So far in our study we have seen that Growing Christians:
Now as we continue we come to a simple two-word command of the Word of God. "Rejoice evermore." Only two-words, but this verse is loaded with meaning and practical application. A believer that is growing spiritually is someone who is constantly exhibiting joy. If we are a growing Christian we learn to rejoice in all things, and at all times.
I. Definition of the Command. 'Rejoice evermore'
A. "Joy" and "rejoice" are used repeatedly in Scripture to describe the lives of believers.
1. The meaning of Paul's command isn't hard to understand.
2. The Greek word is 'Chairo' and means to "be glad, be full of cheer, to be full of joy."
3. This was also a common greeting among Christians in the days of the early church.
(Matthew 28:9) And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
4. The second word in this verse explains when we are to be glad and full of joy. 5. 'Evermore' means continuous or at all times.
(Philippians 4:4) Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
B. Not equivalent with happiness.
1. Happiness is an emotion based upon circumstances.
2. When a new baby is born into your family, you are happy.
3. When you buy that first home and move in you are happy.
4. When you make that final payment you are even happier.
5. Happiness is based on our circumstances.
6. As long as things go to please us, we are happy.
a. But often we cannot always control our circumstances.
b. Things won't always go our way.
c. In fact, sometimes our circumstances may be exceedingly unhappy.
d. Yet, in either case, happy or not, the growing Christian still experiences joy.
e. His joy is not dependent upon his circumstance.
f. True joy is found in our eternal relationship with God.
(2 Corinthians 6:10) As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
(Acts 5:41) And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
(Acts 16:25) And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
(James 1:2) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
(1 Peter 1:8) Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
(Psalms 32:11) Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. (KJV)
C. Joy is a Fruit of the Holy Spirit.
(Galatians 5:22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
1. Joy is a "fruit" born by the ministry of the Holy Spirit within us.
2. It is the result of God's work in our lives.
3. Lost folks cannot understand this joy, because they do not have the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 14:17) For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
D. Joy is also a choice we make.
1. That's why Paul gives us the command to, "Rejoice evermore!"
2. We can always look at the negative.
3. We can major on our dissatisfaction.
4. We can focus on the circumstances.
5. But God's desire for us is that we choose to focus on the joy that comes from Him.
"…For the joy of the LORD is your strength." - Neh. 8:10b
II. Why We Don't Rejoice Always.
A. First, we may not rejoice because of We Lack Confidence in our Salvation.
1. Some people don't have any joy because they are not really saved.
2. They do not have the Holy Spirit within them producing the fruit of joy.
3. Because they don't have the Spirit, they don't have constant joy.
4. There will be many people like this.
(Matthew 7:21-23) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
B. Second, we may not rejoice because of An Attack from the Enemy.
1. Satan isn't called our adversary for nothing.
2. He is adverse towards us…
3. He wants to rob us of joy and stunt our spiritual growth.
4. He wants to sideline us and make us ineffective in our service to God.
5. He wants to destroy our marriage, steal our children and wreck our life.
(1 Peter 5:8) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
6. What must we do when we are under attack?
a. Stay alert.
b. Stay equipped.
c. Stay close to the Father.
(Ephesians 6:10) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
(James 4:8b) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…
C. Third, we may not rejoice because of A Heart of Unbelief.
(John 8:32) And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
1. Knowing the truth is one thing; believing the truth is another.
2. There are times in even the strongest believer that our faith seems to shrink.
3. Often this follows times of grief and stress.
4. We begin to ask 'Why?' and it is during those spiritual droughts, we lose our joy.
5. What is the answer to those dark times? One word…FAITH
(James 4:7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
D. Fourth, we may not rejoice because of Our Ignorance of Truth.
1. Some believers are not joyful because they do not understand biblical truth.
2. They don't know what all God has done for them and what He promises to them.
3. We have talked about this before…but doctrine is the foundation of our lives.
(1 John 1:4) And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
E. Fifth, we may not rejoice because of An Ungrateful Spirit.
1. Ever know one of those people who are never content? enough is never enough?
2. Some folks never learn to be satisfied.
3. They can't enjoy the blessings they already have because the craving for something else.
4. The source of that ingratitude is pride, the attitude that says you deserve better.
5. But God knows exactly what we need.
(Matthew 6:3`3) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
6. Joy comes from being grateful to God because we don't deserve all that He has already given us!
F. Sixth, we may not rejoice because of Unreal Expectations.
1. I won't spend a lot of time here.
2. But some teach that if we will just serve the Lord He will be obligated to make us healthy and wealthy.
3. They teach that God will shield us from any hardship and that any trouble we face is a result of our own sin.
4. Those are false expectations. God will bless us, yes!
5. But He will also let you face hardship in order to strengthen us and mature us in the faith.
(John 16:33) These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
As we close this evening, let me ask…are we maintaining constant joy in our lives? Are we obedient to this command? This is no less important than any other command we find in the Scripture! Choose to be joyful tonight. Regardless of our circumstances, let's rejoice evermore!