The Christian’s Unfailing Joy
Jesse M. Hendley
Today, friends, we are taking up “The Christian’s Unfailing Joy.” The joy filled life! Living life with joy! We see the exuberance of the early Christians in this Book of Acts and how they met all the trials and afflictions of this present world with an overflowing joy, and it thrills our hearts. No wonder everywhere they went people were won to them. It was because of their abounding joy!
What a contrast today to see so many defeated people, defeated Christians, defeated servants of the Lord. If the early Christians were not defeated, why should we be? One of the things about the real Christian Life is that it is a life of never-failing joy. We ought to be living THAT LIFE. Today we are going to learn how we can, from this great man, the Apostle Paul. Remember, it was he who wrote the Philippian letter, the letter of great joy.
Here in Acts 20:24 is one of the most amazing statements in the Bible. You would do well to memorize this great verse and extract joy from it continually. Feast on it for a day, a week, and a month. Come back to it again and again. To me it is one of the great verses in the Bible. From it I have extracted sweet cordials and refreshings and encouragement and strength! He said, “None of these things move me. Neither count I my life dear unto myself so that I might finish my course with joy and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify of the Gospel of the grace of God.”
Persecution of Men
Paul is at Miletus. He has gathered together the elders, the preachers, alone. He is talking to them about the life he lived among them when he was preaching in Ephesus. He says that “the Holy Spirit (verse 23) bears witness that in every city ahead of me bonds and afflictions abide me,” remain for me.
Here is a man who had been serving Christ, had been afflicted and suffering for the Name of Jesus for many years, and surely there is a time when he will retire from it. Surely there is a time when he will take it easy. Surely there is a time when he will not be afflicted any more. No, not in this world, not for a man like Paul. Not for a faithful witness for the Lord. Paul says, “The Holy Spirit tells me that ahead of me are bonds and afflictions,” and Paul was finally beheaded for the Name of Jesus. So when people say, “When I become a Christian I will have an easy life,” they don’t know what it is all about.
Presence of God
But remember, over against this is the glorious Presence of the Son of God, with Paul, and souls that he won, and the great anticipation of heaven and the reward to be received, so that Paul says in one of his letters, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present world are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed unto us.” Sufferings are nothing, compared to the glory ahead. That is why he endured these things. He knew that. So many people look just at the sufferings and hardness of thi ...
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