Faithlife Sermons

Completeness Of Joy

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Allow me to illustrate. When an auto mechanic replaces the brakes on your car, the last thing he will do is to make sure the brakes are “bled” properly. This simple procedure involves one person applying pressure on the brake pedal in the car and one person opening the little valve at just the right time under the car. At the signal the pedal is depressed and held to the floor while the mechanic under the car observes a squirt of brake fluid out of the line. A job well done. Well, maybe not. They then must test the brake pedal for a spongy effect. If the pedal does not feel reasonably firm at the end of its travel, there still must be a small amount of air in the line. No air bubbles are observable, but the condition that can be dangerous, must be fixed. Until all the air is eliminated, the mechanic is not completely satisfied with the job. His joy is not complete


Reader’s Digest told a story a while ago about a flight canceled due to bad weather. One solitary agent was trying to rebook all of the travelers whose schedules had become messed up. One passenger became impatient, pushed his way to the front and slammed his ticket down on the counter. He said, “I have to be on this flight, and it has to be first class.”


The agent politely said, “I’m sorry, sir. I’ll help as soon as I can, but I have to take care of these other people first.”


The man became angry and shouted, “Do you have any idea who I am?”


Without hesitating, the agent picked up the loud speaker microphone and said to the hundreds of people in the terminal, “May I have your attention, please? We have a passenger here at the gate who does not know who he is. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to the gate.” The man backed off, and the crowd of people burst into applause.


Two vital points: This was a show of egotistical selfishness. This type behavior is not befitting a child of God. But why such a response from the crowd of people? Do we detect an attitude of “I like to see selfish ambition and vain conceit” pay the price? If so,  one wrong attitude does not call for another.

What would have been your inner response when you heard the announcement?



A man noted, “When I was a boy I used to hug a rubber hot water bottle in bed at night to beat off the chill air from the frigid Irish Sea. Comfort! One morning I woke up wet, cold, and miserable. The rubber hot water bottle had perished. It had slowly deteriorated, imperceptibly disintegrated and was ultimately useless. Perished! That can happen to humans too—and God so loved the world that He gave us Jesus so that we would not perish but have everlasting life.”
-Stuart Briscoe, Author of What Works When Life Doesn’t


After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church's preacher once again slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit, and gave a very brief introduction of his childhood friend. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit to speak, "A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast," he began, "when a fast-approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean."

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. He continued, "Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life.... to which boy he would throw the other end of the line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son's friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves.

As the father yelled out, 'I love you, son!' he threw the line to his son's friend. By the time he pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beyond the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered."

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting straighter in the pew, waiting for the next words to come out of the old man's mouth.

"The father," he continued, "knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son's friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us." With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room.

Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man's side. "That was a nice story," politely started one of the boys, "but I don't think it was very realistic for a father to give up his son's life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian."

"Well, you've got a point there,"
the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, and he once again looked up at the boys and said, "It sure isn't very realistic, is it? But I'm standing here today to tell you that THAT story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me. You see ... I was the son's friend."



 In the city of Chicago, one cold, dark night, a blizzard was setting in. A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner. The people were in and out of the cold. The little boy was so cold that he wasn't trying to sell many papers. He walked up to the policeman and said, "Mister, you wouldn't happen to know where a poor boy could find a warm place to sleep tonight would you? You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down the alley and it's awful cold in there, of a night. Sure would be nice to have a warm place to stay."

The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, "You go down the street to that big white house and you knock on the door. When they come out the door you just say John 3:16 and they will let you in." So he walked down the street, up the steps, and knocked on the door. A lady answered. He looked up and said, "John 3:16." The lady said, "Come on in, Son." She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker in front of a great big old fireplace and she went off. He sat there for a while, and thought to himself, "John 3:16.... I don't understand it, but it sure makes a cold boy warm." Later she came back and asked him "Are you hungry?" He said, "Well, just a little. I haven't eaten in a couple of days and I guess I could stand a little bit of food." The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table full of wonderful food. He ate and ate until he couldn't eat any more. Then he thought to himself "John 3:16.... Boy, I sure don't understand it, but it sure makes a hungry boy full." She took him upstairs to a bathroom and a huge bathtub filled with warm water and he sat there and soaked for a while. As he soaked, he thought to himself, "John 3:16...I sure don't understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy clean. You know, I've not had a bath, a real bath, in my whole life. The only bath I ever had was when I stood in front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out." The lady came in and got him, and took him to a room and tucked him into a big old feather bed and pulled the covers up around his neck and kissed him goodnight and turned out the lights. As he laid in the darkness and looked out the window at the snow coming down on that cold night he thought to himself, "John 3:16.... I don't understand it, but it sure makes a tired boy rested." The next morning she came back up and took him down again to that same big table full of food. After he ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom rocker in front of the fireplace and she took a big old Bible and sat down in front of him. She looked up at him and asked, "Do you understand John 3:16?" He said, "No, Ma'am, I don't. The first time I ever heard it was last night when the policeman told me to use it." She opened the Bible to John 3:16, and began to explain to him about Jesus.  The lovely lady told the warmed and fed boy that God is love. He loves to love. Loving means giving. When He saw the helpless state of all people on the earth, He sent his Son Jesus to this planet to help them. It didn’t matter if people loved Jesus or not, it made no difference what color they were or what they had done or even if they were homeless children. God just loves everybody.  She stopped to ask the boy if he had ever lost someone close to him. “Well, I never had a mother or father but I did have a brother almost my age. We were always together. Then we got separated and I haven’t seen in for many years.  I miss him all the time and wish he could sleep in my box with me. “ She said, “Good, you can really understand how hard it is to be without someone you love. That’s how it is with God. He gave us Jesus so we can be helped.” The lady told the little boy that the only way for the world to be better was for Jesus to die for everybody.  “That’s the part,” she said, “where Jesus was killed along with two real criminals.” She explained that the next part of John 3:16 tells us how Jesus can help us.  Each person must believe in Jesus, that he was God’s son and the medicine to cure sin sickness. She pointed that that Jesus would later die by being put on a cross, the way that bad people were punished. The only reason Jesus died like this was to help us.   Right there in front of that big old fireplace, the little homeless boy thought, “John 3:16. I don't understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe."


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