Summary: Biblical joy comes from a heart yielded to God and the Holy Spirit understanding the One who rules our life loves and cares for us deeply using whatever we are going through to either perfect the image of Christ in us or to bring Himself glory!
Cornerstone Church 7.19.15
“JOY: AGAINST ALL ODDS”
Last week we began our look at the Book of Philippians.
The Apostle Paul is writing the Church at Philippi from a Roman prison.
While chains shackle Paul his heart is unshackled and filled with extraordinary joy!
* Paul writes the Philippians a letter filled with joy and rejoicing (chain letter).
* Joy permeates through the book fifteen times!
True Joy not dependent on circumstances:
* It is a Joy in the midst of difficult times!
* It is a Joy in the midst of hardships and trials!
* It is a Joy in the midst of a chaotic out-of-control culture, society and world!
o Joy can only originate from a relationship with Jesus Christ as your personal LORD and Savior!
o Joy is a fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT!
Daily we fight the battle to live a joy-filled life for God or we allow circumstances to dictate or control our response or attitude.
“Suppose you go to the Grand Canyon and find a perfect place to sit, and you settle in to take in the magnificence of the view. All of a sudden, a big Winnebago motor home parks right in front of you, spoiling your view! What are you going to do at that moment? You’ve got several choices.
* You could sit there, focused on the Winnebago, gripping and groaning and saying, ‘I wanted to see the Grand Canyon, and I’m sitting here looking at this ugly thing.’
* You could say to yourself, ‘I deserve this. I’ve done some rotten things in my life, and this is what I get.’
* You could become jealous of the people who aren’t behind a Winnebago because they’re still enjoying a great view of the Grand Canyon.
* But there is another option: Move your chair! Go to another place where you can look beyond the motorhome and see the grandeur of what God created.”
“Philippians: The Eight Places Joy is Won or Lost” pg. 36-37 by Tom Holladay
We have bought into the lie from our culture that joy comes from happy, good or perfect circumstances!
It is no wonder many Christians lack joy and happiness!
We get out our joy meter and take readings (or APP from the APP Store):
* If things are going well – the Joy Meter needle goes up (we are happy)!
* If things are going badly – the Joy Meter needle plummets (we are unhappy or having a bad day)!
I get this!
* We think we are having a good day and suddenly we are waiting at a traffic light, after it has turned green for someone who is texting to stop texting, wake up and drive! It is moments like that I wish I had a horn from a Semi Truck mounted to my car!
* You or I read the newspaper or watch the news and learn about another senseless massacre perpetrated by religious extremists or learn how Planned Parenthood has been harvesting Body parts from murdered babies and selling them. It is easy to slip into cynicism!
JOY IN THE BIBLE:
* Joy isn’t perfect circumstances
* Joy isn’t pretending circumstances are perfect (Pollyanna – “Let’s play the Glad Game”)
* Joy isn’t saying everything is okay when it is not okay!
Biblical joy comes from a heart yielded to God and the Holy Spirit understanding the One who rules and reigns our life loves and cares for us deeply and He uses whatever we are going through to either perfect the image of Christ in us or to bring Himself Glory!
OUTLINE: (taken from “Philippians: The Eight Places Joy is Won or Lost” by Tom Holladay)
Look Beyond the Circumstances to See the Results
Look Beyond the Personalities to See God’s Plan
Look Beyond the Temporary to See the Eternal
Look beyond the Bad News to See the Good news
LOOK BEYOND THE CIRCUMSTANCES
TO SEE THE RESULTS
Phil. 1:12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,
Think about all that Paul went through:
* Illegally arrested in Jerusalem
* Misrepresented before the court
* Shipwrecked on the way for his appeal in Rome
* A prisoner for 2 years waiting for his case to be heard
* Forgotten by friends
DEFINITION OF VICTIM – Look at Paul! Better yet – look at Jesus!
* Paul did not play the victim!
* He joined with Billy Joel to sing:
“I never said I was a victim of circumstances”
“My Life” Billy Joel!
Look at what the text says revealing Paul’s heart attitude:
“…my circumstances have turned out
for the greater progress of the gospel”