The Life of Joy - Intro

Anand Pillai brings us a perspective of the book of Philippians that enables us to live a LIFE OF JOY.


  • Philippians, is one of the later letters written by the apostle Paul while he was in prison, awaiting trial
  • In spite of his situation, we see the joyous attitude of Paul
  • Along with contagious joy, Paul’s gratitude toward and commitment to the Lord is evident
  • Paul’s matured faith in Christ enabled him to endure and even rejoice in the midst of great trials

Purpose of the Letter

  • Paul writes the letter to:

    • Thank the Philippians for their past support and present gift sent by Epaphroditus
    • Express his joy and thanksgiving in his imprisonment which God was using to spread the gospel and encourage brethren
    • Encourage them to rejoice and continue progressing in the faith
    • Reveal his peace, contentment and strength in Christ

The Book of Philippians – Themes

  1. In Christ”: “under the control of, under the influence of, in close association with.“
  2. Joy: Joy or some form of it 16 times
  3. Fellowship: Koinōnia (greek), “Partnership” (NIV), “sharing” (NRSV), and “fellowship” (KJV)
  4. Unity: Signs of bickering and dissension were evident in the Philippians

1. I Rejoice Therefore You Rejoice

For Paul, joy is a key component of the Christian life.

–fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22)

–joy in the faith” (Philippians 1:25).

“The kingdom of God is … righteousness, peace

and joy in the Holy Spirit”

(Romans 14:17).


The joy that Paul writes about based on a deep abiding commitment to and trust in the Lord, not in external circumstances

  • 1:4 ” In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy….”
  • 1:18 “The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice….”


Joy is contagious and flows freely from one to another..

  • 1:25-26 “Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.”
  • 2:2 “Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”


Joy overflows even in times of suffering..

  • 2:16-18 “But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.”
  • 2:28-29 “Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honour men like him….”
  • 3:1 “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!”


Joy is endless and Paul has no hesitation in reiterating it over and over again..

  • 4:1″Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!”
  • 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
  • 4:10 ” I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me.”

2. Fellowship

Fellowship is another keyword in Philippians implying close association involving mutual interests and sharing, association, communion, fellowship and close relationships.

Fellowship, Partnership, Sharing

In times of joy,

  • 1:5 “I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
  • 1:7 “… All of you share in God’s grace with me.”
  • 2:1 “… if any fellowship with the Spirit….”

Fellowship, Partnership, Sharing

In times of adversity and need,

  • 3:10 “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings….”
  • 4:14 “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.”
  • 4:15 “Not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only.”

3. Unity

Paul addresses the problem of divisions in the Philippians in a thread weaving its way throughout the short letter, sometimes subtly, by inference, and sometimes head-on.

Unity and Selflessness

Divisions were arising on the most flimsy grounds..

  • 1:15-17 Paul tells about Romans preaching with envy and rivalry in order to speak to the Philippians about the same issue in their midst.
  • 1:27 Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel.
  • 1:27 Stand firm in one spirit, with

    one mind, striving side by side for

    the faith of the gospel.

Unity and Selflessness

Selfishness was beginning to divide the church..

  • 2:2-4 Be in full accord and of one mind, same mind, same love. Do nothing from selfishness. Care about the interests of others.
  • 2:5-11 Jesus’ self-humiliation and exaltation by the Father used as an example of humility needed within the church.
  • 2:14 Do all things without grumbling

     or questioning.

  • 2:21 They all look after their own

     interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

Unity and Selflessness

Religious practices were threatening genuine transformation..

  • 3:2-3 Judaizers trying to impose circumcision on the Philippians.
  • 3:3-8 Confidence in the flesh, one’s pedigree, holiness, and status.
  • 3:17-19 Imitate me and those who live according to my example. Earthly focus vs. heavenly one.
  • 4:2 Exhorts Euodia and Syntyche to agree in the Lord.
  • 4:8-9 Honourable, upright living, modelled by Paul.

4. In Christ

In Christ” or “in the Lord,” in Greek  means, “under the control of, under the influence of, in close association with.” Our Christian life is anchored in our relationship to Christ.

In Christ

Hope, confidence, welcome is IN Christ..

  • 2:19 “I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon….”
  • 2:24 “And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.”
  • 2:29 “Welcome him in the Lord with  great joy….”

In Christ

The focal point of everything is IN Christ. Greeting, encouragement, joy is IN Christ.

  • 1:1 “To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi….”
  • 1:14 “Most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged….”
  • 1:26 “Your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me”

4. In Christ

Joy, glory, presence, faith, goal, steadfastness is IN Christ…

  • 3:1 “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!”
  • 3:3 “For it is we who are the circumcision … who glory in Christ Jesus….”
  • 3:8-9 “That I may gain Christ and be found in him….”
  • 3:9 “The righteousness … that which is through faith in Christ….”
  • 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
  • 4:1 “You should stand firm in the Lord….”

In Christ

Reconciliation, joy, peace, greeting is IN Christ…

  • 4:2 “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.”
  • 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
  • 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  • 4:10 “I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me.”
  • 4:21 “Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus.”

The Pursuit of Happiness.. Everywhere

Shawn Achor is the winner of over
a dozen distinguished teaching
awards at Harvard University, where
 he delivered lectures on positive
psychology in the most popular class
at Harvard. His research and lectures
on happiness and human potential
have received attention in The New
York Times, Boston Globe, The Wall
Street Journal, as well as on NPR and CNN Radio.

The Pursuit of Happiness.. Everywhere

  • The concept of “delivering happiness” was introduced by Zappos – co-founded by Jenn Lim and Tony Tseih. Jenn Lim plays the role of Chief happiness officer!
  • Happiness is a success measure in Bhutan.

In Christ

Biblical model of joy

Happiness verses Joy

Models of Happiness

Which of the following do you think works better? Why?

Jesus Lived in a Spirit of Joy!

The secret of Jesus’s joy was maintaining the eternal perspective..

  • So that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me – Phil. 1:26
  • I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete – John 15:11
  • “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy”- Heb. 1:9

Jesus Lived in a Spirit of Joy!

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector 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. – Heb. 12:2

Are we pursuing?


  • Happiness or Joy?
  • Fellowship with His followers?
  • A united & selfless life?
  • A life rooted in CHRIST?

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