Just as a car needs gas, a fish needs water, a plant needs soil, and a human needs oxygen, a believer needs joy. The call to joy is not a mere suggestion or a neat idea; it’s a biblical imperative. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Joy animates our lives, stirs up our passions, smoothens our dispositions, and causes us to seriously rethink our priorities. The believer’s joy is an outward sign of inward change, and ultimately all that Christianity teaches through its doctrines and encourages through its command should produce joy in the heart of the believer. Not having joy is not an issue to be ignored or taken lightly. A failure to express authentic joy is a serious symptom of a spiritual illness in the life of a believer.
Joy makes the difference in how we live out our faith and relate the world. Joy takes obstacles and sees opportunities; joy interprets barriers as stepping stones; joy changes us from seeing difficult people as annoying pest to divine appointment; joy considers a financial hardship as a chance to witness God display his power; joy can see a hardened criminal as a witnessing opportunity; joy can transform poor thinking into a powerful testimony; joy can make us appreciate our burdens as blessings; joy can turn a bitter complaint into a genuine prayer request; joy can believe God to change a mountain to a molehill; joy will make us see our sorrowful setbacks as sovereign setups.
This transforming, infectious joy does not just envelope our persons, but it can serve as a powerful ministry tool to those around us. The gospel witness of a joyful person can help create a joyful home. A joyful home can help inspire a joyful community. A joyful community can help build a joyful city. A joyful city can led to a joyful state. A joyful state can lead to a joyful region. A joyful region can lead to a joyful country. And a joyful country can build a joyful world. God desires to use the Christ-derived, overflowing joy in our lives as a testimony to transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
Exegetical Idea: Paul rejoiced in the work that God did through and in the Philippians believers.
Proposition: Paul teaches us that Joy makes the difference in our relationship to God and within Christian community.
I. Joy makes the difference in your prayer. Vs. 3-4
a. You can have joy in calamity.
b. You can have joy in conflict.
II. Joy makes the difference in our partnership. Vs. 5
III. Joy makes the difference in perseverance. Vs. 6
a. God started a work in you. Vs.6
b. God will complete a work in you. Vs.6
c. God is not a quitter or a loser. Vs.6
IV. Joy makes the difference in the promotion of the gospel. Vs. 7-8