An impromptu sermon at New Life Equipping Ministry in El Dorado, KS, while Sam was at the hospital with Amy delivering baby Joshua.
Joy is an apostolic priority (e.g., Phil. 1:25) because the Triune God is joyful and created us in His image to find exceeding joy in Him. In fact, Christ became a Man and died for joy. Therefore, the path to the fullest joy now and in eternity is being a disciple who abides in Jesus Christ and in His words, obeying and bearing fruit for God’s glory.
Six months ago, I was reading Philippians and felt like it was the first time I noticed a certain truth. Paul was in prison for preaching the Gospel, and he told the Philippians that it would be better by far if he were martyred because he would be with the Lord. “To die is gain!” (Phil. 1:21). But look at what motivated him to desire to stay on earth:
Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith…
“Joy in the faith” is so much of an apostolic priority that it motivated Paul to desire more fruitful ministry with them, rather than heaven!
I’m concerned that sometimes we may think that we can’t pursue joy and pleasure. “That’s what sinners do. Christianity is serious, somber business. Christianity is about self-denial.” Yes – for the sake of greater joy!
Let’s lay the foundation for joy in the very nature of the Triune God. I contend that God is the most joyful Being in existence. He is also the most grieved, seeing every sin and injustice on the planet, every day and night without rest. Yet He does whatever He pleases and delights in bringing justice. Mostly, He delights in Himself!
Before Creation, all that existed was God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, raging in love for each other with joy in each other.
[For more, see the PDF, with notes expanded beyond the time constraints of the sermon.]