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Philip. 3:1

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“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.” (KJV)

 It is natural for most people to rejoice when good things happen to them, but the book of Philippians is full of other occasions for praise. For instance, intercessory prayer. Philip. 1:4 says, “I always pray for you, and I make my requests with a heart full of joy” (NLT) Most people are usually too wrapped up in their own problems to remember to pray for others and when they do, it is usually a time of distress, not praise.

 Instead of being bitter at ill treatment, Paul chose to praise God for His Sovereignty.  Philippians 1:18 says, “But whether or not their motives are pure, the fact remains that the message about Christ is being preached, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.” (NLT) Apparently, some people were preaching the gospel from wrong motives. Now that the popular preacher was in jail, others tried to take advantage of the tragedy to advance their own influence and enrich themselves. The Apostle Paul showed extreme maturity in his response to the news. Paul's response was not automatic. He intentionally chose to rejoice.  And so can we. Most people harbor resentment when people wrong them, they don’t rejoice.

 Paul found room for praise as he considered the spiritual immaturity of the people.  In Philippians 1:25 he says, “I am convinced of this, so I will continue with you so that you will grow and experience the joy of your faith.” (NLT)

 Many people have a streak of independence that makes cooperation difficult, yet, Philippians 2:2 says, “Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose.” (NLT) There is joy in work, because of the privilege of working together.

 Most people would prefer a life of comfort instead of choosing to suffer for Christ’s sake.  Philippians 2:17 says, “But even if my life is to be poured out like a drink offering to complete the sacrifice of your faithful service (that is, if I am to die for you), I will rejoice, and I want to share my joy with all of you.” (NLT)

 It is more common for people to “look out for number 1” than to live sacrificial lives.  Philippians 2:28 says, “So I am all the more anxious to send him back to you, for I know you will be glad to see him, and that will lighten all my cares.” (NLT)

 Instead of begrudging the work of hospitality, Paul encourages his readers to rejoice in the work. Philippians 2:29 says, “Welcome him with Christian love and with great joy, and be sure to honor people like him.” (NLT)

 These things aren’t natural, they are supernatural; they can only become the norm for people who are spirit-filled. In our text today, Paul simply asks us to rejoice in the Lord.  Isn't praise natural to the believer?  Is Paul breaking his pattern here?  I don't think so, especially when life resembles the Jerry Springer show than a Norman Rockwell painting.

 In Oregon, Douglas Hildreth was studying to be a teacher until he got hooked on methamphetamines and went on a crime spree that included burglary.

 In the Capital Hill district in SeattleWashington a gunman killed six people before turning the gun on himself.

 At a Springfield Mall, members of the Asian Young and Dangerous gang jumped and beat up two members of the Asian Dragon Family gang.  For retaliation, a member of the ADF gang shot and killed a member of the rival gang and fled to Canada.

 How can we rejoice in the Lord in this depraved world?

 Last November, shoppers brawled at a Florida Wal Mart store over promotional pricing of Computers.

 According to the center for bio ethical reform the lifetime average of abortions per woman is 1.

 How can we rejoice in the Lord in this depraved world?

 How can we rejoice in the Lord when we are standing in this sewage?

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