Summary: You can have joy by the close fellowship of the body of Christ
The Joy of Fellowship
I want to start today a series of messages called the Journey into Joy! Many Christians today are lacking the joy of the Lord.
Many authors today go away to a retreat like a nice cabin to write a book. Note that Paul wrote this book from prison, not a luxury suite. This in itself makes a powerful statement about Christian joy. The Joy of the Lord is not dependant on the circumstances around me, but the attitude within me.
A. Jesus knew the importance of Joy- John 15:11
11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
B. Nehemiah knew the importance of Joy- Neh 8:10
Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
C. David knew the importance of Joy-Ps 51:12
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
I do believe today that the Bible holds the answers to life’s problems. A scholar once visited an island to research cannibals who had now become civilized. He saw one of them reading a Bible that missionaries had given him. He said, “Of course you know that we intelligent people don’t’ believe in that anymore. The former cannibal replied, “It is good for you that we believe it, or you would be in here (patting his stomach) right now!
II. I rejoice in Being with You
Notice that Paul opened this epistle with the words, “Paul and Timothy.” He wasn’t writing this book alone, but with his son in the faith Timothy.
I have said it many times, but to be successful in the Christian life you must hang out with the right people! You must cultivate Godly friendships.
We don’t spend enough time together! We have let Satan fill our lives with such busyness that we don’t take time to fellowship!
A study recently showed that Americans have 1/3 fewer close friends than they did 20 years ago. A key factor in this is TV, Ipods, and the internet.
The word for fellowship in the New Testament is the Greek word “Koinonia” This word signifies three things:
A. Spiritual Communication-talking about the things of the Lord
B. Sympathetic Cooperation-working together in the ministry of the Lord-“partakers with me.”
C. Sweet Communion-the joy that flows out of these.
Friction happens between two objects for two reasons:
1. If one is moving and the other is standing still
2. If they are moving in opposite directions
III. I rejoice in Thinking of You
Paul said that every time he thought of them it brought him joy. He thought of several people I’m sure.
-Lydia, the seller of purple, whose prayer meeting started the
church at Philippi
-The fortune-telling girl who he cast the demon out of
-The jailer who was saved the night an earthquake shook the jail.
The bottom line of this message is that we must be focused on others not self-absorbed. Paul said, “I long for you with the affection of Christ.”
Heavy set woman got onto an elevator with a mother and her young son. The woman screamed and said, “Your son bit me!” The little boy said, “Well she sitted on my face, and I bited her!”
"Wouldn’t you like to be so and so?"they say. I would’nt trade places with them for all their money and fame! I am happy among the people of God.
IV. I rejoice in Praying for You
Paul said that in his prayers he was confident that Jesus would complete the work that He started in them!
A. That your love for one another may grow
B. That your righteousness abide until the day of Christ
C. That your character would bring praise to God
V. Conclusion-Man picked up a woman in his cab at 2:30 AM. He didn’t see her at the door and almost left. But she came out. She was in her 80’s. She gave him an address and he started out. She said, “Could we just drive through downtown on the way?” He said, “It’s not the shortest route.” She said, “I don’t mind I’m going to a hospice. I don’t have any family or friends and I don’t have long to live.” He drove her around and looked at everything. Her old office building. An old warehouse that used to be a ballroom where she had gone dancing with her husband. All night they drove around the city! When dawn broke he dropped her off and refused to accept any money. The sound of the door closing was the sound of a life ending. What if he had driven away impatiently?