Summary: The Joy of the Lord will help us persevere through the difficult times of our Christian walk.
July 3, 2004
Text: Psalm 40:1-3
Subject: Joy - Part 2 in the Perseverance Series
Title: Come and Get It
What is the connection between being a Christian and joy? Joy is part of the fruit that we should exhibit. There is nothing that can be more satisfying and joyful than knowing whose you are. It’s a lesson that I have had to learn over the years.
When we first came into the Pentecostal church we used to sing the old song, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!” and every time we would sing that there was this older lady with a really annoying, nasally kind of voice who would say, “Where?” You know how it goes. “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart – Where? – Down in my heart – Where? – Down in my heart…” After a few times through I would be to the point that what little joy I might have had was gone and I wanted to turn around and tell her, “I’ve got the joy in my heart, alright? Now can you please stop the “Where?” stuff OKAY? I remember going to church and praying, “Please Lord, not that song!” That’s not the kind of joy I want to talk to you about today. I want us to just begin to be joyful in whom we are in Christ.
At a conference at a Presbyterian church in Omaha, people were given helium filled balloons and told to release them at some point in the service
When they felt like expressing the joy in their hearts. Since they were
Presbyterians, they weren’t free to say, "Hallelujah” or “Praise the Lord."
All through the service balloons ascended, but when it was over 1/3 of
the balloons were unreleased. Let your balloon go.
Bruce Larson, Luke, p. 43
That’s a problem with many Christians today. They have the joy down in their hearts and don’t know how to let it go. We are going to work on that today. The joy that we have in our hearts should always be expressed by our actions and it should always help us to persevere through the hard times.
I. THE JOY OF SALVATION – KNOWING THAT HEAVEN IS YOURS. James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience (perseverance). But let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” When you come under attack because of your faith – this comes from the god of this world – how do you respond? James says you should count it as joy. The testing of your faith produces patience, which produces more faith etc. Some do not respond with patient waiting on the Lord. They will turn and run away, thinking that God has abandoned them. This church has experienced some testing in the past year. Just when it looks as though we are about to move into the next phase of church growth, the enemy rises up to set us back. We could get all worked up and nervous or we can hold on to the scriptures. “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.” Every negative experience we have is temporary. God has promised to bless those who are obedient to Him. Paul wrote about how to respond to adversity. “Be anxious about nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” We have the joy of knowing that we have a Savior Who hears when we pray, who is always available (you never get His answering machine), and has experienced all the same things that we are going through, and never gave in. You have the joy of knowing that you have been saved by the blood of the Lamb, sanctified by the grace of God, have been given the promise of eternal life, and the power of His Holy Spirit to help you wait through all difficulties. One of the names of God used by Israel was Jehovah-Nissi (God our Banner). Jesus Christ is our banner. He goes before us into the battle and always proclaims the way of victory. As Jim brings down the Christian flag let’s stand and repeat the pledge to the Christian flag. “I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag and to the savior for whose kingdom it stands. One brotherhood, uniting all mankind in service and love.” If you have ever trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior and invited Him to be the Lord of your life, your joy should be in knowing that He is always by your side.
II. THE JOY OF LIVING FOR JESUS TILL HE RETURNS. We live in the greatest Christian nation in the history of the world. Our greatness does not come from who we are, but by whose name we are called. As we look at the direction of our nation at this present time we have to wonder how long can God continue to bless us? Some denominations are turning away from the truth of the scripture and turning to cleverly devised fables. That is not the picture of our church. This is what makes us different – We serve a great God, we believe He has inspired His word through the Holy Spirit, and we live in this great and free nation where we are allowed to worship as we choose. The fact that we are a bible believing church and we are a Christian nation opens the door for us to believe that even though others shall rise up against us, we can live for Christ until HE returns. And the joy of living for Him becomes tied to the promises given to us. Psalm 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” It is ironic that devout Christians and satan’s cohort coexist in the same nation. But right in the middle of satan’s world, God is setting a table for us with good things. All His promises are set before us to receive right in the middle of the enemy’s strongholds. If you are hungry, come and eat. The table is set. The promises are given. The time is now. Living for Jesus right now becomes the joy of our lives. Psalm 23:5 continues, “You anoint my head with oil… (the Holy Spirit). My cup runs over.” Do you want the joy that comes from eating at the Lord’s table? It yours today.