Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4-7 ESV)
Summary—It is important for us to remember that the whole history of the early Church, and indeed all the New Testament epistles, can only be understood in the light of the Spirit of God pouring forth upon that infant Church in Jerusalem. Hold Pentacost firmly in your mind as you read this exhortation by Paul. Only by the power of the Spirit was the early church able to joyfully respond to their lowly situation. Only by the same Spirit are we able today to follow Paul’s command in this week’s text. He commands us to live a life filled with joy in all situations. The Christian life is a celebration where rejoicing is not only experienced, it is commanded. In our text today, Paul corrects wrong-headed views of the Christian walk. Rather than worry, stress or bicker between fellow believers, Paul tells the church to rejoice for the Lord is at hand. Because of this, we can have peace with the Triune God of the universe. Paul’s reason for writing this letter was to teach the Philippian Church how to rejoice in every circumstance that they faced.
Insight—Is your life filled with joy? Are you continually rejoicing in all things, even that less-than-perfect geometry grade that you received last week? What about that time you lost your favorite ear ring, did you feeling full of joy at that point? Paul tells us in this section of his letter to the Philippians that we are to rejoice even when your brother won’t get out of the bathroom. We are commanded to rejoice even when you lose your homework, or your job. We are told to continally thank God for every situation that we face, even the bad ones. And yet, we find this command hard to do. Why? It may be because we don’t understand the reason for our joy.
Do you take for granted how bad off you would have been if Jesus had not come down from heaven and been born of a woman? Do you not see that without Christ, you would be an enemy of God, and without hope? But Christ did come down. He was born of a woman and did live a sinless life. He was nailed to a cross for you and for me. You have been freed from sin and wrath of God, from eternal damnation and from the sting of death through the blood of Christ. With this in mind, take heed to Paul’s command, REJOICE! Rejoice in the Lord for he alone can give you peace. He alone is worthy of our joy. You may lose everything in this world, but not your soul or your eternal destiny, nor the glory that awaits you in Christ’s second coming. These things are above your circumstances. Rejoice in the lord always, in life, in death, in sins or failure, whatever may be happening to you, whatever your circumstances, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice.”
Child Catechism—Q: Why must we rejoice? A: Because Christ saved us from our sins.
Discussion—When you begin to worry about this life, what are some ways to reflect on what Jesus has saved you from?
Prayer—Father God in Heaven, you are worthy of our praise. Let all your creation praise you, let all the earth shout forth praises worthy of your honor and glory. We rejoice in the salvation brought to us by your son. We fall down in wonder, with unspeakable happiness that you came to save us. We pray that you would kindle Godly joy in us through every season of our lives. We ask this in name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Contributed by Mike Fenimore