Paul wrote in his epistle to the church at Philippi, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4) Men find many things about which to rejoice – some good, some not so good. For the Christian, however, our highest joy should always be in the Lord.
This joy begins at conversion. Remember the Ethiopian Eunuch. After his confession of faith and baptism – “He went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:39) And then there was the Philippian Jailor. After his baptism – “He…rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.” (Acts 16:34) Maybe you remember your own joy when you came up from the waters of baptism.
But this is only the beginning. The entire Christian life is meant to be one of joy. Not that we do not experience sorrow as do all men. But for the Christian there is always that underlying joy. As Jesus said to his disciples, “Your joy no man taketh from you.” (John 16:22)
So as Paul put it: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say rejoice.”
The apostle Paul near the close of his earthly life wrote these words to Timothy who had labored with him in the gospel for many years: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2) Note that in this exhortation there are four generations – first Paul who taught Timothy, second Timothy who in turn is to teach faithful men, third these faithful men will then teach others thus making the fourth. This is the program that keeps God’s truth alive in the world.
The North Main Street Church of Christ has tried to faithfully follow this program for the past sixty years. Young people have grown up here having the gospel message instilled in their hearts. Older folks have benefited by having the truth reinforced in their lives by faithful teachers. There is really no way to estimate the number of lives that have been touched for good over the past sixty year period.
Now as we look to the future we must keep the same commitment to faithfully proclaim the truth from God’s word. In this way the church will continue to be “the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)
God through the prophet Amos reminded Israel of the great privilege they enjoyed as God’s chosen people. He said, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth.” (Amos 3:2) It all started with their forefather Abraham and was later confirmed at Mount Sinai when God said to them, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people.” (Exodus 19:5) What a privilege to be God’s special people.
But with privilege goes responsibility. It was expected of Israel that they obey the voice of God and keep his covenant. But they did not. And so the rest of the statement from Amos was a pronouncement of punishment: “Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:2).
Today we Christians are God’s special people. “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.” (1 Peter 2:9) But let’s not forget that with privilege goes responsibility – responsibility to love and obey God.