December 13, 2009
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say again rejoice!” This is coming from Paul, who is sitting in prison.
He didn’t know what the future was. He thought he may be there till Christ returned.
He is able to say this just leaving the subject of trying to settle a fight between two women in the church.
Repeat verse 4
Barclay Bible commentary says, “Christian joy is independent of all things on earth because it has its source in the continual presence of Christ. Two lovers are always happy when they are together, no matter where they are.”
Christians should be in love with God as lovers. Are we up on our love level toward God? Are we excited about what we have in Christ in this Christmas season?
I remember a few years ago when I was taking Elaine to Michigan for the first time and I had just picked her up at the school she was attending in Ohio. Yes, I was living in Mississippi and Elaine was going to school in Ohio. I traveled from MS and picked her up and it was good to be together. We had stopped at a restaurant and someone noticed we were having a good time just being together. We were behaving but just glad to catch up with each other. I suppose we had a glow that day.
Being in the Lord should give us a new kind of glow. It should give a reason to rejoice and that glow. It should make you look different at work or at school.
Do you have that ‘Christ glow’ as young lovers have?
Rejoice and keep on rejoicing.
Moving to Verse 5– “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
When we think about God’s presence is right here with us, can you feel a gentleness in this place? We have God’s Holy Spirit here. When I think about that, I feel a special kind of presence and gentleness. And God is with us all day long. He is with us everywhere we go.
I could get really nervous about this sermon, but God is with me and will help me. Knowing God is with me gives me gentle peace.
Paul knew we needed to still hear this next verse. Life is not always just a high. We have those moments. Don’t we?
Read verse 6
Earlier this year it seemed that we just could not make the money come out right on the cabinet jobs. It made me anxious. The last several weeks it seems that things have started to flow. When the flow is not there, I don’t need to become so uptight. I need to keep putting it in God’s care. He will take care of it.
One of my favorite verses about worry or anxieties is in
Matt 6: 25-33 (read)
In Philippians it gives us some good advise on how to avoid worry. If things look like they can’t get worked out. Pray
“Present your request to God.”
How will I ever get this child raised?
How will I make it through this test this week?
How will I have enough money for the power bill this month?
How can I get along with that co-worker?
God will be glad to take all of those things that seem to be building up for us. He can handle the big and small things.
I read about a father watching out the kitchen window as his 7 year old son played in the backyard sandbox. He watched him moving several large rocks out of the sandbox. There was one very big rock that was giving his little boy a great deal of trouble. He watched his son move the rock to the edge of the sandbox, but each time it would roll back for his son. He watched him roll the rock up to the edge several times just to have it roll back. The last time it pinched one of his little fingers. The father walked out to his tearful son and asked him what was the matter. His son told him all about the heavy rock in the sandbox. The father asked, “Why didn’t you use all the strength you had?” The little boy replied, “I did, Dad, I did.” The father responded, “No, son, you didn’t ask your dad.” And with that, the father reached down and together he and his son removed the rock from the sandbox.
God’s word tells us not to be anxious, but to come to him for every need, knowing that there is nothing he cannot do.
When we are able to bring concerns to God, the next verse is able to happen.
Read Phil 4:7
God will guard your heart and your mind. Think about that! If God is going to guard you, what do you have to worry about? Unless you don’t give it to God, then you have something to worry about. If I am trying to run the shop with my power alone, I am in trouble. When I say, “God, here, run it with me,” then we can go places.
Maybe you need to say, “Here, God, help me raise this child.” If you can say that, you have lots of help.
Verse 8 tell to think about some things that will help.
Read verse 8
If we fill our minds with this kind of stuff, then read verse 9.
That is where we can find peace of God. “The peace of God will be with you.”
Make sure you put these to practice.
Now when we look back to verse four. We can have new hope. We have something we can rejoice about.
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice!”
This is not a suggestion. It is a command. That is why Paul says it twice, he want us to get it.