Summary: Our strength to live out this Christian life is NOT rooted in effort but rather in “THE JOY OF THE LORD!!!” In our sermon today we will see: 1. WE HAVE PERMISSION TO ENJOY GOD (8:9,10) 2. WE HAVE A PROCESS FOR ENJOYING GOD (8:10a) 3. WE HAVE
“THE JOY OF THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH”
“Second Sunday after Easter”
Fr. Christopher M. Nerreau
Introduction: (Read passage)
• Over the last several weeks I have preached messages of misunderstanding who Christ is, applying the resurrection of Christ to your heart, having faith in difficult circumstances but today I want to shift gears a bit.
• One of the great mistakes a pastor can make is to continually preach about responsibility and forget about something even MORE IMPORTANT – JOY!!!
Proposition: Our strength to live out this Christian life is NOT rooted in effort but rather in “THE JOY OF THE LORD!!!”
Interrogative sentence: Have you taken time this Easter season to simply enjoy Christ?
In our sermon today I intend to demonstrate to you:
1. WE HAVE PERMISSION TO ENJOY GOD (8:9,10)
2. WE HAVE A PROCESS FOR ENJOYING GOD (8:10a)
3. WE HAVE A PROMISE IN THE ENJOYMENT OF GOD (8:10b)
Transitional Sentence: firstly let us see that we can enjoy God because…
I. WE HAVE PERMISSION TO ENJOY GOD (8:9,10)
Explanation: Nehemiah (the Governor) had just completed rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. The people had all gathered together and Ezra (the priest) began reading to them the Law of God. The people were cut to the heart at how far they had strayed from God’s law while in captivity. But listen to what Nehemiah and Ezra say to the people…
THE BIBLE SAYS: (Nehemiah 8:9) “And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.”
A. This Day Is Holy (v.10):
• Nehemiah saw for the first time in about 50 years the people of God gathered in Jerusalem and listening to the law of God. This was not a time to mourn but to celebrate!
• In a similar way, Easter is a season of celebration ( A TIME SET APART AND HOLY) and GOD HAS GIVEN YOU PERMISSION TO ENJOY HIM – THE BIBLE SAYS
i. (Matthew 9:15) - “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?” (Easter is a reminder that the Bridegroom is with us!)
ii. (Psalm 32:11) - Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
iii. (Isaiah 49:13) –“Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people…”
iv. (1 Thessalonians 1:6) - “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord…with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit…”
Illustration: Growing up my wife had a dog that would balance food on her nose until given permission to eat it. This was a demonstration of great obedience and it was impressive. But the fun part of the dogs display was watching her enjoy the treat. God has given you permission to enjoy the treat of life, and the fun part for Him is watching you do it!
• Today do you feel like that dog? Sitting in obedience waiting to experience the joy?
• Today we are in the season of Easter not Lent. Today is a time of celebration and like Nehemiah and Ezra, I as your priest encourage you to ENJOY CHRIST!!
• How might your walk with Christ be different if you simply took time to enjoy Him?
• Today we are in the season of Easter and God has given you permission to enjoy Him!
Transitional Sentence: We not only have permission to enjoy God, but thanks to Nehemiah…
II. WE HAVE A PROCESS FOR ENJOYING GOD (8:10a)
Explanation: Nehemiah clearly lays out for us a process for enjoying God in (v.10) that includes three steps.
THE BIBLE SAYS: (Nehemiah 8:10) - “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared.”
A. Go Your Way (v.10)
• The people were gathered together before the religious leaders, hearing the word of the Lord and weeping at their sin. But Nehemiah tells them to “Go your way…”
• In effect what he is saying is leave this setting of mourning, leave this congregation of sorrow and be free. This stood in contrast to the captivity they had just experienced in Babylon. They are now free to move about as they see fit.
• We also need to get away from the hardship from time to time and go to a place of celebration. We need to remember our freedom in Christ and the move to the places that bring us joy.
B. Eat and Drink (v. 10)
• Secondly, Nehemiah commands the people to “Eat and drink”.