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Dedicated to Joy

(57)

Sermon shared by Jim Drake

March 2008
Summary: Joy isn’t ginned up with fun entertainment. Joy doesn’t pass with changing seasons or swinging moods. True, unquenchable joy comes only from God. That’s the kind of joy to be dedicated to.
Tags: Joy (add tag)
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
About Sermon Contributor
Sermon:
1. Intro (6:16)
2. The first way we can be dedicated to striving for joy is with joyful sacrifice. (6:17)
3. The second way we can be dedicated to striving for joy is with joyful service. (6:18-20)
4. The third way we can be dedicated to striving for joy is with joyful separation. (6:21-22a)
5. The fourth way we can be dedicated to striving for joy is with joyful strength. (6:22b)

EZRA 6:16

Several years ago, when we lived in Mississippi, we were members of a small church called Bel Aire Baptist Church. That little church was a blessing to our family. That’s where I was ordained as a deacon. And that’s where our oldest daughter was baptized. Well, several years after we’d moved away, we got word that they’d called a new pastor in 2003. God blessed his ministry tremendously. The church grew to the point where they had to go to two services and were starting a huge building program. Well, just about a month ago, toward the end of February, we got word that the pastor was diagnosed with cancer. Around three weeks later on March 14th, he was in the presence of Jesus. When I saw that, the first thing I thought was, why God? After all the years of struggling that church went through. After spending years without a pastor. After Katrina. After all the years of praying for growth. And then when it finally started to happen—You take their pastor? Why? Oh me of little faith. His wife writes a weekly column for the local newspaper. Listen to what she wrote when they found out about his cancer. She wrote about the big C. “The big C is not cancer, but rather: Christ, Calvary, the Cross, Crucified, Curses broken. Spirits of infirmity—Cast out, Captives freed, Covenant, Commandments. Commitment, Church, Confession, Clean. Communion, Conqueror, and Crown.” The big C isn’t cancer. The big C is Christ. Kandi Anderson is a person who is dedicated to joy. That’s real, true, unquenchable joy. That’s not a kind of joy that is ginned up with fun entertainment. That’s not the kind of joy that passes with the changing of seasons or the swinging of moods. That’s the kind of joy that only comes from Jesus. A supernatural, never ending, unquenchable, unspeakable joy that only comes as a gift from God. And our remnant found that joy. After all the time they spent in exile. After all the time they spent in preparation. After all the time they spend delaying. And after all the time they spent building. After all that time, they finally found joy. How is your joy tonight? Is your joy tied to your mood swings? Is your joy tied to your circumstances? Is your joy tied to the things and people around you? Or is your joy tied to the Spirit that lives within you? I want us to be dedicated to joy tonight. I want us to be dedicated to striving for the joy that only comes from God. And there are four ways we can do that. The first way we can be dedicated to striving for joy is with joyful sacrifice. Look with me at verse 17:

EZRA 6:17

Strive for joy with joyful sacrifice. The temple was finished. It had taken everybody they had and all the resources they had, but it was done. Each member of the remnant worked their tails off for four solid years. They had refused to give in to the opposition when it came. They refused to give in to fatigue when it came. They refused to give in to discouragement when it came. They
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