Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Therefore, Rejoice in Them because They will Provide Opportunity for the Advancement of the Gospel, Part 1

Scripture: Philippians 4:4-6
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Insights: Verse four and six are taken out of context more than most verses in the Bible.  We sing songs about rejoicing in the Lord straight from this verse and there is nothing theologically wrong with rejoicing in the Lord.  We also pray about all kinds of situations and tell others we ought not to worry but to present our requests to God.  Again, there is nothing wrong theologically with that statement.  The reason I am overstating these concepts is because when we read the Bible, we need to do so in the context of the passage.  We can’t just take verses out of there context and make them apply to whatever whim or fancy we have.  Verse four through six come right after the verses we looked at yesterday regarding the conflict in the church of Philippi.  Paul told these Believers to rejoice in the Lord always.  In other words, even in the midst of conflict.  Verse five gives us the answer as to why Paul would have told these Believers such a truth.  The answer is because the way we handle conflict can be evangelistic in nature.  As we learned yesterday, conflict and disagreements are going to happen in the church.  We, however, do not deal with our conflicts in the same way the lost world does.  This past week we saw the deplorably tragic murdering of elementary school children and that picture is the way the lost world deals with conflict.  All one has to do is turn on the news and every other story is about some kind of violence.  Yet, Paul told these Believers to let their gentle spirit be known to ALL men.  Here is what ought to happen: The lost world is going to know about the churches struggles and difficulties because people talk.  It is just human nature and lost people are going to find out when there is a problem.  If the Believers are, by God’s grace, able to reconcile and be brought back to that harmonious relationship with which Paul wrote about in verse one through three, then the lost world says, “Hey, I need whatever it is they have!  Because my fights don’t end up like that.”  Our conflicts and disagreements become evangelistic if we will surrender ourselves to Jesus.  If we do, then we have reason to rejoice!

  1. Are you able to rejoice in the Lord during times of conflict?
  2. Are you displaying the gentle spirit of the Lord in your life during the conflict?
Prayer: Father, the lost world is watching Your children.  May we display that gentle spirit and proclaim the gospel of Jesus to those who are observing the way we handle our disputes.  Amen. 

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