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I STILL HAVE JOY…

Phil 4:1-9 1. Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, so stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. 2. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. 3. Indeed, true comrade, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5. Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. 9. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you. (From New International Version) Background: Php.4:1 So, then, my brothers, whom I love and yearn for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved. Through this passage breathes the warmth of Paul's affection for his Philippian friends. He loves them and yearns for them. They are his joy and his crown. Those whom he had brought to Christ are his greatest joy when the shadows are closing about him. Any teacher knows what a thrill it is to point at some person who has done well and to be able to say: "That was one of my boys." There are three great commands which Paul gives in the Lord. 1) The Philippians are to stand fast in the Lord. Only with Jesus Christ can a man resist the seductions of temptation and the weakness of cowardice. 2) Paul bids Euodia and Syntyche to agree in the Lord. There can be no unity unless it is in Christ. In ordinary human affairs it repeatedly happens that the most diverse people are held together because they all give allegiance to a great leader. Their loyalty to each other depends entirely on their loyalty to him. Take the leader away, and the whole group would disintegrate into isolated and often warring units. Men can never really love each other until they love Christ. The brotherhood of man is impossible without the lordship of Christ. 3) Paul bids the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord. The one thing all men need to learn about joy is that it has nothing to do with material things or with a man's outward circumstances. It is the simple fact of human experience that a man living in the lap of luxury can be wretched and a man in the depths of poverty can overflow with joy. A man upon whom life has apparently inflicted no blows at all can be gloomily or peevishly discontented and a man upon whom life has inflicted every possible blow can be serenely joyful. Objective: To reaffirm to everyone that each one should dwell in the Joy of the Lord in all circumstances in life and after all each one has been through.

Introduction: The city of Philippi had a checkered history. It was named after Philip of Macedon who seized the city in 358 B.C. from the Thracians. He was the father of Alexander the Great. In 42 B.C. Mark Anthony and Octavius defeated Brutus and Cassius nearby and consequently transformed the Roman Republic (Oligarchy) into the Roman Empire. Later Augustus Caesar made Philippi a Roman colony. It was a principal stop on the great highway. Traders going East or West would come there. Therefore, it was a strategic place for the spread of the Gospel. In the early portion of Paul's second missionary journey, the Lord indicated that He wanted Paul to cross over into Macedonia (Ac.16v9-10), an event which has affected all of our lives in the West. This was the first congregation ever to be established on European soil. Ac.16v6-40 describes Paul's contact with Lydia and the Philippian jailor's household. Paul may have visited them again when he journeyed from Ephesus to Macedonia (Ac.20v1; 2Cor.2v1213; 2Cor.7v5-6). We know that he spent time there that spring (Ac.20v6).

It is ironic that Philippians was written in another prison (in Rome) a decade later. Paul, who supported himself, ordinarily refused to receive a preacher's salary because of a principle (1Cor.9v2; Ac.18v3). However, he did accept encouragement and financial support from the Philippian brethren when he was in Thessalonica (Php.4v16-18) and while in Corinth (2Cor.11v9). Epaphroditus arrived in Rome from Philippi with another offering of love. Epaphroditus nearly died, but recovered (Php.2v25-30; Php.4v18). Paul sent him back to Philippi with this letter and with his heartfelt thanks for their gift. He reassured them that they would be victorious if they had the same attitude of Christ, instead of conceited pride. Php.2v5-11 is a classic passage. Although, strictly speaking, there is no developed single theme, the main thought of Philippians is the all-sufficiency of Christ in any circumstance--good or bad. Christ is the very meaning of life and death (Php.1v20-21). More than a dozen passages exude Paul's joy and confidence. He loved them very much and urged them to persevere.

I. Joy is like... a) Delight to see your first born child. b) Pleasure in a good service given to you in a restaurant. c) Happiness you got from a gift given to you on your birthday. II. Some situations where Joy is not present a) When you’re alone; away from friends or loved ones (verse 1) - Situations in life such as family problems/ personal situations Ex: suicide testimony -Persecution from your very own friends, family and loved ones Ex: disowned/persecuted b) When there is conflict (verse 2) -differences in opinion/principles in life Ex: conflict between co-workers c) When you’re in need (verse 6) - Financial crisis or debts Ex: credit card/2-month leave III. How to Achieve Joy a) HAVE true fellowship, camaraderie or brotherhood (verse 1) -help & encouragement from co-members who loves God Ex: Charlie’s encouragement/ tell about the youth story b) STOP worrying (verse 6) -Just STOP worrying, relax, and hold on to the promises of God through constant prayer. Ex: Just in the nick of time, God just simply provided for the expenses I was worrying about lately; I was so ashamed to question His ability to know and provide for us in time. Be Patient! (verse 5) c) THINK of Good, True, Noble, Right, Pure, Lovely & Honorable (verse 8-9) -Do not pollute your minds & hearts with trash (lies of the devil, problems, etc… Ex: Tell about my Mom’s attitude when she has no money d) ALWAYS, Rejoice! (verse 4) - There is no time frame when or how long a person must be wit JOY…the word said, ALWAYS! Ex: Paul was in prison yet he knows how to be joyful! How about us? Figuratively, we have our prison cells like Paul; can we shout to the whole world that WE STILL HAVE JOY???
CONCLUSION: At times, we tend to focus on the darkness of our surroundings, the problems we encounter, the people who instead of helping us to be better; do things that could hurt us, the disappointments, discouragements, etc.. We forgot about the way we were out of God’s Hands. We may not notice the big difference from being an unbeliever and a believer because life seems unfair. But you see that is the very thing Satan wanted us to think, that we are still losers. He is doing everything to hold us from growing as Christians and stop believing that God is always there to Love us! We are being blinded by the mountains of worries in our lives that make us sad, lonely, pity ourselves and forget about the goodness of God amidst all of these.

Just like the song, I’m Trading…I’M PRESSED BUT NOT CRUSHED, PERSECUTED; NOT ABONDONED, STRUCK DOWN BUT DESTROYED. I’M BLESSED BEYOND THE CURSE FOR HIS PROMISE WILL ENDURE, HIS JOY IS GONNA BE MY STRENGTH! This is what God wants us to put in our hearts…He care for us so much that He is always there to remind us of His LOVE! Look beyond the sunset…God’s Love shines! Additional Info: In his rectorial address to the students of St. Andrews University, J. M. Barrie quoted the immortal letter which Captain Scott of the Antarctic wrote to him, when the chill breath of death was already on his expedition: "We are pegging out in a very comfortless spot.... We are in a desperate state--feet frozen, etc., no fuel, and a long way from food, but it would do your heart good to be in our tent, to hear our songs and our cheery conversation." The secret is this--that happiness depends not on things or on places, but always on persons. If we are with the right person, nothing else matters; and if we are not with the right person, nothing can make up for that absence. The Christian is in the Lord, the greatest of all friends; nothing can separate the Christian from his presence and so nothing can take away his joy.

Sing or read the Song: I've been tested My faith has been tried Satan has attempted to destroy my life He's robbed abused accused and stole He's done everything he could do To conquer my soul I still have joy I still have joy after all I've been through I still have joy Friends have left me They've questioned my faith The good I tried to do Was thrown back in my face The hurt and the pain brought tears to my eyes But God has replaced a blessing For every tear that I've cried I still have peace I still have peace after all I've been through I still have peace I still have His love I still have His love after all I've been through I still have His love After all I've been through after all I've been through I still have joy Today, my brethren, trials and problems are still present in my life. I still have to work and earn a living to help my husband augment our family needs…but it is different now, the table has been turned, I am hopeful compared before. Now, EVEN THOUGH CRISIS ABOUNDS...I STILL HAVE JOY…LIKE WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS, REJOICE! AND I BELIEVE…AMEN!