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Rejoice when Raining

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Choosing to go on the offensive by rejoicing in the midst of hardship is the single greatest defense from the things that make us turn away from God.

TRANS - We all face difficulties, hardships, and trials.
When that happens, Scripture tells us how to respond.
Some hide, some fight, some run, some pretend they are okay, some turn to substances.
INTRO - This morning we are celebrating what God has done and is doing.
If you came in with troubles, problems, down or discouraged, the good news is that Scripture provides exactly what you need.
And, that is where we are going today.
EST - Paul tells people who find it impossible to stop grumbling and complaining to “rejoice.”
ESS - Our message will describe the way to back to joy.
OSS - We will end with a call to respond to the privilege of joyfully working together.

What does it say?

Philippians 3:1 ESV
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
It is normal to rejoice during the good times.
But, the book of Philippians includes other reasons to praise.

Rejoicing When Praying is Hard

For example, when praying for others:
Philippians 1:4 ESV
always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,
Most people are too wrapped up in themselves to remember to pray for others.
Too often, when praying for others, it’s during a time of distress instead of praise.
Paul had reason to be bitter, yet chose to praise God for His Sovereignty:
Philippians 1:18 ESV
What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,
There were those preaching with wrong motives.
With Paul in jail, others tried to take advantage of the situation for their own agenda.
Paul responded to that news by intentionally rejoicing.
We can too.
TRANS - Okay, so we honor Jesus when praying for others, especially when its difficult to do so.
What about when people really get to us?

Rejoicing When People Make it Hard

Most people harbor resentment when wronged by others; they don’t rejoice.
“He done me wrong..”
And then comes the sin of telling everyone about it (gossip, or worse slander).
Paul knew their spiritual immaturity and still found room to praise:
Philippians 1:25 ESV
Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,
Lots of folks have a streak of independence that makes cooperation difficult.
Paul’s prescription:
Philippians 2:2 ESV
complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
The way back to joy is working with one another.
Most rather have the life of comfort instead of choosing to suffer for Christ.
But, what does the Bible say:
Philippians 2:17 ESV
Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
It is common to see people looking out for themselves than to live sacrificial lives.
The Bible speaks to this also:
Philippians 2:28 ESV
I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious.
Instead of griping about working with others, Paul says rejoice in the work:
Philippians 2:29 ESV
So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men,
This stuff is not natural, it is supernatural.
Joy working with one anther happens when we are spirit-filled.
TRANS - So we’ve noted the need to rejoice when praying, to rejoice when working with others.
Let’s turn our attention now toward rejoicing when the world is such a mess.

Rejoicing When the World is a Mess

In our text, Paul asks us to rejoice in the Lord.
But, isn’t that normal for a believer?
Is Paul doing something strange here?
Nope, don’t think so.
Not when life looks more like a Jerry Springer show instead of a Norman Rockwell painting.
Consider some of the events from this year.
January 20–22 – USA federal government shutdown as a result of a dispute over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
February 14 - A school shooting occurs at High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring 17
March 23 – An Islamic terrorist attack in France, kills five people.
April 8 – At least 70 people are reported to have died and hundreds suffering injuries after a sarin chemical attack in Syria.
May 25 - Repeal the ban on abortion in Ireland takes place.
June 16 – Seventeen people die in Venezuela after a tear gas canister is detonated in a crowded club.
That’s just the first 6 months!
How can we rejoice in the Lord is this depraved world?
How can we rejoice when we stand in such sewage?
All our cultural problems prove this Scripture is accurate when it teaches the depravity of man.
Society may say people are good, and left to themselves, will improve over time.
But, the Bible says that humanity is totally depraved and so does our life experience.
The Psalmist says:
Psalm 7:14 ESV
Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies.
We read in Proverbs:
Proverbs 20:9 ESV
Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”?
The wisdom of Ecclesiastes says:
Ecclesiastes 7:20 ESV
Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
Anyone ever have to teach a child how to disobey or do wrong?
Of course not; its already built in to all of us.
Sometimes it’s not society, but our own problems that break our heart.
When comes personal crisis, it can be difficult to praise the Lord.
Financial problems make it difficult.
Children make bad choices, and that makes it hard.
It’s not easy to rejoice when health take a turn to the worse.
When parents won’t listen, its hard for kids when parents don’t seem to understand, for them to praise the Lord.
It’s natural to become discouraged, but Paul says “rejoice!”
So does James:
James 1:2–4 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
“All joy?”
Many say “Give me a break” when hearing this verse.
Does James really think trials are joyful?
Well, that is what he wrote.
He didn’t say, “Consider yourself lucky, or don’t trials make you happy?”
He wrote, “Consider it all joy.”
There is a difference.
Joy is calmness that we experience in the storm.
Joy is a delight that still our heart and anchors the soul.
Why can you have “calm delight” when trials come?
Ultimately we rejoice because we know that Christ is our great conqueror.
1 Corinthians 15:52 The Message
You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed.
Our reason for praise is ultimate, but it is also immediate.
We rejoice because Jesus is our shelter and deliverer.
That is why the Psalmist David cried out:
Psalm 35:9 NLT
Then I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be glad because he rescues me.
Also in the Psalms:
Psalm 64:10 ESV
Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult!
That is why barren Hannah could pray:
1 Samuel 2:1 HCSB
Hannah prayed: My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is lifted up by the Lord. My mouth boasts over my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.
It is why Isaiah could pronounce:
Isaiah 61:10 NLT
I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels.
By His grace, Paul declares that Christ has elevated us to the heavenly places:
Ephesians 2:6 KJV 1900
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Paul writes, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord!”
Easy for him to say, right?
When he wrote the book, the Apostle Paul sat under house arrest.
His chains restricted his public ministry.
Yes, our feet are in the world, with all its problems and depravity, bu:
Our spirit soars into the heavenly places when we Praise the Lord!
Jesus sent His disciples out to witness.
They came back.
They were so thrilled.
They said, “Jesus, even the demons were subject to us in Your name.”
And Jesus said, “Don’t rejoice in this. Rejoice that your name is written in heaven.”
Is yours written in heaven?

Invitation

Every head bow.
Don’t gather your books.
Don’t look around.
If you already know Jesus, begin to pray for those in this service who may not know Him.
Pray: O God, in Jesus name I pray that if someone here todays does not know Jesus and have their name written in heaven so they can have real joy, Lord help them right now to receive Christ.
Now if you need Jesus, and want to be saved, and are not sure you are a child of God, would you pray:
“Lord Jesus I need you. I want to trust you. I want my life connected to your life.
I want to be connected to you like a vine to a branch.
I want your life to flow into me and I want my life to be lived for You.
Thank you for dying for me.
Thank you for paying for my sins.
I’m putting my trust in you.
Please save me.
Right now, at this moment, like a little child, I trust you. I believe on you as my Lord and my Savior.
Come into my heart.
Forgive my sin.
Save me.
Thank you for saving me.
I receive it by faith.
You purchased it with your blood.
I receive it.
I am forgiven.
I am saved.
I am Your child.
Lord, pour your life into mine and make mw what you want me to be.
Thank you Jesus.
Help me never be ashamed of You.
In your name I pray, Amen.
(end)
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