Summary: The Christian finds joy in being freed from guilt, anticipating an eternal reward, having fellowship with God, and being part of God’s work.
Great Joy In the City Acts 8:5-8
INTRO.: You can see almost anything in the city. You can see poverty and plenty, sorrow and happiness, but cities are seldom known as places of great joy. They are places where people work, live, and perhaps celebrate, but not where they simply enjoy themselves. not usually places of great joy.
Occasionally there is an exception. As a Pittsburgher, I remember the first time the Steelers won the Superbowl. There was great joy in that city. People lined the highway from the airport to downtown to greet their returning heroes. That day there was great joy in that city.
When the Gospel came to a city in Samaria, there was great joy. Christian people are consistently the happiest there are. They have reason to be happy with life. There may be some "down" times, but it is certainly safe to say every Christian is happier than he would be without Christ. If not, they have not grasped the real meaning of the Gospel of Grace. So, when multitudes came to know Jesus, there was great joy in the city.
Why should we have joy because we know Jesus?
I. Have joy because the burden of guilt is lifted:
A. A guilty conscience is a great burden to bear:
1. In Psalm 51, David expresses his feelings of guilt: "my sin is always before me." v. 3. "Restore to me the joy of your salvation" 12
2. It is generally suppose he wrote this after the seduction of Bathsheba and murder of Uriah.
3. We can easily understand the depth of his guilt and sense of personal blame over the death of their child.
B. In Jesus, we are free from the nagging of guilty conscience:
1. "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered." Ps. 32:1
2. Even between humans, it feels good to be forgiven.
3. How much more should we rejoice in the forgiveness God gives?
4. Great joy comes from having a free conscience before God. It comes through Jesus. Rom. 8:1
II. Have joy because an eternal reward awaits: Luke 10
A. Jesus sent 72 selected disciples to towns He intended to visit. He instructed them to prepare the way for Him by preaching the Kingdom and healing the sick.
1. They returned with great joy, saying, ""Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name." 17
2. He promised even greater power. 19
3. Then, he exhorted them to keep their priorities straight. "rejoice that your names are written in heaven." 19
B. Our joy as Christians should spring from our hope of eternal reward:
1. We know we have an eternal home with Jesus.
2. We are promised victory over sin and death.
3. This hope for future reward will help us endure suffering & disappointment. Matt. 5:11, 12
III. Have joy because we have fellowship with God through His Spirit: Phil. 4:4, 5
A. It is terrible to be lonely.
1. Sometimes we want to be alone, but we never want to be lonely.
2. We can be lonely even in a crowd or with loved ones.
3. ILLUS.: nursing home residents always greet visitors with joy because, although they are never alone, they are often lonely.
B. The Christian is never alone. Jn. 14:15-18
1. He is always God’s companion.