TRIUMPHANT JOY #1: THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS(Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan) To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE. To download a printable version of these notes, click HERE.
INTRO TO TOPIC:
- Joy and happiness. So many people in the world today aren’t experiencing it!
- However, so many people in our world live for the pursuit of happiness.
- The question is: HOW do we experience happiness? Everyone has a different answer:
- Every talk show host, self-help book, and magazine cover has steps:
- “Seven steps to joy, five steps to happiness, three steps to your best life now!”
- Google: “How to find happiness?” About 186,000,000 results (0.44 seconds).
- Go to the bar, get drunk, meet other miserable people – that’ll make you happy.
- Every product commercial says, “Buy our junk and you’ll be happy.”
- So many people are sad, depressed and miserable and on medication just to get by!
- People think if they can just get the right person or the right thing, they’ll be happy.
- True lasting joy and happiness isn’t something you can find in the world.
- We’re going to begin a new series today in the Book of Philippians – the theme is JOY.
BACKGROUND OF THE LETTER OF PHILIPPIANS:
- Author: Paul
- Date: 61 AD
- Theme: Joy in Christ
- Occasion: Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians during his first Roman imprisonment.
- Content: The abiding message of Philippians concerns the nature and grounds of Christian joy. For Paul, true joy is not a surface emotion that depends on favorable circumstances of the moment. Joy is independent of outward conditions, and is possible even in the midst of adverse circumstances, such as suffering and persecution.
- Application: This letter reveals the timeless message that true joy is to be found only in a dynamic personal relationship with Jesus Christ and in assurance that God is able to turn adverse circumstances to our good and His glory. (The Spirit-filled Life Study Bible).
THE BIG IDEA: Philippians shows us how God wants His people to experience triumphant joy, rejoicing in the Lord always, even in the midst of suffering, trials and temptations.
THE LETTER TO THE PHILIPPIAN CHURCH:
“1 This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. It is written to all of God’s people in Philippi, who believe in Christ Jesus, and to the elders and deacons. 2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 I always pray for you, and I make my requests with a heart full of joy
- Here in the first few verses we are already introduced to the theme of joy.
5 because you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. 6 And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.
- Paul is thankful for those who are his partners in the ministry – as am I. Thankful for:
- Children’s ministry, youth, worship, sound, prayer, ushering & greeting, elders, council.
- Paul celebrates a wonderful promise from a faithful God – God will finish what He starts!
- Don’t ever think that you could sin so great that God would stop loving you!
7 It is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a very special place in my heart. We have shared together the blessings of God, both when I was in prison and when I was out, defending the truth and telling others the Good News. 8 God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:1-8, NLT).
- Paul was a true man of God with a great love for God’s people in the church.
- Let’s take a look now at the story of the founding of the Philippian church.
THE FOUNDING OF THE CHURCH IN PHILIPPI: (Acts 16:11-34, NKJV).
- LYDIA AND HER FAMILY:
11 Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace…
- The beginning of Luke’s use of “we” in this passage tells us he was with Paul here.
and the next day came to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.
- This was Paul’s second missionary journey, and here we see the beginning of what would become the Philippian Church – Lydia’s family.
- THE SLAVE GIRL:
16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”
- Even though what this girl was speaking was true, she was being influenced by a demonic spirit.
18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.
- Even though Paul and Silas were faithfully serving God, they were beaten and thrown into jail. Just because God has promised us joy doesn’t mean we won’t experience suffering, trials or temptations!
- THE JAILER AND HIS FAMILY:
23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
- Paul and Silas were suffering, persecuted, beaten and in jail. But did this cause them to lose their joy? No! Because joy is not based on outward circumstances!
25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.
- Later Paul would write to the Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (4:4). He lived what he preached!
27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” 29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
- Here we see the Philippian church continuing to grow by another family.
- Would that have happened if Paul and Silas hadn’t rejoiced in their suffering?
- When, where and how can we experience joy, even in life’s troubles?
- Triumphant joy is not based on your life’s circumstances – what you have or don’t have.
- “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4, NKJV).
- Joy is not found through a process of three, five or even seven steps.
- True joy is only found in the person of Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him.
- And joy is not a side issue in our lives – we need joy!
“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10b).
- If we want to be strong in the Lord, that strength comes from the joy of the Lord.
- All summer long, we’re going to study Philippians and learn how we can have more of the joy of the Lord in our lives.