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Summary: The difference between happiness and joy. Why is joy so important? 4 Basic Ingredients of joy.

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THE SECRET OF JOY

Neh. 8:10

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR: Fishing Tourney Coming Up Saturday

1. What do you get when you cross a banker with a fish? A loan shark!

2. What do monsters eat? Fish & ships!

3. Why do fish always know how much they weigh? Because they have their own scales.

4. Who cleans the bottom of the ocean? A mer-maid.

5. Did you hear about the crab that went to the seafood disco? He pulled a muscle!

6. Why are fish such intelligent creatures? Because they swim in schools.

7. Men are like fish; neither would get in trouble if they kept their mouths shut.

B. TEXT

10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

C. THESIS

1. How long do you believe you could smile and keep on smiling without stopping? How long could you hold a smile on your face? Do you know what the Guinness World Book of Records is? 10 hours and 5 minutes. Lisa Lester, a little girl, smiled for 10 hours and 5 minutes without breaking that smile. The previous record was 7 hours and 32 minutes. And then she had to stop smiling.

2. And that is illustrative of what I'm talking about, today. I'm talking to you about joy that goes far beyond a smile.

3. A smile is outward. Joy is inward. A smile at its best can last a few hours. Joy is eternal.

4. Do you know what the shortest verse in the Bible is? You say, “Oh, I know that. It's ‘Jesus wept.’” You're wrong. Jesus wept is the shortest verse in English, but not in Greek. In Greek, the shortest verse is 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 and verse 16, which says, “Rejoice evermore.”

5. Not 10 hours. Rejoice, rejoice evermore. We live in a generation that's seeking happiness.

I. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAPPINESS & JOY

A. WHAT IS HAPPINESS?

1. “Don't worry, Be happy.” Everybody thinks that's good advice. That's terrible advice. Friend, you're not going to be happy all of the time.

2. Happiness depends upon what happens. That’s why we call it “happiness,” because it depends on what “happens.” 3. If your day is good, you're happy. If your day is bad, you're unhappy. But if you put your trust in happiness, then you're going to be a victim of circumstances, because they will change.

4. But you see, God never changes. The Bible doesn't tell us to rejoice in circumstances. The Bible says, Rejoice in the Lord. And therefore, since he never changes, the Bible says, Rejoice evermore.

B. CONTRAST BTW HAPPINESS & JOY

1. Happiness is like cosmetics; Joy is like character.

2. Happiness comes from outside circumstances; Joy comes from within.

3. Happiness meets surface needs. Joy meets your deepest needs.

4. Happiness is like a thermometer; It registers conditions. Joy is like a thermostat. It regulates conditions. 5. Happiness may evaporate in times of suffering; but joy frequently intensifies in times of suffering.

6. Now, happiness always functions best when it’s rooted in joy. Joy is not dependent on happiness and may function better without when happiness is taken away.

7. So it’s cruel to say to people in suffering, “Smile & be happy.” There’s no way people can be smiling all the time – a saccharin grin. You’re not expected to.

8. The Bible says of the Lord Jesus (Isa. 53), that He was a “Man of sorrows and well acquainted with grief,” yet the Bible spoke of Him having the joy of the Lord. He was “anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows.”

9. It’s a mockery and lie to sing, “I’m in-right, outright, upright, downright happy all the time.”

10. This is a life of tragedy and sorrow and heartache and pain and woe. Yet in sorrow, and heartache and trouble, you still can have joy.

II. WHY IS JOY SO IMPORTANT?

A. FOR WINNING PEOPLE TO CHRIST

1. Nothing is more attractive to lost people than the joy of the Lord! A cold, dry faith has no appeal. David, a man who wrote many of the Psalms, got out of fellowship with God. When he did, he lost his joy and stopped being a soul-winner.

2. He repented and wrote Psalm 51:12-13 NKJV, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.” When I get my joy back, I’ll be a soul-winner!

3. Joy is the proof that what we have is real and is satisfying. Joy is necessary to bringing unsaved people to Jesus.

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