Rejoicing: Every Year, Every Season



  • What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Rejoice”
  • That one brother that just comes up and says, “Rejoice in the Lord”
  • Sometimes, I just don’t want to be happy. I like my pity parties.
  • Things are rough, you can’t convince me otherwise, and I’m just going to go on in my grumpiness.
  • Sometimes I can even get a bit cynical when someone uses the phrase, rejoice in the Lord! “Rejoice in the Lord brother”
  • Go take your rejoicing somewhere else…too honest?
  • I don’t even want to do that if it means sounding like a plastic, phony Christian. Do you even know what it means to rejoice?


  • I know some of y’all, you might as not talk with some people in this room until after their seventh shot of espresso.
  • You’ve heard it, you know it, but can you do it?
  • What does it mean to rejoice in the Lord?
  • Ready, set, rejoice… what would you do


  • But then God’s word got me thinking, he tells me to rejoice in him. And if he tells me to, it must be a good thing, and it must be important, and it must also be possible.
  • God calls us into a life of Rejoicing, it’s possible
  • God calls us to be happy in Him, it’s available
  • Joy is blocked when we
    • choose not to be happy
    • do not find our happiness in the Lord
    • allow ourselves to live in contention with others
    • do not cast our cares upon the Lord
    • do not fill our hearts and minds with goodness and truth
    • do not follow the example of joyful people
  • Goals for today
    • Make rejoicing simple: What is it? How do we do it?
    • Can I rejoice and be sad at the same time?
    • Does God want us to be happy?
    • Is rejoicing disconnected from reality?

Text: Philippians 4:1-9

1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

5 Let your moderation be known unto all men.

The Lord is at hand.

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Seven ways we live a joyful life

  • vs.1 - Stand fast in the Lord
  • vs.3 - collaborate with others in the Gospel
  • vs.4 - Rejoice in the Lord
  • vs.5 - Be gentle with all before the Lord
  • vs.6 - Be anxious for nothing, praying about everything
  • vs.8 - Fill your heart with goodness and truth
  • vs.9 - Follow the example of joyful, faith-filled people


Does God want you to be happy?

  • The elephant in the room…
  • Happiness has gotten a bad rap in Baptist Churches
  • Some things that have been commonly said that might not be particularly helpful:

“God doesn’t want you to be happy, he wants you to be holy.”

  • There’s a kernel that is instructive
    • God certainly desires our holiness - “Be ye holy, for I am holy” - 1 Peter 1:15-16
    • he calls us to be holy, set apart from sin, set apart to Him.
    • Often means removal of things that made us “happy”
  • However, it’s a weak statement b/c:
    • It sets happiness and holiness at odds (they aren’t).
    • It ignores the fact that happiness is commanded too!
    • When we heed God’s call to holiness, we also find happiness in the right things
    • Living in Holiness gives us a taste for things that are truly valuable, truly sweet, truly wonderful. Sin and the trinkets that the world offers are revealed for what they are. Deeply unsatisfying, joy-sucking, leaches.

“Joy and happiness aren’t the same thing, joy is enduring, happiness is circumstantial.”

  • I think this is well-intended, but maybe unhelpful distinction
    • It comes from a place of reacting to statements like “Do what makes you happy”
    • Or it comes from the desire to help people find hope in difficult days
  • Here’s why I find it unhelpful
    • It makes joy something spiritual and happiness unspiritual (avoided)
    • It mystifies Joy, if Joy isn’t happiness, then it must not feel happy.
    • Joy, rejoicing, happy, glad, all come form the same family!
    • Looking at rejoicing, does that sound happy?
  • When we get ahold of the present and eternal circumstances of the Christian, we can be quite happy, even in difficult days.

There are 2,700 Scripture passages where words such as joy, happiness, gladness, merriment, pleasure, celebration, cheer, laughter, delight, jubilation, feasting, exultation, and celebration are used. Throw in the words blessed and blessing, which often connote happiness, and the number increases.

God is clear that seeking happiness —or joy, gladness, delight, or pleasure [Or rejoicing] —through sin is wrong and fruitless.

But seeking happiness in him is good and right.

Psalm 144:15

Happy is that people, that is in such a case: Yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

Proverbs 3:13

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, And the man that getteth understanding.

Proverbs 14:21 21 He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: But he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

John 13:17

17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

1 Peter 3:14, 4:14

3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

God calls us to rejoicing - What is it?

Phil 4:4 - Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

The fact that “rejoice” is followed by “always” and is repeated (“again I say rejoice”) makes it one of the most emphatic directives in Scripture. If our lives are not characterized by rejoicing, or if we’ve given up on happiness, we’re missing out on what God intends for us. We must go to him and ask for his help and empowerment to find joy in him.

Commenting on this verse, Spurgeon said, “It is intended that we should be happy. That is the meaning . . . that we should be cheerful.”

Randy Alcorn in Happiness

Dictionary Definitions

  • Bible Sense Lexicon - Rejoice: Be cheerful, feel happiness or joy
  • Websters 1828 Dictionary - To experience joy and gladness in a high degree; to be exhilarated with lively and pleasurable sensations; to exult. To make joyful; to gladden; to animate with lively pleasurable sensations; to exhilarate.

Pleasure is a word that seems a bit strange to use in a scriptural context, but there it is!

Ps 16:11 -Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Rejoicing is throughout the Bible

  • “Rejoice,” “Rejoicing,” or “Rejoiceth” - 285 results in 265 verses
    • Early Reference: Leviticus 23:40 - And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days.
    • Rejoicing about generosity - 1 Chron 29:9
    • Rejoicing with music - 2 Chron 23:13
    • Rejoicing in victory - 2 Chron 23:21
      • For Israel it was apparent
      • It was natural
      • Our enemies are gone, we won, let’s throw a party.
    • Rejoicing is often loud, so loud that far off from Jerusalem, people heard their joy - Neh 12:43
    • “Rejoicing” often is accompanied with the word “Glad” - Ps 9:2

Three vivid Bible Examples of Rejoicing

Prov 29:2

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

When the right person is in charge, leading justly, judging righteously there is a great satisfaction, even cheering, think about being at a parade!

Prov 29:3

Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.

How proud and happy are you when your child loves, knows, and applies wisdom. It just fills your heart.

Prov 27:9

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: So doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

  • What are some smells that rejoice your heart:
    • Ohio Stuffing on Thanksgiving day
    • Spouse wears a perfume or cologne that just makes you glad to be in their presence
    • Steak on the grill
    • Apple crisp right out of the oven
    • Fresh ground coffee
  • I’ve asked a number people about good smells, smells from their child hood, from fond memories, every time so far, people have gotten a big grin on their faces.
  • That experience that comes from of a wonderful smell can also be had when a good friend helps you through counsel. It can also be what happens when you dwell upon the goodness and truth that is in the Lord.
    • HE’ARTYadjective Having the heart engaged in any thing; sincere; warm; zealous; as, to be hearty in support of government.

Rejoicing is being deeply happy, joyful, exuberant

Rejoicing is not uniquely Christian or spiritual

  • Survey of Scripture shows us that all people rejoice, even the wicked

Judg 16:23

Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.

  • Prov 2:14 - The wicked rejoices to do evil
  • Rejoice is kind of like faith or worship
    • All people believe something, but not all believe in Jesus
    • All people worship something, but not all worship our God
    • All people rejoice in something, but it is often misplaced, and when misplaced, always fleeting.
  • Kids at Christmas rejoice to open Gifts, Parents (sometimes) rejoice at Christmas to give gifts → [Thad, I got a nerf gun, mmmm, woo, yeah boy, happy dance]

Uniquely Christian Rejoicing is finding happiness in the Lord

1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, ==Rejoice.==

What do we rejoice in?

  • Everything that is in him (His power & Character)
  • Everything that is from him (Creation & Gifts)
  • His body, his people
    • He calls us to moderation with others
    • We all know how to have moderate, gentle, not extreme behavior [Police]
    • We don’t always exercise moderate behavior with all men
    • It’s hard to rejoice in the Lord if you can’t stand God’s people

Phil 4:5

5 Let your moderation be known unto all men.

The Lord is at hand.

Psalms 9:14

I will rejoice in thy salvation.

  • What was it like for God to save you?
  • Have you forgotten your first love, that time when you heard the Gospel, felt the depths of your sin, and received Jesus as your savior?
  • That was surely an emotional, joy-full, happy moment.
  • This is rejoicing, allowing the truth of what God has done to flood into your heart and bring about happiness in your life.

What about sorrow, sadness, heaviness, grieving?

  • At this point, this whole study might feel unkind or even grating.
    • You’re on a dark and difficult road.
    • Might look at me and say, who are you to tell me to be happy
    • Might look past me to the Lord and say, “What?! don’t you know…”
  • Being happy in Jesus, doesn’t mean we never feel weighed down
    • Remember, this is Paul the prisoner!
    • vs.9 - Follow me, my faith, my learning to rejoice, and be content
    • Sorrow and joy can exist side-by-side
    • Hardship & heaviness don't have to be absent for Joy to exist, even thrive

2 Corinthians 4:7–10

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

  • Rejoicing in the Lord doesn’t mean I become disconnected from reality
    • Lego Movie, Emmett naive, favorite song “everything is awesome”
    • Actually being happy in the Lord means I’m resting on the bedrock of reality
    • What is really most true about my present & future - vs.3 name in book of life

Rejoicing in the Lord is living like all the Bible says are real

  • Finding Joy in the Lord doesn’t mean we don’t also heed scripture about weeping, both for ourselves and with and for others.
    • Encounter weeping, it’s not my job to jump in and say, “Just Rejoice Brother!”
    • Weep with those who weep - Rom 12:15
    • We must know how to weep, to sit with the heartbroken, to hear their story, to understand their pain, to get under the weight with them.
    • Then after you’ve walked through the story, you’ve felt the pain, you can offer a word of hope, of joy.
    • Be careful, be tender, be gentle that you don’t trample through people’s sorrow.
    • Jesus at Lazarus grave, he didn’t say pull it together I’m going to get all of this fixed, he does know what he’s going to do, he’s told the disciples he’s going to wake Lazarus, he’s given Mary and Martha a hint of what he will do, but he comes into sorrow, and he weeps. He shares in the pain, the brokeness of the moment, why? Could it be that he did that simply to show them he knew and cared. He walked into their darkness, their story of brokenness and then brought them out into incredible joy.
  • What purpose does sorrow play in terms of rejoicing?
    • Is it meant to steal your joy? I think Satan would have it so.
    • Sorrow lets us know that something is not right in the world
    • Sorrow reminds us this world will always be deeply unfulfilling
    • It spins us around & turns us to God who is love, light, and good.
    • It reminds us God is preparing a city that will be a perfectly happy place.
  • Difficult days are real and regular, God calls us to come to him in our suffering and find peace and rejoicing in him when it seems impossible.

Phil 4:6-7 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Psalm 30:5 Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

How do we get ahold of this?

[2021 Difficult Days → Nothing is too hard for the Lord]

I think most here can relate to that moment of happiness, delight, hope within a time of intense difficulty. I think the key to getting ahold of “rejoicing in the Lord” is letting those moments of rejoicing become commonplace, more frequent, with the help of God’s Spirit igniting rejoicing in your heart.

  • Fill your heart and mind with truth and goodness - Phil 4:8
    • Everything that is in the Lord, all that he is
    • Everything that is from him
    • Every good thing that God has made
    • Every good gift that he gives
  • Applied
    • Scripture - Travis helped us on Thursday
    • Study the phrase “God is”
    • Meditate on truth
    • Ask God to give you a verse
  • Practice Rejoicing, if you don’t know what to do, ask others, watch others - Phil 4:9
    • Singing
    • Fist pumping
    • Just talking about the Lord
    • Being happy in the Lord
  • Journaling
    • Giving thanks “Thank you Lord for…”
    • What am I thinking, is it true?

Conclusion (So What?)


  • God desires Joy for us, he commands rejoicing, he invites us into his joy.
  • Will you heed his word?
    • I hope you see this is not a superficial, be happy, everything is awesome
    • Nor is it a selfish, do what makes you happy
    • It is a "go deep with the Lord and allow his goodness, truth, and presence flood your heart with gladness."
  • It’s really up to you and me to stop saying no to rejoicing.
  • Friend, I have no desire to trample through your pain, nor do I want to overlook the weeping and heaviness that is very real, very present.
  • But I do want to plead with you don't give up hope. If there’s no other good you can see right now, I ask you to rejoice in the salvation of the Lord. With whatever words and whatever strength you have, pause for a moment and bask in the goodness of Jesus.


Sometimes in a place you can “cut the tension with a knife”, what if in this place you could “soak in the joy, splash about in the happiness”

What if every time we gathered in this place, there was an underlying sense, “this is a happy place.” That’s going to take people who know how to rejoice, who know how to weep, who speak praise, who offer encouragement, who are just happy in Jesus.

  • Pray without Amen
  • As believers are praying… share the Gospel


  • It may be that you don’t know that salvation, this stuff holds no happiness for you. Today you can know the joy of salvation, of a God who loves you, who gave himself for you, who extends an invitation to you, to enter into his joy right now.
  • Getting saved doesn’t mean you won’t face hard days, dark days, sadness, heaviness, but you will have the Lord, you will know the joy of salvation, and you will be headed for joy forevermore with the Lord.
  • Pray something like this…
  • Turn it over to closing host

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