have read that he has more of his volumes of sermons on preacher's shelves thanany other preacher in history. He wrote, "The first words of the text show that Paulwas beginning to think of winding up his letter, and the preceding context alsosuggests that. The personal references to Timothy and Epaphroditus would be intheir appropriate place near the close, and the exhortation with which our textbegins is also most fitting there, for it is really the key-note of the letter. How thendoes he come to desert his purpose? The answer is to be found in his next advice, thewarning against the Judaising teachers who were his great antagonists all his life. Areference to them always roused him, and here the vehement exhortation to markthem well and avoid them opens the flood-gates. Forgetting all about his purpose tocome to an end, he pours out his soul in the long and precious passage whichfollows. Not till the next chapter does he get back to his theme in the reiteratedexhortation (iv. 4), 'Rejoice in the Lord alway; again I will say, rejoice.' Thisoutburst is very remarkable, for its vehemence is so unlike the tone of the rest of theletter. That is calm, joyous, bright, but this is stormy and impassioned, full of flashing and scathing words, the sudden thunder-storm breaks in on a mellow,autumn day, but it hurtles past and the sun shines out again, and the air is clearer."3. Spurgeon wrote, " Let this be the end of everything; before you get to the end of it, and when you do get to the end of it, “rejoice in the Lord.” It is incumbent uponus, as Christians, to rise out of our despondencies. Joy should be the normal state of the Christian. What a happy religion is ours in which it is a duty to be happy!“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.” It is your privilege, it is your duty, torejoice in God; — not in your health, your wealth, your children, your prosperity,but in the Lord.” There is the unchanging and unbounded source of joy." "Finally,my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.” But never do it finally, never come to an end of it.Rejoice in the Lord, and yet again rejoice, and yet again rejoice; and as long as youlive, rejoice in the Lord." Elsewhere Spurgeon wrote, "As for joy, if it be not thefirst product of the Spirit of God, it is next to the first, and we may be sure that theorder in which it is placed by the inspired apostle is meant to be instructive. Thefruit of the Spirit is love first, as comprehensive of the rest; then joy arising out of it.It is remarkable that joy should take so eminent a place; it attaineth unto the firstthree, and is but one place lower than the first. Look at it in its high position, and if yon have missed it, or if you have depreciated it, revise your judgment, andendeavor with all your heart to attain to it, for depend upon it this fruit of the Spiritis of the utmost value...and it is brought forth in believers not alike in all, but to allbelievers there is a measure of joy."
rejoice in the Lord!
1. This is an order, or a command, and so it is a duty to rejoice. It is not an optionfor optimists only, but all believers have a duty to be joyful in the Lord. To refuse is