Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


The Joy of the Lord, Part 2
Pastor Steve Schell
God’s joy is much more than the upbeat emotions that come when I hear good news. His is a warm, rich, deep, living joy. And in those moments when I am filled with His joy I find myself actually immersed in His presence. I’m happy, but what I’m feeling is more than happy. I’m finally whole and I don’t want that feeling to ever end. It’s this amazing joy we’re talking about over these weeks leading up to Christmas. The problem with the world’s joy is that it passes quickly and is dependent upon the circumstances of life. And the truth is God’s joy can pass quickly as well, but it differs from the world’s joy in that it is always available even when circumstances aren’t going well. So we can get it back if we choose, and frankly it is so much better the two are barely the same emotion. Last week we found that we can enter into this joy through worship. This week we’ll discover we can also find it as we partner with God in serving others.

A. Review principles from last week’s sermon
1. I was made to partner with God (Adam & Eve).
2. Joy is the feeling of being normal.
3. The joy of the Lord is our strength.
4. God doesn’t give joy. He is joy. If I want joy I need to draw closer to Him.

B. Joy is what happens when I lose myself in letting God’s love flow through me in service to others
1. His joy is not the emotional reward of admiring myself for being such a good person.
2. It’s not the joy of basking in the thanks of people I’ve helped.
3. It’s not even the joy of knowing I have somehow bettered the life of another person.

C. His joy comes not just by doing good things, but by “partnering” with Him in what He’s doing
1. If you get on His bus it’s going to a particular destination.
2. I must align my life with what He’s doing, He doesn’t assist me in achieving my goals.
3. This is a “miracle path.”
4. He invites me to join Him in His saving work (Mt 20:25-28).
5. This brings us back to John the Baptist’s words, “He must increase, and I must decrease” (worship, service…).

D. Serving brings joy in at least three ways
1. My attention is directed to others:
• “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Ro 8:6)
• The mind set on myself is depressing
• Some say, “When I’m healed then I’ll serve You,” but in serving others
you yourself are healed. It forces your mind off yourself and onto God.

2. The pressures of ministry drive me to a greater dependence on God, and then over and over and over I find myself lifted by unseen arms and carried.
• Jesus (Jn 4:1-8, 27-36): “I have food to eat that you do not know about”
• Paul (2 Cor 12:9, 10): “When I am weak, then I am strong”
• Also: 1 Corinthians 3:9; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 3:5; 6:1; Philippians 2:13;
Ephesians 3:7; Colossians 1:29
a) There is a miracle power constantly available to those who join God in serving others:
• “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt 28:18-20)
• “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you” (Jn 14:18)
b) You enter this process when you commit yourself to consistent disciplined service to others.
You’ll soon discover how weak you are:
• Fear beforehand, shame afterward
• You’ll discover how little you really know
- What do you say after you’ve told them everything you know?
- How do you pray when your prayers appear unanswered?
• There’s demonic opposition: you discover the enemy is real, not theology.
• You discover how desperately you need others to pray for you.
• You discover where the weaknesses are in your family relationships.
• You can become frustrated with yourself (“I'm not holy enough”)
• You’ll encounter uncooperating people (“why can’t we just work together as a team?”)
• You’ll be overwhelmed with the unending need (“It feels like I’m trying to bail out the ocean”)
• You may experience envy toward those who have pursued their own pleasure (“That could have been my life”)
• You’ll discover you don’t know how to manage your schedule
• You may tend to neglect family, health, rest, fun…
• Feelings of doubt come saying, “You’re not really making a difference” (not while ministering but later when you’re tired).
You’ll soon discover what you’re called to do isn’t hard, it’s impossible.
c) But to the person who doesn’t quit but lets the pain drive him/her deeper into God, they discover “… the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Eph 1:19) and an amazing dimension of joy.
• It’s the amazing joy of sensing God’s Spirit working through me/us!
- Eric Liddle: “When I run, I feel His pleasure.
- “I was made for this.”
• It’s the joy of seeing God do more than I’m/we’re capable of doing… of God “showing up” and transforming what I’m/we’re doing into a divine event.
• It’s feeling the selfless love of God pour through you ‘til you weep.

This brings us to the third way serving brings joy:
3. Faithfulness in serving allows me to “enter into the joy of your master” (Mt 25:21, 23)
• It’s sharing His joy when people come home to Him… when He heals the sick… binds up the brokenhearted… and sets prisoners free.
• Isaiah 61:1-3 — Jesus applied these words to Himself when He introduced His public ministry in Nazareth (Lk 4:14-21).
• Now He calls us to follow in His footsteps.

E. Questions
1) How has God asked you to serve others?
2) Describe a time when “God showed up” while you were serving. What happened?

 


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