Our Joy is in Jesus
Dear heavenly Father, You are the creator of all things, the author of life. We thank You for Your faithful presence in our lives, and we thank You for the Word of God. Today, we ask for Your presence here in the middle of our group. Open the eyes of our hearts and make Your will clear to us. We ask that You make us ever mindful of our mission to share the gospel with all creation. Lord, would You please give us a holy boldness to share the knowledge of Your Word with those around us?
We ask this in Jesus' name, Amen.
In this lesson, we are looking at joy found through the life and death of Jesus. We are reading a letter Paul is sending on to the church (people) of Philippi, and it’s not just an everyday letter where you would tell someone about the things going on your life. But it is a love letter, meant to build up the readers by giving them encouragement and affirmation. It was hard to be a Christian during the historic church, and opposition came in many forms. The words he sent them would be read and reread to bolster their faith and remind them of the joy that can be found in the personal relationship they shared with Jesus. We can also share this joy with others, we can help in difficult times. We can pray for them. We can lend a listening ear. We can tell someone about our great Savior, and how He wants to give each one of us joy that goes beyond the mundane needs of our lives. To gain a spirit filed life that brings joy not just to us but to everyone we meet. Let’s look at the 5 points of interest that Deb Burma wants us to consider after our scripture reading.
Read Philippians 2:1-13
1. Joy in becoming like Christ: Christ lives inside each one of us if we are a part of the body of believers, but like me, I am sure you have days where it seems we are nothing like Him. It is hard to show love to the grumpy and mean people who cross our path. It’s difficult to forgive offenses and hurts that we receive. We wonder how God can be so loving and forgiving to send His Son to die for sinners, even for sinners like us. Becoming more like Jesus is a lifelong journey, and not one that will come easy. It takes daily commitments. Commitments to reading God’s word, spending time in prayer, and practicing forgiveness. Even the Apostle Paul said that he did the things that he didn’t want to do and the things that he wanted to do, he didn’t do them. God knows what is in your heart and He sees you when you are trying to make improvements. Let yourself feel the joy that comes to you from the heavenly Father when we work on our character.
Read: Ephesians 5:1-2, Philippians 3:13, Ephesians 4:22-24
2. Joy in Humility: A few years ago, a saying became very popular, it was What Would Jesus Do? They put it on wrist bands, bumper stickers, and everyone would use that phrase to make people stop to consider their actions. They were trying to make us think that Jesus was calm and loving, and that He was slow to get angry, but the truth is, Jesus was all of those things, but He also had a fierce side. One where He shouted the truth, and whipped people out of the temple as He tossed money and tables to the ground! A lot of people get humility wrong. Being humble doesn’t mean that you are a wimp or that you put yourself down and let people walk all over you. Jesus was humble, but He was no wimp! He was born a King and is our King, but He came to earth to serve. We are called to be His hands and feet in the world today. We are servants for the Gospel. We are a people who need to speak up for godly values and do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Not in a self-proclaiming way, but in the humility of someone who didn’t always do what is correct but has seen the light of correction. Be humble and surrender yourself under the mighty hand of God. Let yourself be used by putting God and His will first.
Read: Micah 6:8, Matthew 23:10-12
3. Joy in having the Attitude of Christ: In the world we live right now, people only worry about themselves and “what is in it for me?” We have become so self-absorbed that we have forgotten to have compassion for other people. Compassion is not something that you practice only during Christmas time. We must be compassionate 365 days per year. It should be part of who we are. Sometimes when we have not wanted to be bothered by someone looking for help, or when we have avoided making eye contact with a person holding a sign on a street corner, when we are too busy or tired, or so to reach out to someone in need. It’s important for us to think of our attitude and actions at such times because they are a stark contrast to the attitude and actions of our Lord. People came to Jesus for healing and comfort. But we need Jesus for more than just our physical wellbeing. We all need Jesus for our sickness of sin. Jesus was full of compassion for the people that He came to save. Being compassionate makes you more like Christ.
Read: Colossians 3:12, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Psalm 103:1-5
4. Joy in the Name of Jesus! He is Our Joy: Jesus knew who He was and the authority he had. He rebuked demons; He spoke and calmed the storms; He ordered sickness and diseases to leave. He exercised His authority as Son of God. You have authority too! The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is in you. You are a child of God, just like Jesus, and you have authority too. Jesus said, “speak to your mountains” He didn’t say cry and beg me to remove your mountains. He was saying, “use your authority and speak to your situation.” We have power in His name, and we can have great joy when we exercise this power to help others and ourselves. We can call out in Jesus’ name, not like we are conjuring a magic spell, but because we know that everything falls under His authority! When we have trials, we can go straight to the top and ask Jesus to work things out for our good. They may not turn out the way we may hope, but we can be sure that they will go exactly the way Jesus would have them go. So have joy in the name of Jesus!
Read: Colossians 3:17, Acts 4:12, Romans 10:13, 1 Corinthians 6:11
5. Joy in Obedience/Joy in Exercising Our Faith: This week’s sermon Joe shared with us how Jesus was both actively and passively obedient to God. He was active in His life, preaching and teaching, doing God’s will for His time here with us. And when it was time to fulfill the ultimate sacrifice of His life for us on the cross, He was passively obedient. He could have put a stop to the whole thing. He could have called in the fighting angels and turned the tables on everyone. But He paid the price that we just couldn’t pay for ourselves, by doing nothing. What are we missing when we forget to be active in our obedience, or what are we hindering when we forget to be still and listen for His voice? It is so important for us to practice both. Obedience can be hard, it can be scary, it requires lots of faith. God doesn’t want your sacrifice, He wants your obedience, so begin today to exercise your faith muscles, Deuteronomy 11:1, 2 John 1:6, Romans 2:6-8, 1 Peter 1:14, Romans 5:19