Follow Along

Get new posts by email:

Sunday, July 12, 2020

“I Will Say It Again: Rejoice!” [Matt's Messages]

“I Will Say It Again: Rejoice!”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
July 12, 2020 :: Philippians 4:2-5

By the time the Apostle Paul has reached the last chapter of his letter to the Philippians, he is obviously a little worried that he sounds like a broken record.

Do you know why?

Because he sounds like a broken record!
He sounds like a broken record.
He sounds like a broken record.

Paul has come back again and again to several themes which he is going to touch on once again in this last chapter full of practical application.

But there has been one theme that has been repeated again and again and again and again.

And it’s the theme of...JOY.

Joy, joy, joy, joy, joy, joy.

Paul is a broken record on the theme of joy. Go back over the previous 12 messages in this series and you will see it. Read over the previous 3 chapters in this letter and you will feel it.

Paul is a broken record on the theme of joy. And he knows that, and he owns it. And he thinks we need to hear it yet again.

Our message title for today, “I Will Say It Again: Rejoice!”

Yes, I’m going to go there once more.

“I will say it again: Rejoice!”

There must be a good reason for Paul to repeat himself so often.
There must be a good reason for Paul to repeat himself so often.
There must be a good reason for Paul to repeat himself so often.

Why do we do that?

Why do we repeat ourselves when we are trying to convey something to someone else?

Well, because we want to emphasize it, right?

If you just say something once, it’s easier to miss.
And it’s easier to forget.
And it’s easier to ignore.

But if you say it a second time...
If you say it a third time...
If you say it a fourth time, somebody might just get the message: “This is important.”

“I will say it again: Rejoice!”



Last week, we got all the way through verse 1 of chapter 4 where Paul tells his beloved Philippians, whom he calls his “joy” and his “crown” that they need to stand firm in the Lord.

And he told them how to do it. Follow godly examples and focus on heaven coming to earth.

And so now, starting in verse 2, Paul begins to wrap things up with some concluding exhortations and applications.

In other words, he’s going to tell them how to live.

He’s going to give them some basic practical instruction.

And we all love this part of the book! This is the part our Hide the Word memory verses come from. It’s so encouraging and beautiful and comforting, this section, especially verses 6 through 9.

So we’re going to take the next 3 Sundays, Lord-willing, and soak in these paragraphs. We’re going to slow down and marinate in them and ask the Lord to impress them upon our hearts.

And one thing we’re going to see right away is that as good and beautiful as they sound (and they are!), these commands are actually often difficult to do.

There’s a reason they come at the end of the book. You need the power of the gospel in the first part of this book to empower your obedience to these commands at the end of the book. They only make sense if you have the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ!

We’re going to see that right away.

In this message, I just want to focus on verses 2 through 5, and I want to do it under 3 headings.

#1. BE UNIFIED IN THE LORD.

Listen to Philippians 4, verse 2.

“I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.”

Uh oh! This is like when your Mom calls your name from across the playground!

This is the first time in this letter when people get named who aren’t be held out as an example, at least as a good one.

There are two ladies at the church in Philippi, Paul knows them well, that apparently aren’t getting along with each other.

And Paul calls them out on it by name. Euodia and Synteche.

We don’t know what their tiff was about. It could have been anything. The color of the carpet. Some minor point of doctrine. Or whether or not they ought to ask people to wear masks in church because of the virus. Just kidding. Nobody would ever fight about that, right?!

By the way, I can joke about that here because our church family is not fighting about it. We all may have different opinions, but this church family has been unified the whole time where it counts, and not one person has been rude to anybody else here that I know of. As your pastor, I am so proud of you!

But Euodia and Syntyche were fighting with each other, and Paul was stepping in.

He urges them to fix this thing between them. “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.”

It’s neat how he says the same thing to both of them, isn’t it? He doesn’t take sides. He takes the Lord’s side.

“I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.”

It’s that last phrase that is the most important. He’s not trying to talk them into seeing everything the same. He’s trying to talk them into keeping the main thing the main thing. And the main thing is the Lord.

He’s trying to talk them into living out chapter 2 of Philippians. Remember chapter 2?

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded [same Greek word as “agree” here in verse 2", having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose [same Greek word again]. Do nothing out of selfish ambition [Euodia] or vain conceit [Syntyche], but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus...”

Euodia, put Syntyche first.
Syntyche, put Euodia first.

Be united IN THE LORD.

Do you see how that works?

How are you doing at it?

I love it that we don’t know what they were struggling over. Paul is sure that if they focus on the Lord they have in common, they can get over their fight. Their differences might remain, but they won’t have to tussle over it any longer.

But they might need help. Not every conflict be resolved on your own. Often we need a third party to intervene and mediate and broker peace. Verse 3.

“Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”

Paul asks this guy to step in and help two ladies. He calls him a “loyal yokefellow” or that actually could be his name, “Syzygus.”

I think Heather and should have named one of our boys Syzygus.

If that was his name, Paul was asking him to live up to his name. Be a loyal yokefellow and help these two ladies to get along.

Is there somebody you could ask to help you with a conflict you’re in?

Is there a conflict that you could help someone else in?

Notice how Paul talks about these Christian women. They are obviously important to him. They are his friends. And he calls them his co-workers. His “fellow workers” in the cause of the gospel.

That tells us something about how Paul viewed women and their role in the mission of the church.

Paul was no misogynist. Even if elsewhere he lays out differing roles for men and women in the church, right here he makes it clear that men and women are partners and co-laborers in the work of the church.

He says they have (v.3), “contended at my side in the cause of the gospel.” They were all on the front lines together. Which makes it higher stakes that these two leading ladies are battling one another.

Paul says they are all Christians, their names are in the book of life (Rev 17:8).  They have the Lord in common. Therefore they need to be unified IN THE LORD.

How are you doing at that? Are you getting along with your fellow Christians? Or are you locked in an unending dispute?

It sounds good, but it’s not easy, is it? The key is the last part, “IN THE LORD.”

It’s so important right now because the world is so fractured and fractious, we in the church need to show them a better way.

#2. BE JOYFUL IN THE LORD.

I’ll say it again, “Be joyful in the Lord.” Listen to verse 4.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

Now, Paul has already said this in chapter 3, verse 1. He said, “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!”

Now he comes back and said it again in 4:4.

“Rejoice in the Lord [and then he adds...] always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

One thing that jumped out at me this week as I studied for this message was that Paul commands rejoicing. That means that at least on some level, rejoicing is something we can choose.

There is a decisional, volitional, choosing part of rejoicing.

It doesn’t just come over you.

It isn’t just happiness as in a nice feeling, an emotion that washes over you when things are good.

Joy, at least on some level, is a attitudinal choice.

We can either obey or disobey this command.

Of course, there are parts of it that are out of our control. And rejoicing is not the only things we are called to do.

Remember elsewhere Paul says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:14).

There is a time for everything and whole gamut of heart attitudes that are appropriate to various situations.

But at the same time, Paul says here that we should rejoice ALWAYS.

Always.

And it bears repeating, “I will say it again: Rejoice!”

How are you doing at this one? Don’t miss this one.

 “I will say it again: Rejoice!”

Now, we might be tempted to say, “Oh, that’s easy for Paul to say. He has seen the risen Jesus. And he is an apostle.”

Yes, but he’s also in prison for preaching the gospel.

And also he might be executed soon for preaching the gospel.

That’s the situation for the guy saying, “Hey, don’t forget: Rejoice!”

It’s sounds good (and it is), but it’s not easy.

It’s not so easy right now, is it?

Everybody I know is stressed right now. I don’t know anybody who is carefree.

But Paul is not saying, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

What is the key phrase in this sentence? Same as in verse 2. “Rejoice IN THE LORD always.”

“In the Lord.”

If we go back and think about what we have “in the Lord,” then we realize that we have every reason to rejoice.

It’s easy to forget, so we need reminding. “I’ll say it again: Rejoice!”

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Savior, then it would be hard to rejoice.

I invite anyone listening to this message who is outside of the Lord Jesus right now, to come in to Him and ask Him to come in to your life.

Jesus died on the Cross to bring us to God.

And He came back to life to give us new life forever with Him.

So if you have him, then you have every reason to rejoice.

I don’t care if I sound like a broken record. I will say it again: Rejoice!

#3. BE READY FOR THE LORD.

Be united in the Lord.
Be joyful in the Lord.
Be ready for the Lord.

Because He is coming back soon. Verse 5.

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

Now that word the NIV translates “gentleness” is hard to translate into English.
The ESV, the English Standard Version says, “reasonableness.”
The NAS, the New American Standard says, “forbearing spirit.”
I really like the CSB, the Christian Standard Bible here. It says, “your graciousness.”

You get the picture. It’s that quality that Paul wants them all to have and for Euodia and Syntyche especially to show.

Let your “graciousness” be evident to all.

Let everybody see how other-centered you can be!

You need to get a reputation for gentleness.

Let me ask you a question: Do you have reputation for gentleness?

If there was a page on Wikipedia about you, would it describe you as well known for your reasonable, self-less disposition?

If not, why not?

Again, it sounds good, but it’s actually pretty hard to do. We need help. We need grace!

Paul says that the people on Facebook should know you and me as gracious and forbearing, evident to all. The people in our neighborhood should know you and me as gracious and gentle, evident to all. The people at our workplace should know you and me as gracious and gentle, evident to all.

And Paul gives us a key to doing it if we are struggling. Remember (v.5), “The Lord is near.”

 “The Lord is near.”

Now, that could mean that the Lord is personally near through the Holy Spirit. And that’s totally true, so it’s probably part of what he’s talking about.

The Lord is near to our hearts so He will give us the strength to be gentle with others even the tough customers.

But remember what Paul just got finished reminding them at the end of the last chapter?

“[O]ur citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (3:20-21).

The Lord is near!

His return is very close so that should redirect our attitudes right now.

The Lord is near. So we should live like it.

One way to get ready for the Lord’s return is to act like the Lord right now.

And the Lord has shown us the way. It’s the way of gentleness.

He says that He is “gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29). Different word, similar idea.

So that we can get ready for His soon return by imitating His heart right now and being united in the Lord putting others first.

The fact that “the Lord is near” is reason 10,000 to rejoice in the Lord.

I don’t care if I sound like a broken record.

“I’ll say it again: Rejoice!”


***

Previous Messages in This Series:

0 comments: