Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory
(1 Peter 1:8 BBE) To whom your love is given, though you have not seen him; and the faith which you have in him, though you do not see him now, gives you joy greater than words and full of glory:
Today we embark upon a journey that will take us a few weeks to traverse, yet even in the finishing of it we will continue on for all eternity searching the depths of God’s joy. It is joy that we focus our attention on now. There is enough sorrow, enough trials and more then enough temptations and tribulations to distract us from this most gracious command. It is indeed a command that we rejoice in the LORD always. And in that command, we discover the truth of the Father’s heart, in giving us commands. The commands of the LORD are for our own manifestation of this one great joy that he places upon each of us to produce. You may remember how joy is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit:
(Galatians 5:22 &23 NIV) 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.
Like fruit being naturally produced from a fruit tree, joy is produced naturally in you by the Holy Spirit. Too often we spend so much time trying to find happiness that we miss out on true joy. By not really knowing what joy is or from whence it comes, many people struggle and strive, grasping at straws in a vain hope of discovering the very thing that has been inside them all along. But bringing out that which is in side you is not always as easy as it sounds either. Within each of us is planted the seeds of greatness. Unlimited potential lies dormant in every souls heart. Many a good man have passed through this live, and into the valley of death never even knowing the depths of what they let slip away. On our journey of joy we will discover what real joy is and where it comes from. We will look at the difference between joy and happiness. We will consider how to get a firm grasp upon real lasting joy. We will look at how our joy can slip way and we will find ways of restoring our joy and never letting it be taken from us again. So let’s begin with a firm understanding of what we are talking about.
What is Joy?
The first thing you discover in any look into the definition of joy is that there is a big difference between joy and happiness. Happiness depends on happenings. Happiness is hap hazard. Happiness comes upon us in happenstance. The word happiness actually comes from the middle English hap, which means luck. Sot hen happiness is by the luck of the draw. You never really know what the day will bring. Some good event might come your way and with it happiness will be yours to enjoy, until some other circumstance moves and happiness is gone like the wind.
We can not say the same with joy. Joy remains through the good times and the Bad. As a matter of fact it is the bad that really develpes the deepest joy. If you think about the absolute worse thing that could happen in the universe, then realize that it has already come to pass and everything is still all right, then you can begin to understand how you can have joy in the midst of sorrow. For me the absolute worse that could happen would be for God to die. I mean if God dies then so does everything He created die with Him, right? But it was exactly the death of God that brought us eternal life. The book of Hebrews puts it this way:
(Hebrews 12:2 KJVA) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Often it is what we know is ahead of us that makes it that much easier to deal with the rough road there. As Christians we know that even death itself has been defeated and all of our sins have been made whiter than snow. Yet we also know that in this world there will be trials and great tribulation. We know that we will be persecuted for our faith, we know that we have a real enemy who will try to rob us of our joy at every turn. But God….. I love those two words…. BUT GOD… God is exceedingly abundantly able to do far more then we could ask or even think to ask, according to that power that is working in us. And that power is rooted in the bed rock of joy. We have song the song of how sorrow may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning. We know that Jesus told us how he must first suffer and die, but hen He will be with us for all eternity and our joy would be complete.
So the next time things start looking bad, you can know deep down within yourself that joy will out shine the sorrow. Did you ever have a child or maybe you remember being a child and in the middle of the night being woken by a great clap of thunder and the sound of a storm. As parent the first thing you do is to comfort your child and tell them “It’s all right.” And those are the exact words you desperately hoped to hear as a child being awoken in the night. “It’s all right.” Even though you can still hear the wind howling and the rain beating against your window, you are comforted by those words of assurance.
The same is true today, and in the future, when a loved one dies or the bottom seems to fall out from underneath your life. We can all be comported by the words of our Heavenly Father. “It’s all right.!” He will never leave you nor forsake you. You are loved with an everlasting never ending love, and yes, underneath are His ever lasting arms, lifting you up above the troubled waters. He covers you with His wings as you pass through he flames of adversity.
We talked about how happiness comes and goes, but how can anyone remain joyfull at all times? We live in a dark and dieing world. People are killing one another. Children are starving and being abused in unthinkable ways. The future of this world does not always look that bright. We hear about global worming and the threat of nuclear war. The price of gas is sky rocketing bringing up the cost of everything else with it as the value of the dollar falls. We are making less and having to pay more. How can we claim to be joyful in such unsound times?
That is where we have to realize that this joy thing is not just a nice idea, it is the foundation upon what we build our own and our children’s, and our children’s, children’s futures. The reality of joys existence gives us hope in a better tomorrow. It is that deep down rooted joy that tells us in the middle of the darkest night that “It’s all right.” It is the joy that not only greats us in the morning but it is joy that sees us though the sorrow.
That is why I want to take us to this first pinnacle of knowledge on this joyful journey. Joy is a command! The book that we are going spend most of our time camped out in is of course the book of Philippians. It has been called the book of joy. Just as in introduction to the book and to bring today’s message to it’s point, let’s look at the command that we are given to rejoice.
(Philippians 4:4 KJVA) Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
First you have to know the context that Paul is writing this. There are two women that have been squabbling in the church. Now, that never happens in churches today, does it? Paul loved this Philippian church. Some say he loved these people more than any of the other churches he planted. And it really broke his heart to hear of the troubles that was taking place. But he had the best answer for them, and this answer is just as relevant for us today as it was 200 years ago when Paul wrote this letter to the Philippian church. His command to the church at Philippi and to us today is to rejoice in the LORD. Then just to make the point clear, he says it again, as if to say, No I really mean it, rejoice in the LORD.
First of all, you can not be miserable and squabbling while you are rejoicing the LORD. Even the word rejoicing itself tells us to joy and then joy again. That is what the re means right? It means do something again. So rejoice means to joy and then joy again. I am reminded of when King David had to tell his own soul to bless the LORD!
Bless the LORD Oh my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name! Bless the LORD oh my soul and forget not all his benefits.!!!!! We sang that song just last week .. God is so good!!!! God is so good. God is so good he is so good to me!!!! AMEN? AMEN! Bless the LORD. Praise His name! Rejoice in the LORD. And again I say Rejoice!!!
You have the free will to be defeated or to be victorious. The truth is that you are victorious. But you can choose to believe the lie of the devil and think that you are defeated. He is the one that has already been defeated. The battle was the LORD’s and the victory is ours. Now, listen to the statement that Paul is telling us right here. First he tells us to rejoice. Then he makes sure that we are rejoicing in the right thing. We can get all excited about a football game or someone being smarter than a fifth grader, or a good report card, or a good find in a thrift store, or on and on. But we need to know from whence our real lasting joy comes from. Rejoice in the LORD. The word I do not want us to miss here is the smallest one in the command. “IN” We are to rejoice “IN” the LORD. Not about the LORD, or over the LORD. But IN the LORD. That is exactly what Jesus wanted for us.
(John 15:11 KJVA) These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
It is all about us bring one with the LORD. Him in you, you in Him, Him in the Father, the Father in You. It is only when you are abiding in the vine that the life giving flow of joy can spring up within you. You need to get grafted into the vine. You need to get plugged into the power. It is not enough to know who Jesus is. It is not enough to get into the Bible, you need to get the Bible into you. You need to be in Jesus. Really letting Him take ful control of your life. If you know that you are going to be facing some tough times ahead then you need to know for sure that “it is going to be all right.”
What I am going to ask you to do right now is to search your heart. What is it that you have been worrying about? What is that that has been holding you back from really doing what you know that you are capable of. What is it that you are afraid of. God desires that your joy be full. And it really cant me if you are full of yourself. Search your heart right now and ask yourself this question.
Do I really have true joy in my heart? If you are not sure about that, or even if you are saying to yourself; “I know I have joy but I sure could use some more.” Then today is the day that you get a full tank. Today we are going to open our hearts and pour them out upon the alter and ask The king of kings to enter in and let His Joy be in us so that our joy will be full. If you are ready to admit that you need Him; if you are ready to really accept Him; then right now is the moment that everything turns around. God loves you and He gave His life so that all, all of your sins could be forgiven. He rose from the grave so that you could have eternal life and He went to the Father so that the Holy Spirit could be with you right now, here in the land of the living. As we pray this prayer together, I want you to begin to actually visualize you pouring out all of the sin and ugly habits and things that have just been making you look bad, visualize them pouring out of your heart. Let your heart be emptied out and then as you sincerely ask for Jesus to fill you up, see with your minds eye the clear cleansing flow from the Father come down and fill your empty heart. Visualize your heart being not just filled up but being completely flooded with the fresh clean love of God. Then watch as your heart of heart begins to pump that rich Holy Spirit filled joy throughout your entire body. You are a living well of joy. Your life, in Christ fills up all the dry areas of those around you and bring hope to a parched land. If you are ready to be that well of joy, then pray with me right now and believe:
Dear Jesus, I believe. I believe. Fill me with your joy. I empty myself of all of my selfish desires and sinful longings. Please forgive me. Wash me clean. I pour myself out and ask you to fill me up. Change my life. Take this life and use it for your glory. Help me to know, for the first time, for real, that there is true joy, and real lasting love. Gove me Hope and help me to be a source of hope for others. Use me to spread your joy to a world desparate for it. I surrender my all for the joy that is in you. I am yours, I am yours I AM YOURS!!!
Bless the LORD oh my soul and all that is with in me bless His holy Name!!!!!!