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July 8, 2019 3:00 am
Some years ago a wise man said the following words and I quote literally.
He said the best argument for Christianity is Christians, the joy their certainty and their completeness, but the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians when they are somber and joyless when there are self-righteous when they are smug and complacent consecration when there are narrow and repressive, and then he went on to say when that happened. Christianity dies a thousand death, you know, just in case you don't think that it matters to the outside world. Whether we are loving, joyful people, not one of the most extensive survey ever conducted across the nation and was conducted by one of the most respected pollster and the key question that was asked was this what are you looking for most in life when the results were tabulated.
The analysts were really surprised were genuinely surprised because they thought most people would answer would be on the top would be financial security, success in business success in life. Whatever.
But to their surprise, the top three things that people want most in life work in this order. Love, joy, peace, the first three of the fruit of the spirit. Please listen to what I'm going to tell you what the world is desperate for, whether they know it or not, whether they are able to verbalize it or not.
What the world is desperately looking for, not for more sermons, not for more exhortations, but what the world is desperately looking for is to see the quality of our love, and the quality of our joy and that is unwise. The very mark the distinguished the believe is the first church from the rest of the world and the Roman Empire. Although the word joy is mentioned in the New Testament 70×70 is mentioned 70 time in the New Testament alone and yet many Christians use the word joy and happiness interchangeably. They use joy and happiness as if they are equivalent concepts and that's precisely why you find so many Christians walking around with their lower lip.
So hello there, stumbling so many people wrongly think the charge time is a time to be sober. It's a time to be said. It's a time to be sour, joyful, I've talked to people. So many Christians wrongly believe that the Christian faith is to walk around like you're being baptized in vinegar we give an example.
The young girl became a Christian she committed his life to Jesus Christ and she was absolutely ecstatic. She was just so happy she was skipping and then came the sound in which she stood up and made her profession of faith publicly and join the church and that afternoon she went home and at home.
She was dancing and singing and rejoicing.
That, of course, until her religious grandfather rebuked over the following words you want to be ashamed of yourself. You just joined the church and here you are singing and dancing on the Lord's day was a little girl was so crushed by her grandfather's attitude. She will not.
The bond climbed into the corral fence and then she saw an old mule in the old mule was standing there with sad droopy face bleary eyes so she started patting the mule sympathetically said don't cry all new. You must've had a dose of my grandfather's religion.
Happiness and The Pursuit of Happyness has never made anybody permanently happy. I will repeat this happiness and The Pursuit of Happyness have never made anybody happy, permanently happy because happiness comes from getting what you want.
That's it and getting what you want will give you a temporary happiness.
I'm not saying it doesn't I'm saying it does, but only temporary happiness and that temporary happiness is going to leave as fast as it came in, then what did you want more and more in the more you have, the more you want the more you have, the more you want. They tell me that drug addicts and hard-core alcoholics that when they start they cannot stop with the same amount with which they start to get more and more and more because I needed to go higher and higher order to get more drunk or whatever it may be necessary with all human nature. If you happiness is your pursuit going to be satisfied with something else about happiness as you continue in your pursuit of happiness. The periods of temporary happiness that things bring you a going to get shorter and shorter and shorter. That's what you want more than something else about this temporary happiness that comes from getting what you want is going to make you constantly living in fear lest you lose that which has given you happiness. Whatever it maybe you think about it in your own life whatever it maybe. Now I wanted to contrast happiness with joy joy is a fruit. The Bible said it is a fruit and a fruit comes from the inside, not from the outside, not from the external, but it comes from the inside. In fact, you cannot hang fruit electric. You cannot bring it from outside and hey… Fake fruit because of its real fluid is going to rot within couple of days. The real fruit is produced when the nutrients of the tree flows through it into the branches.
The real fruit is going to be produced when the nourishment flows freely through the trees into the blossom. The real fruit produced when the tree is cultivated in the tree is become a healthy connection with the roots. It is not surprising, therefore, to Jesus and listen carefully. Please he was talking about the believers is a branch branches and he is a tree and is abide in me, just like the branch abides in the tree abide in me, and then he said, abide in me what it is, say, so that your joy be complete.
So when you get the complete joy. That's why you where you get that inner contentment is by abiding in Christ. Joy is dependent on abiding in the Lord Jesus Christ.
But happiness is dependent on the outward circumstances of life, joy is not dependent on the events in your life. Happy events make you happy sad events make you sad but happiness is dependent on the events in your life.
The apostle Paul commands the Philippians to be joyful turn would replace the Philippians chapter 4, the apostle Paul was reminding them that their joy is not dependent on the circumstances Philippians for this particular passage has really encouraged millions of people. Millions of believers throughout the world for the past 2000 years really been enormous encouragement. A lot of people's been encouragement to me and on those been an encouragement to so many of you invest Philippians 4 helped all believers through the years to rediscover the real joy of the Lord and how it is manifested even in the worst of circumstances. I want to tell you a thing or two about the church at Philippi, as you look at it closely. When you examine it closely to discover that Paul was addressing some very serious problems in the church. They were anxious about their financial security.
Very were all harassed by the outside forces, and they were beginning to feel intimidated by the enemies of the cross. They were suffering economic hardships and yet despite of that there were generals and they supported the apostle Paul's ministry and that is why Paul thanks them here in the passage rated. He thanks them for their gift. But then he goes and immediately to assure them that his joy does not come from material things joy does not come from the abundance of things and abundance of material thing even was more serious in the church at Philippi. Is that because of the suffering they've lost it in the strength the roster inner strength and this of course made them vulnerable. There were vulnerable to all kinds of sins. Sin of division whether all fighting among themselves.
Sin of distrust with all this trusting each other. The sin of jealousy. There were jealous of each other and that is why the apostle Paul commands them to rejoice.
This is in the imperative mood he saying rejoice in the Lord always and again I'm gonna say, rejoice. What is he saying what is he saying is what he saying he saying that your real joy does not come from favorable economic conditions here saying that you real joy does not come from being accepted by society here saying that you real joy does not come from having significance within society here saying that you real joy does not come from what you do or where you live or what kind of damage you trying to project to the world you real joy does not come from the size of the statement of your net worth is what he saying your real joy does not come from belonging to the right club all the right neighborhood on the right social circle with joy you real joy comes from the knowledge that you return that he saved and redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ. He saying your real joy comes from knowing that you are an air joint heir with Christ you real joy should come from the fact that you have been named in the will of God and his will, he put his name there to inherit not just a few bucks but the whole house has what he saying Ashley saying with the joy comes from no world is trying to tell us the joy can be found in the almond Joy candy stick or the joystick of your computer games or in the joyride dinner expensive fast car. The world tells us that happiness comes from the happy hour, or the happy meal one will make you drunk and the other one is going to make you fat. What kind of happiness that is still better is how confusing world is they will not make you happy right please Christian joy is not the absence of sadness. I can tell you and testified before God that in the lowest moments of my life. I have experience and do experience the joy of the Lord like no other time in my life Christian joy is not the absence of adversity.
It is not the absence of trials in life know when the apostle Paul was writing these commanding him to have joy in the Lord wasn't on the French Riviera. He was in prison.
That's what he was writing about joy ride in chains in the dungeon joy is precisely the very element that helps me and you to be able to see beyond the circumstances beyond the current events in your life as will join us. Joy is precisely the very element that lifts my eyes up to the Lord, who is far above and beyond the greater my circumstances inside joy like love.
As we saw in the last message. Love can only be manifested and exhibited precisely at the tough times of life, so joy joy like love can only shine in the Dorcas moment of testing on trials of life, joy like love can be observed in the times of stress and strain the deepest joy comes from the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace marvelous Grace amazing Grace knowing that all by myself. I deserve nothing but the judgment of God, knowing that believing that understanding that knowing that through his grace through this favor to me he loved me. Teammate to put you on the foot bus to heaven. And then when the very hollows of his and that gives me joy. No matter what else is going on in my life that gives me joy. Listen to what the apostle Paul said about the grace to sit for I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation will be able to separate us from the love of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing is going to separate me from the grace and the love of the Lord did nothing. Whether I am employed or unemployed. Nothing shall separately from the love of God, whether I am rich or poor, nothing will separate me from the love of God, whether I'm being accepted or rejected by people, nothing will separate you from the love of God, whether I am spoken well of all involved, whether I am criticized or praised whether I am affirmed or ignored. Whether I stand alone with thousands of others, we make no difference to my joy, because nothing separates me from the love of God, I've been reflecting upon this for a long time because I can look at things in our nation.
I can see things and see how sin is rampant in and I can easily get discouraged, but I don't why because I have the joy of the Lord, but I've been thinking about this for quite some time and I came to this conclusion which really eludes most Christians not talking to Christians right now talking to believers. What eludes most Christians about the joy of the Lord is a field I don't have a handle on the future and believe it or not, that cuts run across the board. Christians and non-Christians believers and nonbelievers.
What eludes most people from getting the real joy the lasting joy the permanent joy, not the temporary happiness of the lasting joy is is that they can get a handle on the future and the reason psychic hotlines and psychic networks are growing in leaps and bounds in society is because people want to have a handle on the future they really do.
They just want to get a handle on the reason millions of people are going to fortunetellers and channels who try to contact the dead is because they want to be sure about the future.
Our I saw many months ago and Englishwoman. She's contacting the dead their dead loved ones, and though such emotions still transit the devil understands. He knows what's going on. These people literally following demons in the future. Is he okay she okay so yeah I'm talking to them is all right with the devil and hell to telling them they okay, judging with regular nobody ever have a believing person went to heaven when one talk to a channel ever ever as you have God's word on it in the Scripture said that absence from the body's presence with the Lord. You don't have to ask anybody else about people want to get a handle in the future. After that, I really thought about this and I so sure what I know my future is in control all yes taking care of her when I close my eyes and I'm going to be in his presence in heaven.
What also might want to know that is the secret of the joy of the Lord, the permanent joy you know it was said that the Benjamin Franklin was about to conclude a one of his stirring speeches on the guarantees of the Constitution, then that for the heck Leo started yelling from the back and said the words don't mean nothing at all, whereas all the happiness you say. It guarantees us in Franklin thought for a moment and then this is my friend, this is the Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness.
You have to catch it.
He's right, he's right. Listen to me from millions and millions and millions of people who are running breathlessly, trying to catch it. I want to tell you. Happiness is like a bout of what so every time you try to grab hold of it is going to get away from you gets one from everything we try not joy. Why do you pursue happiness, which is temporary when you can have joy which is permanent than I thought of how believers tend to lose their joy and then in the in the loss of the joy that tend to confuse joy with happiness in us and how do I make that point I will tell you a photo of the story to story that had happened, that will make the point.
This little boy was given a priceless possession. It was his grandpa's gold pocket watch. He treasured it.
How he valued it. How Hill that close in his hand and he will get it out of his pocket and you look at and put it back again. Oh how we love deathwatch and then one day he was playing in his father's ice manufacturing plant and he lost the poor kid was just crying his eyes out and searching and skirting pushing the sawdust in the ice and going in between dies, blocks, and he was looking furiously frantically looking and crying.
His hands were getting cold.
Then all of a sudden he thought his touchscreen stopped screaming stop searching just sat on the floor in the silence, he began to hear the watch ticking. Think the pick the joy of the Lord is the fruit of the Spirit filled life and when you too busy to get filled with the spirit on a daily basis, you lose it in the skirting of life and then you wake up one day you realize that you've lost your joy and then you begin to look for it and and and sometimes just scurrying around trying to find it.
Trying to find a look at all the wrong places and and then begin to look for happiness instead you get yourself in a facile looking for more you scurry around, the more you become frantic, the more gets away from take a moment and be silent before God picked time every day to be quiet before God until you hear pick pick pick take time every day to worship the Lord would tell you something important about worship your Sunday worship will not impact you anywhere near as it would if you have learned to worship the Lord alone alone. You don't have to ask God for anything. Just be there alone listening know what will happen is you get filled of the spirit, every single day and have to look for joy. Joy is going to find you shall reply. There may be a person here today who would say in all been looking for joy of researching for, I didn't realize the joy will find me a been so busy in my life I've been running here and there and everywhere, all doing good things.
Sure that I have not sat in silence before God. Holy Spirit spoken to you. See Holy Spirit of God live joy find me today that I'm gonna stop scurrying around to listen to your voice, and open your word, speak to me. Precious heavenly father. How foolishly we've run around looking for what can only be ours true gift. Father God, I pray that you will teach us to be silent before you buy the God I pray that you will teach us the spirit filled life is nothing experience.
It's a daily happening that as we daily are filled by not grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit we would bear all the fruit love, joy, peace, long-suffering of God. We cry to you that you allow our joy to be so evident that the world will seek us out that friends will seek us out.
Want to know why do we have joy in the midst of trouble that at any cost. We will bring men and women to receive and experience the joy that you have given us and continue to give people's under the effect of the conviction of the Holy Spirit, not just today all of the company following pray this in Jesus name.
Thanks for listening to this message from Dr. Michael.
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