Sunday, September 18, 2005

Joy - Yeah, Right!

Intro.: I remember one of the first lessons I learned about JOY

  1. Jesus Others You

  2. As a child I firmly believed it, but as I have matured, I have discovered that I still need to put Jesus first. But there is a real need to balance the time I spend between serving others and caring for myself.

  3. We cannot spend time looking at the book of Philippians without speaking about “joy” -

  4. Here we have a have a passage that is framed with joy.

Read: Philippians 1:18-26


Trans: Preaching motivated Paul.

  1. Last week it was clear that preaching Christ, whatever the motivation, was a high priority to Paul

  2. In today's passage we see Paul wrestle with the very real possibility of death – as he waits for a verdict after his appeal to Ceasar.

  3. But in each case – the answer is the same. It is better that Christ be preached.

T.S. In Philippians 1:18-26, we see three elements that are part of finding joy in the Christian life.

  1. Joy is the result of prayer

    1. Paul gives direct credit to the work of two entities. The first of these is the church. It is their prayer.

    (Ill.) When I took my first official computer science course, the professor started out the first day to tell us that the purpose of the course was to allow us to distinguish between magic and the computer. In the church we need to distinguish between magic and prayer.

    1. The Greek Bible uses two distinct words for prayer – the more common word is “προσευχή Proseuche refers to the sacred approach we make to God when we come to Him in prayer.

    2. But the word used here is “δέησις - It is the word that would be used by child or teen – like in “Dad I need a _______”. It is a member of the family asking another of the family for something they want or need.

    3. Prayer is not magic, but it a son or daughter coming to their father for something they need. In this case – asking for Paul's deliverance from prison.

    4. What do you need this morning? Have you asked the father for what you need?

  1. Joy is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit

    1. But prayer is only our part of finding joy. God also plays a part.

    2. Look at verse 19 again. “for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.”

(Ill.) Paul's words were echoed by Harriet Tubman when she once said, “I always told God: I’m gwine to hole stiddy on to you, and you got to see me trou … Jes so long as He wants to use me, He’ll tak ker of me, and when He don’t want me any longer, I’m ready to go.”i

    1. Paul had no idea what his future might be. He did know that the Spirit would be responsible for sustaining him through whatever might come.

    1. Can you picture a triangle.
      Triangle Model
      And that diagram brings us to the third contribution to joy in our lives.

  1. Joy is the result of our circumstances

    1. This is really hard for me to say.

    2. I mean, I am so use to saying “Trust God” and yet here is Paul saying that “... if I come back, your 'joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.'”

    3. Life has its ups and downs. Paul was sensitive to that fact as he wrote to the Philippians. And he knew that those ups and downs affect people.

(Ill.) Let me take just one example – Stress

  • 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects due to stress.
  • 75–90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints or disorders.
  • Stress has been linked to all the leading causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis, and suicide.
  • An estimated one million workers are absent on an average workday because of stress related complaints. Stress is said to be responsible for more than half of the 550,000,000 workdays lost annually because of absenteeism.
  • The proportion of workers who reported “feeling highly stressed” more than doubled from 1985–1990.
  • 40% of all worker turnover is due to job stress
  • Job stress is estimated to cost U.S. industry $300 billion annually, as assessed by absenteeism, diminished productivity, employee turnover, medical insurance, etc..ii

(Ill.) Scientists have been studying the effect of laughter on human beings and have found, among other things, that laughter has a profound and instantaneous effect on virtually every important organ in the human body. Laughter reduces health-sapping tensions and relaxes the tissues as well as exercising the most vital organs. It is said that laughter, even when forced, results in beneficial effect on us, both mentally and physically. Next time you feel nervous and jittery, indulge in a good laugh.

    1. There are times that life, including stress, can rob us of life's joy.

(Appl.) And at that point we return to the beginning of this sermon - Joy in the midst of life comes as we share our distress with others. Joy in the midst of life comes as we share our distress with God. How long has it been since you have taken time to turn your stresses over to God? How long has it been since you have turned to the church and said “Pray for me!”

iFederer, W. J. (2001). Great Quotations : A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Quotations Influencing Early and Modern World History Referenced according to their Sources in Literature, Memoirs, Letters, Governmental Documents, Speeches, Charters, Court Decisions and Constitutions. St. Louis, MO: AmeriSearch.

iiMorgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson's Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, and Quotes. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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