Sunday, October 28, 2012

What Is Joy?

In a blog called The Joyful Follower somewhere along the line it is good to explain what biblical joy is. One of the best definitions I have heard comes from Sam Storms in his February 1, 2010 sermon titled “For Your Joy,” preached at the Desiring God Pastor’s Conference.  Storms affirmed, "Joy is a deep durable delight in the splendor of God that ruins you for anything else."

As Sam continued in this powerful message he clarified this is not a passive joy or one that leads to a monastic life. Instead, he explained:
It is a joy that stokes the white-hot passion for the nations of the earth and for the lost...that energizes the will of a man or a woman to persevere in a [bad] marriage and not throw in the towel. This is a deep delight and joy in the all-satisfying beauty of Christ that empowers the human heart to overcome addictive behavior, to sustain the soul in its fight against temptation. This is a deep delight in the all-satisfying beauty of Christ that enables a weak and broken soul to persevere when a job is lost or a child rebels or a dream is shattered. It is a deep delight and joy in the all-satisfying beauty of Christ that encourages the fearful and timid heart to engage a lost world and a corrupt world with the good news of the gospel. It is a deep delight and joy in the all-satisfying beauty of Christ that will sustain a church through the loss of numbers and financial strain and to bind the hearts of its people together in unity and love and affection. It is a deep delight and joy in the all-satisfying beauty of Christ that alone will strengthen the soul of the pastor [against difficult circumstances and disappointments].

O, Lord, we praise you for giving us this kind of joy in Christ, we thank you this joy will be our eternal reward in your presence (Psalm 16:11), and we pray that we might be “fellow workers” for the joy of others (2 Corinthians 1:24)!  We know this is at the heart of being a joyful follower of you!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Glory Of The Gospel

In Sunday’s sermon we talked about the ongoing impact the gospel has upon a Christian. With that in mind I thought it would be helpful to focus upon the glorious strong rich nature of that good news. This is taken from July 20, 2010 blog by Tullian Tchividjian.

“A while back, a friend of mine sent me this nugget of gospel gold from John Calvin. It comes from a stunning preface to Pierre Robert Oliv├ętan’s French translation of the New Testament (1534).

Calvin wrote:

Without the gospel everything is useless and vain; without the gospel we are not Christians; without the gospel all riches is poverty, all wisdom folly before God; strength is weakness, and all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God.

But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made children of God, brothers of Jesus Christ, fellow townsmen with the saints, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, heirs of God with Jesus Christ, by whom the poor are made rich, the weak strong, the fools wise, the sinner justified, the desolate comforted, the doubting sure, and slaves free.

It is the power of God for the salvation of all those who believe.

It follows that every good thing we could think or desire is to be found in this same Jesus Christ alone.

For, he was sold, to buy us back; captive, to deliver us; condemned, to absolve us; he was made a curse for our blessing, [a] sin offering for our righteousness; marred that we may be made fair; he died for our life; so that by him fury is made gentle, wrath appeased, darkness turned into light, fear reassured, despisal despised, debt canceled, labor lightened, sadness made merry, misfortune made fortunate, difficulty easy, disorder ordered, division united, ignominy ennobled, rebellion subjected, intimidation intimidated, ambush uncovered, assaults assailed, force forced back, combat combated, war warred against, vengeance avenged, torment tormented, damnation damned, the abyss sunk into the abyss, hell transfixed, death dead, mortality made immortal.

In short, mercy has swallowed up all misery, and goodness all misfortune. For all these things which were to be the weapons of the devil in his battle against us, and the sting of death to pierce us, are turned for us into exercises which we can turn to our profit.

If we are able to boast with the apostle, saying, O hell, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? it is because by the Spirit of Christ promised to the elect, we live no longer, but Christ lives in us; and we are by the same Spirit seated among those who are in heaven, so that for us the world is no more, even while our conversation is in it; but we are content in all things, whether country, place, condition, clothing, meat, and all such things.

And we are comforted in tribulation, joyful in sorrow, glorying under [persecutions], abounding in poverty, warmed in our nakedness,
patient amongst evils, living in death.

“This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in him and are offered to us by him from God the Father.”