Summary: There’s something missing in the lives of so many of God’s people, and it’s called JOY. God’s desire is that we would experience fullness of joy, and rivers of pleasure.
FULNESS OF JOY AND RIVERS OF PLEASURE:
By Pastor Chris Jordan
This morning when you woke up, I hope that your heart was the same as mine, and that you said as the Psalmist David did, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go to the house of the Lord!” (Psalm 122:1). I hope that you didn’t wake up this morning and say, “Oh no! It’s another Sunday morning and I have to go to church!” I hope that when you woke up this morning you said, “Yes! It’s Sunday morning and I get to go to the house of the Lord, because I get to meet with Jesus! My God is a good God, a loving God, who has great plans for my life.”
Now today is a very special day for me - August 14, 2005. This is the 16 year anniversary of the day I first encountered Jesus Christ. Sixteen years ago today, on a farmhouse outside of Lacombe, Alberta, a young man named Jerrold shared the Gospel with me and told me that there was a God who loved me so much, that if I would give my life to Him, I would never regret it. And it’s true – I never have. Since that day, I have enjoyed serving Jesus and living the Christian life. And if you don’t know Jesus, I pray that you would meet Him, and realize that Christianity is not just about following a bunch of rules, and dressing up nice to go to church on Sunday morning. It’s about having a personal friendship with the God who not only created you, but loves you so much, and desperately longs to have a friendship with you. That’s the God of the Bible.
But there’s something missing in the church today. There’s something missing, and I wonder if we can find it, because it’s something we need on this journey called the Christian life. There’s something missing in the lives of so many of God’s people, and it’s called JOY. It’s God’s desire that we would have not just a little bit of joy, but fullness of joy, and rivers of pleasure. That’s the title of my message.
This past Friday afternoon I took my family to the mall on a shopping trip, and most of you who know my wife know she likes to shop. As we were getting ready to leave the mall, we stopped at Dairy Queen for some ice cream. We got some ice cream cones for the kids, and as I was scanning the menu, under the “Blizzard” section (that’s the stirred up ice cream with all the good chocolate stuff in it), I noticed an item on the menu that said, “Extra Stuff – 99 cents.” So I asked the cashier, “Could I get some of that extra stuff, please?” She wasn’t quite sure what I meant by that (I’m sure no one had ever just ordered the extra stuff before), so she called her supervisor over, and she said to her, “He wants the extra stuff.” The supervisor explained to me, “You have to order the Blizzard before you can get the extra stuff.” I just wanted the extra stuff for 99 cents – that was a good deal! She said, “No, you have to get the Blizzard – then you can get the extra stuff.” You see, in our Christian lives, so many of us aren’t experiencing the extra stuff – we’re not experiencing the joy of the Lord because we don’t realize that there’s something else we need to have first before we can get the extra stuff. We’re going to talk about that in this message.
In Galatians 4:15, Paul asks, “What happened to your joy?” And I want to ask that same question to you today. When I was at church yesterday, I was looking around our sanctuary during worship to see if I could see any joy in the house of the Lord. There was a little bit of it up at the front with some of our young people, who were dancing before the Lord in worship. But there wasn’t a lot of other joy. And some of you might say, “Well, pastor Chris, my joy is on the inside. I have the joy by faith, brother! I just don’t like to express it on the outside. It’s an inner joy.” Well, if you’ve got an inner joy, then let it out!
So what is JOY? Joy is a topic that is mentioned in the Bible over 650 times (it talks about joy, rejoice, rejoicing, glad, gladness, and delight). So some of you might say, “Joy is not an important topic. You should be preaching about faith or prayer or Bible study, because those are important topics.” But to me, when the Bible talks about a certain topic over 650 times, that tells me it’s a pretty important topic. Here’s just a sampling of 10 of those Scriptures, and what the Bible has to say about joy: