Scripture: Philippians 4:4-9
I. If you want to rejoice in the Lord always, you need to be gentle.
A. The church could always rejoice in the Lord (vs. 4). The church could rejoice in who God is and in what He has done and is doing and will do on their behalf. Paul’s command to rejoice in the Lord always was a command that he backed up with his life. After he was beaten with rods and thrown in jail in Philippi according to Acts 16:25: “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
B. The English Standard Version in vs. 5 says, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” The New International Version translates this word as “gentleness.” Gentleness does not mean wimpiness. It means a self-effacing kindness. It is a gentleness that seeks what is best for everyone and not just for yourself. It puts we in front of me. And gentleness leads to joy. Jesus was gentle with people. You must be gentle like Jesus is gentle.
II. If you want to rejoice in the Lord always, you need to be praying.
A. In verse 6 Paul raises the subject of anxiety. When you feel anxious, do you pray? Do you bring your burdens to God? The God we pray to is in control of absolutely everything that I am worried about. He is wise. And He is totally good. When you pray about your anxieties, God gives you something else that brings you joy. Peace (vs. 7). From a human perspective, it’s a peace that makes no sense. It’s a peace then that is supernatural.
B. According to vs. 6, we need to pray with thanksgiving. We not only pray about our anxieties. We also pray with thanksgiving. Why is it so important to thank God? Thanksgiving helps us conquer our worries by answering the why question. Why is this happening to me? When we thank God, we are pointed to the King over all things who never acts purposelessly and whose purposes for us never fail. We thank God that He is at work in us.
III. If you want to rejoice in the Lord always, you need to be thinking and living holy lives.
A. In verse 8 Paul gives us a list of things to think about. These virtues are all things that God approves of. The battle to change any part of our lives starts in our minds. The battle to be holy like God is holy begins with what we think about. Romans 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” It is the holy person who can rejoice in the Lord always.
You can rejoice in the Lord always because God’s Spirit lives in you.
The letter to the Philippians
Commentaries on Philippians by J.A. Motyer, Moises Silva, D.A. Carson & Steven Lawson
Sermon Discussion Questions
1) What is the connection between gentleness and joy? When we cannot rejoice in our circumstances, what can we always rejoice in?
2) Should you feel guilty when you feel anxious? But what should you do when you are anxious? Why is thanksgiving an important part of your prayers when you are anxious?
3) How does what you think about determine how you live? How are holiness and joy related?