The Joy of the Lord
Nehemiah 8:10† Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Joy is a very precious commodity in life, especially the Christian life. In Nehemiah 8:10, the joy of the Lord is defined as our strength. How true this is in practical, every day Christian living. It is so much easier to get up in the morning and face the day and all our responsibilities, and labors, and aches and pains and hardships, when we have the joy of the Lord in our hearts. The hardest tasks become easy, and the heaviest burdens become lighter, when we engage them, and face them with the joy of the Lord in our hearts. Joy is the fountain of youth! Joy gives life and health and strength to the child of God!
Therefore, we do well to seek after the joy of the Lord until we find it. Not just once in our lifetime, or once a year or month, but each day before we face it, before we engage our first work of the day, before our feet touch the floor in the morning; even before the wheels of our minds begin rolling in our heads, when our eyes first open upon our pillow. We need to fill our minds the very first thing with the joy of the Lord. If we can succeed in doing this, and retain this joy through our day, we will have mastered the blessed and fulfilled life as a child of God.
We are not speaking this morning of carnal, earthly joy. All such earthly joy is temporal and elusive. It is fickle. No sooner do we lay hold on it, it escapes us and flies away, or is stolen away by the sorrows and troubles of this life, and we are left grieving in the valley of sorrows and the slough of despond.
No, we are speaking this morning of the joy of the Lord. This joy is of heavenly origin and therefore it has a heavenly nature. It is founded upon heavenly and eternal substance that will not change with time, or ever be destroyed, or be stolen away or disappointed by an enemy.
This morning we want to notice four points concerning the subject of Christ joy: These are: 1) First, some foundational truths that Christian joy is derived from; 2) Secondly, some ways we can realize and maintain Christian joy; 3) Thirdly, some thieves and robbers of Christian joy; and 4) Fourthly, some affects of Christian joy in our lives.
1.† First, some foundational truths that bring Christian joy.
1. The Person and attributes of God (Philippians 4:4).
-The power, wisdom, and presence of God.
-The eternality and immutability of God.
-The holiness and righteousness of God.
-The truthfulness and faithfulness of God.
-The mercy, love, and grace of God.
-The goodness, longsuffering, and forgiveness of God.
2. The salvation of the Lord (Isaiah 61:10).
-Past, present, and future.
-Both in time and eternity.
-Both temporal and eternal.
3. The sovereignty of God (Psalms 115:3).
-In salvation (Luke 10:20).
†††† Because we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.
†††† Because our names were written in the book of life.
†††† Because He called us to salvation by His Holy Spirit through His Word.
†††† Because He gave us repentance and faith in His Son.
†††† Because He freely forgave our sins, and gave us the gift of eternal life.
†††† Because He keeps us by His power.
†††† Because He shall present us faultless before His throne in glory.
-In His providential dealings in the world (Romans 8:28-30).
4. The promises of God to His children (2 Corinthians 1:20).
-Life shall prevail over death (Job 19:25-27).
-Joy shall prevail over sorrow (Isaiah 51:11).
-Health shall prevail over sickness and pain (Revelation 21:4).
-Truth shall prevail over error and lies (Revelation 21:8, 27).
-Holiness and righteousness shall prevail over sin (Zechariah 14:20).
-Good shall prevail over evil.
2. Secondly, some thieves and robbers of Christian joy.
-Disobedience to Godís revealed will.
†††† Sins of commission
†††† Sins of omission
-Fear and anxiety.
3.† Thirdly,† some ways we can cultivate and maintain Christian joy.
-By praising to God.
-By confession of sin (Psalm 51:8-12)
-By good thoughts (Philippians 4:8).
4. Fourthly, some affects of Christian joy in our lives.
-The ability to teach sinners the way of the Lord (Psalms 51).
-The strength of the Lord to do His work (Nehemiah 8:10).