March 27, 2011
All of us at different times suffer all kinds of trials. Tonight I want to encourage you.
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory (I Peter 1:8).
This verse is written to a church suffering intense persecution, but the basis behind the joy is for all Christians anywhere:
#1- Christian joy is rooted in God’s love for us and not in our circumstances
Whom having not seen, ye love;
Now we know that we love Him because He first loved us (I Jn. 4:19). What greater joy is there than that? We still haven’t seen Him, but He’s poured out His love into our hearts so that we love Him, and no trial can ever take that away!
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:38-39).
Whatever you’re going through tonight, you need to remember that our Lord’s love for you is the source of your joy.
#2- Christian joy is in faith of better things to come and not what we see now
in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing,
We know that one day we’ll see Him and all these trials we face now will seem like light and momentary afflictions. We believe that He has an inheritance for us that He’s promised to us, and we believe He’s able to keep it for us (II Tim. 1:12).
And so whatever happens we find joy in all things:
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places (Hab. 3:17-19).
#3- Christian joy knows that He causes all things to work together for our good
yet believing, ye rejoice
These Christians in Peter’s letter were going through a lot yet they were able to rejoice. They knew they were loved by God and they had a hope for the future. But they could also rejoice knowing that God had promised to use every single thing that happened to them to conform them to the image of Christ.
Listen, this is enough for rejoicing: you know Him! And if you know Him then you know He works for your good as a Father works for His children.
#4- Christian joy may not be understood by natural means
with joy unspeakable
This makes me think of the peace that passes understanding (Phil 4:7). The joy is indescribable. I think that means that it’s beyond beyond what’s natural. The natural man rejoices when there’s food to eat, but Christians know there’s more to life than food—even if they’re starving to death!