(PHIL. 4:4)


1. Joy, rejoicing: a keynote of this letter

2. True, spiritual, lasting joy in Christ

a. Not artificial emotion, but deep & lasting joy

b. Not automatic, but commanded & learned

3. Phil. 4:1-9 Learn how to “rejoice in the Lord” only as learn other lessons in the context

I. Vs. 1 Stand Fast in the Lord

A. “In the Lord:” Obey Gospel, Sins Forgiven–Enter Fellowship with Christ, Rejoice!

B. “Stand Fast:” Always Learn, Grow–Become Stronger, More Steadfast, Rejoice!

1. Firm in battle for the truth (1:27)

2. Firm in battle against false doctrine (3:1, 18-19)

3. Firm in battle against personal temptation (2:15)

C. Lukewarm, Waver, Compromise, Excuses–Miserable!

D. Admonish in Love & Hope–Leads to Joy for Christians at Philippi and for Paul!

II. Vs. 2 Spirit of Unity in the Lord

A. Two Women at Odds, Personal Conflict

1. Conflict, bitterness, alienation grew over time

2. Their souls in danger

3. Peace & unity of the church in danger

4. No joy in bitterness, retaliation, alienation!

B. “Be of the Same Mind in the Lord”

1. Look beyond self & selfish pride to Christ (2:5)

2. Repent, apologize, pray, unite–rejoice!

III. Vs. 3 Work Together in the Gospel

A. God’s Plan: Men & Women United in the Work of the Gospel

1. One work, different roles just as in marriage (1 Tim. 2:12)

2. Women were very active & very effective in the book of Acts: sought the kingdom (1:14),
prophesied (2:17; 21:9), helped establish churches (16:12-15, 40), taught (16:1; 18:24-28)

3. Working together: Paul, a yokefellow, the women, Clement, and others

4. Work together, grow together–rejoice!

B. Some Brethren: Fuss, Fight, Fume–Divide, Dwindle, Die–No Growth, No Success, No Joy!

IV. Vs. 4 Rejoice in the Lord Always

A. “In the Lord:” Proper Relationship with Christ

1. If outside Christ: faith, repent, confess Christ, baptism

2. If fallen away from Christ: repent, confess, pray

3. If faithful to Christ: continue to learn, grow, serve

B. “Rejoice:” True, Spiritual, Lasting Joy

1. All joys of this world shallow, temporal

2. All pleasures of sin deceive, destroy

C. “Alway: & Again:” Focus on Christ Not on Earthly Conditions–He Satisfies the Soul!

D. Murmur, Complain: Disobey Christ–No Joy!

V. Vs. 5 Mature, Well-Balanced Attitude

A. “Moderation:” Noble Generosity & Gentleness, Forbearance & Fairness, Reasonable & Patient

1. “Graciousness with strength & poise of character....the opposite of obstinacy” (A.T. Robertson, Paul’s Joy in Christ, p. 129)

2. No overreact, not thrown off balance

3. “Unto all men:” Poise, patience in all cases

B. Secured by Focus on Christ’s Presence & Promise, Not on Earthly Conditions–Rejoice!

1. Apply to all trials of life: self, family, church, nation

VI. Vs. 6 Draw Near to God in Prayer

A. Pray: Stop Anxious, Fretful, Brooding Care

1. “In every thing:” nothing too large or too small–daily needs, tragedy, persecution, etc.

2. Prayer, supplication, requests: not to inform God, but to draw near & lay our burdens at His feet

3. “With thanksgiving:” in midst of trials, count our blessings not our complaints

4. Exercise faith, hope, love–find peace & joy!

B. Without Prayer, Burdens Heavier–No Joy!

VII. Vs. 7 God Guarding Our Hearts

A. Heart Guarded if Draw Near to God in Prayer

1. “Keep,” “guard:” gives His peace to protect against fear, dread, destructive anxiety

2. “Passeth all understanding:” more & better than we ask (some requests misguided)–

deeper peace, greater security of soul than we can ask or understand

B. Guarded, True Joy Only if in Christ (Rom. 14:17)

C. Guilt, Shame, Fear, Terror in Sin–No True, Lasting Joy!

VIII. Vs. 8 Meditate on Spiritual Things

A. Ideas & Thoughts: Consequences & Conduct

1. Idle mind is Satan’s workshop

2. To defeat Satan, fill mind with all things good and true–when tempted, do not let temptation build a nest in heart

3. Meditate on pornography, fornication, drinking, gambling, etc.–lead to sinful conduct–

guilt, no true, lasting joy!

B. Meditate on Spiritual Things–Right Conduct–Joy!

IX. Vs. 9 Strictly Follow Apostles’ Teaching

A. All Gospel Truth Revealed Through Apostles of Christ

1. Revealed truth from God, not human doctrines (Jn. 16:13; 1 Cor. 14:37)

2. Standard, pattern for us in morals & doctrine (1 Tim. 3:14-15; 2 Tim. 1:13)

3. Direct Statement, Approved Example, or Necessary Implication of Text

4. “Do:” keep on doing, strict & habitual practice

B. True Joy if Strictly Follow the Truth, But Satan Promises Greater Joy in Sin & Error (1 Jn. 1:4)


1. True, spiritual, lasting joy in Christ

2. Darkness, depression, defeat, & death in sin

3. Obey the gospel, go from darkness to light:

a. If never obeyed the gospel: “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

b. If fallen away: “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee” (Acts 8:22)

In Christian love,

Ron Halbrook

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