Joy! (Part One)
Posted on 08/06/2006 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
Welcome to CyberChurch! Let's get started by going to the Lord in prayer.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your peace here today, and your joy which springs forth from the center of that peace. Thank you that you offer your joy to anyone who will come feast at your table and follow in your ways.
Let the presence of your Holy Spirit fill our corporate gathering today, and let that same presence of your Holy Spirit fill the rooms, homes, and hearts of all who are present or will listen with us later.
Most of all, may we bring you glory and honor, and may the words of our mouths and meditations of our hearts be pleasing and acceptable in your sight.
And it's in the name of Jesus we pray.
Please stand to your feet as we get ready to worship God with song. Click-touch the pulpit for a notecard, and let's rejoice together!
I'M TRADING MY SORROWS
I'm trading my sorrows
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying them down for the joy of the Lord
I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord
We say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen
I'm pressed but not crushed
persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse
for his promise will endure
That his joy's gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning
IN THE PRESENCE
In the presence of Jehovah,
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended,
In the presence of The King
In and out of situations,
That tug-of-war at me
All day long I struggle
For answers that I need
But then I come into His presence,
All my questions become clear
And for a sacred moment,
No doubt can interfere
Through His love the Lord provided,
A place for us to rest
A place to find the answers,
In hours of distress
Now there is never any reason,
To give up in despair
Just look away and breathe His name,
He will come and meet you there
JOYFUL JOYFUL WE ADORE THEE
Joyful, joyful, we adore thee
God of glory, Lord of love
Hearts unfold like flowers before thee
opening to the sun above
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness
drive the dark of doubt away
Giver of immortal gladness
fill us with the light of day
All thy works with joy surround thee
earth and heaven reflect thy rays
Stars and angels sing around thee
center of unbroken praise
Field and forest, vale and mountain
flowery meadow, flashing sea
Chanting bird and flowing fountain
call us to rejoice in thee
Thou art giving and forgiving
ever blessing, ever blest
Well-spring of the joy of living
ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our brother
all who live in love are thine
Teach us how to love each other
lift us to the joy divine
Mortals, join the mighty chorus
which the morning stars began
Love divine is reigning o'er us
binding all within its span
Ever singing, march we onward
victors in the midst of strife
Joyful music leads us sunward
in the triumph song of life!
Thank you Jesus!
You may be seated.
The name of my message today is "Joy!"
If you have all the joy you need and are overflowing with it, share it with others! Most of us are in need of joy. Most of us just don't have enough joy.
Most of us are bogged down, at least just a little, with the cares and troubles of life. Most of us have worries, fears, and burdens weighing us down.
And this message today is for those of us who need more joy, or even who have some joy but could use some more. After all, it's not enough to have just enough joy for ourselves; God's will for you is that you are overflowing with joy so you can share it with others.
Today we're going to talk about five ways we can have more joy, or five paths to joy. There are actually ten paths to joy, and if we apply all ten ways to our lives, we will have more than just "more joy", we will have "complete" joy, the kind we can't contain that just bubbles over and spills a little joy on those around us.
But today we're going to talk about five of them, and next week we'll talk about the rest.
So how can we find joy? Stay with me for about fifteen minutes, and you'll be on your way to finding out how you can have complete joy in your heart that no one and nothing can take away. Then we'll pray and go next door for a time of fellowship.
And the first path to joy is this:
1. Going to the Source: Presence of the Lord, Source of Joy
In Psalm chapter 21 and verse 6, King David says of himself,
"Surely you have granted him eternal blessings
and made him glad with the joy of your presence."
King David realized the source of his joy was not in his circumstances. It was not in what he had. It was not in what he could do. Rather, the source of his joy was the presence of the Lord.
We'll talk more about David's joy in God's presence in a few minutes.
In Romans 14:17 we read,
"For the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit."
Indeed, "things" never bring lasting joy. Just consider all the rich people who have killed themselves, and this truth makes itself evident.
Food, drink, clothing, posessions, or earthly relationships are not the source of true and lasting joy. Rather, the presence of the Lord, his kingdom, is the only true source of joy.
What does this say? "The kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit."
The righteousness of God, being in right standing with him, brings deep peace in to our hearts. And out of true, pure, complete peace springs forth a "joy unspeakable and full of glory."
In Romans 15:13 we read,
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
When we trust in God, he will fill us with all joy and peace. This joy and peace enables us to overflow with hope. And all of this comes about by the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
If you have not yet accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, if you do not have a real relationship with him, if you have not agreed to follow where he leads and do things according to his Word, then you cannot know true peace, and you cannot know true joy.
But the only true obstical holding you back is your own choice. Your circumstances will lie to you. Your doubts will cripple you. The thoughts that give a million excuses to wait just one more day will hold you in a cold, unyeilding prison.
But when you know the truth, He will set you free. Surrender your circumstances, your doubts, your fears, and all your excuses to Jesus, and finally know true peace and joy today.
Isaiah 12:3 says,
"With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation."
Salvation is not just a one-time event which comes once and then is an ever-distancing memory. Rather, Salvation is an ongoing process. It is our source of forgiveness, our source of life, our source of peace, and our source of joy.
We begin by entering in through the door of Salvation, by accepting Jesus as the Lord and Savior of our lives, by asking him to forgive us for our sins, and by accepting the blood he shed on the cross for our sins.
And once we are living in his Salvation, and his Salvation is living inside of us, we can draw from the wells of salvation the water of the Holy Spirit and of the Word of God, and we will have joy.
The second path to joy is this:
2. Reading and Applying the Word of God
In Psalm 16:11 we read,
"You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand."
When we set a time every day to sit down and read God's Word, the Bible, he will make known to us the path of life.
Most of us know some Scripture, and it's easy to feel as though we pretty much know what the Bible says. But when we pick up God's Word and begin to read every day, we will be amazed at how much is there we never dreamed of, and if we are born again and seeking God's presence, his Holy Spirit will bring his Words to life.
It is in these times alone with God, praying and reading his Word, that he fills us with joy in his presence, and we truly know what the last line of this verse means, "with eternal pleasures at your right hand."
The right hand is a position of honor. When Jesus tells the parable of the sheep and the goats, he says God places the sheep on his right, and the goats on his left.
When we spend time seeking God's presence through reading his Word, he will make known to us the path of life; he will fill us with joy in his presence, and he will share with us eternal pleasures, for as we read and obey his Word, God will put us in a place of honor, on his right hand.
Isn't that amazing? God wants to place YOU in a position of honor, on his right hand. Just apply yourself to setting aside times each day, faithfully keeping those times, and reading his Word with the attitude of applying that Word to your life.
And you will find joy growing in your heart.
Psalm 19:8 says,
"The precepts (laws) of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiantly pure,
giving light to the eyes."
The third path to joy is:
3. Learning to Trust and Obey
In Psalm 5:11 we read,
"But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You."
If we don't fully trust God, we are holding ourselves back from true peace and joy. When we trust God, he defends us.
When we don't trust God, he can defend us more times than we know we need defence, but we will still not feel safe and will therefore not know true joy.
But when we choose to place our trust in God, the one who spoke the heavens and earth into being, and who loves us and wants only good for our lives, and who has given us that same all-powerful word which created the universe so we can speak it into our lives and the lives of those around us, then we will feel safe in the midst of any storm, and we will therefore have peace, out of which flows a "joy unspeakable and full of glory."
Isaiah 56 verses 6 and 7 say,
"And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD
to serve him,
to love the name of the LORD,
and to worship him,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
and who hold fast to my covenant;
"these I will bring to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations."
We all are foreigners to God before we become a part of his kingdom and his family. And sometimes even after we give our lives to the Lord, we can wander away until we feel like foreigners.
But today we can bind ourselves to the Lord, to serve him, to love his name and what he stands for, to worship him, to rest from our own plans and ways and instead follow after his, and to grasp hold of his covenant.
And if we do, God makes an awesome promise. He says he will bring us to his holy mountain, his place of safety and refuge; he will give us joy in his house of prayer. He will accept our offerings of praise and our sacrifices of worship and service.
And we will have joy.
In Psalm 51 verses 7 through 12, King David is crying out to the Lord. He committed adultery and, to cover up his sin, put the woman's husband in the front of a battle so he would be killed.
God heavily convicted King David's heart, and brought his judgement upon the king's house and upon his life.
Realizing God's Spirit would not remain in a temple filled with unrepented sin, David also realized his joy was gone.
We cannot hold on to joy and sin at the same time. Sin promises joy, but will drain us of every drop of joy we have ever known.
And so King David cries out to the Lord, and this is his prayer:
"Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
David realized sin had stolen joy from him, and was keeping him from the presence of the Spirit of God.
And he also realized that repenting from his sin and making things right with God was the only way he could again enjoy the wonderful presence of God and once again have the joy God's presence brings.
Jesus, knowing the connection between obedience and joy, tells us this in John chapter 15 verses 9 through 12:
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love one another as I have loved you.
To remain in Jesus, we must obey him. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, and to remain in the center of what God's Word tells us, we must apply it to our lives and obey it.
And Jesus tells us his central command around which all others revolve is this: "Love one another as I have loved you."
You know, selfless love is a true path to joy. Sure, we will experience pain and sorrow, rejection, and disappointment, but in the middle of our circumstances we will have joy.
We are instructed to love our neighbor with the same love we show ourselves. And we are to honor our brothers and sisters more than we honor ourselves.
When we do this, we will find joy growing within us, and we will be giving joy to those we touch with Jesus' love.
Galatians 5:16 through 22 says,
"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Fruit is not what a tree does. A tree is a tree. It grows roots. It drinks in the sunshine and the rain. And it grows branches.
A branch stays connected to the tree, and by doing so it automatically begins to bear fruit.
If we are connected to the tree of the world and the flesh, we will bear fruit of sin.
But if we are connected to the tree of God, seeking his presence, reading his Word, and living according to his Spirit, we will automatically begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Oh, and incase I didn't say it clearly enough before, one of the first fruits of the Spirit is joy.
The fourth path to joy is:
4. Going through Troubles, Trials, and Tribulations
James chapter one verses two through four say,
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
What does this mean, "count it all joy?" This is talking about an attitude.
If joy were only a result, this verse would say "My brethren, count it all joy when wonderful things happen to you." But instead it says, "count it all joy when you fall into various trials."
You see, trials test our faith. And through the testing of our faith, patience is produced. When patience has its perfect work in us, we will be complete, and we will lack nothing. Including joy.
In another place we read that this produces the peaceable fruit of righteousness. And we have already seen that from deep, full peace arises pure joy.
So don't accept the lie that the circumstances in your life can only take your joy away. Instead, trust in God, knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love him, and knowing that we can count these things as joy, knowing that God is in control and everything will turn out right in the end.
God cannot triumph over our enemies if we have none. In Psalm 27 and verse 6, we read this:
"My head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at (the) tabernacle (of the Lord) will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD."
You know, this particular verse doesn't even talk about annihalating the enemy. It simply says, "my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me."
"Exalting one's head" speaks of authority. It also gives the visualization of rising to a high place.
Do you realize we are seated with Christ in heavenly places? Spiritually, we have a place right next to Jesus far above all problems, all situations, all opposition, all sin, all sickness, all disease, all torment, all sadness, and all defeat. When that truth sinks in, how can we not have joy!
Let's read this again, along with the verse before it:
"In the day of trouble
God will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD."
You may be going through a day of trouble. But it is in your day of trouble that God will keep you safe in his dwelling; he will hide you in the shelter of his tabernacle; he will set you high upon a rock.
Then your head will be exalted above the enemies who surround you. At God's tabernacle you will sacrifice with shouts of joy, singing and making music to the Lord.
Psalm 30 verses 4 through 12 read,
"Sing to the LORD, you saints of his;
praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
6 When I felt secure, I said,
"I will never be shaken."
7 O LORD, when you favored me,
you made my mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.
8 To you, O LORD, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9 "What gain is there in my destruction,
in my going down into the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me;
O LORD, be my help."
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.
In Habakkuk chapter 3 verses 17 through 19 we read:
"Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights."
And that brings us to the fifth path of joy:
5. Making a Choice: Joy, a Choice
Psalm 103 verses 1 through 5 reads:
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Here the Psalmist is telling his soul to bless the Lord. If his soul was already praising God, why would he need to tell it to do so?
We don't always feel like praising God. We don't always feel like reading his Word. We aren't always having a "mountain-top" experience.
Sometimes we'd much rather mope around and feel sorry for ourselves. "It's my pitty party, and I can eat worms and die if I want to."
Yet the Psalmist is telling himself, "Bless the Lord, O my soul! And all that is within me, bless his holy name!"
What does he do next? He reminds himself of all the good things God has done for him, and all the good things God is going to do.
"Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s."
Sometimes pressing into the presence of God by blessing the Lord O my soul regarless of what's going on around us, requires putting to death our own desires and feelings.
But only then will we have a release, and only when we have released the things that are weighing us down can we have peace. And when we have true peace, we will have joy.
1 Chronicles 16:23-34 says,
"Sing to the LORD, all the earth;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
24 Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
25 For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised;
He is also to be feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are only idols,
But the LORD made the heavens.
27 Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and gladness are in His place.
28 Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
Give to the LORD glory and strength.
29 Give to the LORD the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him.
Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!
30 Tremble before Him, all the earth.
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved.
31 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
And let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.”
32 Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field rejoice, and all that is in it.
33 Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the LORD,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
34 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever."
So today we've looked at five of our ten paths to joy:
1. Going to the Source: the presence of the Lord is our source of joy.
2. Reading and applying the Word of God.
3. Learning to trust and obey.
4. Going through troubles, trials, and tribulations.
5. Making a Choice: joy is a choice!
Next week we'll look at our other five paths to joy. Make sure you join us next week, you won't want to miss it. Also remember throughout the week you can listen to that Sunday's message by clicking on the large Bibles which appear up here after service.
The ministry team can come to the front now as we close with prayer.
Lord God, thank you that you are the maker of joy, and you desire to pour your oil of joy out upon each one of us, giving us dancing for our sorrow, and your Spirit of joy for our heaviness.
I ask that your Word find its way into fertile soil in our hearts. May we seek this week to seek your presence, for you are the source of our joy; to read and apply your Word to our lives, spending time each day reading the Bible; to trust you and obey you completely in all things; to "count it all joy" when we go through trials, knowing you are on the throne and you will work everything out to the good of us who love you; and to choose to rejoice no matter what's going on around us, for we know that the joy of the Lord is our strength!
If there's anyone under the sound of my voice who does not know Jesus, who has not begun a personal relationship and daily walk with him, who has not accepted him as your Lord and Savior, you can finally be at peace with God today; and out of that peace will come everlasting joy.
To receive Jesus and his peace and joy, just pray along with me now:
Jesus, forgive me for my sins. I want to be at peace with you today. Be the Lord of my life. I will follow where you lead. You are my Lord. Come into my heart. I accept your peace. I accept your love. And I accept your joy. Thank you Jesus!
This altar is open for prayer and ministry. If you need prayer or ministry, please instant message one of our team. Feel free to come and kneel at the altar.
As you finish praying or receiving ministry, please everyone make your way to the room on your left where we'll all meet together for fellowship in a few minutes.
May God grant you peace, may you rejoice in all things, and may the joy of the Lord be your strength!