| | Dr. Wayne Splawn
This Sunday we will conclude our sermon series from the book of Philippians. If you have studied Philippians in the past, you may remember that joy is an important theme throughout the letter. That the theme of joy is so prevalent throughout the book of Philippians is somewhat surprising given the challenges Paul and the Philippians faced when Paul penned this powerful letter. Paul was in prison because of his faithfulness to Jesus. The believers in Philippi faced many obstacles from within and without as they attempted to follow Jesus in a world that was hostile to their faith. Yet, in the face of such obstacles, Paul continued to experience joy and repeatedly commanded the Philippians to rejoice.
The past few years have certainly been characterized by significant hardships. We have all tried our best to navigate a world drastically impacted by a pandemic few of us could have seen coming. And some people in our fellowship have endured much sickness and great loss during this time. There have likely been many days when it has been hard for you to find a reason to rejoice.
However, Paul’s letter to the Philippians is a powerful reminder that we always have reason to rejoice. No matter what comes our way, we can be confident that we will never be separated from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord and that God is present and will provide for our every need. This does not mean that we should minimize the pain or sorrow we feel when trouble and hardship come our way. But it does mean that even in the face of death, we have reason to rejoice because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians, we can grieve as those who have hope because of Christ's resurrection.
I join with the Apostle Paul in encouraging you to rejoice in the Lord today. Praise God for the truth that he has met your deepest need through Jesus Christ and that nothing will ever separate you from his love. Ask the Lord to show you how even the most difficult circumstances you face might provide an opportunity for you to help others see the hope of the gospel through your witness. Because of Jesus, we always have a reason to rejoice.