Summary: An introduction to the book of Philippians, discussion of where you CAN’T find joy, and a look into the first chapter to find Paul’s secret of joy.

Series: Put the Joy Back In Your Life


SERIES THEME: Everyone wants to be HAPPY! Everyone wants to enjoy life -- but how can we find this happiness? How can we find this joy?

Joy is the emotional result of right spiritual choices.


Here’s the question for you this morning: Are you HAPPY? Do you have real JOY in your life?

You know, joy is something it seems like everyone is looking for, but very few find!

The Oxford Press dictionary defines “joy” as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” But I know you’re more interested in finding how you can get it than you are finding out what it is.

An old dog was watching a young dog chase his tail. The young dog stopped to rest, and told the older dog, “I believe happiness is in my tail, and if I catch it, then I will have happiness!” The older, wiser dog said, “I caught mine once. . . and I found out that happiness is not in the catching, it’s in the pursuit.”

Sometimes it seems like the people who seem like they’ve “caught” everything they were chasing after haven’t found joy in it! People who have chased after joy in almost every way imaginable have all said “You can’t find it here.”

Unbelief & Reason -- Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: "I wish I had never been born."

Not in Money -- Just a few years ago, Michael Jackson was the highest paid entertainer on the planet – made millions every year. When someone asked him if he was happy, he said, “I’m the most miserable man alive!”

Not in Position and Fame -- Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: "Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret."

Not in Military Power -- Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, before he said, "There are no more worlds to conquer."

Not in Popularity - Actress Goldie Hawn is a living legend. Her films have grossed a toltal of over 700 million dollars at the box office. She’s famous for her bright smile and bubbly personality. Some time ago, she was interviewed by a major magazine. The interviewer asked her, “Goldie, you’re always so joyous and happy on-screen. What’s your source of joy?” Goldie said, “I don’t have any joy. That’s my next personal project. I’m going to fly all over the world, and interview famous people, and look for joy.”

Dennis Wholey, author of Are You Happy? reports that according to expert opinion, perhaps only 20 percent of Americans are happy.

I want to suggest to you that joy – the secret of REAL joy is found in the Bible. I want to tell you over the next few weeks, how YOU can be happy.

In this series, we’re going to be looking at the book of Philippians. The book of Philippians was written by Paul to a group of Christians to encourage them in their Christian life. The book of Philippians, although it only has 4 short chapters, uses the words “joy, rejoice, etc.” 17 TIMES!!! This is a letter that is REALLY JOYOUS!

But here’s the weird thing: Who can guess where this letter was written from? PRISON!!! That’s right! Paul, the author, was locked up in a Roman jail for preaching about Jesus. And this was not one of our modern jails where it’s nicer than some houses – these were the old-style prisons, where it was dark except for a little candlelight and where rats ran around on the floor!

You might say:

What is so much JOY doing in a place like that? I can’t even have joy in my nice house and apartment with a car that I can drive and freedom to do whatever I want!

The secret is ONE THING, and I’m going to tell you what it is, and you’re going to hear me repeat it over and over again in the next few weeks:

Joy is the emotional result of right spiritual choices.

Today I want to tell you what the first of those choices is:

To have joy, you have to FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS.

Let’s read these verses from Philippians:

9 ¶ And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,

10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,

11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Look at what Paul says they need to do:

1. Love God and people. (V. 9)

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Jason Baker

commented on Oct 18, 2013

Thanks man for this helpful sermon!

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