Summary: Biblical joy is not a simple feeling but a frame of mind
TEXT: 1 Thess. 5:16
One of the 3 great promises of the Declaration of Independence (i.e. "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”) is the pursuit of happiness ... or joy. Biblical joy goes far beyond mere happiness ... in fact it is much greater than simple happiness!
For Christians, JOY is not something you have to earn ... IT IS SOMETHING YOU ALREADY HAVE – but you might not even know it! You might have it in Christ and yet not have discovered it:
Christian JOY … we have it already in Christ; we just need to discover it and enjoy it! To find anything you must know what it is you’re looking for. So, we are going to look at Christian joy ... something every saved person possesses in Christ!
Biblical joy is not a simple feeling but a frame of mind and based on a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is the knowledge that we are never victims, we are always VICTORS! Victors by nature are joyful people!
I. THE RULE OF ELATION
1 Thess. 5:16a Rejoice
This is not a suggestion!
Paul’s other writings to churches in the New Testament says the same thing.
PHILIPPIANS 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say Rejoice
In fact the entire letter to the church in Philippi was based on the theme of JOY; the word was used more than any other!
Paul wrote from a prison cell facing possible death
It was also a command to the Philippians and not a suggestion!
If you are not experiencing Christian joy ... something is wrong!
Either you don’t understand it. Or you are not looking for it.
Sometimes we fail to experience Christian Joy because we are not focused properly ... we only see the present sufferings:
Many years ago a ship was lost in a terrible storm at sea in a deserted area of the ocean. Only one man survived the storm, being washed upon a deserted island. In his desperation he daily prayed to God for deliverance and help. Each day he hoped, but no one came, not even a passing ship. He managed to store a few things from the ship that floated ashore, and he even built a hut ... everything in the world he had left he kept in that hut.
One day while returning from a hunt for food he looked up toward his crude hut to discover it was on fire. Now everything was lost ... he ran to it but it was too late to save anything! He fell into a deep depression and got angry at a God! He began questioning whether life was really worth living!
As dawn broke he rose up and went down to the shoreline, and to his amazement he saw a rowboat coming toward him with a larger ship off-shore! Once aboard ship he discovered that the captain would not have known about him had it not been for the signal fire he thought the man had made ... the man’s last straw was actually a God-send for his rescue!
God is always able to bring blessing out of curses! This KNOWLEDGE IS WHAT GIVES US OUR JOY, not the circumstances of each trial! –
Romans 8:28 “ALL THINGS WORK TO OUR GOOD!”
Paul MAKES THE COMMAND FOR JOY; JUST THAT … A COMMAND!
The reason a Christian can experience joy even in the midst of great pain or a painful struggle is the knowledge that God is ALWAYS IN CONTROL!
There are no accidents for the believer!
Satan has no authority over us, and God never permits anything that will destroy us. God may let the devil test us but the devil is limited by God. Only our own bitterness anger and resentment can rob us of JOY!
If you are in a trial right now it is completely within God’s knowledge and approval ... and the outcome will be good when it gets here! Hang on to your joy in the Lord in the meantime!
Paul not only gave this advice ... he practiced it!
The themes of his books, mostly written from prison cells or following beatings and scourges were about joy and love while experiencing rejection and pain in his life; even facing death frequently! It WORKS!!!
It sets us apart from the world. OUR JOY IS TIED TO THE THINGS OF ANOTHER WORLD!
* It keeps us strong during trials we can’t understand!
* It gives meaning to meaningless PROBLEMS !
* It enables us to stay on course when a storm is overpowering us.
II. THE Idea OF ELATION
Paul keeps everything in view, even the worst that this life can throw at us is really powerless to destroy us or defeat us if we keep our focus and our joy in Christ!