This is the day that the Lord has made, and we will rejoice and be glad in it!! That sentence is taken from Psalm 118:24. That greeting certainly can apply to everyday that we are given, but the foundation of that greeting is pointing to Jesus the Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life. Here is the portion of that psalm which I am referring to.
118:22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
23 This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.\
24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
The day that is being referred to is the day of Christ, the day everything changed in time as a result of Christ making everything new. Therefore, when we arise to a new day we take those words and their meaning deep into our heart, soul and life, knowing that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus. We do not walk by sight, but we walk by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and that means that we are a child of God by grace through faith.
As we continue our studies in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippian congregation, we find that he is still living a joyful life in spite of his circumstances, or even in his circumstances.
KJV Philippians 1:4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
KJV Philippians 1:18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
KJV Philippians 1:25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
KJV Philippians 1:26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
KJV Philippians 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Paul prayed for them with joy, he rejoiced when the Gospel was preached, he realized that through his ministry those who were blessed would rejoice more abundantly in Christ and told them that they would increase his joy by their being in unity.
Last week we heard that humility is the necessary ingredient of unity in the body of Christ, which is lived out within the body that we are privileged to be a partaker of and participator in. Joy comes to the heart of our Father when there is humility and unity within a fellowship of believers, in the home or in the church. He wrote of having the mind in us which was in Christ Jesus: He then used the illustration of the most selfless person that ever walked the face of the earth: The God Man Jesus the Christ. Through the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote of how God in Christ humbled Himself even to death in order to “taste death for every man.” (Hebrews 2:9)
Then in Philippians 2:9-11 the Word tells us that after His humiliation, God highly exalted Christ and gave Him a name above every other name, that at this Name every knew should bow and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The Holy Spirit has lifted the hearts of the hearers to heavenly heights as He moves them from the humiliation of Christ to His exaltation. As the Apostle John wrote in his epistle, “there is no greater joy than to know that my children walk in truth,” is it not a much greater joy to our Father in heaven when we have come through being humbled by His Word of Truth in repentance and faith, and as a result have been lifted up into heavenly places in Christ Jesus, whereby we praise and thank Him for His love, His mercy and His forgiveness. Remember the joy that was amongst the neighbors, in heaven and in the house of the prodigal son upon the sheep being found, the coin being found and the human being being found. Luke 15.
It is now that the Apostle begins to apply that which he has written to this point. Let us read verses 12-18 and then we will go through the main points in the verses.
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Last Sunday I tried to make a point of how Paul related to his people in a positive manner, always putting the best on their walk in Christ. Note how he says “as ye have always obeyed.” He builds them up by taking it for granted that they have been faithful in their walk in Christ in his absence, before he begins to give them additional direction. He tells them to work out, not work for, their salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in them both to will and to do of His good pleasure
There is a lot in these two verses, but let it suffice for me to give an illustration to shine some light on the fear and trembling first. Is it not like a child who doesn’t know how to swim, so in the water the child is deathly afraid of going under for the water has the last word. That child is deathly afraid of drowning once she has gained an understanding of the power of water.
But isn’t it much different after that same child learns to swim that it now enjoys the water, but yet realizes that the water has the last word. The child respects the water, yes fears the water, but yet enjoys the water. We must never forget that God is God, we are the thankful recipient of his favor towards us, and therefore we praise Him never forgetting that He is God and we are not.
What about God working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure? How does that work for us? Do you and I always feel like doing those things that are pleasing in His sight? Of course, not for we are yet plagued by our old nature which is continually trying to resurrect itself back into dominion. In Romans 6 it is written how we are no longer under the dominion of sin, but now live under grace, as is written in the letter to Titus:
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
God has graced us with a new heart and a new mind which is now programmed to do those things that are pleasing in His sight, but as said earlier, there remains the susceptibility to follow the old portion or the inclinations of the flesh. He now gives some practical teachings.
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
He speaks of doing all things without murmuring or disputings, for being caught up in these will cause breaks in the unity and the harmony. The mindset of the world has always been dark, and as light in his world, as sons of God we shine brighter that darker it gets. Let us remember that Jesus said that “You are the light of the world,” and He did not say, be or try to be the light of the world. That is an important distinction to remember.
Paul again demonstrates that his joy in life does not come from earthly and happy circumstances or situations, but it comes from knowing that they are holding fast to the Word of life, Christ and His Gospel. What else can bring life to one who is dead, but the Wonderful Words of Life that are in Christ Jesus. “Believe your sins forgiven through the Name and Shed Blood of Jesus Christ.” That last thing Paul wanted was that the Word of Life that he had preached would have fallen upon deaf ears or unreceptive hearts. He did not care about himself as he elaborates on in the next verses. He was a bulldog for the gospel, for he cared more about the eternal salvation of the souls of man than anything else, even his own……What did I just write? Please read the following verses….
Acts 20:22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
ESV Romans 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.
17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
Let us note how Paul again demonstrates that he does not care about himself, having the mind of Christ for others. J.o.y. He would gladly go to his physical death if it would be of spiritual benefit to his beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, and in that he would rejoice with them as he went that way. But note that he assumed that same attitude of heart and mind into them, when he spoke of their having the same joy that he possesses. This cannot be overemphasized, as it is the mortar that holds a relationship together: The mortar of love, love which is described in chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians.
May the Lord grow us in the knowledge and experience of what His love has done, is doing and is able to do through us for the benefit of others.
In closing, let us return to the three thesis statements that we made at the beginning of this series through Philippians. J.o.y.
Joy is a reality that is ours through the knowledge that God has reconciled us to Himself through the cross, by His gracious gift we trust in that reality, and even if circumstances change in our lives, our relationship with Him now and forever cannot be shaken.
Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.
Christian joy is shared, it is confident and it is increasing.
May the Lord bless our meditations in the Truth, in Jesus Christ through the power of His Word as revealed by His Spirit.