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Fresh Fruit of Joy Sermon final, part 3

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Fresh Fruit of Joy, Part 3  September 17, 2006
Orchestra weekend – and dot races>
prayer

Are you ready for your quote test of Gal. 5:22-23a…
Let’s say it together. 
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control…

Today, We’re discussing the Fresh Fruit of JOY…
Joy…. small word, …HUGE IMPLICATIONS!!

Joy, the second part of the FRUIT, a MAJOR PART of the outflow of a Spirit-led believer.

JOY SERVES AS ONE OF THE BEST barometer’s for “spirit-filled” living, than any of the other 8 parts of THE FRUIT.

You may know but  –
HAPPINESS AND JOY, are completely different..

We’ll define the words in a moment, but first let me illustrate ONE of the words this way…

How many of you like to watch a good race?  (hands)
O.k. so let’s have a race.

We’re going to CONDUCT our 1st Annual and maybe one time ONLY
“FRUIT DOT RACE”, right here in our sanctuary at HFCC.

Can I hear some excitement this morning?  Are you excited.
A “FRUIT DOT RACE”.


Have you seen the DOT RACES at the Spurs game before.

Right now, I want you choose which FRUIT you’re gonna root for.

By applause tell me fruit you want to root.  You choices are: 
Banana, Watermelon, Strawberry, Or Apple.
 
By applause how many will choose…
Is it?:  (list fruit and color here)
Yellow Banana

Green Watermelon

Red Strawberry (wins)

Red Apple


It’s good to know you can have SERIOUS, deep and intellectual moments at church, right?

Are you ready for the race?  (applaud)
Are you excited about the race? (applaud)
Could I build this up any more

WHO WILL WIN THE RACE…?    Tell me…

CUE TO RUN VIDEO ---- 
GENTLE MEN AND WOMEN – START YOUR Fruit dot ENGINES”… (run video)

(After raceJ
Let’s hear it for the STRAWBERRIES!!

Now,… those of you who didn’t win the race, how do YOU feel?
Deep sadness and sorrow?
Kinda like the UT- Ohio State game right? 

Here’s the point – yes, there’s a point:
Happiness or a lack of happiness (sadness) has NOTHING to do with JOY.

Why?

  • Happiness is the reaction to a circumstance or action
  • Joy is an action that comes from God THROUGH US!   (repeat)

TITLE OF THE MESSAGE  -  Fresh fruit of Joy
That is probably still too vague for you, so I want illustrate the meaning of JOY, through the use of a JET ENGINE, right here on the HFCC stage.

Nothing is too good for you people – we spared no expense (absolutely none), and brought in a JET ENGINE.

THIS ENGINE REPRESENTS YOUR LIFE…

So Put your name right across the ENGINE…

WHAT MOVES YOUR “LIFE ENGINE” forward?…

Q:  What causes our life to MOVE FORWARD,
or to stand still on the TARMAC of life?
(Stretching here a little, right?)

THE ANSWER to THAT QUESTION could be determined as to whether you use the word HAPPINESS AND JOY INTERCHANGEABLY.

You may think that when your HAPPY, your LIFE ENGINE soars across the sky.

What causes a JET engine to move forward is a term called PROPULSION… (cool word – say that with me).

We’re working on propulsion today.
1.  Joy is a Propulsion for our Life Engine
What is propulsion?
Derived from two Latin words:
pro meaning before or forwards
and pellere meaning to drive.

Propulsion defined:  to push forward or drive an object forward.
A propulsion system is a machine that produces thrust to push an object forward.

In life, what moves YOUR LIFE ENGINE forward?
Get my elaborate OJBECT LESSON POINT.

And does your life have a coordinate that it’s flying toward?

The Fruit of Joy, is A DRIVING FORCE, that will PROPEL you forward.

BUT A LACK OF JOY, will keep you on the tarmac…

Psalm 16:11 “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.”

So if JOY is what it takes to MOVE FORWARD, are you interested in learning how to LIVE OUT JOY?

The Bible focuses heavily on the word JOY
In the Hebrew language in the O.T., there are 27 different words used for JOY or JOYFUL as it relateds to participating in worship.
And Hebrew culture teaches, rightfully so,
that God is the SOLO source of joy!!
So the source of the POWER of our LIFE’S Propulsion of JOY,

is GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT.
We know that because the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT, is LOVE and JOY…

His fruit, IN US…

ILLUSTRATION – LEAK IN YOUR FAITH
Billy Sunday, famous evangelized,
noticed a absence of joy (a lack of propulsion)
in the lives of many people that he preached to over the years, and so he said, “If there’s no joy in your religion, you’ve got a leak in your faith.” (repeat)

If there’s no joy in your life – you’ve got a problem.
Your plane has been GROUNDED…

And got a leak someplace
and we find gotta find it, so we can deal with.
That’s what we’ll do today.

lllustration – Frank Lloyd Wright (joy not connected to circumstances)

In 1937 architect Frank Lloyd Wright built a house for industrialist Hibbard Johnson.   One rainy evening Johnson was entertaining some very distinguished guests in the dining room, that Frank Wright had designed and built for him.

As they were dining, the roof began to leak. And Water starting seeping right on Hibbard Johnson’s bald head.

Irate, he left the table, called Frank Wright, in Phoenix, Arizona. And said, “Frank you built this beautiful house, and we so enjoy it very much.

But  Frank the roof leaks,
and right now I’m with some friends and distinguished guests and rain water is leaking right on top of my head.”

What are we gonna do?

There was a pause on the other end of the phone, and finally, Architect and builder, Frank Lloyd Wright replied:
“Well, Hib, I’ve got a solution, why don’t you move your chair, so the rain water doesn’t hit you on your head?”

THERE MAY BE TODAY, AN OBVIOUS SOLUTION TO YOUR LACK OF JOY.

Understand what JOY is not.

Are you allowing a LACK OF HAPPINESS TO ROB YOU OF JOY…

Again,

  • Happiness is the reaction to a circumstance or action
  • Joy is an action that comes from God THROUGH US!   (repeat)

    So…Put Happiness in it’s place.  It’s a positive emotion, but it is not a driving force for your life.
    Meaning:   Happiness will not PROPEL your life forward.

    Happiness can be a wonderful by-product for joy (but not always)

And here’s why… Happiness is an emotion based on circumstances…

!!  HAPPINESS is like a GLIDER PLANE… when the weather’s good – your soaring high, but when a storm comes, your plane goes down…

The word happiness actually derives from the English word “Happenstance” which means “something that HAPPENs because of a circumSTANCE”

Thus – what we think of as happiness is an emotion that is caused by our circumstances.

Worldly happiness is almost always reliant upon some situation or event to make us feel good.

If something good happens… we’ll feel good
But if something bad happens… we won’t.

All of us can think of circumstances that caused our happiness to be effected.

Illustration;  Hooters
One that comes to mind is….  (Hooters – chicken wings in Florida)

So unhappiness can send your LIFE tumbling down, if you are living FOR happniness…

Right?

!!  JOY – when a storm comes, can THRUST above the STORM…

Joy defined:  (put on screen)
True Joy, (made possible by accepting Christ), is a divine outward expression of rejoicing, resulting from walking in the Holy Spirit’s filling and is not impacted by circumstance.  (Repeat)

Just as we cannot experience God’s forgiveness and restoration apart from His gift of grace,

neither can we cannot experience this godly perspective called, "joy" apart from His divine position in our lives.

THE MOOD OF outward REJOICING comes through a heart of internal “spirit-filled” divine joy.

The Spirit lives within us & gives us a perspective,
we could NEVER experience on our own.

Happiness (defined) – an outward expression of excitement, dependant on positive circumstances.

So Both Joy and Happiness are definitely expressions,

But happiness is driven by circumstance,
joy is driven by the power of the Holy Spirit as He fills us.

Let’s talk about HAPPINESS FOR A MOMENT.
It’s appropriate to apply the emotion of Happiness or sadness, based upon an event around you.

Absolutely appropriate.

Example:  If your son breaks his leg, it’s absolutely appropriate to FEEL sad about that. 
In other words it would NOT be appropriate to FEEL HAPPY about your child breaking his leg. 

However, JOY should not be effected by the news of your son being hurt.  Why?

Because JOY is NOT an emotional response based upon a positive or negative circumstance.

Joy is an outward expression, that is grounded on God Himself,
in which this expression or emotion of JOY
is derived from the Holy Spirit as a fruit
that flows through believers. 

True Joy is not impacted by negative circumstances!!

Listen to some verses that give us a better picture of the word JOY.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

These verses contain ATTITUDES for holy living…

Be joyful always – why did Paul feel the need to remind them to do this?

Because, just like us, we allow things to ROB us of our joy.
He actually gives this word “as a command”.

A Christian’s JOY does not spring from his circumstances, but from the blessings that are his, because he is in Christ.

Then he hits us with the big guns…
Not only are we be
joyful always
and pray continually
And give thanks in all circumstances,

Then he says – BIG GUNS – “this is God’s Will for you in Christ Jesus”.

Paul shares the same word to the Church of Rome…
Romans 12:12, 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 

We are joyful, patient in affliction, but not “happy” in affliction.
He didn’t say be HAPPY when a negative circumstance comes, he says “be patient” in affliction”, but during that affliction BE JOYFUL in hope, and faithful in prayer.

b.  Living out Joy is a matter of attitude…

In our daily JOY ATTITUDE CHECK, before we FLY,
we must check our ATTITUDE GAUGES, to make sure that we are NOT headed toward MAKING the day about us…

Flying in self-absorption, WILL SEND OUR JOY ENGINE rocketing down.

The moment I slip, and make life about me,
I dilute the definition of joy,
into the definition for circumstantial happiness.

Joy is called the fruit of the Spirit,
because it’s not possible to have this attitude in our hearts unless it comes from God Himself living inside of us.

We can immediately LIVE out JOY,
as we are filled with the spirit.  Get it?

And True joy can only be experienced when we understand who God is and our position in Him.

Listen to this BIBICAL example,
of living out joy in the midst of a negative circumstance:

If you want the definitive way to understand what true joy is, you must look at Jesus Himself.

Jesus is the perfect example of anything that God wants to see demonstrated in our own lives. The writer of Hebrews expressed it perfectly when He said,
Hebrews 12:2, 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Q:  Did Jesus DESIRE the negative circumstance of the cross?  No.  (He asked God to let this cup pass from Him).

But yet, HE set the JOY BEFORE HIM, and THEN was able to endure the cross!

SETTING THE JOY BEFORE US, propels our life engine!
It even did this for CHRIST.

Christ KNEW that the Cross,
Would be horrible (circumstance0
but He also knew that the cross
 would be the answer for mankind,
and so He faced the cross, with the JOY
(divine outward expression of rejoicing)

That was set before Him.

He focused on the JOY and not on a lack of HAPPINESS>

Let me be blunt.
I know for certain that JESUS WAS NOT HAPPY ABOUT GOING TO THE CROSS.

Let me be clear –
JOY IS AN EMOTION EXPRESSED –
BUT IT HAS A DIVINE CHARACTER TO IT.
It is a spiritual emotion of delight.

There are times that the Bible uses the word “joy” as an emotion of delight or success.

That’s why when you see that there are times that the Greek Word for Joy and Happiness are used interchangeably, it doesn’t contradict itself.

2.         Determining the Thrust Rate of Your Joy Propulsion
Don’t you like these impressive aeronautical terms?

Romans 15:13 13 May the God of hope fill you with ALL JOY and peace as you trust in him,
so that (purpose) you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Wanna know were your JOY PROPULSION will take you?  Soaring high.

The Power of the “JOY” Propulsion comes from the Holy Spirit.

O.k. you pilots, be impressed, because I know that (read this)  “The Thrust equation from ENGINE PROPULSION shows the amount of thrust generated, is dependent upon the MASS FLOW through the engine and the exit velocity of the gas.”

The fuel for our ENGINE is the Holy Spirit, and the propulsion of our JOY, is determined based upon whether we will ALLOW to flow through us.

Romans 14:17-18  “17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” Huge verses –

The Kingdom of God is:
God’s Righteousness in us…
Peace and joy also COMING FROM GOD! 

eating and drinking, which can make you happy, are linked to circumstances.  IF YOU DON’T LIKE what you are eating and drinking, you are UNHAPPY.

But Joy is this wonderful spiritual anticipation knowing that our SPIRITUAL HOPES will be fulfilled as we walk in Him.

And Peace in yourself and with others, results from the assurance that God will fulfill those hopes.

Christian living is JOY and PEACE, as we walk in Him.

The Holy Spirit is the SUPPLIER OF THE Peace and JOY, because it’s HIS joy being produced as a FRUIT through us!!

1Thessalonians 1:6 - 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

CHILD BIRTH, so they say…
is one of the best examples of JOY AND HAPPINESS.

Ladies help me with this…

Most mothers will tell me that it is the most wonderful moment when your newborn was placed in their arms – you felt the JOY OF THE LORD.

But would you qualify the birth pain as HAPPY?

BUT THE JOY of having your baby, far outweighs the temporary MAJOR discomfort that caused you to be well… UNHAPPY, right?

And do remember the PAIN the most, or the amazing moment when you held that child for the first time?

Joy doesn’t mean we walk around with a silly grin on our face 24 hours a day saying, well "Praise the Lord."
 

Joy doesn’t keep you from getting TICKED OFF.

Joy doesn’t keep negative circumstances from happening.

BUT IT CAN keep the challenge in proper perspective.

3.   Speeding Up Joy Propulsion when Life Hits Airpockets…
You may need More speed to keep your JOY engine thrusting forward.

The thrust equation of life is important.
You need a balance of air flowing your life, so that when you hit a “AIR pocket” of negative circumstances, you are ready to POWER UP more JOY velocity to keep you moving up, and not soaring down.

You need to get “over-joyed”!!

Ever said, I’m absolutely “OVER-JOYED”?
What did you mean?

You meant that JOY is so strong it’s moving at HIGH VELOCITY!!

3.a.  Being Over-joyed is needed Excessive Joy Speed

You’ll hit occasional LIFE AIRPOCKETS, there are times you NEED to be “OVER-JOYED”, in order to speed up the JOY PROPULSION, so that you don’t DROP 3 to 5 thousand feet in 4 seconds!!

So DETERMINE WHAT TRIGGERS JOY RESPONSES
 (which remember are divinely inspirited emotions) that come from the ROOT OF JOY.

Back to childbirth for a moment.

I didn’t experience the UPHAPPINESS of the pain of childbirth, but I was able to understand what it means to be…

OVER-JOYED, at the birth of our two daughters.
IT WAS A spiritual experience….

I saw the accomplishment of a SPIRITUAL project,
that God completed, that we got to participate in,
and I was OVER-JOYED.

That’ll certainly THRUST your SPIRITUAL JOY PROPULSION FORWARD, right?

So when EXCESSIVE JOY comes, RELISH IT!

(interactive lesson – have congregation sigh out of joy)

WHEN YOU ARE “OVER-JOYED” WHAT DO YOU DO?  
(DEEP SIGH – try it…).

AHHHHHHH ----- SO NICE…. JOY…….

  • JOY PRODUCES CONTENTMENT…. (PEACE)
  • AND THEN PEACE PRODUCES UNITY
  • MAKE A JOYFUL FACE FOR A MOMENT…GO AHEAD TRY IT…
  • NOW LOOK AT YOUR NEIGHBOR WITH THAT WONDERFUL JOY – FILLED FACE….

NICE HUH??

Celebrate it, because that emotion of being OVER-JOYED will bubble over, and will help carry you to the next air pocket of LIFE.

  • I get overjoyed in WATCHING people meet Christ!

  • I get a measure of JOY in watching you LAUGH IN CHURH, at something ZAINY I say.

Why?  Because it reminds me of the LACK of expression of laughter I remember growing up in church.

What I remember about growing up in church, is getting my head THUMPED for being too figitity!

Have you ever CRIED OUT OF JOY…?

Certainly…

The JOY IS deep within you and that EMOTION SPARKS the joy to come bubbling up and out.

It’s God’s joy in you, that’s why it’s so hard to explain.

Over-joyed is the experience of JOY THAT BUBBLES OVER.

Joy is an important “Fruit of The Spirit” because joy is central to the Christian faith as we see in Paul’s affirmation, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say again - rejoice!”

3.b.  Airpockets are not only life’s bumps, but also confusion about what JOY is.
The reason some say they have no joy in their lives is because they don’t have a reason to be joyful.

--Life seems like it’s fallen apart.
--They aren’t satisfied with their job…if they even have one.
--Their family has problems.
--Their health isn’t good
--Their car has gone in for repairs for the 10th time this year.
--They just can’t see a “reason” for being joyful.

And, I can’t blame people for feeling that way. It’s hard to be joyful when life is going against you. It’s hard to be joyful when you’re:
… struggling with troubles,
…or overwhelmed by pain,
…or unsure of your future.

But there’s a problem with THAT approach to life.

IT’S STILL MAKING LIFE ABOUT YOU
YOU’RE STILL TIEING JOY TO CIRCUMSTANCE.

IT’S TWO SEPARATE SUBJECTS…

When it leaks on your head, it may be time to move your chair, but you can still EXPERIENCE JOY IN THE MEAL!

If we wait till everything to turns out the way we want them to in our lives… if we’re not going to be joyful until all the leaks are patched in our lives… THEN we’re NEVER going to experience JOY. Or, if we do have joy, it will be a rare occurrence.

Jesus Himself warned us that "…

John 16:33 33 “I have told you these things, so that (purpose) in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Now, the good news is this.
You don’t have to wait until you’re Happy with your life to have joy in your life.

The kind of joy God wants you to have in your life WILL bring you happiness. But the pursuit of happiness will not always bring you joy.

Remember, JOY comes from God, and that joy will flow through you.

God’s kind of Joy does not depend upon present situation. In fact, God’s joy SHOULD exist despite our circumstances.

Q:  Ever been asked – “How are you doing?”
And you answer, “well  all right – under the circumstances.”

Question:Why are you “UNDER” your circumstances?

God doesn’t want us to be UNDER our circumstances
God wants us to be OVERCOMERS

Don’t capture a “secular worldview’s definition of joy”

Wise men through the ages have tried to define joy.

Aristotle defined joy this way.   "Finding the ideal balance between the excesses of pleasure and the pain of suffering."    (X – wrong answer)

A MEASURE of truth, doesn’t make it the truth.

His definition doesn’t measure up when it comes to understanding Biblical joy.

JOY is not happiness –

If Joy is happiness, then when you get a NEW TOY, it makes you JOYFUL,
but then the opposite would be true, that if your NEW TOY gets broken or stolen, then you have a LACK OF JOY.

There is NO connection to JOY and Trials…

That’s dispelled in
James 1:2 2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

Trials really can faced with an attitude of joy.

James’ command was direct and forceful, but he didn’t PREACH DOWN to his church.

He identified with them. He addressed them warmly as “my brothers.”
James’ direct commands are coupled with deep compassion.

It is important to note that James did not say that a believer should be joyous for the trials but in the trials.

If this is an area of hardship for you, I encourage you to pick up our James Sermon series, where I talk at length about this in James 1.

JOY is not circumstantial – at all. 
There is NO connection to JOY and circumstances, whether happy or sad circumstances.

(delete Phil. 4:1-7 and use next week – for peace)

DO you people know you as a PERSON OF JOY?
If not, that can change today.

Remember, this is the FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, BEING LIVED OUT THROUGH US.

Saying praise the Lord or Hallelujah all the time doesn’t mean you are walking in JOY, it may mean you are trying to manufacture a feeling, that is under your control and not God’s.

I love to say Praise the Lord and Hallelujah,
but I do so out of the GENUINE joy in my heart,
and not something manipulated or manufactured.

What if you wake up in a bad mood – can you still have the joy of the Lord?  (yep)

3.   Unclogging your Life Engine from Spiritual self-sabotage.
There is self-induced debris that we throw into the enjoy of our life, that effects our SPIRITUAL JOY.

Looking for Debris that Can Clog your JOY Engine
We clog our own engine of JOY through self-sabotage.

We can be “in effect” our own job robbers!
Galatians 4:15a:   “15 What has happened to all your joy?”

William Barclay has said that a gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms, and nothing in all religious history has done Christianity more harm than its connection with black clothes and long faces. 

WHAT CLOGS THE POWER OF JOY IN OUR SPIRITUAL Life ENGINES?

(Walk to turbine side of engine)

If you get enough DEBRIS in this engine, it will seize and SHUT DOWN…

A STEEL TUBE IN THE AIR AT 30,000 feet, doesn’t do well without engine power.

So let’s determine what is some DEBRIS we need look out for that may clog our JOY – which will cause our ENGINE TO SEIZE.


The Debris of:

a.     Unresolved expectations.
Do you ever feel like you’re just going through some joyless routines in life?


Are you discontent with the way your life is progressing?

Do have some unresolved expecations in your marriage?

Are your kids living like they should.

Do you have the house or the car, or the job you really want?

I’m convinced that a spirit of discontentment can rob you of job, if you allow it to.

Listen to how Paul discovered the secret of being content with what God had given him in.
Philippians 4:12: “12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

We’ll talk further about unresolved expectations in an upcoming message, but be careful with this.

It can be a debris field that will seize your life engine.

What about The debris of…

b.     Unresolved conflict.

When you are in conflict with someone, and someone offends you, do you let it occupy your mind constantly?

It’ll rob your job if you do.
You’ll have little left over for the Lord.

Anger clouds the eyes of our heart and obscures our view of God, draining away our joy.

We’ll also talk about that next week.

delete Heb. 12:14

Paul recognizes the link between joy and unity in Philippians 2:2: “2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”

This third joy robber is probably responsible for chasing more joy out of lives than any other.

The debris of…c.  Unconfessed sin.
Guilt can gut your joy faster than anything I know. Sin can send joy far away.

David understood this very well when he attempted to ignore the promptings of the Spirit.

Psalm 32:1-5: “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’ -- and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

I love how this Psalm ends. After David owns his sin, his joy returns. Notice verse 11: “Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!”

Did you catch that? He was not able to rejoice and experience the joy of the Lord until he confessed his sins!

That’s very similar to what David wrote in Psalm 51:7-8: “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.”

Do you have some unsatisfied expectations that have led to a spirit of discontment?

Deal with it TODAY –

Delete The Debris of

d.     Comfortable Christianity.

When you get comfortable, you start trying to fly your LIFE PLANE “solo”- That’s dangerous.

4.  Maintaining Maintain High Cruising Altitude of Joy through Praise.
Scripture so often tells us to rejoice…even when it doesn’t make any sense
1 Peter 4:12-13
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

REJOICING IS AN OUTWARD EXPRESSION ----   WE REJOICE GOD THE BEST THROUGH PRAISE….

Praising God is a proper fuel additive for continual Joy.
PRAISE WILL REMIND YOU OF YOUR SOURE FOR JOY…

In the Bible there’s the story of Paul and Silas.
They were ministering in the city of Philippi… and they were arrested.

Acts 16 tells us that “… the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten.

After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

Acts 16:22-25  “22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”

They really hadn’t done anything wrong.

All they had done was preach the love of Jesus and heal a demon possessed girl.
BUT NOW… here they were mistreated, abused, beaten and imprisoned.
How would you have responded to that???
It’s not right….
It’s not fair…
THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO TREAT ME LIKE THIS
You could almost hear them as they shout threats and curses from the inner…

Rejoicing FUELS YOUR  joy!!!!

Paul and Silas had been stripped, beaten, thrown into the very darkest cell in the prison and fastened in stocks… and what do they do??? They pray and sing. They hold a mini-Revival in their cell. They could have allowed their situation to have control of them. But instead, they took control of their situation by REJOICING in God – praying/singing. The end result was that Paul and Silas witnessed to a literal “captive audience. And they ended up baptizing the jailer and his family into Christ.

God’s kind of Joy is NOT AN EMOTION that happens to you. God’s Joy is His tool for you to use to take control of your life.

Nehemiah 8:10 10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Delete - Psalm 92:4

Philippians 4:4 -4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice![1]

Praise is such a vital part of the believer’s life. Without praise we are prey to depression, self- righteousness, and arrogance before God.

ILLUSTRATION – OREL HERSHISER – SINGING JOHNNY CARSON SHOW 1988

Major-league pitcher, Orel Hershiser once appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Hershiser is a committed Christian, and takes every opportunity to witness for Christ. Carson asked him how he managed to stay so cool and relaxed looking even in the World Series.

He replied that he sang hymns and other Christian choruses he’d learned in Sunday School and church during the times he was on the bench, and in-between innings. With that, Orel stood and sang -- on key -- "The Doxology" for Johnny Carson.
(find if he really sang or if he spoke the words on the Carson show- then if you can find the clip that would be great.

As Orel Hershiser, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers and hero of the 1988 World Series was begin interviewed by Johnny Carson, Carson asked Hershiser what song he should sing for the celebration of Hershiser’s recovery from his injury, and for the win of the world series.

At first Hershiser hesitated to answer, but finally he SANG,

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost”

Hershiser was on the verge of the end of his career because of an injury of his pitching arm, yet He rejoiced in God HEALING him and USING him as an instrument of praise.

HE KNEW HOW TO REJOICE BECAUSE OF THE JOY OF THE LORD, WHO WAS HIS STRENGTH.

Paul says, "Rejoice...rejoice!" There are no qualifiers in that sentence. It does not indicate we should rejoice just when things are good -- we must praise the Lord always! Praise, plus:

They’re saying – If the roof is leaking and you can’t get someone to fix it right away… MOVE YOUR CHAIR.

Change your perspective. Take some control of your life – by rejoicing.

Psalm 66:1-4: “Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious! Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.’”

5.  Trust Your Instruments (Spirit’s leading) and Operations Manual (Bible) – and Never Forget Who Powers your Engine of Joy
The one who powers your joy, is actually your SOURCE for JOY.  Well, how can I do that? How can I lay hold of the “Joy of the Lord”?

Well… we need to lay hold of THE SOURCE of God’s joy.
The fruit of the SPIRIT is… joy…”

In other words… God’s Spirit is the source of God’s Joy.
That’s what the Word says….
So, the more I’m filled with the Spirit of God… the more of God’s joy I’ll have in my life.

Joy is more than an emotion. Joy is a tool God gives us to overcome our circumstances, to empower us to rise above the pain and the sorrows of this life.

Joy Builders REMEMBER GOD IS JOYFUL…
EMBRACE GOD AS THE JOY THAT HE IS…

First, we need to recognize God as joyful.

Zephaniah was a prophet during the reign of King Josiah and a book bearing his name appears toward the end of the Old Testament. Prophets were usually not known to be joyful people. But, in this segment, Zephaniah speaks of the joy that comes from God as He comes to deliver his people!

God rejoices! God gets joyful! And joy can take root and flourish as we constantly remind one another of this truth.

He has put the JOY of the Lord in our Life, as a Fruit of the Holy Spirit in us!

Zephaniah 3:17 –“17 The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

God delights in you and breaks out into song when He thinks about you! That’s hard to believe, isn’t it? I love how the Living Bible paraphrases this verse: “Is that a joyous choir I hear? No, it is the Lord himself exulting over you in happy song.”

Isaiah 65:18-19- “18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.”

If we have little or no joy in our lives, it could very well be because we don’t know God well enough because joy is one of His character qualities. When we recognize God as joyful we will be even more drawn to Him. He is not an aloof judge just waiting for us to mess up so He can unleash His fury. He has created us to be His delight. He finds great joy in you! He exults over you in happy song.

NOW WHAT…

1.      Guard yourself against those joy robbers that crash into your life like a tidal wave. Be vigilant.


Ask someone to hold you accountable so that you learn the secret of contentment, so that you keep short accounts with people, and to help you get into the habit of regular confession of your sins.

Read The Book of Philippians every day for a week.
The word “joy” or “rejoice” is used 19 different times in this short book.

As you read it, ask God to ripen the fruit of joy in your life.

Remember that LOVE, Joy and Peace are GOD CENTERED and NOT YOU CENTERED.

1.  Remember, Love produces Christ-likeness,
2. (today) Joy produces contentment (peace), Week 3
3.  (next week) Peace produces unity, Week 4

PRESSED ON EVERY SIDE…

2 Cor. 4:7-9 -  7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Do you know how we are:

n      hard pressed but not crushed?  JOY

n      Perplexed but not in despair?  JOY

n      Persecuted but not abandoned?  JOY

n      Struck down but not destroyed?  JOY

ALLOW JOY TO TAKE ROOT

When you have the spiritual fruit of joy in your life, you know that Christ is your strength. You know that Christ is your comfort. You know that Christ is your portion and provider. In that there is great contentment.

Let’s PRAY –

Remember, Psalm 51:7-8: “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.”

Do you have some unsatisfied expectations that have led to a spirit of discontment?

Deal with it TODAY – come forward for cleansing.

Confess your discontentment to Him right now.

Are you involved in some conflict with someone? If so, confess it to God and make plans to meet with that person face-to-face so that you can be reconciled and get back on your journey to joy.

• Is God’s hand heavy upon you right now because of some sin that you’ve not confessed and repented of? Don’t keep silent any longer – it will only chew up your joy. Acknowledge your transgression and taste the joy that was once yours. Then you’ll be truly glad and rejoice in the Lord again.

GREAT NEWS -

Lost joy can be restored.And yet, he boldly prays in Psalm 51:12, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation…” God honored his prayer, and He will honor yours.


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