Close Menu X

Rejoice in the Lord! (Sermon Recap)

Gospel Partnership Series


In our most recent sermon we reflected on the first part of the first verse of Philippians 3. Paul says, "Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord" (Philippians 3:1 ESV). By looking at this instruction in view of Paul's entire letter to the Philippians, we considered seven lessons about rejoicing in the Lord.

First, rejoicing in the Lord is commanded (Philippians 3:1). Continual (see Philippians 4:4) rejoicing in the Lord is God's will for our life, and anything less represents a deficiency in our spiritual health. We should not despair on account of our deficiencies, but rather take them to the Lord for spiritual healing.

Second, rejoicing in the Lord is to have a joy that is centered in the Lord. First and foremost, this means to rejoice in the Lord as our highest joy (Philippians 3:3-11). But it also means to rejoice in the Lord as the source of every other joy (e.g., Philippians 4:10).

Third, rejoicing in the Lord is closely connected to our joy in the Lord's people. In Philippians 4:1, Paul calls the Philippians "my joy and crown" (Philippians 4:1 ESV). Spiritual rejoicing in one another as fellow Christians is evident throughout the letter (see Philippians 1:8, 2:17-18, 2:25-30, 4:1, 4:10-18).

Fourth, rejoicing in the Lord also includes rejoicing in the Lord's work. In Philippians 1 Paul rejoices because the Lord Jesus Christ is becoming more widely known through the preaching of the gospel (Philippians 1:12-18a). Paul's overall joy is also bound up with Christians maturing in their discipleship and Christ-centered unity (Philippians 1:27–2:2).

Fifth, rejoicing in the Lord is capable of increase and decrease (Philippians 2:2, 2:25-30). Although we ought to have a continual and constant joy in the Lord irrespective of circumstances, our 'joy temperature' should change because we are lovingly involved with the people around us. If our beloved fellow Christians are well, we have an increase in joy; if our beloved fellow Christians are not well, we have a decrease in joy. 

Sixth, rejoicing in the Lord is to be experienced underneath, alongside, through, and over our afflictions, sorrows, and anxious concerns. With eyes and feelings wide open to the difficulties and sufferings of this present life (Philippians 1:12-18a, Philippians 1:27-30, Philippians 2:25-28, Philippians 3:18, Philippians 4:2, Philippians 4:11-13), Paul nevertheless exudes joy and calls us to "rejoice in the Lord."

Seventh, rejoicing in the Lord is strengthened and safeguarded by sound doctrine. After telling the Philippians to rejoice, he tells them to be on the lookout for false teachers (Philippians 3:2). Paul's teaching aims to protect us from spiritual danger, give us a firm foundation of everlasting joy, and enable us to rejoice even in the face of suffering and grief.

Would you rejoice, dear Christian? Well then, put yourself in the path of joy: be devoted to the Lord's people, be diligent in the Lord's work, be drinking in the Lord's book – and in all this, desire the Lord Himself, and delight in Him as your highest joy.

You can read the whole sermon here.