Jeff Purswell preached today at Grace Church. I had no doubt at all that he would deliver a fantastic message, and I got no less of what I suspected. He is the Pastor that is responsible for pastor care and helping pastors in the Pastors College. Well, let's get to the message:
Phillipians 4: 4-7: "4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
The First thing I see is that Christians are to be joyful, when? Always. Does that mean through trials and hardships? Yes. Paul seems pretty pitiless, doesn't he? But remember this: Paul went through trials just as hard as we have it. He actually had people hunting him because of his work to spread the Gospel. We Rejoice in the Lord, at all times. It can be easy to Rejoice in happiness when things go for you, but not always when it seems to go against you. In hardships, we Rejoice in the Gospel, because it promises us that we will not be forever in pain. And, though it is hard, Even in Suffering, remember that we have FAR more than we should or deserve. In the midst of wrong doing done to you, a Christian should be loving and easy, as well as gentle, and they must show it to all. I believe that is what Paul is getting at in the first sentence of verse five. Then the end of verse five links to first six. The Lord is near and with you in times of trouble, so do not be anxious to do the wrong thing, or to believe in a falsehood that sounds real.
Verse seven is a really comforting one: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. That's a very strong reassurance.