Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.…
Joy drives out discord. Our text follows as a remedy upon disagreement (vers. 1-2). Joy helps against the trials of life. Hence it is mentioned as a preparation for the rest of faith (ver. 6).
I. THE GRACE COMMANDED — "Rejoice."
1. It is delightful: our soul's jubilee has come when joy enters.
2. It is demonstrative: it is more than peace: it sparkles, shines, sings. Why should it not? Joy is a bird; let it fly in the open heavens, and its music be heard of all men.
3. It is stimulating, and urges its possessor to brave deeds.
4. It is influential for good. Sinners are attracted to Jesus by the joy of saints. More flies are caught by a spoonful of honey than by a barrel of vinegar.
5. It is contagious. Others are gladdened by our rejoicing.
6. It is commanded. It is not left optional. It is commanded because
(1) It makes us like God.
(2) It is for our profit.
(3) It is good for others.
II. THE JOY DISCRIMINATED.
1. As to the sphere — "In the Lord." That is the sacred circle wherein the Christian's life should always be spent.
2. As to the object.
(1) In the Lord, Father, Son, and Spirit; in the Lord Jesus, crucified, risen, etc.
(2) Not in
(a) temporals, personal, political, pecuniary.
(b) Nor in special privileges, which involve greater responsibility.
(c) Nor even in religious successes (Luke 10:20).
(d) Nor in self and its doings (Philippians 3:3).
III. THE TIME APPOINTED — "Always."
1. When you cannot rejoice in any other, rejoice in God.
2. When you can rejoice in other things, sanctify all with joy in God.
3. When you have not before rejoiced, begin at once.
4. When you have long rejoiced, do not cease for a moment.
5. When others are with you, lead them in this direction.
6. When you are alone, enjoy to the full this rejoicing.
IV. THE EMPHASIS LAID ON THE COMMAND — "Again I say, Rejoice." Paul repeats his exhortation.
1. To show his love to them. He is intensely anxious that they should share his joy.
2. To suggest the difficulty of continual joy. He twice commands, because we are slow to obey.
3. To assert the possibility of it. After second thoughts, he feels that he may fitly repeat the exhortation.
4. To impress the importance of the duty. Whatever else you forget, remember this: Be sure to rejoice.
5. To allow of special personal testimony. "Again I say, rejoice." Paul rejoiced. He was habitually a happy man. This Epistle to the Philippians is peculiarly joyous. Let us look it through.
(1) He sweetens prayer with joy (Philippians 1:4).
(2) He rejoices that Christ is preached (Philippians 1:18).
(3) He wishes to live to gladden the Church (Philippians 1:25).
(4) To see the members likeminded was his joy (Philippians 2:2).
(5) It was his joy that he should not run in vain (Philippians 2:16).
(6) His farewell to them was, "Rejoice in the Lord" (Philippians 3:1).
(7) He speaks of those who rejoice in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:3).
(8) He calls his converts his joy and crown (Philippians 4:1).
(9) He expresses his joy in their kindness (Philippians 4:4, 10, 18).Conclusion: To all our friends let us use this as a blessing: "Rejoice in the Lord."
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.