Free of Fear - Bob Sawvelle



Christ’s Birth Announced to Mary

In the book of Luke 1:26-38, notice the angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary:

And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

The word rejoice is from the Greek word chaírō meaning “to rejoice,” or “to be merry.” A morning greeting.[1]

Gabriel commands her to rejoice. Why? The Lord is with her!! The God of creation, the Lord of heaven’s host, the everlasting Father, the mighty God, Prince of Peace! When the Lord is with you, you have every reason to rejoice! The more in love with Jesus you are, the easier it is to rejoice always. When He is your closest friend, His joy is limitless in your life. He is inexpressible joy!

Also, look at Luke 2:10, the shepherds out in their field, “Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

What is the reason for great joy? The good news of the birth of Christ! They told everyone! What a worship service, God’s glory all around them, angels worshipping!

What was their response to seeing Jesus? Luke 2:20 says, “Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” They rejoiced—praised God for the revelation of Jesus. Jesus is our joy!

Do you realize, as a follower of Jesus, the Lord is with you?

You are born from above, raised together in new life with Christ. The Holy Spirit lives in you; God’s glory is all around you. In fact, God’s angels are sent to help those who are inheriting salvation (Heb. 1:14). Whether you “feel anything” or not, He is with you!

Jesus said, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age!” (Matt. 28:20) You and I have every reason to rejoice—every day—the Lord is with us!

Paul said in Rom. 8:31, “…If God is for us, who can be against us?” In vs. 35 he writes, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”

Rom. 8:38-39 CEB: “I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.”

How about you? Are you convinced that no external circumstance can separate you from God’s love in Jesus? That Jesus is with you always? He is your source, your life!

Principles to Remaining in God’s Peace and Joy

Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.” Phil 3:1 NLT

Has it ever occurred to you that your ability to rejoice in the Lord protects your faith in Christ?

Your ability to tap into the joy of the Lord helps you overcome in life.

Phil. 4:4 NKJV: “Rejoice in the Lord Always. Again I will say rejoice!”

Paul wrote the epistle to the Philippian church while imprisoned in Rome.  Philippians is Paul’s Joy letter! The words rejoicing, or joy are used fifteen different times. By the way, the word always means…. always!

Paul learned that whatever the circumstances, he could be content and find real joy by focusing all his attention and energy on knowing Christ and by obeying Him.

Paul learned the truth of Psalm 16:11In Your presence is fullness of joy…”  Joy is found in our union with God through Christ, abiding in His presence. Joy and peace are two of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), and should be normal for the believer who is completely surrendered to Jesus.

Paul then provides spiritual principles to remaining in God’s peace and joy.

Phil. 4:6-7 NLT “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Paul gives 4 principles to abiding in God’s peace and joy:

1) Rejoice always—from your life in Christ

2) Refuse to worry, pray instead

3) Be thankful—in every circumstance.

4) “as you live in Jesus!”

Then, God’s peace will guard and protect your heart and mind! You have an active role! Your ability to rejoice during trials is a prerequisite to abiding in the peace of Christ. Why? Your focus is upon Jesus, because He is with you, you trust Him—period!

Did you know that troubles in life are an opportunity for great joy?

James 1:2-3 NLT: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”

Troubles occur in life. How you respond to them is a key to whether you walk in victory or defeat—get better or become bitter. Troubles are opportunities for God to display through you the riches of His grace and glory.

James didn’t say in this passage to rejoice because trials test your faith. Rather, he was stating “It is joy, in the midst of trials, that sustains you and produces endurance.”

To become stronger spiritually, you must learn to rejoice through all of life’s challenges.

The idiom, “No pain, no gain” has merit! Joy is an enduring Kingdom quality that sustains a person through tough times. Joy is a characteristic entirely different from happiness. Happiness depends on happenings – joy depends upon our worship of Jesus, abiding in Him in the happenings of life. Happiness can be fleeting as circumstances change. When you are truly abiding in Christ, His joy remains a constant, regardless of the circumstances.

In the words of Martin Luther, “You will have as much joy and laughter in life as you have faith in God.” Confident faith is the platform for great joy!

Final Thoughts

Perhaps life’s circumstances have been challenging. Perhaps the devil has been whispering in your ear, “Give it up, there’s no hope, the situation will never change.” Remember Psalm 30:5: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!

Celebrate and focus on the blessings and breakthroughs you are experiencing instead. Phil. 4:8 says, “Think on that which is good, pure, noble …” When you live conscious of what God has done and is doing in your midst, you prosper, and peace and joy flow easily.

Remember, your joy flows from your faith and trust in Christ. Learn to rest completely on His word and promises. Learn to rejoice, pray and thank God always!  Praise changes the atmosphere! You can rejoice and give thanks to God always—no matter what the circumstances may seem like—because you know Jesus is with you always. Focus on what God has done or is doing, not what He has not done. When you focus on what God has not yet done, you unintentionally make a case against him, justifying hardness of heart and unbelief.

Remember that nothing and no one can separate you from your Father’s love. God is for you, not against you! As a follower of Jesus, you are a child of the King and your Father loves you with an everlasting love. You may not “feel” blessed today, but facts and feelings change. The truth is, you are blessed. You are a covenant child that the Father delights in—you’re favored! His grace is upon you. That’s the truth you can rest your faith upon this Christmas.


[1] Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985), 1299.


For more on this topic, watch the recent message, “Rejoice, the Lord is with You!” from Passion Church:

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