Better Than Happy!
“The Epistle of Joy” – that is what Philippians has been known as – at least in intellectual, academic circles. People who speak to normal audiences might call it “The Joy Box”, “Better than Happy”, “The Ultimate Thank-You”, or “Paul is rockin’, when he should be bummin’.” Here’s why:
Philippians is really a long “Thank-You” letter to a church that Paul has huge affection for. Some time before Philippians was written, there was a famine in Jerusalem and the Macedonian churches (i.e. Philippi) stepped up to be the big givers. Their deep poverty overflowed in radical generosity. (2 Cor. 8-9) So, Paul is writing a letter that is cheerleading them in their faith.
At the time, Paul is in prison – technically under house arrest – in Rome. You might think he would be depressed, sad, or overwhelmed, but he is actually stoked about his situation. He is waiting to appear before Caesar, whom he will certainly witness to for Christ. (Just like he did with Herod in Acts 26) In the mean time, he is witnessing to the entire palace guard and everyone else he can get close to about Jesus and many are coming to faith. He is discipling Christians and sending them off to missionary Journeys on his behalf.
Because of all this, the tone of the letter is Joy. Some have found the theme verse to be “Rejoice in the Lord always, I say it again rejoice!” (4:4). The book is filled with reasons to rejoice. These include: your salvation, grace, partnership in the gospel, spread of the gospel, the work of God in you, life after death, the mission of God, the wonder of God’s family, the humility of Christ, the example and care of Timothy and Epaphroditus, an Anxiety free life, contentment, the strength of God, a transformed mind, and of course, the amazing gift that the Philippians gave.
In this short, 2-1/2 page book, the words ‘joy’ or ‘rejoice’ are mentioned 14 times! Paul rejoices, prays with joy, commands joy, and seems to rejoice over…everything.
So, why am I telling you all this? Well, it is because we are launching a new series. On the backside of "Conquering your Fears" is "Living you Joy". We can be "Better than Happy" and Phillipians will teach us how. Bring a friend for the beginning February 28!