Monday, July 27, 2009

The Joy of the Lord

Neh. 8:1-3 & Neh. 8:5-12 Verse 10 will be the focus.

Definition of joy: a sense of well-being.

I. Webster's definition of joy: the emotion exited by the aquisition of or expectation of good. A feeling we get when we've experienced something good or expect good.

Synonyms: delight, pleasure, happiness, gladness.
May be: A. excitement, thrill
B. gaiety, gladness, cheer (fullness)
C. peace (fullness), tranquility, quiet contentment

II. The word joy covers a wide spectrum of emotion.

A. Mountain-top joy: exhilaration, exultation, jubilation, ecstasy, an almost uncontainable feeling of excitement
B. Valley joy: ie: joy expressed in the midst of hard times, trouble, sorrow, etc.
- tranquility, peace, serenity, quietness of soul, a sense of well being in spite of circumstances.
C. Everyday joy: the pleasant sensation/feeling you get from a sunny morning, a good cup of coffee, a child's smile, a friendly greeting, watching geese go ever, etc.

III. Joy comes in such a variety of expressions! (responses)

Verbal: yell, shout, scream, squeal, or ooooo, aaahhh, ooohhhh, ummmmmm
Visual: jump, leap, handslap, dance or slump, recline, melt
Could be quiet smile or loud laughter; noisy/still explode/relax exhilaration/satisfaction shouting/weeping

BUT: JOY!!! is good!!!!

The joy of the Lord = a sense of well-being that comes from knowing God.

Whether: A. knowledge of Him
B. faith/confidence in Him because of who He is.
C. experience/encounter with Him. Has the element of permanence, unchanging, more depth, should have more impact.

#1. Christians ought to have it. Because:
A. it's a result of knowing, experiencing, trusting God
B. it's close kin to hope (in which we should abound)
C. it's a fruit of the Spirit Gal. 5:22
D. hundreds of scriptures admonish us to rejoice, etc. Ps. 100:1-2 98:4-6 Phil. 4:4

#2. Our joy should have (more) depth (than the world's joy)
This is more than happy. James 1:2-4 Rom. 5:3 Christians should have much more than temporal joy.

#3. All Christians have experienced it.

#4. Many Christians have lost it (in part). This is easily done.... because:
A. we're human
B. we live in a fallen world
C. life is full of joy-sucking experiences and people
D. even Christian life is often routine, humdrum

#5. To lose the joy is to lose our strength. Neh. 8:10
ie. strength to continue, endure, persist, resist, serve, continue on .. in the Christian walk.

SO....... can it be recovered?? restored??

RECOVERING THE JOY (some suggestions)

First: #1. Identify joy (it's more than "happy")

Then: #2. determine what you've lost (do an honest self-assessment)

#3. follow David's example Ps. 51
Pray for restoration, repent, return Rev. 2:4-5
If you've lost the joy, undoubtedly you have something to repent of.

#4. act according to what you know (not what you feel)
Remember: joy is NOT your God!!! Joy is A goal, not THE goal. The goal is the Lord Himself!

#5. pursue Christ.
A. the joy of the Lord NOT found in "joy", but in "the Lord".
And: B. the LORD is found in Christ. "I am the way, the truth, and the life....."

#6. Rejoice. Phil. 4:4 "Just do it". 1 Thess. 5:16
We say, "if I find joy, then I can rejoice"
He says, "if you rejoice, then you'll find joy"

#7. Keep walking. Psalm 30:4-5 (summary verse)
Point: those who stay true to the Lord can anticipate discovering (or receiving) the joy of the Lord.

John 16:20-22

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