Fullness of Joy

Posted on 12/28/2014 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


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KING OF KINGS

King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Glory, Hallelujah!
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Glory, Hallelujah!

Jesus, Prince of Peace
Glory, Hallelujah!
Jesus, Prince of Peace
Glory, Hallelujah!


HIS NAME IS JESUS

He is the King of Kings
He is the Lord of Lords
His name is Jesus, Jesus,
Jesus, Jesus
Oh -- He is the King

...of Kings
He is the Lord of Lords
His name is Jesus, Jesus,
Jesus, Jesus
Oh -- He is the King

His name is Jesus, Jesus,
sad hearts we've no more
He can heal the broken hearted
open wide the prizon doors
And he's able, yes he's able
to deliver evermore


You are the King of Kings
You are the Lord of Lords
Your name is Jesus, Jesus,
Jesus, Jesus
Oh -- you are the King

Your name is Jesus, Jesus,
sad hearts we've no more

You can heal the broken hearted
open wide the prizon doors

You can heal the broken hearted
open wide the prizon doors

Yes, you can heal my broken heart and
open wide my prizon doors

And you're able, yes you're able
to deliver evermore


WORD OF GOD SPEAK

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say


CHORUS:

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak


I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

(chorus)

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

(chorus)

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay


*** listen to the audio to hear the introduction ***


Today, let's start by reading a verse from the Psalms. Psalm 16:11 (TLS)

11 You have shown me the Path of Life: In Your Presence is fulness of joy, and at Your right hand is perpetual splendor and delight.

That's a nice thought, isn't it? When we're going through various circumstances and our minds are reacting by creating suffering for us, we can call this verse back to memory:

"You have shown me the Path of Life: In Your Presence is fullness of joy, and at Your right hand is perpetual splendor and delight."

If we're not TOO far lost in the mind, just reading that verse can bring a faint sense of relief. It will usually be fleeting, but for that brief moment, our attention is taken out of our unhappy story and rests, for a twinkle in time, in the direction of peace and joy.

But let's taste this verse for awhile.
Let's savor its flavor.
Let's enjoy its essence.
Let's embrace its Life.

"You have shown me the Path of Life."

Has God shown you the Path of Life?

Now, the first reaction MY mind has to that question is, "Of course He has, it's in the Bible, and the Path of Life is Jesus."

Fair enough. But what does that mean?

"Well," the mind might say, "it means that I believe Jesus died for my sins and I ask Him into my heart."

I see.

That explanation fits very nicely into a mind-sized box, doesn't it.

Now I'm not suggesting it's more complex than that;
in fact, it is far more simple.

The Psalmist didn't know the name "Jesus," as we call it in our language.

He didn't know our religious ritual of saying a sinner's prayer and, as we so often word it, "asking Jesus into our heart."

He DID know about the destructive effects of sin.

He DID know about the forgiveness and mercy of God.

And he DID know the Path of Life.

"You have shown me the Path of Life."

And then he goes on to put into word, the best he could, what that Path is:

"In Your Presence is fullness of joy."

Of course our minds believe that Salvation is the only way to enter God's presence.

But consider a man or woman in prison, who has just been set free.

The prison door is open, and he walks outside.

Where she wants to be, the place she considers home, is somewhere on the other side of the world, and now he has the freedom to go there.

His sins have been pardoned.
Her debt has been paid.
His freedom has been granted.

But she is not home.


Having your sins forgiven, having your debt paid, and having your freedom granted to you by God; there is nothing more wonderful and game changing.

But the excitement dies down.

The elation diminishes.

The "first love," as it's described in Revelation, grows old.


Are you still standing in the street outside of the prison?

Or have you come home?


"You have shown me the Path of Life," or "The Way Home:" "In Your Presence is fullness of joy."


In James 1:2 (TLS), we read this:

2 My brethren, consider it utter joy when you are surrounded by various adversities.


What do you suppose James meant?

"Consider it utter joy when you are surrounded by various adversities."

Are we supposed to somehow congure up a feeling of happiness and delight?

Or perhaps we're just supposed to make a mental agreement to the thought that it somehow really is joy.

I mean, surely we can't go beyond THAT, can we?

"Consider it utter joy."

Yeah, happy happy joy joy. Right?

But seriously though... Does that resonate with the truth of God's nature that He has engraved upon your heart?

Is having some words go through your head really what we're supposed to learn from this?


Paul said the same thing several times.

In fact, Paul wrote the most about Joy while he was in jail.

And even more while he expected his life would soon be over.

While he was surrounded by various adversities, he found true joy.

Not a thought in the head.

Not a feeling of fleeting happiness or pleasure with his circumstances.

But a deep Peace from which he learned to Live;
and from that still Peace, bubbled an everlasting Joy.


"You have shown me the Path of Life: In Your Presence is fullness of joy."


Now, if you're waiting for instructions on things you can do or believe that will make you happy about everything, you're about to disappoint yourself.

There is no ritual.
There are no beliefs.
There is no system that can lead you to Peace and Joy.

In fact, and this sounds really scandelous, but there is also no religion that can lead you to Peace and Joy.

That's what the Scripture says.

Just a few verses after we are told to consider it utter joy, James 1:27 (TLS) says this:

27 Religion that, to Father God, is pure and undefiled, is this: to help the widows and orphans in their trouble, and to keep oneself undefiled by union with the world.

In other words, help those in need, and don't become identified with earthly things.

That's the only true religion.

It's not composed of a list of beliefs.

All the doctrines you have learned and all the tenants you believe, they are not the true religion.

I told you this was scandelous.

But it's right there in Scripture, isn't it?

And when that was written through James, it wasn't anything new.

Micah 6:8 (TLS) says this:

8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you? but to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with the sovereign God.


Do what is right.

Love mercy.

Sounds an awful lot like James 1:27, wouldn't you agree?

Walk humbly with God.


That's it.

No list of things you have to believe.

Just that.

Help those in need.

Do the right thing right now.

Embrace mercy.

Let go of the things of this earth.

Walk humbly, selflessly, with God.


There's no room for a sense of superiority there.


Now don't misunderstand.

I'm not downplaying the absolute need for the sacrifice of Jesus.

But it's not our doctrinal positions that save us.

It's not our mental beliefs that save us.

It's not what we call the Christian religion that saves us.

He already did it all.

And when the Scriptures tell us that we must believe, let's understand what that means.

You probably know John 3:16 by heart.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes upon His shall not perish, but will have everlasting life."

So we simply believe in Him, right?

Well, help me with this for a moment.

What does Scripture say about this in James 2:19? "You believe there is one God. That's good. But even the demons believe, and they tremble."

So belief isn't enough.

Someone with severe mental defect might not be capable of believing what we consider to be the essential tenants of the Faith; they might not make any sense to him at all.

Is he therefore doomed to spend eternity in hell?

He might know that he sometimes does things that he shouldn't do.

Guilt doesn't require an intellect to understand.

Can he be forgiven and washed clean even if he doesn't formulate a mental belief and doesn't learn a list of doctrinal confessions?

What do you think?

Will Jesus save such a soul?



Belief.

Whosoever believes upon Him.

The word translated there as "believe" isn't the same as our understanding of the English word "believe."

Instead, it means to trust in and rely upon, not just to accept in the head that something is true.

Remember, who else believes in God? ________

The demons believe.

"Whosoever believes will not perish."

The demons don't have everlasting life.

The demons do not trust in and rely upon God.

So to lessen the mind's confusion, we could read that verse like this:

John 3:16 (TLS)

16 For God loved the world so much, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever trusts in Him will not perish, but will have eternal Life.


Do you see the difference there?

This does not say we must have all the right beliefs in our head.

This says only that if we put our trust in God's Son, we have eternal Life.


That's it.


Now the mind wants to start yelling at me and explaining why what I just said is not true.

You HAVE to believe this, and that, and the other.

You HAVE to do this, or that, or the other.

It CAN'T just be a full surrender of the soul,
but MUST be a list of physical and mental forms.

And so the thief on the cross couldn't be saved.

And the one with a severe mental handicap can't be saved.

We wouldn't condemn either one of those.

But without knowing it, we do.



Just let that sink in for awhile.



"You have shown me the Path of Life: In Your Presence is fullness of joy."

Do we even know what true joy is?

Is it happiness?
Liking our circumstances?
Having fun?

Or is it something deeper?
Something we can have in the middle of various trials?
Something we can have if we are unjustly in prison?
Something we can have even if we just got fired?
Or evicted?
Or abandoned?
Or misused?
Or abused?

What is joy?


Well, I can't tell you.

No one can.

The Bible can't even tell you.

The Scriptures tell us that they can't tell us.

1 Peter 1:8 calls it "joy unspeakable and full of glory."

Joy unspeakable.

You just can't put it into words.

Full of glory.

That's something else that can't be put into words.

True Joy is not within the realm of the mind, so it can neither understand it nor explain it to others.

You see, Joy is not a thing.

Instead, Joy is a state of being.

And it starts with Peace.

As the Scriptures describe it, true Peace cannot be described;
rather, it is "Peace that surpasses all understanding."

And Isaiah 26:3 (TLS) says this:

3 You will keep him in perfect peace whose attention is kept upon You, because he trusts fully in You.

Sounds like John 3:16, doesn't it?

"Whoever trusts in Him will not perish,"
but enters into fullness of Life.

Not in the future or the "sweet by and by."

But now.

Eternity can be in no other time, because no other time exists.

Eternity is always now.

Yes, there are events the prophets have fortold, and not all of them have happened.

But when they do happen, they will happen in the Now.

And THAT is where the Life God gives us is.

It is in you where you are,
and it is there Now.


So we are kept in perfect peace when our attention is kept upon the great I Am.


"You have shown me the Path of Life: In Your Presence is fullness of joy, and at Your right hand is perpetual splendor and delight."


Sometimes, maybe we think of God's presence as something that is absent, but if we just go somewhere we aren't at a time that isn't now, THEN we will find fullness of joy and timeless splendor and delight.

Where is God?
He is in His temple, when means He is inside of you.

When is God?
He is present, FULLY present, which means He is Now.

It can make the mind feel a little lighter and a little more at rest and a little less negative to think about the sweet by and by when we are in whatever we think the presence of the Lord is.

But for there to be God's presence,
God must be present.

And He is.

He is present right now.

And as James 4:8 says, when you draw near to God, He will draw near to you.

God is fully present.

So when YOU are fully present, you are where and when God is.

When you draw near to God,
He draws near to you.


This means you aren't lost in the mind.

This means you don't hold onto the stories and forms of this temporary world.

This means you don't worship your beliefs or what you consider to be your religion.

And it's so simple, that few will be able to accept it.

"You mean there are no hoops for me to jump through?"

"You mean I don't have to believe a list of ideas?"

"You mean I don't have to wash my face and clean my clothes and get everything in order?"

The thing is, you don't even have to believe what I've just told you.

You can hold onto forms of legalism and impure religion and still be saved from the hell that will purge all those sinful things of the world.

Yes, God will save the uneducated, unintelligent, and those who don't believe in the things you do, just as much as He will save YOU.


You see, it's not about you.
It never was about about.
It's all about Him.
He did it all.

And as you are present with what is,
your presence with God's presence,
in the here where God is and
the Now when God is,
you will find that you begin to trust fully in Him.

And in this place, you will remain in perfect Peace.

And from this Peace, you will know fullness of Joy.

And in this place of full honor with God, at His right hand, you will dwell in the timeless splendor and delight of His glorious presence.

And that is enough.