Please remember that sermon notes are meant to act as a guide and may not be exactly what was preached.
The Bible tells us it is perfectly legitimate to experience mourning, sorrow, and grief, these feelings are not sinful.
The letter to the church in Philippi has a lot to say about joy and rejoicing in the Lord. The words ‘joy’ and ‘rejoice’ are used 16 times in 4 chapters. I would encourage you to take some time each day in the coming week and read through the 4 chapters, the 104 verses, that tell of Paul’s joy in Christ! And please keep in mind that this was written while Paul was in prison.
Happiness depends on happenstance, the circumstances and situations of life, that may or may not make us happy. Joy, on the other hand, is a choice. Bobby McFerrin sang a song called “Don’t Worry be Happy:”
“In every life we have some trouble, When you worry you make it double. Don’t worry, be happy. Ain’t got no place to lay your head, somebody came and took your bed… Don’t worry, be happy. The land lord say your rent is late, He may have to litigate… Don’t worry, be happy. Ain’t got no cash, ain’t got no style, Ain’t got no gal to make you smile, But don’t worry, be happy, ‘Cause when you worry your face will frown, And that will bring everybody down, So don’t worry, be happy.”
The song never tells us how to be happy in all that we are going through, other than not to worry… But God’s Word, towards the end of Chapter 3, does tell us how to rejoice by telling us not to set our minds on earthly things. We must decide not to dwell or set our minds on things of this world. We are reminded that our citizenship is in heaven, that we have a Savior, the King that we serve as part of the Kingdom of God , who is with us through “all things,” redeeming the time and the situations for our good as we walk in this world (Romans 8:28-29).
In John 17 Jesus said that we, as believers, or Christ followers, are not of this world, The Holy Spirit in 1 Peter 2 tells us that as God’s people we are sojourners and exiles. The NLT puts it this way: Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.
We cling too tightly to this world and do not have enough longing for the next.
I do my best to look forward to being with my Lord and Savior, not to what I am going through here. You all need to get this: You are not for this world. In 1 John 2:17 we are told that this, “world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
We cannot focus on this world and our circumstances if we want the Joy of the Lord.
Now that does not mean that we are so heavenly minded we are no earthly good. We must be about the Lord’s business, doing God’s will while we await the return of our Savior, living the life you are called to live now.
We have an enemy that is out to kill, steal, and destroy, who goes about like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. He will take whatever opportunity we give to him to steal, kill, or destroy our joy. The Holy Spirit, speaking through Paul in Ephesians 4:27, said, “give no opportunity to the devil” (foothold or place).
This is why in verse 2 we see Him entreating Euodia and Syntyche to agree in the Lord. These two ladies in the church in Philippi were having a disagreement, we don’t know what it was or how it came about, and honestly it does not matter. He is telling them and us that we need to come to agreement in the lord, in Christ.
What about you? Have you ever given the devil the opportunity to work through you? A foot hold or a place to work from, by allowing anger, resentment, bitterness, or unforgiveness to have a “place” in you? Is that place still there? Is that an on going opportunity for the enemy to work from?
Keep in mind that when we give him a place, or a foot hold, or the opportunity, that His work will not only steal their joy but also ours. And if this place is allowed to stay open for him to work from he will stir up dissension, discord, and destruction all around you, using you for his ends.
We must set aside our selfish desires, take our focus off of our offense, and be one in Christ Jesus who is our joy, hope and peace! It is really this simple: Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say Rejoice! LET YOUR REASONABLENESS BE KNOWN TO EVERYONE! Don’t let gossip stir up the offense, let it go! Move forward in Christ!
Our lives as Believers and citizens of the Kingdom, are to be lived in Christ, in the Power of Christ, through His enabling Spirit, and in the hope and peace we have in Him. Because of these things that we have in Him, the over all nature and attitude of wholly sanctified individuals is Joy!
Our joy comes from, or is found in, the Lord. IF you have turned your life completely, wholly, over to Christ, IF you are living in the power of the Holy Spirit, constantly walking in the knowledge that God is with you, knowing that your relationship is not a sometimes experience, then even when you cannot rejoice in your circumstances, you can still rejoice in Christ.
- What is happiness?
- What is Joy?
- Do you choose Joy?
- Do you choose Christ Jesus over the World?
Further Reading: Philippians 4, Isaiah 51:11, Matthew 5:12, 1 Peter 1:8-9, Galatians 5:22, Romans 15:13, 2 Corinthians 6:1-10 (10), John 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8, Ephesians 4:25-32 (27), 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
For more on wholly sanctified/2nd work of grace/Spirit filled life:
For an even deeper study:
Didach Nazarene (I would suggest starting on page 6)