Summary: Billy Sunday observed "If there’s no joy in your religion, you’ve got a leak in your faith." In a world that is often discouraging and frustrating, how can a Christian keep the Joy of the Lord as their strength?
OPEN: In 1937 architect Frank Lloyd Wright built a house for industrialist Hibbard Johnson. One rainy evening Johnson was entertaining distinguished guests for dinner when the roof began to leak.
The water seeped through directly above Johnson himself, dripping steadily onto his bald head. Irate, he called Wright in Phoenix, Arizona.
“Frank,” he said, “you built this beautiful house for me and we enjoy it very much. But … the roof leaks, and right now I am with some friends and distinguished guests and it is leaking right on top of my head.”
There was a pause on the line, and Frank Lloyd Wright reportedly replied: “Well, Hib, why don’t you move your chair?”
APPLY: This morning we’re going to be talking about Joy
Galatians 5 says that one of the fruit of the Spirit is… JOY and I had not realized until I started doing the research for this sermon how central Joy and Rejoicing were to the people of God
I. What I discovered was that the Word of God seems to focus heavily on Joy.
ILLUS: In the Jewish Encyclopedia Kaufmann Kohler stated that no language has as many words for joy and rejoicing as does Hebrew. In the Old Testament there are 27 different words that are used primarily… for some aspect of joy or joyful participation in religious worship.
Hebrew religious ritual (says Kohler) demonstrates that God is the source of joy.
In contrast to the rituals of other faiths of the East Israelite worship was essentially a joyous proclamation and celebration. The good Israelite regarded the act of thanking God as the supreme joy of his life. Pure joy is joy in God as both its source and object.
The psalmist says, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11
The New Testament stresses this as heavily as the Old did:
1 Thessalonians commands us to “Be joyful always” 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Romans 12:12 says we should “Be joyful in hope...”
And Phil. 4 states “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
(pause…) Now, I’ve always been intrigued by that last quote there from Philippians 4
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
What intrigued me was that Paul felt compelled say it “again”. Why would Paul feel he had to repeat himself?
Then I realized, as a parent I repeat myself quite a lot to my children. And I repeat myself… and I repeat myself… and I repeat myself. Why do I feel have to do that?
Because the kids aren’t listening! They’re not paying any attention to me!
There are many Christians who struggle with this idea of having “joy” in their lives. Their problem is THEY DON’T HAVE ANY JOY!
ILLUS: The evangelist Billy Sunday noticed this absence of joy in the lives of many people he preached to, and he observed:
“If there is no joy in your religion, you’ve got a leak in your faith.”
In other words - if there’s no joy in your life - you have a problem. You’ve got a leak someplace and you need to find a way to deal with it.
II. Now, some will point out that the reason they have no joy in their lives is because they don’t have a reason to be joyful.
Life seems like it’s fallen apart.
They aren’t satisfied with their job… if they even have one.
Their family has problems.
Their health isn’t good
Their car has gone in for repairs for the 10th time this year.
They just can’t see a “reason” for being joyful.
And, I can’t blame people for feeling that way. It’s hard to be joyful when life is going against you. It’s hard to be joyful when you’re
… struggling with troubles,
…or overwhelmed by pain,
…or unsure of your future.
But there’s a problem with THAT approach to life. If we wait till everything to turns out the way we want them to in our lives… if we’re not going to be joyful until all the leaks are patched in our lives… THEN we’re NEVER going to experience JOY. Or, if we do have joy, it will be a rare occurrence.
Jesus Himself warned us that "… In this world you will have trouble..." John 16:33
Now, the good news is this. You don’t have to wait until you’re Happy with your life/ to have joy in your life. The kind of joy God wants you to have in your life WILL bring you happiness. But the pursuit of happiness will not always bring you joy.
ILLUS: That realization caused me to remember a little phrase I learned years ago, back in math class: “All squares are rectangles… but not all rectangles are squares”