Summary: How joyous will our lives be at the end of life’s journey? This is one of the most probing and personal questions that could be asked of every single one of us here today!
Robert Robinson was just a small boy when his dad died, and this meant that he had to go to work while still very young. Without a father to guide him, he fell in with bad crowd of friends.
One day his gang harassed a drunken gypsy. Pouring more whiskey into her, they demanded she tell their fortunes for free. Another time, he and his rebellious friends started harassing pastors. Anther time they decided to go hear the great evangelist George Whitefield and heckle him. As Whitefield preached, a deep sense of sin came over Robert. That started a 3 year journey searching out the claims of Christ - finally, at the age of 20, he made peace with God and immediately set out to become a preacher. Two years later, in 1757, he wrote a great hymn…
Come, Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above…
He preached for many years until he came to a hard place in his life and then left his church because of unfair accusations. That deeply hurt him and he walked away from his faith and became very lonely, deeply angry and extremely critical in his old age.
One day as a miserable man, he was riding in a stagecoach and a lady sitting across from him - apologized to him for singing, “Come Thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace…. And then Robert said, “Lady, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds to enjoy the feelings I had then.”
At the end of his life – coming back to his faith - he said… “I lost that great emotion because I failed to flame the embers of love in order to keep joy burning bright in my life.”
How joyous will our lives be at the end of life’s journey? This is one of the most probing and personal questions that could be asked of every single one of us here today! Do you know someone whose joy has gone sour – their living in a tower of bitterness and over- powered by emptiness? Will this be your existence some day?
“Remain” = Jesus is literally speaking a vow - because the very nature of God is on the line by making this statement! God cannot change, lie or reverse his promises. Look at it this way – Jesus gives a vow to validate a vow to us! This is how serious Jesus takes joy!
1. What Are The Joy Busters In Life?
Many times traditions can suck the joy out from our lives. Religious baggage we sometimes carry into our new relationship with Christ, ends up draining the joy right out of us!
Paul asked a very penetrating question in Galatians 4:15 “Where is that joyful spirit we felt together…” NLT
That question needs to be asked in the church today. Is there really joy in the house?
Psalms 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of your salvation...”
Billy Sunday said, “To see some people today you would think that the essential of Christianity is to have a face so long you could eat oatmeal out of the end of a gas pipe.”
William Barclay said that “A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms, and nothing in all religious history has done Christianity more harm than its connection with black clothes and long faces.”
C.S. Lewis wrote, “It is not so much the joy of the Lord we are seeking as the Lord of joy Himself.”
James 1:2 “Consider it joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
A funny thing happened in Darlington, Maryland last month. Edith, a mother of eight, was coming home from a neighbor’s house one Saturday afternoon. As she walked into the living room, she saw five of her youngest children huddled together, concentrating with intense interest on something.
As she slipped near them, trying to discover the center of attraction, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Right in the middle were five baby skunks. She screamed at the top of her voice, “CHILDREN, RUN!” Each child grabbed a skunk and ran.
Sometimes life is like that. You are going full steam ahead, with the wind in your sails, when you suddenly hit a sand bar. It is like confronting a room full of skunks. You just want to get out of the room. Maybe you are confused, angry, and discouraged and all your joy is gone.
2 Corinthians 7:3, 4 “...I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you...I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.”