Pastor’s Pen 02/17/2023

Pastor’s Pen 02/17/2023

Fear or Joy?

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4

When Paul wrote his letter to the Church in Philippi, he was in prison and did not know whether he would live much longer. In Philippians 3:10, he wrote these words: that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed  to His death, (Philippians 3:10). He had suffered a great deal for the cause of Christ, and in this verse, Paul  revealed that his present suffering was so great that he fully embraced the thought of sharing in Christ’s sufferings and death. In Philippians 1:20, Paul explained his perspective in this way, according to my earnest      expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death (Philippians 1:20). Paul expressed his hope that he would gain courage as he suffered. His concern was   to honor Christ without shame, whether he lived or     died. Then immediately after this, in verses 21-23, Paul expressed the possibility of death with these words, For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know what I will choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better, (Philippians 1:21-23).

As we can see in this passage, Paul was torn between two longings. He wanted to continue to live in this world to serve Christ and his kingdom. But he also desired to die to experience the glory of life with Christ in heaven after death.

We, too, face a dilemma. However, although we are not currently suffering as Paul suffered for Christ, ours is one of fear of what might happen instead of the joy we should have of what will happen. Christians, we live in unprecedented times. Far too many Christians are living in fear of what might happen. Will the government take away my right to protect myself? Will there be food shortages, power outages, take over of personal property by a socialist government, or the breakdown of society where anarchy is the rule of the land? Christians, we are not to live a life of fear of what might be but are called to live a life of joy in the hope of our salvation.

Where do we find that hope? I find them in the very words of our Savior, Are not two sparrows sold for an penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows (Matthew 10:29). Nothing will ever happen to me unless God allows it. In addition, we also have these words from Jesus,  Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28 You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I   will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I  (John 14:27-28).

If you are a Christian, you are a Child of God and co-heirs of Christ. You have no reason to fear but every reason to rejoice.

Your shepherd,

Pastor Mark


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