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Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Most secure Soul in All of the World: Rejoicing within the Risen Christ


The Lord is risen! The Lord is risen certainly!

Regardless of the origins of our English phrase Easter — and they’re apparently too historic and sophisticated to hint with certainty, even for Encyclopedia Britannica — Easter has come to operate for us immediately as a two-syllable designation for “Resurrection Sunday.” That’s abbreviation: six syllables down to 2.

Easter is the best day within the church calendar, the one Sunday that we specifically have a good time the fact that we search to reside in gentle of day-after-day of the yr: Jesus, the everlasting Son of God, who lived on earth in full humanity, and died on the cross on Good Friday, rose once more bodily on Sunday morning.

And this Easter, we discover ourselves on the midway level of Philippians. In meditating on these verses, with Easter in view, I’ve paused over this phrase secure in verse 1. What does Paul imply that his “writ[ing] the identical issues . . . is secure”?

Enchantment to Security

As I used to be pondering Easter security this week, I began seeing the phrase in all places. Apparently, we’re a folks very acutely aware of security, and really concerned with security, and we maybe hardly understand how a lot. Within the information simply this week was extra of the Boeing “security disaster.” And I noticed headlines that learn,

  • “Eclipse security: NYS process drive has been working since 2022 to organize for April 8”
  • “Senators say Meta’s Zuckerberg is slow-walking baby security inquiries”

And I discovered appeals to security in my very own inbox:

  • The town of Minneapolis directed me to get an HVAC “security test” as a part of a house inspection.
  • I noticed a message from SportsEngine with this name to motion: “Preserve your athlete secure.”
  • And I obtained undesirable advertising emails that provided the choice to “Safely Unsubscribe” (in small print on the backside, if you’ll find it).

A few of our fixed pursuit of security is, in fact, shallow and misguided and overly fearful. Our fashionable lives might be full of petty and disordered needs for security. And on the identical time, there are smart, holy, affordable needs for security. That’s what Paul appeals to in verse 1:

Lastly, my brothers, rejoice within the Lord. To put in writing the identical issues to you isn’t any hassle to me and is secure for you.

Easter Pleasure

Earlier than we concentrate on “Easter security,” which shall be our theme this morning, let me first say one thing about “Lastly” in the beginning of verse 1. I do know there’s a preacher joke right here. “Similar to a preacher! Paul says ‘Lastly’ when he’s solely midway performed!”

Nonetheless, this “lastly” is definitely a unfastened connecting phrase that may imply “lastly” in some contexts, however in others, it may be “so then” or “as well as” or “above all.” The important thing right here is that Paul simply talked about pleasure and rejoicing in 2:28–29. And earlier than then, he talked about gladness and rejoicing, twice every, in 2:17–18. And earlier than that, he made a double point out of his personal rejoicing in 1:18. Have you ever observed how usually Paul not solely talks about pleasure in Philippians, however does it in pairs? We’ll see it once more in 4:4: “Rejoice within the Lord all the time; once more I’ll say, rejoice.” It’s like he simply can’t say it sufficient. To say it simply as soon as doesn’t appear to do it. He must say it once more.

And Paul is conscious of how usually he’s speaking about rejoicing, and doing so in pairs, and so after saying “rejoice within the Lord” in 3:1, he provides a bit of little bit of a protection for it. He needs his readers to know he’s conscious he may sound like a damaged file, however he means it, in the perfect of the way. He’s not being lazy or simpleminded. He doesn’t wish to bore them, however to assist them, to make them secure. He overcomes no matter dislike or distaste he may need for apparent repetition, and says, “To put in writing the identical issues to you isn’t any hassle to me and is secure for you.”

It’s secure to maintain saying, “Rejoice within the Lord.” It’s on your good. You possibly can’t overdo rejoicing within the Lord. Now, you possibly can underdo all types of different issues whereas rejoicing within the Lord. You possibly can underdo sorrow and grieving. You possibly can underdo seriousness. And you’ll overdo all these. You possibly can overdo all types of fine issues. However pleasure in Christ, rightly understood, actually skilled, you can not overdo. You can’t overdo rejoicing in Jesus.

Three Safeties

Our query this morning on Easter is, Secure from what? What does Easter pleasure — the double pleasure, the repeated pleasure, the nice pleasure of the resurrection of Jesus, which is the beating coronary heart of the enjoyment of Christianity — what does pleasure within the risen Christ give security from and the way?

I see three threats in these verses, and so three safeties for us within the Easter pleasure of rejoicing within the risen Christ.

1. Easter pleasure offers us security from foes.

To be clear, foes, or opponents (1:28), in and of themselves, are the least concern of those three threats. They’re nonetheless actual, however the least troubling on their very own. So, Paul says in verse 2,

Look out for the canines, look out for the evildoers, look out for many who mutilate the flesh.

So, who’re these “canines” nipping on the Philippians’ heels?

“You can’t overdo rejoicing in Jesus.”

My household and good associates will let you know I’m not a canine particular person. I acknowledge that a lot of you might be canine folks. I can respect that — to a level. Generally when canines come up, I prefer to say, with a smile, Properly, you already know what the Bible says about canines, don’t you?

Let’s simply say the image could be very unfavourable — but it surely does have a twist. Canine have been the scum of historic cities. They have been unclean and nasty, like we consider rats immediately. Canine would devour lifeless flesh and lick up spilled blood. And maybe associated to this, the Jews got here to affiliate Gentiles (non-Jews) with canines. Gentiles have been unclean, in keeping with the previous covenant; they have been outsiders. You could recall Jesus’s interplay with the Canaanite (Gentile) lady in Matthew 15 (and Mark 7), the place he says, “I used to be despatched solely to the misplaced sheep of the home of Israel. . . . It’s not proper to take the youngsters’s bread and throw it to the canines” — the Gentiles (Matthew 15:24, 26).

For Paul, there may be an insightful irony in calling these foes “canines,” as a result of they presume that they’re the insiders, and that Gentiles, just like the Philippians and us, are the outsiders. We’re the canines, unclean and unsafe, they suppose — until we add old-covenant law-keeping (marked by circumcision) to religion in Jesus.

We name these opponents “Judaizers.” They tried to Judaize Christianity; they tried to place Christ-believing Gentiles again beneath old-covenant Judaism, fairly than letting them simply be Gentile Christians within the new covenant with out the luggage of the earlier period. These Judaizers went round telling Gentile Christians that, primarily, they wanted to grow to be Jews bodily with a view to be actually saved, and secure.

And these Judaizers usually dogged Paul’s ministry. They adopted him round. After he’d carry the gospel to Gentiles, and transfer on to the following city, they’d sweep in and attempt to get new Gentile Christians to suppose they wanted so as to add Judaism to their religion.

So, when Paul calls them “canines,” he’s not aiming to insult them however to make use of instructive irony for the sake of his readers. He’s turning the tables to make the purpose that believing Gentiles are literally the true Jews (spiritually), and these Judaizers have grow to be the brand new Gentiles, the outsiders, the canines. Now Christ has come, and been raised, and inaugurated a brand new covenant. With Easter Sunday, previous is gone; behold, new has come.

And these Judaizing foes may consider themselves as doing good works, in keeping with the previous covenant, however in actual fact they’re “evil staff.” In making an attempt to circumcise Gentile flesh in obedience to the previous covenant, they’re, in actual fact, mutilators of the flesh. They’ve missed how Good Friday and Easter have remade the world.

So, how does Easter pleasure, rejoicing within the risen Christ, make us secure from such foes — these and a thousand others? Particularly, rejoicing in the true Jesus fortifies our souls in opposition to making an attempt so as to add something to the grounds of our rejoicing. In rejoicing in him — in who he’s, in what he achieved for us on the cross, in his rising again to life, and in that he’s alive immediately and our dwelling Lord on the throne of the universe — we come to know a fullness of pleasure that won’t be flanked or supplemented by the rest. Being happy within the risen Christ retains us from being deceived by different shallow appeals to pleasure, and retains us from temptations to attempt to add to him.

Rejoicing in Jesus is sensible. Are you in search of to rejoice in him? Do you purpose at this, and pray for this? While you open the Bible, if you pray, if you collect with fellow Christians, and once we come to worship collectively on Sunday mornings, and if you go to work, and if you reside the remainder of life, are you in search of to rejoice, to be happy, to be blissful within the risen Christ?

So, Easter pleasure offers us security from foes.

2. Easter pleasure offers us security from our personal flesh.

It is a better concern — the hazard of self-ruin, the specter of our personal sinful hearts, numerous habits and patterns that may lead us to belief in ourselves for salvation. Or, we would say, the best way that foes are an actual menace to our souls is thru our personal sin. Foes hurt us by deception. Then, being deceived, we transfer to belief in ourselves. Verse 3:

For we’re the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence within the flesh.

Bear in mind from verse 2 that these Judaizing foes — who declare to be God’s true folks, his Israel, the circumcision — they’re really the canines, the brand new Gentile outsiders. As a result of, Paul says, in verse 3, with emphasis, we are the circumcision. We Christians, each Jews like Paul and Gentiles just like the Philippians, who — and that is such an necessary “who” with the sequence that follows.

Right here we get to the center of the Christian life, which is the human coronary heart. Oh, get this clear on Easter Sunday. Get this coronary heart. Get what it means to be God’s new-covenant folks. Circumcision of the flesh is just not what makes and defines us. Human deeds and efforts and skills don’t make us and outline us. Quite, what circumcision of the flesh had been pointing to all alongside is circumcision of the center. That’s, a brand new coronary heart, new needs. A born-again soul. New creation in you. God opens the eyes of your soul to the surprise of his risen Son. He alters your coronary heart to marvel at Jesus and rejoice in him. So, right here in verse 3, we get three marks of what it means to essentially be a Christian.

One, we “worship [live, walk, serve] by the Spirit of God.” That’s, God has put his personal Spirit in us. He dwells in us. We have the Holy Spirit. Are you able to imagine that? If you’re in Christ, you could have the Holy Spirit. God himself, in his Spirit, someway “dwells in” you. We noticed it in 2:13: “It’s God who works in you, each to will and to work for his good pleasure.” What energy in opposition to sin! What energy to rejoice within the risen Christ! What energy for taking the initiative to like and serve others and gladly do what Christ calls us to do.

The risen Christ has poured out his Spirit, and ushered in a brand new period of historical past following Easter. Now, God’s individuals are now not beneath the tutelage of the old-covenant legislation, however have his personal Spirit at work in us. We don’t worship and reside within the previous period however within the new, with God’s personal Spirit dwelling in us.

And so, two, we “glory in Christ Jesus.” Which is extra pleasure language, however elevated. “Glory” is actually “boast” — we boast in Christ Jesus. “Boasting” is difficult in English as a result of it has unfavourable connotations. So, the ESV interprets it “glory” (as in 1:26). What makes boasting, or glorying, good or unhealthy is its object. And so we boast, The Lord is risen! The Lord is risen certainly!

True Christians are those that glory in Christ Jesus as the only grounds of our full acceptance with God. So, when somebody asks, How do I get proper with God? Or, How can I be actually secure — not within the little trivia of this life however eternally? We boast in Christ. “Alone, I’m ruined. However I glory within the risen Christ. I boast within the one who died for me and rose once more. He’s worthy. I glory in him!”

So, “boasting” or “glorying” is stronger language for the rejoicing of verse 1. That is Easter pleasure. That is double pleasure. That is pleasure intensified, pleasure magnified, pleasure heightened, pleasure expanded, pleasure enriched, pleasure elevated, pleasure resurrected.

Which suggests, third, in contrast, Christians are individuals who “put no confidence within the flesh.” We boast within the risen Christ, not self, for final security. And should you surprise what “flesh” means right here, Paul will make it clear in verses 4–6, as we’ll see subsequent week. In sum: placing “no confidence within the flesh” means not trusting in ourselves or any mere human effort or vitality to get and hold us proper with God. Not any privilege of our beginning, nor any pure skill, nor laborious work, nor achievement, nor human knowledge — nothing in us or associated to us, whether or not who we’re or what we’ve performed. Quite, we glory in Jesus.

Which leads then to at least one final security that’s implicit beneath the primary two.

3. Easter pleasure offers us security from God’s righteous fury in opposition to our sin.

That is the best menace of all: all-powerful wrath. The offense of our sin in opposition to the holy God is the ultimate hazard beneath the opposite risks. The rationale foes could possibly be a hazard is they could deceive us to place confidence in ourselves and our actions. And the explanation placing confidence in ourselves is a hazard is that this reductions the depth of our sin and leaves us unshielded, unsafe earlier than the righteous justice of God in opposition to our rebel.

When Paul says that rejoicing within the Lord “is secure for you,” what’s at backside is final security, remaining security, everlasting security, security of soul, security from the divine justice that our sin deserves.

However Easter pleasure retains us secure from the righteous fury we deserve, as a result of rejoicing within the risen Christ is the best way we take cowl within the Son of God who got here, and died, and was raised, to take care of our sin and usher us safely with him into the very presence of God.

You may put it this fashion: the most secure soul in all of the universe is the one which rejoices within the risen Christ.

“Being happy within the risen Christ retains us from being deceived by different shallow appeals to pleasure.”

Rejoicing within the Lord is a spot of nice security, shielded from each actual menace, even the best. God is not going to destroy those that enjoyment of him. Enjoyment of him is a stronghold (Nehemiah 8:10), a fortress, a secure place, as a result of God all the time preserves those that enjoyment of him.

So, Cities Church, rejoice within the risen Christ! To say it once more isn’t any hassle for me, and secure for you.

The Lord is risen! The Lord is risen certainly!

Seeds of Pleasure on the Desk

As we come to the Desk, let’s deal with a query a few of us have on a excessive feast day like Easter, and in a e-book like Philippians, which accents the significance of rejoicing within the Lord. What should you’re not feeling it? What should you don’t really feel blissful within the risen Christ? Maybe you need to rejoice in Jesus, you wish to glory in him, however you’re a sinner; your coronary heart’s not the place you need it to be. One reply, amongst others, is that this Desk.

This Desk is just not solely for many who are boiling over with Easter delight, overflowing with pleasure in Jesus. It’s additionally for many who really feel their hearts to be sluggish, and know they’re not rejoicing within the Lord like they wish to, or like they need to. And but, within the ache of that want is the seed of pleasure. Within the longing, within the wanting is the seed of Easter pleasure that we come to nourish and strengthen at this Desk.

For those who would say with us this morning, “I declare the risen Christ. Nonetheless excessive or low my rejoicing, I do know myself undeserving. I put no confidence in my flesh. However I do put my confidence, for remaining security, within the risen Christ,” then we’d have you ever eat and drink with us, for pleasure.

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