Summary: The secret of abiding joy, is tasting and seeing that the Lord is good.
INTRO: There are questions on why I brought dough up on stage a couple of weeks ago because the word around is he only sings about as good as me. Reason: Because of the joy and enthusiasm that radiates from him. It’s exciting to watch people who are enthused about something. I watch people worshipping God from my standpoint because I can see you all.
TIThE: Secret of Abiding Joy
TEXT: Habakkuk 3:17,18
I. Christian has joy!
A. Background - Habakkuk was a prophet who worked in the temple of the Lord.
-Man saw great reforms under Josiah, tremendous revivals. Lord blessed.
-Nation was falling apart, corrupt. God’s laws were not being followed.
-Violence to the righteous and weak were standard practice.
-People in open, willful sin. Thumbing nose at God.
-Habakkuk questions God - “When are you going to do something about this!”
-God’s response (1:5) - “I’ll do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told.” (Babylon to destroy Judea).
1. Habakkuk’s strength – torn, he wanted to see justice but not total devastation. God has given him his answer. The prophet’s heart was probably on the verge of breaking, but Habakkuk still rejoiced in the Lord!
Illustrate: Dr. Torrey was one of the great Bible teachers of the past generation. He and his wife
went through terrible heartache when their 12-year-old daughter died. Funeral was gloomy.
Watching as they lowered her into the ground Mrs. Torrey said, “I’m so glad Elizabeth is with the
Lord and not in that box.” Their hearts were still broken.
Dr. Torrey said the next day changed him. He was thinking about all the loneliness that was ahead
(empty house, no more playing together). Burdened with all this, he looked to the Lord for help.
Just then this fountain of joy broke forth in his heart, and Dr. Torrey said that was the most joyful
moment in his life!
B. Christianity - Not a bunch of do’s and don’ts, not a system of melancholy where you walk around
depressed all the time. This makes for a dry, boring religion.
1. God’s will for us is joy - John 15:11 - “I have told you this so that my joy may be complete.”
a. Joy follows conversion - God wants us to be joyful.
Q: Parents, do you not want your children to be joyful?
1. How much more then would Christ want the same for us His children!
-Sometimes we view God as this vengeful beast who demands us to take our young, virgin girls and throw them into the volcano in order to appease Him, or a God who does not want us to have any fun.
C. Christian joy is their strength - stronghold.
1. I believe it’s one of the most effective spiritual weapons God gives us. The enemy hates it. The devil hates it when you’re joyful.
ex Star Trek, my experience on a baseball team.
a. Joy of the Lord helps us overcome temptation - James 1:2-3 (READ)
-Joy in trials because it develops maturity, but also this joy will help you overcome your temptations and trials.
ex Steel girders hold building, NORAD giant springs (Missile attack would survive).
1. Enemy shoots missiles and hits. We don’t have the springs of joy and our world comes crashing down (devastated, depressed, negative).
D. L. Moody said, “God never uses a discouraged person. Why? Because they’re so easily defeated by the enemy and end up doing more harm than good for the kingdom of God.”
Q: Are we a joyful Christian today. Are we making a positive effect on other’s lives? This joy is not only very important in doing the works of God but also in strengthening us.
ex Peter and John, Jesus was murdered, Holy Spirit came. Peter and John healed the crippled beggar, brought before the religious leaders (rebuked), continued healing people in the name of Jesus. Captured and thrown in prison, angel releases them. Out again in temple preaching and healing people. Taken in front of the Sanhedrin again and given a flogging.
Acts 5:41 - “The Apostles left the Sanhedrin rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name.”
II. This Joy is in the Lord
A. Joy in the Lord - Not in ourselves, not in others, not in things. It’s from the Lord and His strength and power.
1. Joy implies knowledge - Usually a relationship starts by - “What do I get or what can I get out of this?”
Salvation - what can God do for us or what do I get (selfish). As a Christian matures and his knowledge grows (spiritually and intellectually), he learns about God discovering His personality and His character.
ex Dating relationship - blind date (are they good looking, rich, popular) Early stages: It’s still