Archive for August 20th, 2012
Doctors are always telling us how to be healthier. They say if we want to live a healthy life we need to eat the right kind of food. They also tell us that to be healthy we need to get the right amount of exercise. But something else that they talk about that is very important is that if we want to be healthier we need to be happier. That’s because being healthy has a lot to do with your mental outlook on life.
But what we’re going to talk about today is much better than happiness. Today we’re going to look at the fruit of the Spirit called, “Joy.”
There’s a big difference between happiness and joy. Happiness depends upon happenings. Happiness is external; joy is internal. Happiness is based on circumstances; joy is based on Christ. Happiness is based on chance; joy is based on your choice.
Proverbs 15:13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
How many of you are glad to be alive? How many of you are glad to be forgiven? How many of you are glad you are a Christian? How many of you are glad to have a home up in heaven? You need to inform your face! Before joy can be expressed on some people’ faces, they’re going to have to have God give them a face lift.
As God’s people we ought to be the most joyful people on the face of the earth. Yet it seems as though many of God’s people walk around with frowns and scowls on their faces these days, rather than grins and smiles.
What are some of the things that can fill us with joy? Let’s look at five things that God does for us that can fill us with joy.
1. I CAN BE FULL OF JOY BECAUSE OF GOD’S LOVE
Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. (NIV)
What is it about God’s love that should fill us with joy? Knowing that God cares about what I am going through should fill me with joy. David said that God sees my affliction and knows the anguish of my soul. God knows what you’re going through and He cares!
Job 36:5 Although God is mighty, he cares about everyone… (CEV)
1 Peter 5:7 God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him. (CEV)
2. I CAN BE FULL OF JOY BECAUSE OF GOD’S SALVATION
Luke 10:17, 20 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” …20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (NIV)
The disciples were filled with joy because the demons were subject to them. But Jesus told them to rejoice because “your names are written in Heaven.”
Knowing that we are forgiven of our sins and have a home up in heaven should give us great joy.
1 Peter 1:8 You have not seen Christ, but still you love him. You cannot see him now, but you believe in him. So you are filled with a joy that cannot be explained, a joy full of glory. (NCV)
Some today have lost the joy that they once had in their salvation. Instead of being full of joy, they are full of grief and sadness.
Psalm 32:3, 5 There was a time when I wouldn’t admit what a sinner I was.* But my dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration… 5 until I finally admitted all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, “I will confess them to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. (LB)
Once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior you will then experience God’s joy in your life.
3. I CAN BE FULL OF JOY BECAUSE OF GOD’S WORD
Jeremiah 15:16 When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty.
As God’s people, when we hear the Word of God taught and preached, or when we are just read it and study it on our own, it ought to fill us with joy. The very reason why the Bible was written was so we could have joy.
1 John 1:4 We write this to make our joy complete. (NIV)
When you discover the teachings, truths and promises God has made to you in His word it is going to cause you to be filled with great joy.
Matthew 13:44 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. (NIV)
4. I CAN BE FULL OF JOY BECAUSE OF GOD’S CHURCH
Psalm 122:1 I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” (NIV)
One of the things that should fill us with joy is the opportunity to go to church and worship God. Today for many people, going to church is the most boring and unhappy day of their lives, yet David was glad to be able to go to God’s house.
Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (NIV)
I should be full of joy because when I go to church and worship God he fills me with the strength and joy I need to make it through life.
1 Chronicles 16:27 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place. (NIV)
Isaiah 56:7a I will bring these people to my holy mountain. I will give them joy in my house of prayer. (ICB)
If you want to have joy in your life you need to come to church each week. When you come to church there will be several ways that you can express your joy.
One way we can express our joy to God when we come to church is through our SERVICE.
Psalm 100:2 Serve the Lord with joy; come before him with singing.
A lot of times instead of serving God with joy and a smile on our face, we do it with a disgruntled attitude while we gripe and complain about it. God wants us to serve Him with joy.
Another way to express your joy when you come to church is when you SING PRAISES to the Lord.
1 Samuel 18:6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes.
Another way in which we as God’s people can express joy is through MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
1 Chronicles 15:16 David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals. (NIV)
Psalm 47:1 Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. (NIV)
Another way that you can express your joy when you come to church is through your GIVING.
2 Corinthians 8:1-2 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. (NIV)
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (NIV)
5. I CAN BE FULL OF JOY BECAUSE OF PROBLEMS
James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.
One of the hardest things to do as a child God is to be full of joy even when we are having troubles and trials. Yet, we are commanded in this verse to consider it all joy, when we encounter various trials.
Even though we as individuals, or our church as a whole may have troubles, we should not allow these things to get us down, but rather we should realize that they serve a purpose in our lives and consider it a time of joy, rather than a time of sorrow and grief.
1 Peter 4:12-13 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (niv)
2 Corinthians 7:4d …in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds. (NIV)
Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Romans 5:3-4 We can be full of joy here and now, even in our trials and troubles. These very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character… (Ph)
It’s always easier to handle a hurt when you know God can use it for good in your life. That’s what this verse is saying. How does He use our hurts? He uses them to build our character, if you choose to respond in the right way.
Paul says in this passage that “We can be full of joy here and now.” He’s not talking about just having joy in the sky by and by, he’s talking about having it now, even if you’re having trails and troubles in your life.
Some people think, “When I get all my problems solved, I’ll be happy.” Fat chance! Life is a series of solving problems. As soon as you get one solved you’re going to have another one that’s probably even bigger. God allows us to go through these trials and troubles to build our character. If the only time you learn to have joy in your life is when you don’t have any problems; guess what? You’re never going to have joy in your life.
Philippians 4:4 Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice! (LB)
How is that possible? To always be joyful? When Paul wrote this verse he was in prison and about to be executed. He was writing to the Phillippian church which is the New Testament book on joy. Nineteen times in the book of Phillippians he used the word “joy” or “rejoice”. If you’re depressed, you need to read through that book. It’s only four chapters. Underline whenever the word “joy” or “rejoice” is used.
You have to learn to have joy even in the middle of problems while you’re working on them. You don’t wait for all your problems to be solved. Be joyful even in tough times. That’s where joy is learned. How do you do that? How is it possible to rejoice in the midst of difficult circumstances?
1. BECAUSE OF GOD’S PRESENCE
Isaiah 43:2-3 When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you. 3 For I am the Lord your God… (TEV)
The fact is no matter what you’re going through, you’re not going through it alone. So it doesn’t have to overwhelm you. What God wants to say to each of you today is He is with you right now.
Psalm 16:11 You make the path of life known to me. Complete joy is in your presence. Pleasures are by your side forever. (GW)
Anytime I don’t have joy it’s a warning light that I’m not spending enough time with God. It means I’ve forgotten that He’s with me. Second, I can be joyful in spite of my circumstances…
2. BECAUSE OF GOD’S PLAN
He’s not only with me, He has a plan for me. God isn’t worried about the problem you’re going through. He knew it was coming, He saw it, and He wants you to trust him.
Jeremiah 29:11 I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. (GW)
Psalm 50:14c I want you to trust me in your times of trouble, so I can rescue you and you can give me glory. (LB)
Lastly, I can be joyful in spite of my circumstances …
3. BECAUSE OF GOD’S POWER
Psalm 62:8 …trust him all the time. Pour out your longings before him, for he can help! (LB)
God never puts more on you than He puts in you to bear it up. He will help me.
Psalm 43:5 O my soul, why be so gloomy and discouraged? Trust in God! I shall again praise him for his wondrous help; he will make me smile again, for he is my God! (LB)
Have you lost your joy? Are you discouraged? God is waiting to help you. Jesus said, “Ask, that your joy may be full.” He’s waiting for you to ask so He can help you.
The Bible says “the fruit of the Spirit is joy”. That means joy isn’t something you can manufacture on your own. You can’t just work it up. It’s the natural by-product of letting Jesus Christ live in and through you. When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior you can experience His joy no matter what the situation is.
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (NIV)
Some of you today need that kind of joy in your life. If you’d like to receive God’s joy, you can by simply receiving His Son Jesus Christ as your personal savior. Let me know if you made that decision.