I want to point out a few things we should do to generate (release God's) joy in our Christian lives.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 ESV (16) Rejoice always, (17) pray without ceasing, (18) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (19) Do not quench the Spirit.
Let us note the FOUR elements found in this passage:
The enemy of the demonic, the enemy of the world, and the enemy of our flesh will try to get us down. When our enemies try to discourage us and make us walk in sorrow, then REJOICE! To rejoice is not an act out of the emotion, otherwise we would only rejoice when things are going well. Rejoicing is an act of the will. We rejoice out of obedience, not out of emotion.
As we read and meditate on the Father's promises towards us we make the willful choice to be thankful and to rejoice. We should open our Bibles and read the passages of God's goodness and His promises. Choose to rejoice in God’s love and faithfulness. We should open our songbook or put on some spiritually up-lifting music and sing. Rejoice in God’s love and faithfulness and again I say rejoice. It is a choice and act of obedience.
PRAY WITHOUT CEASING:
Don’t forget to PRAY. Tell God what is going through your head and what you are feeling. He already knows anyway. Ask Him to bring you peace. Ask Him to put His arms of love around you. Ask Him to restore a spirit of joy in your life. Ask Him to restore the joy of HIS salvation.
Psalms 51:12 ESV Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS:
Count your blessings and THANK HIM for them. Remember how good He has been to you. When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings. A grateful heart is a happy heart. Count your blessings and thank Him for them. Know that the trials we walk in are meant to complete our faith and build steadfastness in us, therefore thank God through them all. Remember that what the enemy has purposed for evil and for your destruction, God has purposed for your good and maturity.
DON'T QUENCH THE SPIRIT:
To quench the Holy Spirit means not doing what He wants us to do. It is not doing the right thing in daily disciplines of the faith. It is not being faithful in small things. To grieve the Holy Spirit is the doing of that which we are not to be doing. It would be acts of rebellion against the will of God. So, be open to the leadership of God's Holy Spirit and have a heart ready to obey.
To REJOICE, to PRAY, to GIVE THANKS and don't quench the Spirit, because this is the will of GOD for you.
Closing out the Introduction:
This is the final post introducing the Book of Philippians.
As we leave the introduction notes and begin with the Book of Philippians we are faced with a promise that contains a promise.
The promise is that suffering will come to believers. But in this promise is the promise of assurance that each suffering can be faced by faith with joy in the Holy Spirit. Let's look at the Scriptures on the promise within a promise.
Philippians 1:3-4 ESV I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, (4) always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,
Philippians 2:16-17 ESV holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (17) Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
Philippians 4:4 ESV Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
Philippians 4:11-13 ESV Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. (12) I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. (13) I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Hope: Assurance based on God's Word
Paul makes the argument that those who follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ will have hope. Biblical hope is assurance based on God’s Word. This means that the obedient believer will have ultimate victory on the day of Christ. Therefore, Christian we have reason to rejoice no matter what we face.
Philippians 1:18 ESV What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,
Philippians 3:1 ESV Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
Philippians 4:4 ESV Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
We may hear supposedly well-meaning Christians say, “God helps those who help themselves“. This statement is unscriptural in many ways. The truth is that we can be confident that God does not leave us alone in our Christian walk to struggle, trying to make our way the best we can.
The confidence that we have is that it is God who works in and through us to do His will and to work His good pleasure. Our Christian bookstores are filled with “self-help books.” The so-called “self” of a person cannot live a Christian life. It takes Christ in and through us to live the Christian life.
Philippians 2:13 ESV for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Galatians 2:20-21 ESV I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (21) I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
The Revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ:
In the study of the Book of Philippians we will use a lot of Paul's other writings to verify what he said. In doing so, we are letting the Bible translate the Bible.
One of the joys that Paul embraced is receiving revelation from the Holy Spirit concerning our Lord Jesus Christ and then imparting that revelation to us. That revelation brought about two major changes. The first was joy that came out as a song to sing. The second was a renewed mind and a renewed thought pattern.
According to the Apostle Paul everyone has a song, a hymn, and a spiritual song.
Ephesians 5:19-20 ESV addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, (20) giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Colossians 3:16-17 ESV Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (17) And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Paul brought forth a song or hymn concerning the revelation he received concerning our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the song, in the praise, and in the thanksgiving, we find the object of it all. It is not singing just to sing, or praising out of the zeal of happy emotions, or giving thanks when it is convenient, but doing all of these things from the revelation of who our Lord Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us.
Philippians 2:5-11 ESV Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, (6) who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, (7) but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (8) And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (9) Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, (10) so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Encouraged in your faith:
Paul wanted to encourage the Philippian believers, but what did he want to encourage them in? He wanted to encourage them in their faith. We all have had times that our faith was challenged, questioned, and shaken. Paul knew this and saw an opportunity to encourage others in their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jude 1:20 ESV But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,
Paul was in prison in Rome, which is enough to cause a person to be in great worry and anguish if he did not trust in the Lord. Paul knew also that he was facing execution for his preaching the gospel. He wanted to ensure the Philippian church that he was in peace and rejoicing in his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul was content knowing that the truth of the gospel was going out.
Philippians 1:12-18 ESV (12) I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, (13) so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. (14) And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. (15) Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. (16) The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. (17) The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. (18) What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,
Being in a prison in the first century is much like today in the fact that it carries a certain social stigma. Many shy away from someone who has been in prison or who is currently serving a prison term. But this was not the case with Paul. The Philippian believers had every opportunity to turn their backs on Paul as he sit in that Roman prison. But the believers in Philippi remained friends, true and faithful to Paul.
Have you ever had the joy of leading someone to Christ? Remember the joy as you prayed for and with someone who was calling out on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness, salvation, and a new life? Then the joy of watching that new believer grow up in the things of our Lord into maturity. I tell you there is nothing like it.
We are still setting the introduction of the Book of Philippians before diving into chapter one. I wanted us to see how Paul came about being there are starting the new church and the joy Paul had in seeing that young church mature in the Lord. The group of believers in Philippi may have been Paul’s first converted group in Europe which is recorded in Acts 16:6-40. He had the joy of seeing them come to Christ and then he watched as they grew up in the things of God.
Acts 16:12-13 ESV and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. (13) And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.
It would seem that the woman Lydia was his first convert, who continued to play an important role in the church after Paul left Philippi.
Acts 16:14-15 ESV One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. (15) And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.
However, many times the joy of seeing someone come to Christ is followed by persecution for preaching the Gospel of Christ. Paul and Silas were imprisoned in Philippi for casting out demons from the fortune-telling woman who practiced divination. The imprisoned two were supernaturally delivered and they ended up speaking the gospel message to everyone in the prison including the jailer.
Acts 16:22-23 ESV The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. (23) And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely.
Acts 16:29-32 ESV And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. (30) Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (31) And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." (32) And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.
This proves that if we rejoice even in our darkest hour, God will turn our mourning into dancing and joy.
Psalms 30:11-12 ESV You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, (12) that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Jeremiah 31:13 ESV Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
So let’s look at Philippians and see what it says about joy and rejoicing.
First, before we get to verse one, I want to share a little history about the Book. It was written by the Apostle Paul around 62 to 64 A.D.
The one thing unique about this Book of rejoicing was that Paul wrote it from PRISON. And we think we have problems. Most likely Paul was imprisoned in the city of Rome. He was awaiting to be offered up in death for the sake of the gospel. And we still think that we have problems.
Yet, in light of the fact that he was in a Roman prison looking at a soon earthy departure via of death, his chief theme in Philippians was for the church to be ENCOURAGED and to walk in JOY.
Paul wanted to encourage the Philippians to live out their Christian lives realizing their heavenly citizenship. In doing so he sought for the believers to serve God and serve one another with joy and not with an attitude of murmuring and fault-finding.
Bless someone with the Spirit and fruit of joy this week. Leave them wondering...
Philippians 1:3-5 ESV I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, (4) always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, (5) because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
The Apostle Paul wrote some hard truths in the fourteen books he penned. However, when he wrote to the church of Philippi he spoke a lot about the joy of the Lord and the joy he had in them as a group of believers.
If there is one thing that is needed among the body of Christ today, it is true Biblical joy. When we speak about joy we are not speaking about an emotion although emotions can be involved. Joy is one of the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit more than an emotional feel good list. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the character of God. It is not just what God does but who God is. It is true that God loves us as an emotion, but the reality of love is that God is love an it is a love of action. We would say on our point of view that it is a love that feels good but from God's point of view it is a love that gives a lot. The same is true with joy, peace, faith and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
I recommend that all believers read and reread the Book of Philippians. We are living in a day of discouragement when many believers are walking around with discouraged and offended hearts. If left unchecked these discouraged and offended hearts will become faithless hearts.
The Apostle Paul saw this in the troubled Christian groups at Corinth and Galatia as discouraged and offended hearts caused believers to stray away to false teachings and then walking away from the faith. I see it everyday in the ministry. Believers who once went to God and His Word for answers, now seek answers to their problems from lost ungodly public figures. The joy that once came from the Word and fellowship with God and other believers has been exchanged for false worldly joy that comes from medications, alcohol and worldly behavior.
As we look at the teachings of the Book of Philippians each day we will see that the key theme is “REJOICE”. To battle a discouraged and offended heart Paul saw that the best weapon was our learning to be a joyful people in the Lord. It is not the changing of our circumstances to bring about joy, but the changing of our heart and our mind in how we view and act in and through our circumstances.
In our church services things will never be perfect in our own eyes. The music will always be too loud or too soft, too long or too short, too fast or too slow. The preaching will always be too long or too short, too general or too personal. The church will always be too hot or too cold, to friendly and hugging or not friendly at all. The preacher will either be speaking to much about money and giving or never talk about money or giving. The sermons will never be right because they will either always be evangelistic or never evangelistic. The church will always pray too much or too many times or they don’t pray enough. I stated all this because if we have a discouraged heart or an offended heart we can ALWAYS find something to fault.
But the Father would want us to rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.
Do you want a glad heart?
Do you want your whole person to rejoice?
Do you want your body in safety?
Do you want to know the true path to life?
Do you want to know abundant joy?
Then always keep the Lord before you because He blazes the path we are to walk in.
Psalms 16:8-11 ESV
(8) I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
(9) Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
(10) For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
(11) You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.