) “The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.“
d) (1 Thessalonians 5:16) “Rejoice evermore.“
2) Joy is a fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit
a) Joy or gladness comes from the heart. In its truest form, it only exists in those who know Christ. His Holy Spirit produces such joy in a yielded Christian’s heart. (Galatians 5:22) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,“
b) As Christians walk in the Spirit by living in obedience to the Lord, He will produce joy in their lives.
c) Joy is like fruit on a tree, if the tree is watered, fertilised and pruned regularly, the fruit will be abundant.
b. Rejoicing is possible
1) Both occurrences of the word rejoice in Php 4:4 are commands or imperatives. They are not options.
a) Since God commands us to rejoice, we know that rejoicing is possible. He would not command us to do something that was impossible.
b) There is often a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness results from pleasant circumstances. Joy can flow from within the heart despite negative circumstances.
c) We also learn from King David’s fall into sin, that sin robs joy. Thus, David prayed, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” (Ps 51:12).
2) Not only is rejoice a command, it is a present tense command.
a) We are to rejoice right now, even if things seem bad. Perhaps you have thought, “I will rejoice when things go well, but right now I cannot.”
b) While there is little joy in facing problems, conflicts, pain, persecution or death, even then God wants to enable you to rejoice in the Lord.
2. Rejoice in the Lord Always
Trials, conflicts, afflictions, losses, and persecution do not normally cause joy, but we can rejoice in the Lord during those burdens.
a. We can rejoice in the Lord’s provisions.
1) Rejoice that God gave us salvation.
a) He loved us while we were yet sinners (Rom 5:8) “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.“
b) He died for us to pay our debt (2 Cor 5:21) “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.“
c) He rose again to give us eternal life (1 Jn 5:11) “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.“
2) Rejoice that God forgives us. (Psalms 86:5) “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.“
3) Rejoice that God daily blesses us. (Psalms 68:19) “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.” (Psalms 103:2) “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:” Count your blessings not your burdens!
A man who owned a small estate wished to sell it. Sending for a real estate agent, he asked him to write an advertisement describing the house and land. When the ad was ready, the agent took it to the owner and read it to him. “Read that again,” said the owner. The agent read the description of the estate once more. “I don’t think I will sell after all,” said the owner. “I have been looking for an estate like that all my life and I did not know that I owned it!”