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Pastor: Bro. Bobby Clark
Faith Baptist Church
92 Walker St. POB 462
Crossville, TN. 38557
Ph. 931 707-0799
Visitors are always welcome and appreciated!
The Joy Of The Lord
After the children of Israel built the walls over in Nehemiah they had to register all the people to make certain of their ancestry. After they did that they all gathered together in front of the water gate to hear the reading of the Law from God’s Word. Everyone who could understand gathered and stood as Ezra the priest and scribe read from morning until mid day which was between 3 and 6 hours. As Ezra opened the Book all the people stood as Ezra blessed the name of the Lord and the people answered, amen and raised their hands and bowed their faces to the ground and worshipped the Lord. The men mentioned in chapter 8 and verse 7 caused the people to understand the Law of God as it was read distinctly. Then Nehemiah, the governor, Ezra and the Levites which taught the people said this day is holy unto the Lord. Mourn not nor weep, for all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Ezra instructed them to go and eat the fat and drink the sweet drink and send portions to those who had no portion, for this day is holy unto the Lord, neither be sorry. Why were they sorry? Why did they mourn? They had heard the Law of God and they realized they had broken them and this brought sorrow and conviction to them. I would to God we had some people in this day who were broken and sorry for their sin. We have too many in this day who are proud of their sin and wickedness. Ezra said stop it; for today is holy unto the Lord. Just before this they had sacrificed unto the Lord for their sins as they had been put away for now and they should have been joyful not mournful. Because of this, Ezra goes on to say, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and I want to look at the thought this week on the joy of the Lord.
The first thing I want to see is the course of this joy. Paul wrote to the Romans that it was God who commended His love to us by sending His Son to die for us even while we were still sinners. But better still we are justified by His blood and saved from wrath through Him. He goes on to say; for as we were enemies of God we were reconciled back to God by the death, the finished work of Christ. Even more, being reconciled, we are saved by His life and not only are we saved but we joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ by Whom we have now received the atonement. But this joy we are talking about is only for the saved, it isn’t for the lost. In Acts 8 it talks about Philip going to Samaria and preaching Christ to the people and they accepted this message and they were saved and there was joy which filled the whole city. Because of this joy we can rejoice in the Lord. It’s not in us or of us but it is in Him.
What is the cause of this joy? The cause is the Lord for He is the one who gives this joy. This joy doesn’t come from things, circumstances or others. Happiness may come from these things, but when they fade or pass away the happiness is also gone. When your circumstances change for the worse your happiness fades. When people leave or turn on you your happiness also leaves. Your earthly situation may not be the best from a human standpoint but you can still have joy in the Lord and this joy lasts throughout eternity. The Philippians were challenged by Paul to “rejoice in the Lord always”. This he says to the same people he spoke of back in Second Corinthians as he said “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality”. They were poor and poverty stricken but that didn’t prevent them from sending support to Paul for his use as a missionary. And because the Lord never changes their rejoicing should never change and our joy should never fail.
Next we will look at the character of this joy. The writer says “the joy of, or from, the Lord”. This joy we have and which is available to all Christians is real. It’s not some made up something; it’s not some pie in the sky for the sweet by and by. But it is a real joy for the nasty now and now. This joy is a fulfilling joy as the psalmist writes in Psalms 16:11 “Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand are pleasures evermore”. May I say real worship brings real joy? After the Lord went back to Heaven the disciples were told to go back to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Ghost. We see in Luke 24:52 “And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy”. There is too much hype in the way many people worship Him in these days. There is too much emphasis on the worshipper instead of on the One being worshipped. Worship is defined as paying Devine honor to the Lord through adoration, confession, prayer and thanksgiving. When joy comes it enhances our lives and relationship with the Lord Jesus but the world’s joy hinders it. Real joy purifies us while the world’s joy pollutes us. But this joy can be lost as David discovered. In Psalms 51:12 he cried out and said “Lord restore unto me the joys of thy salvation”. Why did he need joy restoration? Sin had entered and stolen his joy. When sin enters a life it doesn’t steal our salvation; that is done forever, but it does steal our joy.
The last thing we will see is the consequences of this joy. Ezra said “the joy of the Lord is your strength”. It rejuvenates, revives, restores and energizes our being. It gives strength where weakness, doubt and despair desire to take over. This joy gives power to live our Christian lives as we ought. Without joy we have no strength and no power with God or no power of God. But what gives this joy? Where do we get this joy? Go back to our reading in Nehemiah; these Jews were listening to the Word of God, or the Law being read. Not only did it bring sorrow and conviction of sins as we saw earlier but it also brings healing and joy which in turn brings strength. It isn’t enough to read the Word or even receive the Word of God; but to have joy in the Lord and the strength from this joy we must rejoice in the Word as Psalms 119:162 tells us. “I rejoice at thy Word, as one that findeth great spoil”.
Do you need joy in the Lord today? Quit looking for it in the places of the world you won’t find it there but you will find it in the Word of God and in it you will have strength and power to live your Christian life.