Apr 15, 2016 Words of Grace – Rejoice
Joy is more than a feeling. It is a necessity. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). We need strength of mind, emotion, and resolve. We need strengthened hope for today and tomorrow. We need strengthened confidence that our past will not come back to condemn us. We need strength to travel on the road of discipleship with Jesus and seek first his kingdom. Joy in the Lord provides this strength.
Philippians 3 begins with “rejoice in the Lord.” To rejoice is to take joy in something and to express that joy. In this chapter we see what the Lord has provided for our rejoicing.
As you read and meditate on Philippians 3 during April, consider these four reasons to rejoice in the Lord.
1. Rejoice that God calls out a people from the world to be his worshipers, and that he provides the way for his people to worship him (verses 1-6).
Humans were made to know the joy of worshiping God. Human rebellion against God has shut down that worship and the joy of it. But God, in mercy, has made the way for us to return to the worship for which we were created and to know the joy of the Lord. That way is by the new birth of the Spirit and the sin-removing cross of Jesus Christ. We repent of our rebellion and trust wholly in Jesus to make us right with God. As A.W. Tozer said, “God makes worshipers out of rebels.” This is a great joy.
2. Rejoice that God grants us right standing with himself and a relationship with his Son, Jesus Christ (verses 7-11).
Just as we were made for the worship of God, we were also made for relationship with his Son, Jesus Christ. Joy comes from the worship of God in all his grandeur and a relationship with the Son in the shared experience of his suffering, death, and resurrection power.
To relate to the Son, we must be made righteous in the Son. We must possess the righteousness of Jesus Christ by virtue of it being granted to us by faith. We then can know the Son in the intimacy of relationship and personal experience. To know the Son is to have joy.
3. Rejoice in the practice of pressing on to know Christ (verses 12-16).
To be made right with God and to be brought into a relationship with his Son provides joy that strengthens us to daily press on in the knowledge of Christ. Joy is strength. Fear is not strength. Guilt is not strength. Joy is strength! Rejoice that by faith you are made right with God and you are in relationship with Christ. In the strength of that joy, press on to know him.
4. Rejoice that your citizenship is in heaven and that Christ your Savior will return for you (verses 17-21).
While this world is filled with fleeting joys, final joy will be found with the return of Christ and the transformation of our bodies to be like his. We will share in the joy of Christ to the fullest extent. For this we eagerly and joyfully wait.
As you meditate on these reasons for rejoicing, I pray that you will be strengthened for a life of following Christ today.
I look forward to seeing you Sunday. Will you join me in prayer for someone in our church today?