This is a message I will deliver Sunday morning, God willing. Please overlook the contractions and devices I use in the manuscript.

Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

Let’s stand in honor of reading God’s Word (This is God’s Word. Thanks be to God).

In eternity past God the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit existed in perfect love. God spoke the universe into existence. He created 1 man & 1 woman & gave them 1 command, don’t eat the fruit of tree of knowledge of good & evil. When Adam ate the fruit, his sin condemned all mankind.

In God’s time, Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life. He was crucified, died, buried, & resurrected to pay God’s wrath toward ALL who’d believe. He ascended to heaven, & will return. Jesus Christ is THE way, THE truth, & THE life. He is the 1 way of salvation & all who believe in Him are saved. This is The Gospel. I wanted you to hear The Gospel b/c it is the center of our message…

Say Phil 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice!” Nine words. Short. Simple. To the point. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice!” Still remember it? Prove it. Quote it.

These words are so familiar we don’t meditate on them as we should. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice!” Healthy people love it. People at peace quote it easily. Those with a good job, friends, big houses, & $ in the bank have it marked in their Bible. People whose kids & grandkids are living well & making good decisions put it on Facebook. RIGHT?

Yeah… those with what we think are good lives love verses like Phil 4:4. They’re the ones that seem to toss out Ro 8:28, “God causes all things for good!” NOTE: I agree with Ro 8:28, but we must choose wisely which verses to quote AND when to quote them. But that’s another message…

But how often do we hear it quoted by: The one whose spouse just died or abandoned them? Is it quoted by those just told they have terminal cancer? What about the one whose kids are rebelling or the one who was just fired? (PAUSE) I don’t think I’ve ever heard people struggling quote Phil 4:4

They guy who wrote Phil 4:4 went to heaven… talked to Jesus… cast out demons… & healed people. The guy who wrote Phil 4:4 was spiritual giant! Jesus answered his prayers verbally! He was an Apostle! OF COURSE HE’D WRITE… REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS! I would too…

Paul wrote Phil 4:4… from prison… chained between to Roman guards. Oh… consider this…

Ac 20:22 Behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me IN EVERY CITY that imprisonment & afflictions await me. (Now listen to the outworking of that from 2 Cor 11:23…)

Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—w/ far greater labors, far more imprisonments, w/ countless beatings, & often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the 40 lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten w/ rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night & a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil & hardship, thru many a sleepless night, in hunger & thirst, often w/out food, in cold & exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, & I am not weak?

Ok. Think with me. Would WE believe, think, & write “Rejoice in the Lord always” if we’d gone thru all that? Let that sink in! I’d sing an old Hee Haw song “Gloom despair & agony on me…” But not Paul! No. He “Rejoiced in the Lord ALWAYS…”

Answer two questions with time remaining: 1) What does Phil 4:4 mean? And 2) HOW?

“Rejoice” means to “be cheerful, calmly happy.” But he qualifies rejoice: “In the Lord.” Don’t blow by that quick. I doubt Paul was emotionally happy WHILE being beaten or stoned or whipped or in danger. In the moment of hardship, it is normal to be afraid. Jesus was in the Garden! “Let this cup pass from me…” (Jesus was “tested at all points like we are,” fear, etc).

Let me suggest how rejoicing, w/ the qualifier “in The Lord,” works. When I have a tough time fear, anxiety, worry, doubt, & confusion grow. But once the stress begins to subside the Holy Spirit… THE HOLY SPIRIT… rises in me. HE brings to my mind, heart, soul, & spirit God’s Truth that whatever I’m experiencing cannot touch. Are you w/ me? ARE YOU WITH ME? Ro 8:15

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God & fellow heirs w/ Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

When it comes to “Rejoice in The Lord always,” it is a God thing. “Rejoicing in the Lord always” doesn’t happen for unbelievers. And… get this… many BELIEVERS miss out on this blessing too! Why?

Because many believers (!) neglect prayer & meditating on Scripture. They listen more to their heart than the Spirit. They forget that God knows more than they do AND they can trust Him. They spend so little time in God’s Word they aren’t aware of the blessings God has IN His Word.

There’s a hymn, “How Firm A Foundation.” Remember it? The 1st stanza begins: “How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in His excellent word! What more can He say than to you He hath said…” Hear that? (Read last phrase again)

Everything we need for life & Godliness is in Scripture (2 Pet 1:3)! There is NOTHING we need to hear from God that He hasn’t already given us in Scripture!! But what good is it for us if we’re never IN the Bible?! If we never read it?! If we never meditate on it?!

There is NO WAY to “Rejoice In The Lord Always” if we neglect what God has given for our joy, life, peace, & salvation. And “what God has given us” is His Word… His Son… His Spirit.

Paul wrote under Divine inspiration. There’s a lot of theology behind Phil 4:4 which helps us u’stand how Paul wrote what he did… going thru what all he went thru! We want Paul’s faith, but do we want what God did to get Him to that point (2 Cor 11)? Let’s move on…

The Holy Spirit reminds me of what is mine because of Jesusbecause I’m “In the Lord.” I get that from Ro 8:16, “His Spirit bears witness with our spirit.” What things does He remind me of?

God is on His throne… Jesus loves me… I’m sealed by the Spirit… Jesus & The Spirit pray for me… my sin is forgiven… my name is in the book of life… I will dwell forever w/ God in heaven… God has promised never (!) to leave or abandon me… God is glorifying His name… He is laying up treasures for me in heaven… God is conforming me to the image of Christ… one day angels will usher me into God’s presence… and God will be glad to see me face to face (plus, Plus, PLUS!)

When we think on those things we WILL rejoice IN THE LORD always! There is no way… NO WAY… a C’ian can contemplate the gifts, graces, & blessings of Christ & not rejoice ALWAYS!

The NT writers affirm one another on this topic. Consider James 1:2…

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing (Proving) of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Some are here this morning and it’s been a long time since you’ve rejoiced. Others may not have rejoiced in years to decades. I tell you that C’ians rejoicing is not just for a moment… a day… or year, it is for eternity! C’ians u’stand we live in a horribly broken world. We know nothing here can give us the joy we long for. But there is an alternative…

Jesus live, died, & was resurrected to save you! He came that you could have LIFE, & have it ABUNDANTLY. In Christ you ARE able to rejoice always… not just for a moment, a day, week, or lifetime… but for ETERNITY!

Christian… are you “Rejoicing in the Lord ALWAYS?” Just between you & God… ARE YOU? You don’t need to talk to me… you have access to God Himself YOURSELF. Take up His Word. Talk w/ Him. If you’d like some encouragement, that I’d be glad to do with you…

The ball today is in your court. It is in your hands. Jesus died for your sin. The issue is will you repent & trust in Christ?