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Summary: Answers question, "What causes us to lose our joy?" Uses hymn "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus."

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“DON’T LOSE YOUR JOY” Gal. 4:8-20

INTRO – Don’t you hate it when you lose something important? Folks are always losing things – keys, money, homework, glasses, their Bible, umbrella, or the most annoying, yet most important thing we lose…the TV remote control! Then there are other less tangible things that people lose – their cool; their temper; their patience; their memory; their reputation.

And losing things can really mess up your day. Story of family going on vacation. Typical in many ways. Dad was holding up fine, until finally he lost it. Tired of having the back of his seat kicked. Tired of telling his 2 boys how much longer. Tired of his 2 boys arguing and fighting. Tired of hearing things like, “He’s looking at me!” “He won’t stay on his side of the seat.” Pulled car to a screeching halt on side of road. Yanked 2 boys out and gave them a good “woodshed” experience. Put them back in the car and told them not to say a word for 30 minutes. Got back in and on the road again. After half an hour of silence, one boy asked if it was all right to talk now. “Yes. What do you want to say?” “Well, when you spanked us back there, my shoe fell off, and we left it in the middle of the road.”

As we continue walking through the book of Galatians, we see today that P is concerned that the Galatians have lost something of great importance – their joy and zeal for the Lord.

- Judaizers (salvation = faith in X + keeping the Law) continue to lead them astray.

- This is causing the Galatians to lose their joy and zeal for the Lord and for the Gospel.

- P is beginning to feel that maybe he had wasted his time and effort on them – v. 11. That’s not a good feeling for a minister to have!

There WAS a time when they were so zealous and so full of passion for the Lord that they would have torn out their eyes and given them to P – v. 15. But now that joy is gone from their lives.

Divide this passage of Scripture into 3 sections:

- V. 8-11 – P questioning them about turning back to their old ways.

- V. 12-16 – P questions them about losing their joy.

- V. 17-20 – P pleads w/ them to be zealous for a good purpose.

So obvious that P is greatly concerned about what he is seeing in the lives of the Galatians. “…the Galatian Xns did not remember what they were once like, and P was inexpressibly disappointed w/ their immaturity and lack of discernment. He was not able to fathom how they could so quickly forget their former bondage in unbelief and so easily surrender their new freedom and blessings in X.” (MacArthur, pg. 112)

It is such a tragedy to see people who start out so strong w/ the Lord make decisions that cause them to lose their joy and zeal for following Him. And there are so many!

What causes us to lose our joy? Turn to hymn #305 – “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”

I. (sing 1st verse) TURNING BACK TO WORTHLESS IDOLS.

A. John MacArthur tells story of visiting a very large Buddhist shrine. Scores of men, women, and even children, were bowing down to a giant stone image of Buddha, reciting prescribed prayers, going through various incantations, and making offerings of incense and food.

i. Said his heart broke b/c of their spiritual darkness and hopelessness.

ii. Wanted to shout, “Why are you doing all this? Don’t you know that image is only a piece of stone carved by men? There is no god here. Buddha can’t help you. He himself is long dead – physically and spiritually – and will eternally remain dead. If you continue to trust in him, you too will die and forever remain dead.”

B. P’s heart broke for the Galatians b/c they were turning back to things that were no longer of any value even after they had accepted G’s grace-filled gift of salvation and sonship.

II. (sing 2nd verse) TURNING BACK TO OUR OLD SELF.

A. Another sure-fire way to lose our joy is to turn back to our old self.

B. When we receive X as our personal Lord and Savior, we aren’t just saved. We are completely changed. Everything inside us is made new. We are a completely different person.

i. We receive a new heart.

ii. We receive a new life.

iii. We receive a new inheritance.

iv. “Behold, all things are made new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)

C. Guarantee that EVERY time you turn back to your old self, you will lose your joy.

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