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January 16, 2022 1:13 pm
Carter Conlon from the historic Times Square Church in New York City. I think I was going to bring you into the incredible understanding of what the joy of the Lord is what the joy of the Lord is a lot of people don't understand the joy of the Lord, but I hope I can make it very clear to you from the word of God you're listening to a call to the nation with Carter Conlon from Times Square Church in New York City. Nehemiah chapter 8 we find Ezra the scribe is reading to the people from the book of the law of Moses felt unhappy and troubled because they had departed from the Lord.
But eventually the people discovered a great wonder they learned the joy of the Lord would always be there spring. Let's join Carter now to learn more about this amazing discovery to be concerned from the book of Nehemiah chapter 8 and I'm going to go into the New Testament. After that to Luke chapter 15 if anybody out there wants to follow along in your Bible. So Nehemiah chapter 8.
Now the background the children of Israel had been taken into captivity because they built carelessly reading with the presence of God. They deal carelessly with their purpose on the earth, and they started to take a lot of things for granted and may be in great measure is were all prone to do. They got bored with the things of God. We drifted away from God and the end result was a foreign nation came and took all of the people captive for 70 years into the nation at that time.
Initially called Babylon eventually belong to the Medo Persians. Then, in three separate stages. The miraculous open and the people were given away to go back home and to begin to rebuild the testimony and one of these. The last actually group of people was under the leadership of a man called Nehemiah in them. I was really just the Butler and the media person thinks cordon his own brothers, he heard a report of what was going on in Jerusalem, how that the people gone back there trying to rebuild that they were discouraged and they were there was that they were a bit of red reproach concerning them than others, was a lot of mockery about the people of God, and we heard the reported it broke his heart in the begin to pray. He was a man given to prayer, and he began to pray and God began to lead him gave him incredible favor to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall around the date the perimeters as it was around that the city of God that had been broken down because of the previous neglect in the wall in 52 days was accomplice. It was it was really a miracle. He just encouraged everybody to start building in the vicinity of your own house men and their and their wise men and their sons. Men and women in their daughters.
They all began to build together and everybody in the vicinity of the home began to build and just 52 days, whichever even the enemies of the people of God had to acknowledge this was a miracle that God was with these people you see when we start to obey God. Things begin to be done that we normally couldn't do it in. In times that we couldn't do the men and with skills that none of us naturally have and so I was all done under Ezra the priest and Nehemiah, and others.
They gathered all the people together to again open the words of God's book and to read them to the people they haven't really been serious about the word of God.
It was because of their lack of seriousness of God's word that they got into captivity in trouble in the first place. They didn't really take that is where there were warnings you go to the book of Deuteronomy. For example, chapter 28 the warnings are very very clearly there of what would happen to them if they neglected this great relationship that God was bringing them into course, they neglected it and everything.
It was warned happen to them. So another company back in the trying to rebuild that you have to get the picture that the scene now. There, the rebuilding of testimony out of the rubble and when the priests opened the word of God. The Scripture says Nehemiah chapter 8 let's start at verse six Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God and all the people answered amen and amen the lifting up their hands and they bowed their heads and worship the Lord with their faces to the ground and then it lists a whole bunch of people who are helping the people understand the law and the people stood in their place. Verse eight says so they read distinctly from the book in the law of God, and they gave the sense and help them to understand the reading.
So another their opening words of God number I talked about Deuteronomy. It knows what it was that they began to read in their mind was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe in the Levites who taught the people said all the people. This day is holy to the Lord your God.
Do not mourn nor weep for all the people wept when they heard the words of the law.
Then he said to them, go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites quieted the people saying, be still for the day is holy.
Do not be grieved, and all the people went their way to eat and drink to send portions and rejoice greatly because they understood the words that were declared to them. Now, obviously, everything that was declared is not written down here, but there when the words of God were opened. All he could see was failure ever been that we've never been in a season in your life or you open the Bible and the Bible talks about issues of the heart and character, and you look and it's almost like this and it is this red light keeps going off every verses you read fail fail fail fail fail fail.
And that's the way these people to filter the word of God that they had at that time is being read, and always see his failure. Oh God, you warned us we didn't listen. You told us we didn't take it seriously, you told us what would happen to our children. We didn't listen. We ended up in captivity and and we brought your name into reproach that would be another thing that would grieve your heart so Lord, we work as as they would be reading the words of God, they would recognize again that the calling on their lives. Abraham was their father and threw them they were there were supposed to be a blessing that would would come and touch the whole known world, and they felt like such abject failures and if you've ever felt like I've been there once or twice in my lifetime. Were you just feel like God. I just every reading. It is not producing any joy. I'm reading your word is to simply producing a sorrow because all he sees failure upon failure upon failure, poncho husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church a member and is interested… Member blurted out loud while it's easy for you to say all you want, even married in the writing all these words and telling us how to live.
God told Mrs. Ousley how to do this.
You don't have to worry about that you let me do in your life would only I can do for you on talk about the early early years when you're reading coordinates, on such a finisher I see what I should be at, but I'm see also what I'm what I'm not never pulses that the book of Romans. The things I know in my heart was right to do and I I delight in my mind, but God I don't how to perform this. I don't know how to do what I'm supposed to do for the things I noticed is doing not doing the things I don't want to do. I find myself doing this is will deliver me from the body of this death, but now the people wept when they heard the words this just ruin everywhere. I know if you've ever felt like that. There's just I'm speaking to people online.
Your whole life is a mess and you know it. I mean I don't have to prove it to you and you you know that you you feel like you've blown your life and you are maybe some of you actually were raised in the church or you had some exposure to the things of God been in some even thought you had a great relationship, a saving relationship with God and and but something happened along the way you lost it maybe didn't deal carefully with your relationship. Or maybe never fully understood some things about the kingdom of God, and it caused you to drift away and now your life is a mess and you look around like these people is is ruin everywhere and every time you open the Bible is just like a reminds you of what you didn't do that, you lost your family.
Maybe your marriage broke apart.
Maybe your sick and your body because of addictions is got a hold of you. Are you troubled in your mind and you don't know how your ever going to go forward.
You feel like such a total failure. But then something strange is said in the midst of it all is said don't be sorrowful. The joy of the Lord is your strength. You note in the people would've thought initially, as many do up by month on my sources walk around pretending I'm happy when I'm not God put a plastic smile on my face and walk around to sing the joy of the Lord is my strength that I don't feel any of it inside some people feel that way. I'm sure but the people understood not only not only did they say the joy of the Lord is your strength. They said: eat the fat, drink the sweet and and you can have so much that you can give portions to those that don't have anything for this day is holy and so the Levites quieted the people say do not be grieved and everyone went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to rejoice greatly, so that the point is, what did they hear the Scriptures as they understood the words that were declared to them. So what were those words that were declared to them in and what is this joy of the Lord that is supposed to be my strength. It's it's gotta be more than just me being happy looking at the mess that's all around me and it had to be more than than just saying go home and be happy because it certainly wouldn't do it on those circumstances now in order to understand this principle of the joy of the Lord being strength we go to Luke chapter 15 and it's the story in chapter 15 in verse 11.
Jesus talked about a certain man that had two sons and his younger son said to his father, give me the portion of goods that falls on the millions were divided to them as livelihood and not many days after the younger son gathered everything together and journey to a far country, and wasted his possessions with product live in it and it really is mean self consumption just he wasted it on himself, so he is given he has this relationship with his father as the children of Israel did with God in the Old Testament, but he doesn't appreciate it for whatever reason. Maybe it's just never sunk down BP just doesn't get who his father is yet maybe he doesn't fully understand what it means to be related to his father. I don't know why but something got into his heart and he said I'm done with this place. It's too narrow for me. I just don't like all the rules that are in this place, and for whatever reason he does it. There's gotta be more to life than this is it's a kind of a person's as I find the church too narrow.
I find the call of God too small at this gotta be. There's gotta be something other than this out there and so he just doesn't give me what is mine.
You know it's interesting the father doesn't resist. He doesn't seem to seemingly try to talk them out of it.
Give me innocence as a kind of a person's as God, give me the salvation you gave me, give me the that give me the life you gave me, give me the promise of provision you gave me, give me that the future may be that you promise was going to be mine but I am going to go and find it myself. I did not find this place tomorrow, so he went out from his father's house took what his father had given that he actually got his inheritance, but he took it and he went far far away from the heart of his father, and I can't wasted it all on himself is the type of a Christian person who never finds their purpose in life that they failed to understand that we are called to be ambassadors of incredible kingdom but rather than in a sense live for the benefit of others. He chooses to live for himself.
He says I want to find one find joy more than I've known in the relationship of had with my father know he went and he spent everything on himself, but when it spent everything there arose a severe famine in the land that it began to be in want. I'm telling you there's a famine in America today. There is a feminine candidate is a famine all over the world. God is producing the fan until he straight out right now God is sitting the condition to bring his people home.
He the father was not willing to have his son captivated in this place forever, and so you have to believe that the father's got some influence and ability.
In a sense to at least be a voice at that time anyone joined himself to a citizen of the country descended in his fields to feed swine. There would be nothing worse for a Jewish boy then did the feeding pigs is his insistence as low as you can go pigs are the most unclean thing it's it's it's it's a it's a pay in the sense that they that the authors when intent and offer to take upon the altar. That's the absolute abomination in the sense of the presence of God is a type of of of the Christian person who ends up doing things never believe there are capable of doing walking away and essentially the call of God walking away from the house of the father, and ending up in in the in the place I never thought I would go here.
I never thought I would ever do something like this. I thought I was. I thought it was beyond this, I had enough culture and enough training I knew enough about my father's house.
How in the world that I ever end up in a field feeding that which is as unclean. According to my religion according to my culture this. It's like a Christian person ends up the hooked on pornography feeding the unclean thing if nobody wants pornography. By the way, there would be no pornography because you have to have an audience are there's no there would be no point in producing this stuff and so is a Christian boy he sees out in places shouldn't be and he was so hungry and he couldn't find anything that would satisfy and but the society around them was so selfish.
Nobody would give him anything to eat and I thank God when the world rejects you as a Christian I think God noted that is the worst place to be the know whose son you are, whose daughter you are and you are in the world and the world starts to reject you and you you don't know if you can even go back home to your father, but the world is rejecting you and this would happen at this point nobody would give him anything. The Scripture said he came to himself and he said how many my father's hired servants of bread enough to spare and I'm cursing with hunger unglued arising go to my father and he would be thinking out what's the formula how how do I come back to my father like what is it that I was told what was I taught all yeah I remember now.
I got I got a golden sage and father have sinned against heaven and before you and am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants. This was the prayer that I could to see as is going down the road is just repeating this prayer of mine no longer worthy may I it's it's Plan B now for my labor plans. He actually for my life plan a is forfeited.
III one time was in your house and I one time walk with you and I one time understood you, but I blew it all and I went out and I made a mess in the III dishonored your name and my life will never be the same again sometime on the plane dear plan see for my life.
I'm not worthy. Now to be called your son. Make me like going to your hired servants. In other words, I'll come back to your house adulterous grabbed a broom. There's nothing wrong grabbing a broom. By the way, I'll grab a broom and I'll just all just go out no clean core doors no grab your regular rate gardens and all paint posts and all those things are good, but you see the boy had a much higher calling on his life but he did eat a thought for sure I have forfeited among the Plan B if my father will even accept me and he rose and came to his father and begin to see me so far down the road at least is trying to remember what I'm supposed to say they feel so unworthy and he smells like a pigsty because he's been with pigs in the field you understand. He smells unclean and is coming down the road is repeating his mantra.
Father of note were the only people come to church like that try to get right with God is that their father are not worthy all God does make me like one of your hired servants. And I'll never be worthy again and am so sorry for what I've done and all all just ought to snivel and is not the rest of my Christian life and all come to the altar outcry will repent and all that will be my whole testimony of what grade of mess I made my life and you allowed me to come home. The Scripture says, but when he was still a great way off, his father saw him in a compassionate, ran and fell on his neck and kissed it. I consistent nodes in the stores coming down the road and he's six and he's made a mess and he's broke and he's doing things and that it brought his own fit father's name into into disgrace like he's not lived right is coming down the road means this is reciting his mantra and suddenly looks and there's this old man came running down the road.
His robes are flowing is his white hair is growing in the wind. It is running down the road to his son.
Praise be to God.
I can imagine that I can imagine that the service of the house. They said where's he going quizzically, saw the sun far is it because he'd been waiting for him to come home. That's who God is. That's what God thinks like that's what the purpose and mission of God has been in this world all along. He didn't come to save the righteous.
He came to save sinners income because we had it all together didn't come because we were righteous or noble or wiser or strong became to us because were weak and were foolish and we make mistakes every last one of us dictate came to us because only he could bridge the great divide. That was between us and the kingdom of God. And I don't know what was in the in the heart of the sun. But if you ever been in a church service in urine and you feel like God's calling you but you're not quite sure what his response to you is going to be and how surprised he must've been one is his father read.
It wasn't was his father going to slap his face. Was he going to stop 14 feet shortly don't you dare think about coming home after the mess you made in the family maybe wasn't sure what the father was going to do and how surprised it must've been when the father embraced him and kissed if you know under the rules, the root of the religious rules as of that time when you embrace somebody you took your smell upon yourself when the father embraced his son.
He took the smell of the patient found himself when Jesus Christ went to the cross and spread his arms open wide and those nails were driven through your smell nice. Now they took our stay, took our same all the food was stupid things that you are not done as believers in Jesus Christ himself found himself how how strange that must've seemed to that son with his father embraced him. His father puts his arm around his son and starts walking with his son is in the boy starts repeating his mantra. Father of sin, not worthy any longer make me as one of your hard service of fire is not even talking to him. The father doesn't even acknowledge him. The first thing the father's mouth.
His sister servants bring the best robe in the house and put it on my son the role that is reserved for royalty is reserved for expenses if the president came to your house is reserved for the finest of the finest of the finest subjects come to your house robe on my son and rolled when it was put on his son covered the smell of his shame.
It covered the places he had.
He was now being received is not as a slave. Plan B but is royalty coming into his father's house house and the servants must've been a document this is what the Bible says the bookkeeper is that the salvation of God is something the angels desire to look into that.
His heart is sold towards us, our lives us. He is taking with us the angels don't understand the God Almighty God God losing perfection has set his heart and desire on you and me.
Praise be to God we are his trophies forever. In the vessel, the best robe in the house of God is the blood Jesus Christ. The covering of Christ takes away the smell of where we been in the staying in the reproach of what we've done, even those who may have known him in some degree, but walked away from him. The next thing he says is if that's not good enough is is bring the ring and put it on his finger.
The ring is the Signet of the father's authority.
In other words not coming in is Plan B not coming in my house is a gardener you're coming.
It is a son you're coming in with the full authority by house. The signet ring on the sons finger meant when he sealed the document with that ring.
He carried the day of his father. Behold, I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt you. The ring of authority, not a slave, not second-class, not Plan B, not glancing up Plan B, plan a for his son.
Alleluia. And then in the nieces bring shoes and put them on and so suddenly. His looks and his father either got to the Jewish wedding and I watched the older Jewish men dance. It's amazing how they dance in the circle they raise their hand and he looks at his father dancing and suddenly it hits him. It is my father's joy to bring me home is my father's joy to cover my failure is my father's joy to empower me over my enemies.
It is my father's joy to call me to representative in his kingdom and he lives in is not is joy. It's his father's joy that becomes his strength of the Lord is your strength.
That's with Nehemiah and Ezra and the others were telling the people of God is God's joy to bring you home is God's joy to restore you. It is God to give you the power to rebuild what was lost to the Lord for you is the source of your strength hallelujah becomes my joy yes, but it's his joy. First, not mine is his joy to restore me, do you glory to God.
That's why Nehemiah and the others in Israel he said to the people. This is going your way eat the fat, drink the sweet and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared for on this incredible joy of the Lord and let it spillover through your life to people that don't have any of it or they don't know the reason why they should have the strength but God's joy brings. Have you ever seen this in the same the Bible, I will rejoice over you with singing.
Does he say the angels in heaven rejoice over even one sinner you say see this party that were reading about in Luke 15 goes on all the time in heaven because the created beings. There know the heart of God.
Praise be to God and send some people for whom nothing is prepared and do not sorrow for the joy of the Lord. Joy of the Lord is your strength. You been listening to Carter Conlon from Times Square Church in New York City. For more information and resources to help you in your walk in Christ. Log on to TSC, not NYC TSC not NYC. Be sure to be with us next week for a call to the nation with 100,