The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy

The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy

Scripture: John 15:10-11, John 16:33, Hebrews 11:24-25
Date: 01/16/2010  Lesson: 3
Happiness is caused by favorable outward circumstances in life, but true joy comes from knowing and being connected to God, regardless of the circumstances.

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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome to another "central study hour" coming to you from the Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church here in Sacramento, California. We welcome those of you like we do every week who are watching from across the country and around the world whether you're listening on the radio, watching live on your website this morning at saccentral.

org or what watching on the various television networks. We welcome you and we are so glad that you're tuning in. If this is your first time, extra big welcome and we are so glad that you are part of our Sabbath school family here at central church. Our first request that we're going to sing this morning is 329, "take the world, but give me Jesus," 329 and this is from judy in antigua and barbuda, pradeep and nelrin in australia, birdie and ralph in bahamas, marilou in Canada, myrasol in england, tiffany in Idaho, dioskos in jamaica, evaron in switzerland, one of my favorite places, and kenneth and elvia in Virginia. So we're gonna sing your favorite songs so sing extra loud at home this morning.

Pull out your hymnals and join us on 329. We'll do the first, second and fourth verse. [Music] Thank you so much for that request, and I know that there's many of you who have written in and we're doing our best to get to your request as soon as possible. But if you have not, I will tell you what to do, it's very simple. Go to our website at saccentral.

org. Click on the "contact us" link and you can send in your request, anything that's in the hymnal, you're able to choose from. So send those in and join with us on an upcoming Sabbath as we sing your favorite song. Our opening one this morning is , "it is well with my soul," , and this is from kay in australia, jamie in belize, mike and angie in California ann, steve, miriam, lloyd, trust, rose, lester and fabian in england. Suenell, bill and raquel in florida.

Rishona in guyana, patrik in hungary, bob, Paula and catherine in Idaho, janet in jamaica, melinda in Louisiana, nancy in Maine, ronnel in malaysia, russell in Nebraska, susan in New Jersey, joyann in New York, John in Oklahoma, lynae in papua, new guinea, gilbert in the Philippines, willington in Solomon islands, heidi in tennessee and toni in Texas. So we're going to sing all three verses. There are only three, so we're gonna sing them all. "It is well with my soul," 530. [Music] Thank you so much for sending in that request.

You know, every time I sing that song, I think about the story behind it. And you can't beat the stories behind many of those great hymns in the hymnal. You know, sometimes it's through the biggest adversities in people's lives that some of the most beautiful songs are being written and this song is no exception. The man who wrote this lost his wife and daughters at sea and as he was in another ship sailing over the spot where they went down, he penned the words to this song. And it truly is--it's the cry of his heart and I hope that it is the cry of each and every one of our hearts this morning that it is well with your soul and my soul and that we'll be able to look at--on Jesus' face one day very soon because it is well with our souls.

Let's bow our heads for a prayer. Father in Heaven, we thank you so much this morning for bringing us here to worship you. We're few in number, but we thank you that the angels are with us. We can't see them, but all the seats are full this morning because there is shining angels that are joining with us here at central church, and we thank you so much for your protection and your love and for bringing us here this morning on your Sabbath. We thank you so much for loving us and for giving us a future that we can live forever and if we accept that this morning, we have that assurance right now.

And we thank you so much for our speaker who'll be bringing us our lesson study that you'll be with pastor white and that our hearts will be open for what you want to tell us this morning. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our study will be brought to us by administrative pastor here at central church, pastor harold white. Thank you, debbie. Good morning.

That was a beautiful song service, don't you think? We want to welcome you who are here in Sacramento this morning with us and all of you who are joining us, wherever you are joining us. I hear debbie, each Sabbath, talk about people joining us from around the world, across the nation, around the world and that is true, and we are exceptionally happy that you do join us. But we want you to know also that these messages go right here to our local area because sitting in the front row this morning is an example of that. Ron and kathleen, probably live within an arm's throw of this church, didn't know anything about Seventh-day Adventist, happened to tune in and just a couple years later, of course, now they're Seventh-day Adventists sitting here in the front seat. So yes, these broadcasts go around the world and across the nation and, but they're right here also with us.

Thank you for joining us this morning. We have a free offer to share with you, it's number 601. It's called "happiness digest" and you can go to www.amazingfacts.org or 866-788-3966. And that is yours free if you just call in or ask for that. This morning our lesson is entitled "the fruit of the Spirit is joy.

" That's a good lesson to study, isn't it? Yeah, that's wonderful. Let's read our memory text if you'll join me. It's right there in the bulletin, your quarterly. It's taken from John 15:11. Let's share it together, "these things have I spoken to you that my joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full.

" Joy, j-o-y, I thought about that and I thought, okay, well, you could come up with Jesus owns you. Well, then people say, somebody owns you, you're gone have joy. Well, if you have Jesus, you, if he owns you, you'll have joy, right? Absolutely. It's kind of like the man here in America, at least you'll see him on tv around the newscast of the evening, you know, advertising and I'm sure he picks that time because businessmen will be watching. He advertises men's suits.

And he always ends his advertisement by saying, "you're gonna like the way you look, I guarantee it." And I say if you have Jesus, you're gonna like the way you feel, I guarantee it. Yeah, amen, yeah, joy, j-o-y. And there's some things that I think we need to point off right away. The lesson brings us to our attention, the very first paragraph. I want to share that with you.

It says, "joy and happiness are not necessarily the same thing. Happiness is a result of favorable circumstances. Joy and contrast is a result of being as in being connected to Jesus, the vine, the true vine." And I think that's a good distinction to make. There are some things in life that you can't feel happy about, right? I found out when you get to be about 64 years of age, there's some things about my health that I'm not near as happy about as I was at 40. Yes.

But I'm happy with--I'm happy that I have the health I have, but I have more than that. I have the deep joy that one day I'm gonna leap like a hart. You know what that is, don't you? That's a deer. And I saw a deer one time, it was just incredible. It was climbing up this steep hill in the wooded area, it was snowy.

Climbed up this steep hill, came to the top and there was a fence there, no bother. He just jumped straight up in the air over it. It's amazing. That's how I'm gonna leap one day. That's why I have joy in my heart, right? That's right.

Well, because of some of the calamities though, our happiness can be stripped from us. As the lesson points out, inward joy is lasting happiness, maybe sometimes temporary. Here's the question, is there ever a time you could say, "I have every right not to have joy?" Well, as a free moral agent, you have the right to say that, but you'd be basing your saying on false assumptions or a lack of faith or something because as Christians, we have every right to have joy all the time. What do we say? Jesus loves you, what? All the time, that's right. If Jesus loved you all the time, then you should have joy all the time, right? Think back to adam and eve, when they were in the Garden of Eden, did they have both happiness and joy? Well, as you read that, you think, well, yes, they must have had complete happiness, complete joy until sin came in.

And then they lost their happiness to be sure, you read about it and you say, yeah, they surely lost their happiness. And I would say they lost their joy too, why? Because they ran and hid from God. You don't hide from God if you have joy. In fact, God is the one that gives you joy, so if you run from God, you're going to lose joy, right? There are people on the run from God all the time. They cannot have the lasting joy that you and I can have.

But so, you take a look at the world around us today and you find a lot of people that do not prescribe to Christianity and they seem very happy, have you noticed that? Turn on your tv and some of the happiest people in the world seem like the ones that give God no glory. Why is that? Well, you can have happiness in this world because all you have to do is fill yourself up with stuff and things that make you happy, right? And if they stop making you happy, you just go out and get some more stuff to make you happy. And sometimes non-Christians seem more happy than Christians because they fill their life up with things that make them happy, but someday they're gonna face the reality that down deep there's no joy. And that's when we should step forward as true and genuine Christians that there's something more than what they have. So many times you will look around the world and you'll see people feeling that as long as they're happy, things are okay.

Have you ever noticed that? "Well, if I'm happy, everything's got to be all right." I've seen that many times. I've actually seen it with people who have turned their back on God, walked away from his truth and they are just happy people. It's like they're not even confronted with any kind of conviction or anything anymore. Well, they're happy for a season, right? For a season but there's something better than all that and that is the joy. So I think one of the first questions we should be able to ask ourselves in this lesson today is, "do I possess real joy? And if I don't have the genuine deep down joy that Christians should have, why is that and what can I do about it? What should I do about it?" If a friend or loved one of mine dies--happiness will elude me for a season for sure, but I can still have the joy, especially if that person was a Christian, I have the joy of one day seeing that person again in the earth-- heaven in the earth made new.

Well, let's get into our lesson today and Sunday's lesson is entitled "the command to rejoice." It is a command to rejoice. And somebody has Philippians 4:4, I think the text were handed out. Who has Philippians 4:4? Right here, if we can get the microphone up here. Philippians 4:4 is a verse that takes on a very personal interest to me and I'll share why the reason is for that in just a little bit. But Philippians 4:4 is the command to rejoice, if you'll read that for us, ron? Philippians 4:4, "rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.

" Okay, thank you. Very short, simple, but it is a command, isn't it? "Rejoice in the Lord always and again, I say, I'm commanding you basically, to rejoice." Here's my experience with this text, profound at least for me it was. I was walking out under the stars one night and I was offering prayers because there was somebody I loved very dearly that was going through a serious trial. And I was just pouring forth my prayers, probably whining to God more than praying. You ever do that? Well, our prayers are like whining instead of praying.

Well, anyway, God still loves to hear from us, I believe. And I was just pouring out my heart, and my stomach was in my throat. I was filled with anxiety and all of a sudden, the thought came to my mind, it wasn't an audible voice, but it could have been. It was so realistic. And it said, "what does the Bible say about rejoicing?" And immediately my mind said, well, I know in Philippians it says, rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.

And immediately just as quick as the first question came, the second question came after I answered it in my mind and it could have been audible too. It says, "do you think that only means when thing are going well?" Man, I stopped in my tracks. My stomach went out of my throat and I started rejoicing right there in the Lord. I started just singing that little song, "rejoice in the Lord." Well, I'll spare you but, you know The Song. That song, I started singing it.

Did it change the circumstance that I was concerned about? Didn't change it a bit. Did it changed me? It changed me a 100% in a matter of 2 or 3 minutes. It was incredible. You know when you follow through on any command of the Lord, great things are gonna happen for you, even if it's just within yourself. It was one of those most remarkable experiences that Christians do have along the way, and I'll never forget it.

I'll never forget it as long as I live and oftentimes when I am beginning to stress up about something, I just stop and say, "wow, I need to rejoice. I need to think about rejoicing again." Now what is all that based on? It's based on faith, isn't it? Faith in what God said. He says to rejoice always. Is there a time when a Christian cannot rejoice? I don't know that there's a better example of that than what debbie was just sharing about that song "it is well with my soul." Losing your wife, and I think it was like three daughters out to sea, and then he could pen those words of that song. That is a close relationship with God, wouldn't you say? That is a reason we can have joy.

Now let's take a look at this verse just a little bit closer. It says, "rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice." Now let's just take the first part. Rejoice in the Lord always, that's a sentence. What is the subject of that sentence? Now you look at it and you say-- do you think back to your grade school english, you say, "wow, there's no subject to that sentence"? Yeah, it's the understood you. Remember that from grade school? It's the understood you.

You rejoice, I rejoice. The responsibility for rejoicing is up to you. If you wait 'til God forces upon you joy, then you become a robot, right? That wouldn't be any fun, so the responsibility is upon us, isn't it? You, the understood you. Ah, those good ol' english days back in grade school did us some good, right? And what is rejoicing? Rejoicing is rejoying. The devil, the enemy loves to steal our joy away, doesn't he? He works hard at stealing our joy.

We have to redo, retype, recalculate, rejoy. We have to rejoy, that's what that's all about. Whatever the road you're traveling down and if the devil tries to steal your joy away and you sense it leaving you, you just need to rejoy, rejoy, rejoy. And there's only one way really to do that and it's also found in this verse too, isn't it? Rejoice, how? In the Lord. Pretty simple, isn't it? Rejoice in the Lord.

Well, let's continue on. There's a couple of people have some verses. Psalms 139, somebody has verses 1-9, right here. And somebody else has verses -18, who has them? Right over here after that. So we'll share the first 9 verses and then we'll pass the microphone over to read verses 10 through 18.

Would you share the first nine? "O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, o Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea." Okay and carrying on with verse 10. "Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, o God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee." Well, okay, thank you. That's a wonderful Psalms, isn't it? As you read through there, you'll find that God knows everything about you. He knows your every thought, your every deed, your every motive. And you would ask yourself, is that a comfortable feeling or an uncomfortable feeling? And it matters upon where you're at with your relationship with God, doesn't it? A bit uncomforting if you're not walking with him as you should, but very comfortable, as it was for the psalmist, to realize that God did all this and knew all this. You know we look around our world and we say, we don't like some of the things that big brother is doing.

You know what big brother is right? Government just seems like it's invading every aspect of our lives. In fact, big government knows more about you than you know about yourself. Big government can know, down to the penny, how much you have in your bank accounts. Where you, you know you have an idea. "Oh, I got about $300, I think.

" But they know every minute of every day how much money you have in your account. They know everything about you more than you can remember about yourself. Big government sees you everywhere you go almost today. With technology plastered everywhere you go are cameras and you say, "well, I don't know, I don't know whether I like that or not. I don't know whether I like the government listening on every telephone conversation that I have.

They can know about every text messaging that I put out there or every e-mail that I put out there." Big government has the capacity, capabilities to know all about that, doesn't it? You say, well, that's a good thing if you're living within the confines of the law because actually those things are happening for our benefit to protect us from things like happened yesterday, I saw on the news, this man on an airplane trying to protect us from terrorists and so forth. So if you're living within the confines of the law, it's a good thing. Now there's a difference between God and a nation. With God, you can have a personal relationship. What are you gonna do with a nation? Well, you can have a fictitious relationship with uncle sam, I guess.

That man that points with you his finger dressed in a flag. But with God, you can have a real relationship, right? And so doing, you can have peace that passes understanding and joy knowing that God knows all about you. It's no big deal, in fact it's a wonderful thing. So if you keep all this in proper check, you will have joy. Now the psalmist also says there towards the end "how precious also are your thoughts to me, o God, how great is the sum of them? If I should count them, they would be more than the number of sand.

" That's an amazing thing if you think about it. You have--your closest friend, you can sit down and start writing out the most wonderful thoughts you could come up with about your closest friend in life, and maybe you'd get to a hundred, 200, 500. Some of you say, "oh, I can get to a thousand or 2,000, ,000 about my wife. I can say 3,000 things about my wife or 5,000 things about my husband." But God says his thoughts about you are the number of the sand. And why is that so good? Because I hear people fretting all the time.

They're worried about whether-- what God thinks of them. Well, God doesn't like some of the things we do for sure. He doesn't like it when we step outside of his will. But his thoughts of you are only good. He might dislike what you just did, but he thinks only good thoughts about you.

That's wonderful. That's just extremely wonderful. And Sunday's lesson points out there are a number of other reasons to rejoice and possess joy and to top the list, of course, is that Jesus provides salvation and he's coming back to receive us again. But here's the catch, and I wrote this little catch in an article in "the connection" for November. That's our monthly newsletter around here for anybody.

Maybe you can go on the website and you can actually see "the connections" posted there. But it was the month of November so I was writing on thanksgiving. I was thinking in that article, we can list all the things that we're thankful for. And on that list are things like I'm thankful for health. I'm thankful for my wife or my husband or my family.

I'm thankful for my house. I'm thankful for clothes and for food. And all of these things we list that we're thankful for are things that we possess, right? You have a husband, you're happy you have one. You have a home, you're glad because you have one. You have food to eat, you're glad because you have it.

One thing you don't hear as often as we should, people expressing their thanksgiving for eternal life. I have eternal life. Well, we're afraid to express that sometimes because we don't want to get off in that once saved always saved thing, and we certainly don't, but we should know we have eternal life. God says it. Now if we sin, that's where the rub comes in, I think, and sometimes we don't feel like we have eternal life anymore.

But it says if we confess our sins, what does God do? He throws it out. I think sometimes when it comes to possessing eternal life, we're a little bit like the lady who went to visit her friend. Now she was only gonna be there one night, but her friend was quite interested in the fact that her friend brought with her an iron, you know that you iron clothes with. And so she said, "you know it's kind of puzzling to me. Why did you bring your iron? You're only gonna be here one night.

" She said, "well, it's the only way I know that I didn't leave it plugged in." The only way I didn't-- and you know I think we're like that with salvation. We don't know whether we should act like we're plugged in or not, but we should act like we're plugged in. We should act like we have eternal life. And if we do, we will be filled with joy. Would you say, "amen" to that? Amen.

You know I did leave the iron on once. I left it on for 3 weeks while I was gone. I've probably shared this one, when my son had his accident, we jumped on a plane. My wife got on a plane, and I drove for 24 hours to get to my son where he had his accident. Three weeks later I got back, there my iron was going.

I was ironing a shirt the moment I got that call. House was still standing. I don't know, God is good. That's all I can say. Well, we should be highly disappointed if we sin, but it isn't the occasional good deed or the occasional misdeed that establishes whether we have a saved relationship with God.

It's the fact that we are growing in grace, growing in grace and that's where we are today. And this leads us to Monday's lesson entitled, "the joy of Christ." It points out that Jesus lived in a state of joy because he knew that he was just about ready to provide victory for every human being that wanted it, and we are recipients of that joy and should bathe ourselves in that joy daily. There are three parables talked about in Monday's lesson, the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son. And when the object that is lost is found, there was great rejoicing. Lost sheep gets led astray from the fold, the coin was lost through no choice of its own and the prodigal son chose to be lost.

Which brings the greatest joy when they are found? Well, doesn't seem to say in there, in the Bible, all was joyful. Everybody was happy. There was great joy when that which was lost was found, but let's take a look at it from our perspective. Let's say we have a baptism on a Sabbath morning, two baptisms, we'll just take two. One is a spouse of a person who had his spouse or her spouse had been in the church for years and years and finally this spouse makes their stand for Jesus and joins the church.

The other person being baptized is the young man who, when he was 17 years old, left home, went out and lived a rebellious life, just escaped the death many times, but he'd come back, he's come back to the church. He came to back to Jesus. So when these two people are baptized, first of all, the spouse is baptized and the spouse of that spouse is sitting in the congregation, what do you think is going on in that person's mind? There is great rejoicing. There is tremendous joy, and what about that family when they see that young man go down in the water and come up to new life in Jesus? The tears of joy are streaming down the face of mom and dad, just tears of joy. And in a church of 12,000--1,200 people or so, there are lots of people who are really happy to see it and when that happens they say, "amen, amen.

" Yet their joy is nothing in comparison to mom and dad's joy, right? It's--they're happy. They're glad somebody's being baptized, but there's a great difference between the two people experiencing joy. So what's the importance of all that? The importance of that is the more you are coined with people and you see them take their stand, the more joy you will feel, you will feel, experience. And that's why God calls us to be fishers of men, so that we can experience the joy of seeing people saved. You want to have joy? Who doesn't want to have joy? We all want to have joy.

Be a soul winner, see people come to Jesus. That's the best joy in all the world. That's what's kept me going in the ministry for all these years. It's great to see people respond to Jesus, there's nothing like it. So that's food for thought for us this morning.

It was better than food for Jesus, remember, when he went to the well and the disciples went in to get food? They came back and wanted to give some food to Jesus and he says, "I have meat to eat that you know not of." That's found in John 4:32. And in verse 34 he adds this, "my meat is to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work." And we only have to read on to know how he feels about us being involved. In verse 35 he says, "say not ye, there are yet 4 months and then cometh harvest. Behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields," for they are what? "They are white already to harvest." Now anybody who's ever worked on a farm and has been involved in the harvest knows about the excitement of harvest time. I worked on a farm in Nebraska and the corn needed to be brought in.

I mean everything else stands still and you go out and harvest that corn. It is an exciting time. Everything is focused upon bringing that harvest in. And when it's all in, wow, there's a great feeling, I tell ya. A feeling of joy.

It's all done. It's all brought in, and that's the illustration that Christ gives us about the joy that is ours to have to become involved in soul winning. Pretty neat, huh? Let's go on to Tuesday's very quickly. Somebody has John 15:10-11, who has that? Right over here. We got the camera right there.

John 15 and we want to take a look at verse 10 and 11. "If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." Thank you very much. Who among us hasn't felt the stark difference between the joy of obedience and the agony of disobedience? There's a stark difference, isn't there? You've been there. You've known both, and which is the best? The joy of obedience, right? Oh, how wonderful it is, but that feeling of disobedience is awful.

A third century man was anticipating death. He penned these last words to a friend. He said, "it's a bad world, an incredibly bad world, but I have discovered in the midst of it, a quiet and holy people who have learned the great secret; they have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted but they care not. They are masters of their souls.

They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians, and I am one of them." That says it, doesn't it? If you are experiencing any kind of depression or just sheer unhappiness, the first place to check is our life, right? "Am I living out of harmony with God in any areas that is the reason for my unhappiness?" Now the lesson points out how a person can be tagged a legalist because they are adamant about obeying God's will. Would lucifer have been a legalist if he had never questioned God's government in heaven? Well, I don't think so if he would have kept on serving God with the joy that all the other angels would. Would adam and eve been legalistic if they had been adamant about avoiding that one tree? Well, I guess they could have become legalists by thinking they had--they could have adopted a kind of a fear, a fear of serving God so that they could stay in the Garden of Eden. But just think what would have happened to their joy if that would have been their experience.

And I say that because I have yet to find a joyous legalist, have you? No, they just don't seem to have the joy, that's right. Before sin, adam and eve knew only joy. They knew only joyful service to God and the garden. There was no reason for legalism to exist back then. And do you know what? There's no reason for legalism to exist if in us today, if we have Jesus as a Savior.

There's no reason for it. But we need to be reminded of something. Somebody has acts 5:32. Who has that verse for us this morning? Okay, right behind, you want to remind ourselves and this is a--well, it's--you'll see for yourselves. Acts 5:32.

Acts 5:32, "and we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the holy ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him." Okay, thank you. The Holy Spirit in this verse, we're told, is given to people who obey God. It's kind of simple math, actually, 1 plus 1 plus 1 equals 3. It's about as simple as you can get. No obedience, no Holy Spirit, no Holy Spirit, no joy, because we're talking about the fruits of the Spirit.

Joy is the fruit of the Spirit. So if you want joy, you need the Holy Spirit. If you want the Holy Spirit, you need to choose obedience. Pretty simple math, right? Have you ever been in a class where the professor is just talking way above your head? He's so intellectual that you--he has a hard time bringing it down on your level? Well, we must not ever remove ourselves from the simplicity of the Gospel. Yes, learn and learn and learn and study and study, but the simplicity of 1 plus 1 plus 1 equals 3 is where we need to get back to sometimes, don't you think? Amen.

Well, if you're lacking real joy, go back to the basics this morning. In John 16:33 at the top of Wednesday's lessons, it says, "these things I have spoken to you that in me you may have peace, in the world you have tribulation but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world." And who, of course, is saying this is Jesus. It is the essence of this verse that reminds us that we can have joy in tough times. The lesson goes on to say a long-held belief suggests that if a person is passing through difficulties, it is because either that person must be doing something wrong or does not have enough faith.

Well, that's a crude and cold view of God, I think. I don't think--i think both of them missed the Mark. We should look upon someone who's having problems and troubles maybe as somebody that God is really loving very much because he sees in them something to bring out even better. "Minister of healing," one statement says this, "the fact that we are called upon to endure a trial shows that the Lord Jesus sees in us something precious which he desires to develop." And I believe this lesson did a good thing in pointing out the reality of tribulations, that they will come to the believer and the nonbelievers. Points out how we love to hear the story about Daniel and how he was--escaped the lions, but he goes on to say in the lesson that there have been thousands, maybe millions who lost their lives in lion's dens.

And the three Hebrews, they escaped the fiery furnace, but how many people were burned at the stake? And so the cynic would say, what good does it--what good is it that God knows the number of hair on your head if you're gonna die a terrible death anyway? Well, what good is it? Well, it depends on how you die, isn't it? I suppose the classic example is the two thieves on a cross. One railed on Christ and went to his death in bitter torment. The other who accepted Christ as his Savior there up on the cross went to his death with the joy of knowing that one day he would be with Christ in paradise, and that's the difference, isn't it? Because Jesus was in the very process of what he was saying in our verse today. He was overcoming the world and his enemy. In just moments he would breathe his last, say, "it is finished" and victory would be provided if satan would become a defeated foe.

But often when trials and tribulations come, we are tempted to let go of our joy. Now it would be interesting to conduct this little experience--experiment. I saw this, some church actually did this someplace. The minister gave a balloon to everybody that came into church that morning and said to the people of that congregation, when you hear something in the service this morning whether it's a song, something in a message, in a song or a prayer or something in the message that at some point in the service when they just felt like expressing the joy that was in their hearts to let these helium-filled balloons go. And so through the service, you should see during a prayer, two or three balloons let go and they let go of the ceiling of that church during The Song, special music and then during the message, all the prayer--balloons here and there would be released to the ceiling of that church.

But at the end of the service, over one-third of the people still held on to their balloons, clutched tightly in their fists. No doubt, some of these people were going through some bad times or hard times, lost their hold upon Jesus, perhaps. Maybe they were held captive to some things that--terrible things that happened to them when they were a child or maybe they're going through a bitter divorce or they just lost a loved one, and they have--they feel like there's no reason that they can have joy, there's no reason they could let go of those balloons and express joy that Christians should express. But with Christ, even in the most terrible times, we can have joy and express that joy. God is a very present help in trouble, Psalms 46 says.

It doesn't say a very present help from trouble, but in the midst of your trouble, God wants to be there with you. Where there is trouble, who's there? God is there? So if you have trouble, just know that God is with you. Somebody over the phone, in the state of Washington actually, gave me this little quotation. Says, "scars remind us where we have been, but they don't have to dictate where we go." I like that, don't you? All of us have scars. Almost always though, we can look back and say, wow, it was that experience that brought me closer to Jesus than probably anything else could have.

And I also thought the lesson made a good point with the last sentence toward the bottom of Wednesday's lesson where it says, "and the Lord restored job's losses when he prayed for his friends." The happiest people I've been around in all my years of ministry are those who are always on the outlook for helping people. That seems to be the happiest people to be around, always finding somebody to help. Now I know there's exceptions. There are people who just, may be trying to earn their way to heaven or something and they don't seem to have much happiness, but the people who are genuinely concerned in helping other people seem like the happiest people in the world and job fell into that category and he was restored to even better than when all that he lost. We must go to Thursday's lesson, joy that lasts and there were several text there.

I don't think we're gonna have time to read them all, but one of the verses was in Hebrews 11. It says, "by faith, Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called The Son of pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin." Thousands of people have given their life for Christ, right? Thousands, thousands of people have been martyred, probably millions, millions have been martyred for Christ, and they went to their death rejoicing in the Lord. I remember the film about John huss, and I assume that it was true, he went to be burned at the stake singing, singing a song. I forget the name of The Song, but some of you probably know what it was. And many Christians did that, they went to their death singing.

Now I thought about that. As interesting a scenario in our world today, what is the difference? You know there's something happening in our world today. It's a phenomenon, it's an amazing phenomenon. It's something that you would think you might hear once in your entire life, maybe once in 200 or 300 years. You just couldn't imagine anybody going that berserk to do that thing.

And what is that? They are strapping bombs to themselves, going to a crowded bunch of people and blow themself up, a suicide bomber. You wouldn't think you'd hear about that but once maybe in your whole entire life, but you hear about it almost every single day now, don't ya? Why? How could that be? Why would people come to place in their life that they're ready to blow themselves and others up with a bomb? Well, as I understand it, they are indoctrinated with the concept that if they do this thing for allah, they have an immediate place in the eternal kingdom, they have eternal life by doing that thing. They are indoctrinated with that lie, and it seems they do it rather willingly and maybe even joyfully. What is the difference between that person and a person who is burned at the stake? Well, there's a big difference. It's based upon truth, isn't it? You don't go around killing people and expect to be in heaven.

I'm sorry, but that's not right, that's not truth. They have been--they have chose to believe a lie. Now they may have joy, they may have a sense of joy so it kind of points out maybe there's a good kind of joy and maybe there's a bad kind of joy, and the bad kind of joy is based upon falsehoods, whereas a Christian can go to an unseemly death being persecuted by the enemy and can go to it with joy in their hearts because they know it's based on truth, that one day, they will see Jesus, this Jesus who they are taking a stand for. They will see him again. They will reign with him forever and ever and ever.

That is joy that lasts, right? That is joy that lasts and lasts and lasts and lasts. There is real joy and evidently there is a false joy. Now I need to share with you, again, the free offer this morning is free offer number 601. It's entitled "happiness digest." Www.amazingfacts.org or 866-788-3966. Do you have joy this morning? I hope you do.

I pray that you do. I had one of those days that all of us have. It was one of those days during the process of putting this--working on this lesson on joy, I mean everything this day was stressful. Everything went wrong. You ever had those days? And then I got home and I had the--i wasn't very bright, but I went to my computer and I checked my e-mail one more time and there below in that e-mail was one more discouraging thing.

I was gonna have to start some process all over again. I thought it was done. I was just beginning to get so stressed that by that last e-mail I was just--all of a sudden, "pastor white, you're working on this lesson called joy. Remember what you told them at the beginning of the lesson, you need to rejoy." I had to regain my joy, and it works. It really works.

I started rejoicing the Lord right then and I went off to sleep, peaceful, peaceful, peaceful. Isn't it wonderful to be a Christian? It's so wonderful to be able to put your faith in Jesus, to know that you can have joy. J-o-y, Jesus owns you, does he? I hope he does. If he owns you, you will have joy, the fruit of the Spirit. Remember it's the fruit of the Spirit.

Joy does not bring the Spirit, the Spirit brings joy, right? So as we have been told many, many times and many, many places, the greatest need we have in the world, the greatest need we have in the church is the Holy Spirit. So if we earnestly pray--in fact there's a statement that says something about we should pray about it, we should talk about it, we should preach about it, we should sing about it. The need of the Holy Spirit, we should do all those things because we know that we have need of something outside of ourselves. And if you are experiencing anything less than joy, that's what that is telling you, you need more of the Holy Spirit so that you can have more of the joy. I look forward to the rest of these lessons, the fruit of the Spirit.

I think the next one is on peace and yes, peace and I believe pastor Batchelor will be back with us then. Again, I want to thank you all who have come here this morning in our Sacramento sanctuary and all of you who have joined us from wherever you're joining us. We thank you for watching us each week and sharing your comments. I have gotten to know many of you because you e-mail and I get to know many of you because of technology today and I enjoy hearing your comments, I enjoy writing back to you and so again, we thank you for joining us. Thank you very joining us for this broadcast.

If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at amazingfacts.org. There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs including "Amazing Facts presents," "central study hour," "everlasting Gospel," "Bible answers live" and "wonders in the word." You'll also find a storehouse of biblical resources geared towards answering some of your most difficult questions, and our online Bible school is just a click away. One location, so many possibilities, amazingfacts.org.

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