Philippians is a book of joy for an anxious church. Theme similar to Ecclesiastes - we also spoke about joy. Joy comes from God, not from our stuff or our circumstance.
But we should be careful here, because it is surely true in our experience that we do find joy in people, things and circumstance. “How sweet to hold a newborn baby and feel the pride and joy he gives.” Holding your loved ones, relaxing after a hard days work. Hamburgers. :)
However, the message of Ecclesiastes does not deny that there are some circumstances from which we might find joy or reason to rejoice, but again, joy is not to be found in the temporal, fleeting, trivial matters, but in things that last, and if we try to extract joy from the breath, we will be left unsatisfied.
The apostle Paul would agree. In the book of Phillippians, in writing to that anxious church, Paul writes about the things that bring him joy. Last week Paul shared his gratitude and the joy that he has found in the Philiipians partnership in the gospel. And today, he will speak of another matter that brings him joy. And again, that which brings him joy is not in temporal, fleeting, trivial matters, but connected to the eternal matter of the gospel of Christ.
What is the gospel? The gospel is the proclamation of good news. The good news of what God has done for us in Christ. That thought our sins have separated us from God and have placed us under God’s just wrath, that God in his love for us sent his son Jesus Christ into the world that we might be reconciled to God, redeemed from our sins, and renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is surely not a temporal, fleeting, or trivial matter, but is the most important, substantial and eternal of matters. As I stated last week, Paul has given his life to the gospel, lives for the gospel, and as we’ll see today, Paul’s Joy-Producing Metric: The Gospel is Advancing. What I mean by metric is that this is the standard of measurement against which he measures the circumstances in his life and that even through the difficulties of life, if the gospel is advancing, Paul finds joy.