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January 12, 2021 3:00 am
There is no event or circumstance that can occur in the life of any Christian that should diminish that Christians joy. Does that sound ridiculous. Nevertheless, no matter how it sounds, the command of Scripture is explicit. Rejoice on exactly what it says let off. What does it take to be joyful content even thankful in a less than joyful situation. Maybe, like when you're facing right now. Focus on those questions with John MacArthur today as he continues to study the Bible driven church here on grace to you before the lesson.
Let me stop and mention something were seeing at the headquarters. These first few days of January. It's something were not only thanking God for but we've got others to think as well, and particularly John you want to be the one who offers that word of thanks we can't do it often enough illness where kinda circling back on this, but we need to say thank you to the people who supported us as I've said before we come into this year. Having been gone for a few days of break and we are always greeted by a massive amount of mail and as we spent a few days going through all of that and read all the wonderful notes and testimonies and then begin to collect all the support that's coming at the end of the year where just staggered at the amazing outpouring of love and trust from God's people, we see that not only as an expression of love, but as a mandate really to keep doing what we've been doing and you expect that giving is is in a sense the future when you're giving to this ministry, not for us to accomplish something in the past but so that we can continue to do overdoing in the future so in fact, this ministry has never in all the years that we've been a part of it gone to our listeners to say we didn't have enough money to do what we did in the past we had to going to debtor we had to borrow money that's never happened. We've always lived within the means that God gives us. We've always stayed within the resources that God's people give so we've never created any kind of debt. So when you give to the ministry you're funding the future you're driving us forward and that's an incredibly wonderful thing. And as this ministry grows it grows because there are more and more people who see this as necessary in the future.
I don't know what 2021 is going to bring, but it's going to have its difficulties, that's for certain people going to need the word of God. They always do and especially in difficult times. Our world is in difficult times were so happy to be there and were happy that you make it possible by your gift so we said great big thank you to all of you yes thank you, friend. Even if 2021 has as many difficulties as 2020 will be here strengthening people with biblical truth as long as the Lord permits and your generosity is a big reason we can encourage believers not just in the US, but around the world. Again, thank you for your support and now keep it here as John shows you the many reasons God's people have two rejoice at all times. Here's the lesson. It is our great privilege to return to our wonderful study of first Thessalonians chapter 5 and I invite you to take your Bible if you will, and open to that great chapter, I want to preach on just one verse versus 16 verse with only two words. First Thessalonians 516 simply says rejoice always and I want to use that as a beginning point to speak on the subject of Christian joy. Now you know this is part of a larger series starting in chapter 5 verse 12 we began to discuss this matter of growing a healthy flock.
Paul concerned about the health of the flock in Thessalonica gave the instruction about how the sheep are to treat the shepherds and how the shepherds are to treat the sheep and then how the sheep are to treat the sheep and now he comes to a new relationship, not the relationship of sheep. The shepherd or sheep, the sheep, but the relationship of sheep to great Shepherd, and here we get into a look at the inner life of the believer. If the flock is to be healthy. Not only does the relationship between shepherd and sheep have to be right between sheep and sheep, but between sheep and the great Shepherd, our relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ to God himself must be right and so beginning in verse 16 and flowing down through verse 22, the apostle Paul gives a series of exhortations that deal with the believers in her life.
Our relationship to God himself. He begins with those two brief words rejoice always.
Discussion of Christian joy is of course crucial and essential to all of us to name the name of Jesus Christ. Much can be said much should be said, much has been said but I want to begin our study today with a statement that may surprise you. In fact, it may appear hard if not impossible to believe, then I want to tell you why that statement is true and teach you its significance and its application. Here is the statement, there is no event or circumstance that can occur in the life of any Christian that should diminish that Christians joy me say that again there is no event or circumstance that can occur in the life of any Christian that should diminish that Christians joy. In fact, let me go even further than that. If there is an event or circumstance apart from sin, that does diminish your joy you have sinned, you have sinned. Does that sound ridiculous, given the woes and the pains and the difficulties of life. Nevertheless, no matter how it sounds, the command of Scripture is explicit rejoice, how often, always, any failure to do that constitutes disobedience and sin.
Therefore, we can say that there is no event or circumstance that can occur in the life of any Christian that should diminish that Christians joy it will.
If we react improperly to it. Now how can we so live.
How can we so live that we rejoice always. How can we live in, on, diminished joy, how can we transcend all events in all circumstances that occur so that nothing touches our joy. That's really what we're after today. In this study, let's begin with the command itself. Rejoice always and make the note initially that this is not the only place that such a command is enjoined upon us joy is discussed both in the old and the New Testament, and there are numerous locations in Scripture where similar commands are given, not the least of which would be Philippians 44 rejoice in the Lord always again I will say, rejoice. It's almost as if he says rejoice in the Lord always, and then knows someone will say acceptance always says. Again I will say, rejoice in first Peter chapter 4 and verse 13, Peter says to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing. We are commanded to keep on rejoicing to rejoice always to rejoice always and again I say rejoice. So the command here in verse 16 is consistent with other portions of Scripture and other injunctions. Paul in writing to the Colossians in chapter 1 said that if I have to give my life getting the gospel to you. I rejoice. James says when you fall into various trials, count it all joy. Peter says essentially the same thing in first Peter 16 in this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, no serious problems in life.
Serious trouble and pain does not rescind the command to incessant unending ceaseless joy in Scripture further says our joy is to be great. Our joy is to be abundant our joys to be exceeding our joy is to be animated.
Psalm 3211. Our joy is to be unspeakable. Our joy is to be full of glory. Our joy is to be with all so we are to rejoice always. Now at this point I need to say something and it is this such joy is not natural.
So if you're saying that's impossible what he saying is impossible, it can't be done, you're right from the human viewpoint is not natural. It is however supernatural joy.
And that's the kind of joy were talking about talking about happiness, which comes from meetings or happenstance, or because something just happens to be good. Were not talking about a shallow, superficial emotional response to positive circumstance were talking about, not natural joy but supernatural joy is a joy at another level, it's a divine level.
That is why it says in Galatians 5 the fruit of the Spirit is love, what's the second one. Joy. That is why in Romans 14 you you have in verse 17 that marvelous statement that the kingdom is made up of joy in the Holy Spirit is a spiritual joy is a Holy Spirit joy is a supernatural joy.
So we are commanded to rejoice at all times and then we are instructed that it is not natural.
It is not normal, it is supernatural is a ministry. It is a gift is a product is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Now someone will immediately then say well if it is not natural and not normal and doesn't rise out of my own humanness and I have to depend upon the spirit of God to produce it, then why am I being commanded to rejoice. If it's the spirits work wise. He commanding me to rejoice in the answer is the same answer. You have to give in all those aspects of Scripture which involve human volition.
Every command in the New Testament is a command toward holiness, which can only be produced by God. Every command of the believer is a command to holiness, which only produced by God. And yet, my will is involved in that.
And so while joy is a product of the spirit of God is not bypassing my volition is not bypassing my will. The Holy Spirit gives this supernatural Christian joy. It is spiritual. It is supernatural. It is divine. It is a work of God in the inner man, yet I must exercise my will over the flesh for that Holy Spirit work to take place. I must be involved is a work of God, but not without my will, the experience of Christian joy flows from God through the spirit and then it has to flow through me. So first of all, we are commanded to unceasing joy. Secondly, we acknowledge that it is not natural.
It is supernatural, the work of the spirit. But thirdly, it demands the cooperation of my will. That should lead us to a definition we can enjoy are we talking about, not my will gotta be involved in it. What is it the Holy Spirit certainly doesn't need it defined.
He knows, but I'm not sure I do. So if I have to get my will activated in this process. What is the joy, by definition, that I'm looking for.
Listen very carefully. This is the heart of what I want to say here's the definition Christian joy is the emotion springing from the deep down confidence of the Christian that God is in perfect control reset much again Christian joy is the emotion springing from the deep down confidence of the Christian that God is in perfect control of everything and will bring from it. Our good in time and our glory in eternity.
We say that again Christian joy is the emotion springing from the deep down confidence of the Christian that God is incomplete and perfect control of everything and will bring from it are good in time and our glory in eternity. That's Christian joy Christian joy is not an emotion on top of an emotion. It is not a feeling on top of the feeling. It is a feeling on top of a fact it is an emotional response to what I know to be true about my God, that's the substance of all of us should be in the habit of constantly expressing joyful wonder when we contemplate the unchanging eternal relationship with God that we have through the Lord Jesus Christ. Now follow the sequence where to rejoice all the time. That is not normal. That is not natural that is supernatural is a work of the Spirit of God, but it demands our will. If I will is to be activated and we have to know what were talking about what were talking about starts with a deep down confidence that God is in control of everything and he is working it for our good. In time, and our glory in eternity. If I can fix that great reality in my mind, then I have that deep down base off of which my Christian joy, can spring all right so much for understanding of the command now take you into building that base that deep down confidence but I will approach it from the standpoint of the question why somebody says rejoice always and somebody will always say why like the little kids. Why, why do I have to do that. Maybe some reasons to motivate your obedience to this command and the very reasons that I'm going to give you will help lay the foundation of confidence K why should I obey the command to always rejoice. I got problems in my life I got difficulty things are going the way I want. I don't have the job I want to have the circumstances I want. It's not all the way I like it. Why should I rejoice always reasonable one is an act of appreciation for the character of God as an act of appreciation for the character of God. All this is so important in second Chronicles chapter 7.
Listen to verse 10 on the 23rd day of the seventh month that having to do with the feast.
Solomon set on the 23rd day of the seventh month he sent the people to their tents, rejoicing and happy heart because of the goodness that the Lord had shown that's where it starts my joy starts in the character of God, a happy heart a rejoicing heart because of the goodness that the Lord has shown listen to the words of the psalmist in some 28 verse seven.
The Lord is my strength and my shield my heart trusts in him and I am helped.
Therefore my heart rejoices and with my song I shall think them was a joy coming from your circumstances know my God, he's my strength he's my shield my heart trusts in him. I am helped my joy begins in the character of my God independent of my circumstances and Psalm 7123. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to the and my soul which thou hast redeemed. When I think about what you've done for me and I start to praise you. I'm filled with joy and some 89. In verse 16 and we can't obviously look at all of the possibilities in thy name they rejoice all the day.
I just love that. What were they rejoicing, and in thy name was a mean guy named by character because of who God is, because of what he's done.
Isaiah 6110 says he's clothed us with the robes of righteousness in the New Testament.
I cannot resist a reference to Luke 1020 nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven is that marvelous God wrote your name in the Lamb's book of life before the foundation of the world. That's because he is a sovereign, gracious, loving, merciful, compassionate God, rejoicing that that's the ground of your joy. The character of God. The character of God. That's where it all has to start the Nehemiah one more verse 810, it says the joy of the Lord is your strength when you learn to joy in who God is, you become strong second. Another reason for rejoicing always is as an act of appreciation for the work of Christ not only as an act of appreciation for the character of God, but as an act of appreciation for the work of Christ, stop to realize what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for you, though you will be utterly and completely un-worthy undeserving. That is why the angel said in Luke 210 do not be afraid, behold, I bring you good news of a great joy. What is it, a Savior, the Savior brings joy in John chapter 15 in verse 11, another text of Scripture. These things I have spoken to you. Jesus said that my joy may be a new and that your joy may be made full. Everything I say everything I do is to produce joy for you, for you all writing in that great fifth chapter of Romans talks about the redemptive work of Christ is atonement on the cross and he says it is in this great work of Christ that we exalt that we rejoice fact and Philippians 33 Paul says that a Christian is one who worships in the spirit of God and rejoices in Christ Jesus. I don't care what's going on in your life how to care what your problems are okay or what the difficulties are. You have an eternal salvation produced in the wonderful work of Jesus Christ and granted to you through the sovereign choice of God, and in those matters. You can rejoice, listen to first Peter 18 and though you have not seen him, you love him, and though you do not see them now, but believe in him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, why because you have salvation. He says an expert. Thirdly, rejoice always, not only as an act of appreciation for the character of God and the work of Christ, but as an act of appreciation for the ministry of the spirit is an act of appreciation for the ministry of the Spirit back to Romans 1417 you have joy in the Holy Spirit is the spirit of God is producing love and joy. He is he is interceding for you constantly with groanings which cannot be uttered so that your otherwise wayward prayers are brought to conform to the will of God. Romans eight says he is the one at work in you to make things produced divine purpose and goal spirit is the one who links you to Christ that is the guarantee of your future inheritance. He seals you indwells you he fills you for service and power enables you a gift to out of appreciation to the father, the son of the Holy Spirit. We should rejoice always. Nothing can touch the character of God and diminish it. Nothing can touch the work of Christ and diminishes nothing can harm the work of the spirit of God. It will accomplish its purpose.
The triune God is at work and that is plenty of reason for unceasing joy and now let me move in this little list from the workers, the father, the son of the spirit of the work they're doing here some more reasons for joy. Number four is an active appreciation for spiritual blessings as an active appreciation for spiritual blessings stop to think about the fact that you according to Ephesians chapter 1 verses three and four are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly's in Christ, stop to think that you have all things pertaining to life and godliness stop to think that in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you are complete in him, stop to think that you have become partakers of the divine nature stop to think that my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus stop to think that you can do all things are Christ who strengthens you. There is no end to the continual flow of gracious blessing in your life and that is reason enough for unceasing joy. Number five will rejoice always as an active appreciation for divine providence as an active appreciation for divine providence what is providence.
I've taught that before. I only remind you providence is a term used to describe God's ability to orchestrate the innumerable contingencies that exist in the universe and make them all work together for your good in time and your glory and eternity. God literally orchestrates every every single piece of space, matter, time force and energy so that it all congealed in a perfect plan and purpose. Every thought, every word, every act by every being that exists. Every natural every supernatural thing moves together to fit the perfect plan of God. Even though from their own viewpoints. There are an innumerable number of independently acting agents simply stated, it summed up in these words, all things work together for good to them that love God and are the called according to his purpose Romans 828 no matter what's going on in your life, thought to be unceasing thanks and joy over the divine providence is God orchestrates everything for your good and eternal glory. God, the God was able to keep you from falling holds you fast. This is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. John is Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary.
His current study is titled, the Bible driven church and out for and before too much of the year goes by, let me suggest you get a copy of the MacArthur daily Bible, it will take you. Verse by verse through the entire Bible in a year. It's a great resource for anyone who wants to read God's word more consistently in 2021 to order the MacArthur daily Bible. Contact us today. Call toll-free 855 grace or go to our website Jide TY.org each day. The MacArthur daily Bible gives you a portion of Scripture to read from the Old Testament from the New Testament from the Psalms and from the Proverbs. It's also a great tool to use for family devotions again to order the MacArthur daily Bible, call 855 grace or go to our website Jide TY.org and remember there are thousands of resources available for email@example.com.
You can read helpful articles on the grace to you blog or listen to radio broadcasts that you may have missed or downloaded more than 3500 of John's sermon in MP3 or transcript format. Again, the blog sermons and more are firstname.lastname@example.org and to connect with Grace to you on social media. Make sure you follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook now for John MacArthur and the grace to you staff, I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for tuning in today and be here tomorrow when John looks at things that hinder godly joy and what you can do about them is continuing his study on the Bible driven church with another 30 minutes of unleashing God's true one verse at a time on Wednesdays. Grace to you