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Advancing the Gospel (4 of 16)
Series: Joy for the Journey
Dr. Ernest L. Easley
March 18, 2007
We are picking up where we left off last Sunday night in our study of JOY! And of course I'm talking about the New Testament book of Philippians!
Now if you are a follower of Jesus Christ .. if you have repented of your sin and by faith received Him as your savior ... God intends for your life to be marked with Joy! When others describe you .. they ought to be able to say, "Yes .. they are a joyful person" ... and here's why: Christ in you!
You see .. joy is an inside job! Joy is produced by the Holy Spirit living within you. In fact .. joy is listed in Galatians 5 as a "fruit of the Spirit." We read in Ezra 6.22, " ... for the LORD made them joyful."
Not the circumstances of your life .. but Christ in your life! Don't confuse "happiness" with "Joy." Happiness comes from your happen-stance .. your circumstances. When things go good .. you're happy. When things go bad .. you're not happy. One minute you can have happiness and the next minute you can lose it. For happiness is linked to your circumstances.
But not joy! Joy is linked to Christ in you and His Spirit dwelling within you. Can you have joy without having happiness? You can if you're a believer! You can if you're a child of God! You can if you've been saved! It is possible to have joy without having happiness.
I have to tell you that there has been very little happiness in my life the last two weeks. Seeing my Father dying was gut wrenching. A man who was 6 feet 2 inches tall ... 230 lbs being reduced to 135lbs and bed ridden. There was no happiness in those circumstances.
Leaving his house last Saturday knowing that I would never see him alive on earth again ... there was no happiness there. And then a few days latter standing beside his grave .. there was no happiness there.
But I want to tell you that through tears and grief .. that there was deep within me a joy because of the presence of Jesus! Circumstances didn't put that joy in my heart ... Christ did!
Now there was peace knowing that he is in Heaven. There was peace knowing that he was now with Jesus and out of pain. And added to that peace was joy that came from the presence of Jesus and His Holy Spirit within my heart.
Only Jesus gives joy! And that is what the book of Philippians is all about: JOY! And remember where Paul was when he wrote this. Not in the Penthouse of the Hilton! He was in the Jailhouse chained to a guard 24 hours a day ... not knowing what his future was .. and there he was in horrible circumstances writing about JOY!
I don't know about you .. but THAT gives me hope! It certainly gave hope to the believers in Philippi. And not only hope .. but as we saw last Sunday night .. it gave them confidence and boldness to speak the word because rather than complaining about his circumstances .. he consecrated ...
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