Gods 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. Im happy, but what Im feeling is more than happy. Im finally whole and I dont want that feeling to ever end. Its this amazing joy were talking about over these weeks leading up to Christmas. The problem with the worlds joy is that it passes quickly and is dependent upon the circumstances of life. And the truth is Gods joy can pass quickly as well, but it differs from the worlds joy in that it is always available even when circumstances arent 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 well discover we can also find it as we partner with God in serving others.
A. Review principles from last weeks 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 doesnt 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 Gods 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. Its not the joy of basking in the thanks of people Ive helped.
3. Its 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 Hes doing
1. If you get on His bus its going to a particular destination.
2. I must align my life with what Hes doing, He doesnt 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 Baptists 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 Im healed then Ill 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.
Youll soon discover how weak you are:
Fear beforehand, shame afterward
Youll discover how little you really know
- What do you say after youve told them everything you know?
- How do you pray when your prayers appear unanswered?
Theres 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)
Youll encounter uncooperating people (why cant we just work together as a team?)
Youll be overwhelmed with the unending need (It feels like Im trying to bail out the ocean)
You may experience envy toward those who have pursued their own pleasure (That could have been my life)
Youll discover you dont know how to manage your schedule
You may tend to neglect family, health, rest, fun
Feelings of doubt come saying, Youre not really making a difference (not while ministering but later when youre tired).
Youll soon discover what youre called to do isnt hard, its impossible.
c) But to the person who doesnt 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.
Its the amazing joy of sensing Gods Spirit working through me/us!
- Eric Liddle: When I run, I feel His pleasure.
- I was made for this.
Its the joy of seeing God do more than Im/were capable of doing
of God showing up and transforming what Im/were doing into a divine event.
Its 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)
Its 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.
1) How has God asked you to serve others?
2) Describe a time when God showed up while you were serving. What happened?