Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
I. The keynote of the Epistle and of Christian life is CHEERFULNESS. The repetition here, and the enforcement of the same in other Epistles shows us the importance of this duty.
1. If the Philippians neglected or undervalued this duty they have many imitators today. Some professing Christians set their faces against it, and make the best of days the saddest, the best of books the most forbidding, and the best of services the least inviting. Those who take their cue from these, come to regard sourness and sanctity as synonymous. This is a gross and dishonouring perversion of that which was heralded with notes of joy.
2. It is "in the Lord" that we are to be glad. Christ has brought the materials out of which gladness is made — new and happier thoughts, power, purposes, hopes.
3. The advantages are manifold.
(1) To ourselves.
(a) Cheerfulness brings us within the charmed circle of the noblest and brightest spirits. Without this we can never enter into the rapture of psalmists and prophets.
(b) The perception of cheerfulness nourishes the very cheerfulness it sees. The sun not only reveals and makes the beauty and fragrance of the flower.
(2) To others. Nothing breaks down the opposition of men to Christianity like a bright cheering life. It more faithfully represents the true spirit of Christianity. Christ came to make the world glad, and only as we rejoice in and with Him are we true to Him.
4. We are to rejoice alway, which teaches us to cultivate the habit of looking on the bright side, of always being on the look out for compensation, of considering the purposes of difficulties, the lessons of adversity, the Sender of sorrows.
1. In what does this show itself.
(1) In waiving our just rights; not pushing them always to the utmost.
(2) In checking ourselves under provocation: "not returning evil for evil, but contrariwise." This needs large Christian grace.
2. The powerful motive: "the Lord is at hand."
(1) As seeing all.
(2) As soon coming to end our vexations.
III. DEVOUT TRUSTFULNESS.
1. In arguing this (ver. 7), the apostle does not teach us to have no care and let everything drift, but not to be full of care. Whilst we are ordering our affairs with discretion, we must not be over anxious. The Lord is at hand. His Providence will be equal to all emergencies. Do your best, and leave the issue to Him.
2. Let prayer be your antidote to worry. God knows what is best. Submit to His will, thankful for His many mercies. Gratitude is a condition of successful prayer
3. The grand issue — the peace of God.
(1) Its channel — He in whom we have to rejoice.
(2) Its character.
(b) Transcending every effort of the mind to grasp it.
(3) Its effect. To stand sentry and keep guard over the heart and mind.
(J. J. Goadby.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.