Sunday, 08 August 1999 00:00

Rejoice! And Again I Say Rejoice!

Philippians 4:4-5 (KJV)

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Verse four ("Rejoice in the Lord always") is a very familiar verse to most Christians. However, verse five ("Let your moderation be known to all men") is just as important as verse four.

In verse four we have joy as our aim. In verse five we have joy applied. In verse four I am asked to look to my Lord. In verse five I am asked to be like my Lord.

  1. Joy Felt Within... "Rejoic in the Lord always: and again, I say, Rejoice" (v.4)
    G.K. Chesterton once said, "Joy is the gigantic secret of the Christian." The ability of the Christian to rejoice (an inner sense of contentment and satisfaction), regardless of his circumstances, is something that the person without Christ can only dream about.
    1. It is a joy built on truth... "Rejoice in the Lord."
      A lot man can be happy. However, he will build his happiness on experiences. Those without Christ seek joy in money, hobbies, work, drink, friends, drugs, etc. To rejoice in the Lord means you come to an understanding of who you are—a sinner; and you come to an understanding of who God is—a fried to sinners. He brings joy.
      "Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling." (Augustus Toplady)
    2. It is a joy that continues through trial... "Rejoice in the Lord always"
      This is the difference between the happiness of a lost person and the joy of the Christian. The Christian understands that he serves a Sovereign God who providentially reigns. "And we know that all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28).
    3. It is a joy that will be tested... "and again, I say, Rejoice" (v.4).
      A great teacher will always prepare his students well for the test. Paul is such a teacher. He has already said "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord" (3:1). He's preparing us.  "Until you discover the joy found in Christ, Christ will uncover all your hidden joys."
  2. Joy Expressed Without... "Let your moderation be known unto all men" (v.5).
    This verse is either an expression of the joy within or a condition for the joy within. In other words, without the Christian applying the words of this injunction, there is no real joy. Lloyd-Jones said, "You cannot have true joy in the Lord if you are wrong on this point."
    1. Moderation is the way you are to relate with others... "unto all men."
      It is translated "gentleness," "forbearance," and "patience." I like "sweet reasonableness."
      1. You are not easily offended. This would apply to Euodias and Syntyche (v.2).
      2. You actively and positively consider others. Take the edge off harsh behavior by explaining to yourself and others reasons for their behaviour. "I understand."
      3. You do this with a spirit of cheerfulness... because you don't depend upon them.
    2. Moderation is to be shown, not hidden... "let your moderation be known..."
      Often we will agree to a principle in private, and even voice our agreement, but the test comes not when you say you agree, but when you show your agreement to others.
    3. Moderation is possible because Christ is coming.
      God is the judge of the human heart. You may be mistreated and abused by others. God will set the matter straight. Spurgeon was known as a "soft-Willie" by thieves who took advantage of his charity. When asked about this, Spurgeon said, "God knows."

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