Just sharing a sermon that i have heard sometime ago

Introduction

A life of a Christian is different from the life of a person in a world.  This difference can be seen from the description of Moses by the author of Hebrews

“ By faith Moses, when he became of age,
  refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s
  daughter, choosing rather to suffer
  affliction with the people of God than to
  enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
  
esteeming the reproach of Christ greater
  riches than the treasures in Egypt; for
  he looked to the reward.” – Author Of Hebrews (Heb 11:24-26)

Here he describes the joy of Moses. He look forward to something that is different from the people of the world. Moses could have lived a high life in the palace of Egypt. It is a place of power, authority and riches where he could spend on enjoyment. But Moses was unwilling to enjoy the life of pleasure in sin. He would rather suffer together with the people of God.

A Life of pleasures of sin is a life full of drunkenness and lust.  It is full of activities that emphasise on enjoyment just like the people of the city of Sodom. But such a life ends in destruction. It is just like the times of Noah where men live in the joy of sin. They lead a life of luxury and in a world devoid of God. That is a life of pleasure in sin, its joys were temporary and it leads to eternal sufferings.

But the joy in the spirit is a different type of Joy. So what is Spiritual Joy?

Pt 1:  The Joy Of Receiving Salvation

The greatest joy of a believer in God is that God had chosen us to be saved. This joy can be seen when the Ethiopian Eunuch receives the gospel of Salvation (Acts 8:34-39).

The Ethiopian Eunuch is a man of great power, an officer in charge of the treasury of Candace the queen of the Ethiopians. Despite his high position, he was humble and he was reading the book of Isaiah when Philip came to him. He did not understand the word word of God and God sent Philip. There the Eunuch invited Philip up to his chariot and allowed Philip to explain the scriptures.

Philip told him about Jesus through the book of Isaiah and when they pass by an Oasis, the Eunuch said

Eunuch : “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” 
Philip : “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
Eunuch : “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
(Acts 8:36-37)

There the Eunuch ordered the Chariot to stop and he was baptised.  The book of Acts recorded the emotion of the Eunuch

“Now when they came up out of
  the water, the Spirit of the Lord
  caught Philip away, so that the
  eunuch saw him no more; and he
  went on his way rejoicing. “ – Luke (Acts 8:39)

When one receives salvation grace he will naturally be joyful. Today we are able to receive this same grace of salvation. As long as we continue to keep the commandments of God and the instruction of Jesus, as long as we are able to endure to the end, we would be saved. To receive salvation is a joyous event full of blessing.

For Paul once describe it like this

“Yet indeed I also count all things
  loss for the excellence of the knowledge
  of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have
  suffered the loss of all things, and count
  them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ”- Paul (Php 3: 8)

Paul regard knowing Christ as most precious. For he used to be an enemy of Christ destined for destruction. It is his greatest joy to enter heaven.

Today even if we receive the grace of salvation we must continue to peruse the knowledge of God. For there are some among us who were baptised since young and they did not understand the benefit of knowing God. They were born in grace and were unaware of the preciousness of this gift. That is why they are unable to see the joy of knowing God.

Let us emulate the attitude of the Psalmist with regards to this

“I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
  As much as in all riches. 
  I will meditate on Your precepts,
  And contemplate Your ways.
   I will delight myself in Your statutes;
  I will not forget Your word.” – Psalmist (Ps 119:14-16)

Pt 2:  The Joy Of Worshipping God

“I was glad when they said to me,
  “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” 
  Our feet have been standing
  Within your gates, O Jerusalem!” – David (Ps 122:1-2)

King David is joyful whenever he enters the city of Jerusalem to worship the Lord. He is joyful when his feet is standing within the gates of Jerusalem. A person who love to worship God will always have his feet within the gates of Jerusalem. While others in the world enjoy the comforts of the world, he will always want to be in Jerusalem

King David is a man of power and riches, but those were not his joy. His joy is to enter Jerusalem to worship God. That is why today Christian have the same joy when we gather together to worship. This is a joy which people of the world cannot understand. They would ask questions “Why are you so busy worshipping God and not enjoying life?”

For we see the benefits of keeping the Sabbath. For God once spoken through Prophet Isaiah

“Also the sons of the foreigner
   Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him,
  And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants—
  Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
  And holds fast My covenant—
   Even them I will bring to My holy mountain,
  And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
  Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
  Will be accepted on My altar;
  For My house shall be called a house of prayer
  for all nations.” – YHWH (Is 56:6-7)

God has promised that those who keep the Sabbath will receive blessing and Joy. While many in the world thinks that they are joyful and enjoying themselves, we are joyful in our Sabbath because we are able to see that eternal joy that will come in the future.

Let us not regard gathering for services as a burden but rather make it into a joyful occasion to meet the Lord and to hear his words  

Pt 3:  The Joy Of Serving God

“After these things the Lord
  appointed seventy others also,
 
and sent them two by two
  before His face into every city
  and place where He Himself
  was about to go. 
  Then He said to them, “The harvest
  truly is great, but the laborers are
 
few; therefore pray the Lord of the
  harvest to send out laborers into His
  harvest …. ….

  Then the seventy returned with joy,
  saying, “Lord, even the demons are
  subject to us in Your name.” – Luke (Lk 10:1-2, 17)

Here records of Jesus sending out 70 of his disciples  to preach in the cities. They went out in pairs. I believe that when they were first sent they must be full of worries and concern over their work, But Verse 17 tells us that they return with joy. For they felt the presence of the Lord with them

This is a joy given to them by God. Today we experience the similar joy when we serve God. The joy of saving a person and leading him to God is more than the joy of gaining the world.  Even though there are times when we will be hurt while serving, but those who sow in tears will eventually reap with joy, the more we serve the higher the joy we receive. 

For Jesus once said this

By this My Father is glorified, that
  you bear much fruit; so you will be
  My disciples.” – Jesus (Jn 15: 8 )

For when we bear much fruit God will be glorified. Jesus told this to us for a reason

“These things I have spoken to you,
  that My joy may remain in you,
  and that your joy may be full” – Jesus (Jn 15:11)

This joy can only happen if we begin serving him first. When we serve God we will give joy to God and that joy will remain in us .

Pt 4:  The Joy Of Prayer

“One thing I have desired of the Lord,
  That will I seek:
  That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
  All the days of my life,
  To behold the beauty of the Lord,
  And to inquire in His temple.” – David (Ps 27:4)

David was a busy king. But in his busy schedule he desired to inquire in his temple.  To inquire at the temple is the ancient equivalent to our prayers.  It is a joy for David to pray and King David was known as a man of prayer.  That is why he received much blessings. Whenever he goes to war, he learns to rely on God through prayers.

David is a man who understood the joy of prayers , for our God is a loving God and is always willing to hear our plea. He is an omnipotent God , which is why we need to pray to receive grace and blessings.

David often prayed with a clean heart and we need to emulate his example. Let us learn to put aside all our problems and worries when we pray before him. For God is a living God and he knows our needs . He will fulfil our request and we will find joy in prayer.

Pt 4:  The Joy Of Receiving Gods Providence

Today We are able to enjoy his grace and blessing. For God knows what we need and he will provide what we need. Those who rely on God will suffer no lack.

For the Psalmist once said

“The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
  But those who seek the Lord shall not lack
  any good thing.” – David (Ps 34:10)

God is always willing to give us blessings and we will suffer no lack as long as we follow in his word. We may not end up as the rich and famous but we will suffer no lack for sure. Let us learn to count our blessings for if we do not we would neglect the grace God has given us

The Author of Hebrew once reminded us

how shall we escape if we neglect
  so great a salvation, which at the
  first began to be spoken by the Lord,
and was confirmed to us by those who 
heard Him,” – Author Of Hebrews (Heb 2:3)

If we fail to count our blessings, we would have fall short of the requirements of God. For God had given us help in our life. They may not be big miracles of healing , but he had helped us in our illness and help us with many problems we encounter in life . If we are able to count our blessings we will have joy continually.

Conclusion

“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.
  For me to write the same things to you is
  not tedious, but for you it is safe.” – Paul (Php 3:1)

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will
   say, rejoice!” – Paul (Php 4:4)

Paul here reminded the church in Philippi to rejoice, for we have Jesus as our saviour. He is the source of our blessing. We would not suffer lack as long as we rely in him and draw near to him  . Let us learn to give thank to God

For a life of thanksgiving is a joyful life, it is a joy that is different from the joy one receive from the world.  That is the spiritual joy that we would receive.

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