#202 – REJOICE IN THE LORD (29/9/20)
Why does knowing that God is near help you to be gentle with other people?
What we fill our hearts with has a massive impact on our relationships. If we are gripped with fear, lust, jealousy, pride… this will be reflected in our controlling, lecherous, harsh…treatment or thoughts of others. However, when we understand that God has loved us when we were powerless, distant and sinful; when we understand that He is near in His loving presence, our relationships will be loving. We read,
‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.’ (Philippians 4:4-5)
Rejoice in the lord
Rejoicing in the Lord is not about feelings. Rejoicing is about remembering who God is and considering His goodness toward us particularly in reference to the cross. It’s to be done ‘always’; there are no circumstances that rob God of His worth and trustworthiness. In fact, it’s in the dark times that we really need to rejoice! It’s our rejoicing in the dark times that show that we really do rejoice in the Lord rather than our circumstances!
The Lord is near
If we don’t know and experience the Lord’s nearness, we become vulnerable to relational breakdown. The Father’s presence frees us to trust in His work in this or that situation rather than rely on our ability to control.
Let your gentleness be evident to all
Our relationships are to be marked by ‘gentleness’. Our culture speaks of pride, being ‘sassy’, fierce, independent, confrontational… but God wants you to be gentle. Those who ‘rejoice in the Lord’, who know that ‘He is near’ will be gentle.
Gentleness is to be mild, moderate and reasonable. It’s to be willing to give way to another’s will or opinion. Dane Ortlund explains it as ‘not being trigger happy’.
Notice how Paul repeats himself in encouraging us to rejoice in the Lord. God knows that this is vital and that we are prone to distraction. The devil knows that if he can keep us distracted from worship, all of our relationships will become unharmonious. How are you going to rejoice in the Lord?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - MAKE PEACE YOUR GUARDIAN THROUGH PRAYER
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
When have you felt most peaceful and why was this the case?
Introduction - please share in your group
On Sunday, and during this week’s devotionals, we are considering how we can experience the peace of God in all circumstances.
Firstly, Paul shows us that we are all prone to losing peace in our relationships. He encourages two leading women in the church to work out their difficulties,
‘I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.(Philippians 4:2-3)
Secondly, Paul talks more broadly about how we can make peace our guardian through joyful prayer. He writes,
‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:4-7)
As we choose worship, prayer and thanks as we are assaulted with anxiety, we will enjoy peace with God, peace in our relationships and inner tranquility that defies logic.
Discuss in your group
(Choose which questions to cover based on the time you have)
1. What does it mean to ‘rejoice in the Lord’ and why does Paul repeat this? (4:4)
2. How does knowing that ‘the Lord is near’ (4:5) help us to be gentle and less anxious?
2. We are encouraged to bring everything to the Father in prayer (4:6). How could one cultivate this habit?
2. What is the peace of God that we are promised as a guard? (4:7)
Discuss/share/pray in smaller groups:
1. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about (maybe from Sunday's message or your bible reading this week)?
2. What will you do in response?
3. How can we pray for you?
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