Sermons

Summary: 1- It’s pure joy to experience trials 2- It’s pure joy to attain wisdom 3- It’s pure joy to be single-minded

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INTRO.- Joy can mean many things to many people.

ILL.- A January 1994 Reuters News Service story on Manuel Oliveira's ice cream shop in Merida, Venezuela, reported on his 567 flavors: including onion, chili, beer, eggplant, smoked trout, spaghetti parmesan, chicken with rice, and spinach. He said some flavors fail; he once abandoned avocado ice cream, and tossed out 99 pounds of it, because it wasn't smooth enough.

Ugh! Can you imagine? In what do you find your joy in life? Ice cream? It could help but certainly not those kinds of ice cream. They sound awful. Chocolate Chip, Butter Pecan and a few others sound a lot better.

- "Food is an important part of a balanced diet."

- "Old people shouldn't eat health foods. They need all the preservatives they can get."

We DO enjoy our food in America! The word ENJOY is the right word. We don’t care if it’s healthy or not, as long as it tastes good, we enjoy it! We get JOY from it! Food is just one of our joys in life.

ILL.- I read Wendy Cunningham’s facebook postings and pure joy to her is loving her family: Her husband, Kevin and boys, Barrett and Easton.

She wrote: “You know that you are BLESSED when you hear, "Mom- I love you" over 20 times a day!” “My kids don't need a jungle jim - they have me, their mommy!” “Happy FATHER'S day Kevin Cunningham - a wonderful hubby and a great daddy, the boys and I love and appreciate all you do for us!!!”

Sounds pretty good, wouldn’t you say? There is some pure joy in that family. Amen.

ILL.- Someone wrote: Men have pursued joy in every avenue imaginable. Some have successfully found it while others have not. Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found:

Not in Unbelief -- Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: "I wish I had never been born."

Not in Pleasure -- Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He was known for his numerous love affairs. He wrote: "The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone."

Not in Money -- Jay Gould, the American millionaire was worth around $72 million at his death. When dying, he said: "I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth."

Not in Position and Fame -- Lord Beaconsfield (Benjamin Disraeli) was a British Prime Minister, parliamentarian, Conservative statesman and literary figure. He wrote: "Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret."

ILL.- C. S. Lewis wrote: “Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Lewis is saying that we humans fool around with the things of this world, thinking they will bring joy into our lives, when in reality only that which is eternal can bring true joy into our lives. In our text, James gives us more insight into pure joy!

PROP.- What does this “pure joy” deal with?

1- It’s pure joy to experience trials

2- It’s pure joy to attain wisdom

3- It’s pure joy to be single-minded

I. IT’S PURE JOY TO EXPERIENCE TRIALS

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Trials and trouble. Who wants them? Well, most of us don’t. Most of us don’t see anything good with trials, troubles and problems. But that’s because we can’t see beyond them. When we’re in the middle of them they are no fun.

ILL.- When my son Shane was 8 days old he had major abdominal surgery. I thought there was a very good chance that I would lose him in death and I didn’t face that prospect very well. I wept a lot while he was in surgery. I was finally able to pray, “Lord, thy will be done.” But it was tough.

Also, when a person’s health goes out of the window we often begin to lose our joy. This doesn’t always hold true, because look at how much joy quadraplegic Joni Eareckson seems to possess!

As a teenager, Joni loved life. She enjoyed riding horses, hiking, tennis, and loved to swim. But on a hot summer day in July 1967 (Sunday July 30) that all changed. While on a beach with some friends, Joni dove into Chesapeake Bay not knowing how shallow the water was. She broke her neck—a fracture between the fourth and fifth cervical levels—and became a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the shoulders down.

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