Philippians is one of the most beloved books in the New Testament. People love to read it, study it, memorize it, and quote it. I suspect this is because it’s the most up-lifting letter that Paul ever wrote. If you were to read his letters, it’s clear that Paul wasn’t always in the best of moods when he wrote them–especially when he had to correct a serious error in the church, such as in 1 Corinthians, Galatians, and Colossians. However, you can tell from the tone of his letter to the Philippians that Paul’s mood was on the upside when he wrote it and as a result, it’s more encouraging than convicting.

A quick read will reveal that joy saturates the pages of this letter, so much so, that it has been called the “Epistle of Excellent Things” and the ”Epistle of Joy.” One commentator writes; “Joy is the music that runs through the epistle, the sunshine that spreads over it. The whole epistle radiates joy and contentment. Joy is very different from happiness. Happiness evokes visions of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, strolling hand in hand with the one you love, or being surprised on your birthday. Happiness is tied to our circumstances. We’re happy when life is easy–when things go according to plan, when the bank account is full, or when the weather is good. Our culture is consumed by the pursuit of happiness. Self-help books, motivational speakers, and social media sites all claim to offer the key to happiness, but for many people the door remains locked. And when their job, relationship, house, (or in the case of Christians, their church) fails to make them happy, they dump it and look for a new one. However, on the merry-go-round of life, they can never quite seem to find what they’re looking for; and having fruitlessly pursued happiness through pleasure and self-gratification, they arrive at the same jaded view of life expressed by the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 1:2; “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

Joy is different. Joy is an attitude–an approach to life, rather than a reaction to it. Running deeper and stronger, joy is a way of looking at, and relating to life that’s not dependent on chance or circumstances. Preacher Charles Swindoll writes that joy is “a positive attitude we choose to express.” It’s not pie in the sky; it doesn’t pretend that life is great. It’s a choice–a matter of attitude that stems from our confidence in God–in who He is. In the belief that no matter what’s happening, God is present, in control, and working. No matter what difficulty, pain, disappointment, failure, rejection, or challenge one is facing, joy remains because of the eternal well-being established by God’s grace and salvation. It’s not surprising then, that joy is an important theme throughout the NT. ‘Chairo,’ the Greek verb ‘rejoice,’ appears 96 times in the NT; and ‘chara,’ the word for ‘joy,’ another 59 times. The two words appear over 16 times in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, culminating in the exhortation in 4:4 to “Rejoice in the Lord always!”

This series will look at the secret of having joy, peace, and contentment, no matter what our circumstances. So that we too, with the help of the Holy Spirit, can, as Paul exhorts us, “Rejoice in the Lord always!” So, open your Bibles and buckle your seat belts this is going to be one amazing joy ride!

SERMONS

Sermon:  Servants & Saints

Preacher: The Rev. Christopher Doering

Date:  Sunday, September 8, 2019

Scripture:  Acts 16:6-40 & Philippians 1:1-2

Handout:  Intro.HO

Sermon:  The Marks of the Christian Life

Preacher: The Rev. Christopher Doering

Date:  Sunday, September 15, 2019

Scripture: Philippians 1:1-11

Handout:  Part2.HO

Sermon:  The Habits of Joyful Living

Preacher: The Rev. Christopher Doering

Date:  Sunday, September 22, 2019

Scripture: Philippians 1:12-30

Handout: Part3.HO

Sermon:  Thew Humble Path To Joy

Preacher: The Rev. Christopher Doering

Date:  Sunday, September 29, 2019

Scripture:  Philippians 2:1-11

Handout:  Part4.HO

Sermon:  How To Maintain A Joyful Heart

Preacher: The Rev. Christopher Doering

Date:  Sunday, October 6, 2019

Scripture:  Philippians 2:12-18

Handout:  Part5.HO