The Question posed
It was an interesting and thought provoking comment… It was posted on our Facebook mission page where the link to our previous sermon in this series was posted
We had looked at prayer as a means God has provided for us to deal with anxiety… “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:4–6, NIV84)
The comment asked whether the translation was correct… It was asked whether Christ then rejoiced during His sufferings re the cross??? Were Paul and Silas praying and singing hymns while in prison sleep deprived or possibly delirious?
This brings us to the important question re the singing of Christian hymns and spiritual songs as a strategy for dealing with anxiety.
So what do we think? Does God in His Word really teach us that joy and suffering can coexist?
What is this joy… is it more than just fleeting happiness which is so dependent on good circumstances?
- MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE REALITIES?
- A KINGDOM CENTRED ENDURING JOY
- SINGING HYMNS OUT OF KINGDOM SECURITY
Readings reproduced on this page:
The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1996, 1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan
Hebrews 11:39–12:3 (NIV84)
39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.
40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Acts 16:16–34 (NIV84)
16Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.
17This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”
18She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
19When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.
20They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar
21by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten.
23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.
24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.
27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.
28But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.
30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.
33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.
34The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.