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Summary: God’s Kingdom is a kingdom of great joy, but few people are experiencing that in their lives. Why? Because they are not walking in righteousness or peace.

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THE KINGDOM #4: THE KINGDOM OF GREAT JOY

BIG IDEA: God’s Kingdom is a kingdom of great joy, but few people are experiencing that in their lives. Why? Because they are not walking in righteousness (right-standing with God) or peace (right-relationships with others). When we seek His righteousness and pursue peace with all men, we will experience fullness of joy.

The first thing we need to understand about the Kingdom is that God is a benevolent King.

“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32).

• We must believe that God is good, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him…

• Jesus said, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow.” (John 15:9-11).

• Do you know and believe the love that God has for you? Meditate on the CROSS!

WHAT IS THE KINGDOM?

KEY VERSE: “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17).

• The Kingdom of God is all about experiencing the presence of the King!

• “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11).

• One of the great needs of the church today is a fresh baptism of joy in the Holy Spirit.

• Why does the enemy want to steal our joy? Because the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10). If he steals our joy, he saps our strength, and renders us ineffective!

JOY: 650 times in the Bible (joy, rejoice, rejoicing, glad, gladness, delight)

Psalm 5:11

- God wants us to rejoice, shout for joy, and be joyful in Him!

Job 8:21 (5x!)

- He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

Isaiah 12:3

- the prophet says to draw out water from the wells of salvation with joy

Matthew 25:21

- heaven is called “the joy of the Lord”

Acts 13:52

- the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit

WHAT IS JOY? OT = dance, leap or spin around in pleasure/intense motion; NT = celebration

How do we experience the kingdom of Great Joy?

• When we choose to walk:

1. in righteousness (right-standing with God)

2. and peace (right-relationships with others).

• What are the two greatest commandments? Love God and love people!

i. RIGHTEOUSNESS:

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33).

• Righteousness – right-standing or right-living, holiness, opposite of sin.

• Sin will take you further than you want to go, it’ll keep you longer than you want to stay, and charge you more than you want to pay. It asks for very little in the beginning, but in the end it’ll bring about your destruction.

• If Satan can steal your righteousness (by getting you to sin), he can steal your joy:

• “Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight... When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long… So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!” (Psalm 32:1,3,11).

• Have you fallen? Confess your sin, and experience the joy of forgiveness!

ii. PEACE:

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14).

• Peace – right-relationships with others.

• If you want to experience the kingdom of Great Joy, you must walk in peace.

STRIFE: If Satan can steal your peace (by getting you in strife), he can steal your joy.

• Strife is deadly! The Bible lists strife along sexual immorality and murder (Rom. 1:29).

• When we walk in strife, we are caught in “the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:22-26).

• “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.” (Prov. 26:20). When you see a fire, are you pouring water or gasoline on it??

UNITY: The Bible stresses the importance of unity:

• “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head… For there the Lord commanded the blessing-- Life forevermore.” (Psalm 133).

OFFENSES: How do we deal with offenses? Jesus said, “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.” (Matt. 18:15).

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