Summary: You can have joy by aligning yourself with God’s passion, God’s purpose, and God’s perspective!
The Joy of Alignment with God
We are continuing to talk about joy! The Christian life should be a joyful life. The preacher once said that some Christians look like a mule eating oats out of a half-inch gas pipe.
What does it take to be joyful? We mentioned last week that it takes friends, strong relationships. We will find out today that to be joyful, you have to have the right attitude and the right motives.
With that you can be in prison and still be joyful!
“One of the surest measures of a Christian’s maturity is what it takes to rob him of his joy.”-John Macarthur
II. He had the Right Passion- vs. 12-18
I was saddened by the death of Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter. The thing that made this man stand out was passion! What happened to him was secondary to his passion.
Paul’s Passion: To see people’s lives changed by the gospel!
Paul took great joy in the fact that the gospel was making progress in spite of the fact that he was in prison. The word here for progress speaks of a man hacking his way through the jungle.
A. Sinners were being changed- vs. 12-13
Paul’s heart was so connected to the gospel that whatever furthered the gospel gave him joy, no matter the personal cost to him. We see his heart in the following Scripture:
22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Paul spoke of the palace guard who took notice that his chains were in Christ. You see for two years Paul was chained to a guard around the clock. Can you imagine being chained to the Apostle Paul. How blessed these guards were! They thought he was their prisoner, the truth is that they were his prisoner. This tells me that Paul was real. He was a solid witness around the clock. If someone was chained to you 24/7 would they get saved?
B. Saints were being changed- vs. 14-18
1. Most are strengthened- vs. 14
Pauls’ imprisonment had given some courage to stand up for the sake of the gospel. They had been timid before, but somehow by the courage of Paul, they received courage!
2. Some are sincere- vs. 15-17
The right motive for ministry is love, not a desire for self, for money, for recognition. Some were sincere like this.
3. Some are selfish- vs. 15-17
Some people had the right message but the wrong motive. These were preaching Jesus, but preaching Him out of a false motive. Notice that they didn’t steal Paul’s joy. He just rejoiced that Jesus was being preached!
We would not have used a psychic named Baalam, but God did. We would not have given Jonah revival, he didn’t even want his congregation to get saved! But God did. We would not have blessed another Psalm of David after Bathsheba, but God did!