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The Joy of Christianity

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The Joy Of Christianity

All of the scripture readings today are from the NIV

Introduction:   What is Joy?

(joi) —n. 1. a. A condition or feeling of great pleasure or happiness; delight. b. The expression or manifestation of such feeling. 2. A source or object of pleasure or satisfaction.

NOUN:       A condition of supreme well-being and good spirits

Synonym:  happiness  cheer  cheerfulness  gladness  beatitude  blessedness  

Some people think its difficult to be a Christian and to laugh, but I think its the other way around.

God writes a lot of comedy, it's just that he has so many bad actors.

--    Garrison Keillor, presentation at Goshen College, quoted in Reflections, Christianity Today.

Paul, writing to the church in Philippi:

Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!

There Is Joy in Serving Jesus

In Luke ten, Jesus appointed 72 to go out, preceding him as he went about.  Listen to what he said to them as they went - and to us.

Luke 10:20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

Jesus said:

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

In the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch: Acts 8:39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

When Paul and Silas were imprisoned in Thyatira, their jailer was converted.  His response:

Acts 16:34 The 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.

Listen to Paul in Romans. Notice the word reconciled in the first two verses we read. Then notice the last verse (15).  Who did it and why should this bring us joy?

Romans 5:10-15

For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-- for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.  But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

The gift given to us is given by Jesus Christ.  It is not what we do but what he did.  Maybe Paul says it even better in 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,

or in  Romans 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In the following scripture, Paul the apostle uses the example of the churches of Macedonia: Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and others in the region of Macedonia, to exhort the Corinthians and the Christians in Achaia to the good work of charity.  Notice what they have, JOY.

II Corinthians 8:1-2

And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.  Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

I Thessalonians 5:16-21

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.

Happiness depends on what happens; joy does not. Oswald Chambers

Happiness is a feeling. Joy is an attitude. a posture. a position. a place.  Tim Hansel

Happiness is caused by things that happen around me, and circumstances will mar it; but joy flows right on through trouble; joy flows on through the dark; joy flows in the night as well as in the day; joy flows all through persecution and opposition. It is an unceasing fountain bubbling up in the heart; a secret spring the world can't see and doesn't know anything about. The Lord gives his people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to him.    Dwight L. Moody

1.   The Joy of Christian Fellowship

Romans 14:19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

I Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Hebrews 10:24-25

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Have you ever felt alone?

We all experience loneliness.  But we should be able to find joy in one another.

I John 1:1-4

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-- this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.     

In fact, Verses 1:5 through 2:11 have more to say about this.

2.   Being One in the Spirit we need one another.

Loneliness is like a piano without keys,

      Like a violin without strings.

      Like a sanctuary without a congregation

      Or a choir where no one sings.

Loneliness is like a blade of grass

      Growing through a crack of cement.

Loneliness is like a camp ground

      Without a single tent.

Loneliness is like a mocking bird

      That cannot sing a song.

Loneliness is a feeling

      That one does not belong.

      Like a pansy in a corn field

      Hidden where no one can see.

Maybe you have seen the Peanuts cartoon where Lucy demands that Linus change TV channels and then threatens him with her fist if he doesn't.

"What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?" asks Linus.

"These five fingers," says Lucy. "Individually they're nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold."

"Which channel do you want?" asks Linus.

Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, "Why can't you guys get organized like that?"

There is real joy in togetherness.

In John we read about the JOY of being Gods children.  Jesus talks about those who were converted as a result of His preaching.  Listen to what he wants for these children of The King.  He wants them to be united in their service to God.  And He wants the same for us.

This occurs near the end of the Passover feast where Jesus defined the Lord’s Supper.

Jesus is speaking:

John 17:9-23

I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name-- the name you gave me-- so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.


Peter 1:16-17

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Ephesians 4:1-4

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called--

Are you experiencing the joy of being a child of The King. If not, why not.

Jesus has provided all we need to experience this joy.  We are the ones who must decide that we will accept the joy offered by Jesus.

If you want this joy, I have a question for you!

Is Jesus Lord of your life?

I did not ask “Do you work in The Church?”

I ask, “Is Jesus Lord of your life?

I did not ask “Are you a Church Leader?”

I ask, “Is Jesus Lord of your life?

I did not ask “Do you teach a Bible School class?”

I ask, “Is Jesus Lord of your life?

I did not ask “Are you at every service?”

I ask, “Is Jesus Lord of your life?

I did not ask “Are you a Deacon?”

I ask, “Is Jesus Lord of your life?

I did not ask “Do you clean the church building?”

I ask, “Is Jesus Lord of your life?

I did not ask “Do you prepare the Lord’s Table?”

I ask, “Is Jesus Lord of your life?

I did not ask “Do you give generously at offering time?”

I ask, “Is Jesus Lord of your life?

I did not ask “Do you visit the sick?”

I ask, “Is Jesus Lord of your life?

This is how we obtain the joy, we make Jesus Lord of our lives.

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