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Joy and Generosity. Philippians 4:4-5

07/06/2020

Joy and Generosity

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Opening Prayer.

Praise, Psalm 37:3-7 Tune: Denfield

3 Set thou thy trust upon the Lord, and be thou doing good;  And so thou in the land shalt dwell, and verily have food.

4 Delight thyself in God; he’ll give thine heart’s desire to thee. 5 Thy way to God commit, him trust, it bring to pass shall he.

6 And, like unto the light, he shall thy righteousness display; And he thy judgment shall bring forth like noon-tide of the day.

7 Rest in the Lord, and patiently wait for him: do not fret For him who, prosp’ring in his way, success in sin doth get.      (Scottish Metrical Psalms)

Bible Reading Philippians 4:2-5

Prayer.

Joy and Generosity of Spirit

Philippians 4:4-5 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Paul goes on to encourage the believers to develop a Christlikeness, especially two distinctive Christian character traits, traits that will challenge our understanding of our relationships with God and with our neighbours:

1 A Christian Will Have a Deep Inner Joy!  Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

When writing to the Philippians Paul had every reason to complain.  He was in prison, – in LOCKDOWN – awaiting execution, bound and chained.  He should be pretty down just now, but yet he says REJOICE! If a man in Paul’s circumstances could rejoice so can the Philippians, whatever life’s circumstances might be. And so can we. Even in these difficult days, when we’ve been restricted in our movements and our social circumstances. But what does the word REJOICE really mean? A deep down sense of well-being, understanding that our sins are forgiven and our fellowship with our Creator is restored.  So let’s think about:-

  • The wellspring of Christian joy.  We are to rejoice IN THE LORD.  Luke 10:20 … That’s the source of our inward joy, our personal relationship with Jesus, the factual aspect of our faith, that Christ died for sinners and that he has given us new life.  That’s joy – that’s how we rise above our circumstances, too.  By focusing our minds upon Christ, rather than the world around us.  Psalm 37:4,
  • The strength of Christian joy.   Nehemiah 8:10  … Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” We certainly will need spiritual strength, to get us through, especially in times of sorrow and trial. Deep Christian joy that comes from the Lord’s presence strengthens us in the face of adversity!
  • The obligation of Christian joy. Paul issues an instruction, Do this, REJOICE IN THE LORD. At the same time, joy is one of the ‘Fruits of the Spirit’ in Galatians, evidence of Christian growth and sanctification, evidence that the Holy Spirit is doing his work in moulding our character to be more Christlike.
  • The persistence of Christian joy. We are to rejoice ALWAYS! Not just when we feel like it!
  • The surprise of Christian joy! Commentators differ in what Paul repeated this command.  Why he tells the Philippians twice to rejoice in the Lord.  Perhaps it was an exclamation, “rejoice – REJOICE!!!”  GO ON – DO IT!

So, whatever our circumstances, Paul says Rejoice, REJOICE!

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2 A Christian Will Have a Good Attitude Toward Others!  Let your gentleness be known to all men.

Now when I read this in the NKJV I was immediately struck by the difference between this translation and the AV.  It seems that the Greek word Paul uses here has no single English equivalent. I still think the AV might be the closest to the real meaning of the word ‘to epieikes’ it encompasses everything involved in having a good attitude towards other people.

 

3 Our Motivation for Joy and Grace.  The Lord is at hand. The reason for our Rejoicing and the motivation for our gracious attitude towards others is that, the Lord is at hand.

  • We know that our circumstances won’t last forever, for the Lord is at hand!
  • We know that our foes and enemies will be defeated, for the Lord is at hand!
  • We know that we shall not be ashamed when we meet him, for we shall be overcomers!
  • We know that our patience under trial will be rewarded.

All of these great facts will spur us on, create joy in our hearts, and moderate our actions towards others. So, what ever our circumstances might be today, rejoice in the Lord always, and again, REJOICE, and let your gentleness and moderation be known to all people!

© BobMcEvoy  June 2020

Prayer and Benediction

Please remember that all our meetings remain cancelled until medical authorities and government advise otherwise.

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