Billy Sunday said, "If your have no joy in your religion, there is a leak in your Christianity.
The missing thing in a lot of Churches today is real Christian joy. In a lot of Churches it is made up, its a put on. Some Churches look like the house of the dead rather than the house of the living or the house of the Lord.
Harry Beecher said, " Christians, it is your duty not only to be good, but to shine; and, of all the lights which you kindle on the face, joy will reach farthest out to sea, where troubled mariners are seeking the shore. Even in your deepest grieves, rejoice in God."
I-THE COMMAND FOR JOY:
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice.
A-Is it to be Conditional?
2)Happiness depends on the outwards conditions. A little girl talking to her friend, said, "daddy must have had a good day at the office, for he kissed mother, and even patted the dog on the head".
3)But joy depends on the inward; it depends on Jesus.
4)Jesus was a man of sorrows but he had a deep joy even as he faced the cross according to John 15:11.
B-Is it to be Continuing?
1)We know that it is for we read earlier in Philippians 4:4 that Paul said, "Rejoice in the Lord Always...."
2) Corrie Ten Boom in The Hiding Place relates an incident which taught her this principle. She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the worst German prison camp they had seen yet, Ravensbruck. Upon entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea-infested. Their Scripture reading that morning in 1 Thessalonians had reminded them to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances. Betsy told Corrie to stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters. Corrie at first flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas, but Betsy persisted. She finally succumbed. During the months spent at that camp, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings without guard interference. It was several months later when they learned that the guards would not enter the barracks because of the fleas.
II-THE CREATOR OF JOY:
A-We find it in His Word:
Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.
1)Some find His Word boring, I find it beautiful, some find it silly, I find it satisfying, some find it lifeless, I find it living.
2)Brother Bud Robinson, said, "the Bible knocked the cuss out of me and put the Christ of rejoicing in my heart".
B-We find it in His Worship:
Nehemiah 12:43 Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.
1)I had great joy when I caught a 5Lb. bass, when I made the winning basket in a high school basketball game, when my wife said yes when I asked her to marry me ,but the greatest joy is when I stand in the pulpit in the House of the Lord and say "Jesus Loves you".
2) Reasons for attending church fall into two categories -- good and bad.
In the bad column are these: Attending is socially acceptable. God is angry if I don't. Going merits His favor. I feel better. Such motivations dishonor God, and some are the devil's lies.
In the good column are these reasons: God's Word commands it. I need Christian fellowship. Others need my encouragement. I can hear the Word. I can meet God.
A story might help to explain. One day the telephone rang in the rector's office of the Washington church attended by the President. An eager voice said, "Tell me, do you expect the President to be there Sunday?" "That I cannot promise," the rector said patiently. "But we do expect God, and we fancy it will be incentive enough for a reasonably large attendance.
C-We find it in His World:
John 4:36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
1)Thomas Knight said, "Put you finger on your wrist and find your pulse. Have you found your pulse yet? If not please have some one help you find it. For every pulse of your heart, one, two, three, four ---- someone in the world has died without Jesus as their savior. They are souls who have never had the opportunity to hear the message of GOD'S love for them in Jesus, or even worse, have heard and rejected it. Do still feel your pulse? God does. He is aware of each pulse, of each soul who has entered into Hell's gates.