6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Explains that we can have joy even in bad situations because of trust in God, our hope in His future, and by the Holy Spirit.

Christian Joy

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.

Introduction: We know that God has provided peace for us—and desires for us to experience peace. Likewise, God has provided joy for us—and desires us to live to fullest experience of that joy. One person said, “Joy is peace dancing. Peace is joy resting.”

I. We can experience joy even in bad situations by trust.

A. We are commanded to

1TH 5:16 Be joyful always

B. Paul commends the Macedonians for having joy even in severe trials.

2 Corinthians 8:2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

In fact, it was their joy that allowed them to be fruitful even during this time.

C. James gives the reason for having joy even in trials--

James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

It is because we know something that we can have joy even in terrible circumstances. Because we know that “all things work together for the good.” James said to have joy knowing that the trials benefit in good.

D. When we look all around and see confusion and nothing looks good—we can have joy by trusting God—that everything is going to be alright.

1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.

Though we know only by faith, not sight—we are able to experience joy!

“The opposite of joy is not sorrow. It is unbelief.” Leslie Weatherhead

E. The people in the day of Nehemiah were mourning and weeping. And Nehemiah exhorted them:

Nehemiah 8:10 Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

II. We can have joy—even in bad circumstances—because we have a hope!

A. We are told in Scripture to

Romans 12:12a Be joyful in hope…

B. Jesus gives an example of hope-filled joy.

John 16:20-24 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

Jesus was about to die—a horrible thing. But in the midst of it he speaks of joy. Because like a woman in labor is in pain—yes. Horrible anguish—yes. But she also has joy because she knows that she will give birth. And when the child is born—all the pain is forgotten. So we can trust in God that our labor pains are temporary—looking forward with hope to the prize ahead—and endure with joy whatever is set before us.

C. Jesus lived an example for us of joy through trials. Jesus disciples didn’t actually experience this joy, but he did.

Hebrews 12:2-3 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

It was the joy before him that allowed Jesus to endure the cross. And it is our joy that will allow us to overcome whatever trials and tribulations lay ahead. Joy is not for happy times! Joy is the strength in awful times.

D. Though Jesus spoke of his first return with his disciples—we cannot talk about joy and hope without talking about heaven.

LK 6:22,23 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.

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