SEEK CHRIST JOYFULLY!
Jesus can put a smile on our faces, joyous laughter in our hearts, and happy songs OF PRAISE on our lips! There are so many long faced, sad, and frowning people these days! The gospel and the abundant life Jesus came to bring can impact our lives with such deep, satisfying joy that it beams from our countenances, and shines through our words and actions.
The joy Jesus gives to us is wonderful! The world didn’t give it and the world can’t take it away! (John 15:11; 10:28,29; 14:27,28) Worldly pleasures are fleeting, and temporary. The gladness, joy, and pleasure that comes from the Lord is satisfying both now, and forever!
Like the classic chorus of the church “Turn Your eyes on Jesus” goes: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face — and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace”.
- Special notes: All of the pleasures of this world cannot compare to the glorious pleasures that come from the Lord! Psalm 16:11 – ...In His presence is fulness of joy, and… pleasures forevermore!
- We are encouraged to seek those things that are above, and set our affections on things above, not on things of this world… (Colossians 3:1-2)
Words that describe JOYFUL: Happy, cheerful, contented, enthusiastic, excited, glad, grateful, merry, pleasant, joyous, delighted, etc…
LET THE HEARTS OF THOSE THAT SEEK THE LORD REJOICE
I Chronicles 16:10 – Glory in His holy name; Let the HEARTS OF THOSE REJOICE WHO SEEK THE LORD!...
Psalm 40:16; 70:4 – LET ALL THOSE WHO SEEK YOU REJOICE AND BE GLAD in You; Let such as love Your salvation say continually, “The Lord be magnified!”
Central to our celebrations at Christmas should be the joyful remembrance of the incarnation of Christ – “The Word made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
- Special note: The incarnation of Christ is the reason why we can make merry, and celebrate – because our Savior lovingly came to save us from our sins!
SHEPHERDS / DISCIPLES / WISE MEN
Let’s be like the SHEPHERDS, AND WISE MEN that SOUGHT AFTER JESUS until they found Him. When they had a life-changing ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS they were FILLED WITH JOY, and REJOICED!
THE SHEPHERDS SEEK JESUS AND JOYFULLY FOUND HIM
Luke 2:20 (New Life Version)– The shepherds went back FULL OF JOY. They thanked God for all they had heard and seen. It happened as the angel had told them.
THE SHEPHERDS REJOICED
Luke 2:8-20 – Now there were in the same country SHEPHERDS living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for BEHOLD, I BRING YOU GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY WHICH WILL BE TO ALL PEOPLE. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill[ toward men!” 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “LET US NOW GO to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they CAME WITH HASTE and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
Luke 2:8-20 (Cont) – 17 Now when they had seen Him, THEY MADE WIDELY KNOWN THE SAYING WHICH WAS TOLD THEM CONCERNING THIS CHILD. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned (went back RULL OF JOY), GLORIFYING AND PRAISING GOD FOR ALL THE THINGS THAT THEY HAD HEARD AND SEEN, as it was told them.
- The Shepherds were FILLED WITH JOY! (vs. 20)
- The angels brought Good Tidings of GREAT JOY which will be to all people. (Vs. 10)
- The Shepherds went immediately to SEE WHAT THE ANGELS HAD REVEALED… They were people of QUICK ACTION. They didn’t just hear and do nothing about it! There were some risks. What about the sheep? (vs.15/16)
- They were so excited about what they found there in the manger that they blazed the message around the country-side, what they had seen with their own eyes, and what had been told them. (vs. 17)
- Not only were they filled with JOY, but they gave praise to the Lord for the all the things that they had seen and heard. (vs.20)
- It had happened, just as it had been told them by the angels. This is a true message, verified by the testimony of eye-witnesses!
- The truth of this message also can FILL OUR HEARTS WITH JOY!
- The GOSPEL is a message of GLAD TIDINGS AND GREAT JOY to the world!
- Our response to this good news should make us want to tell everybody we can, like the Shepherds.
- Our hearts should be filled with praise and thanksgiving as we reflect on this beautiful revelation of God’s love to the world!
PETER AND THE DISCIPLES (also Shepherds)
(Fast forward around 33 years or so)… After Jesus resurrection, the disciples went fishing. They fished all night, but caught nothing. In the morning, appeared to them on the shore. He called to them.
- John 21:6 – “Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find.”
- John 21:6 …so they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.
- John 21:7 – John said to Peter – “IT IS THE LORD!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea.
- THE JOYFUL LEAP…
Can you imagine the EXCITEMENT AND JOY that caused Peter to leap into the sea, and swim ahead of the disciples to go be with Jesus asap? To drop his hold on the net – plant his foot on the bow of the boat, and JOYFULLY LEAP INTO THE WATERS to go be with Jesus?
After this special ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS, Peter was used mightily by the Lord to preach to thousands, and bring salvation, healing, and the Holy Spirit to many. In His letters, we see his JOY AND PASSION as he talks about ”JOY INEXPRESSIBLE AND FULL OF GLORY” (I Peter 1:8)
THE WISE MEN JOYFULLY SEEK JESUS
Matthew 2:1,2, 10 – behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”… and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, THEY REJOICED WITH EXCEEDINGLY GREAT JOY.
- Special note: The supernaturally revealed STAR brought exceedingly great joy! It is interesting to note that Jesus refers to himself as a STAR – the “BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR”. (Revelation 22:16) The MORNING STAR is also called the DAYSTAR – the extremely brightEST star right before the night time turns to day.
- 2 Peter 1:19 – And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star (CHRIST / DAYSTAR) rises in your hearts…
- Jesus was the “Word made flesh and dwelling among us” (John 1:14). The WORD is a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105), and the entrance of His WORD gives light (Psalm 119:130). Jesus is the light of the world. John 8:12 – Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Jesus also said “YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD” – and “LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE before men…” Matthew 5:14-16. We are to “shine as lights in the world”… Philippians 2:15.
- Special note: Jesus’s light comes into our lives, and “enlightens our darkness” – Psalm 18:28. We are to let that light shine to a dark world – like the stars. So, it is very interesting that you and I are to be like the bright star that brought the wise men to Jesus! What an amazing revelation! We are to be stars shining in this dark world, revealing the light of the gospel that points people to our LORD Jesus!
OTHER STORIES IN THE BIBLE
There are so many other illustrations of the JOY OF ENCOUNTERING JESUS. Here are several more…
MARY THE MOTHER OF JESUS REJOICED
Luke 1:46-49 – And Mary said: My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has REJOICED IN God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,And holy is His name.
The Back story, (from Luke 1:26-28) – the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was MARY. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “REJOICE, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”… “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”… “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God…. For with God nothing will be impossible.” 38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! LET IT BE TO ME ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD.” And the angel departed from her.
The first word that the angel said to Mary was – “REJOICE”!
Mary’s response was “Let it be to me according to Your Word”. She was willing, obedient, and submissive to God’s will. (That’s the kind of person the Lord chose for this honor!) Mary praises the Lord (Magnificat – Praise Song magnifying the Lord)
JOHN THE BAPTIST LEAPS FOR JOY (in the womb of Elizabeth)
Luke 1:39-45 – Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that THE BABE LEAPED IN HER WOMB; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, THE BABE LEAPED IN MY WOMB FOR JOY. 45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
- The prophetic confirmation by Elizabeth and John the Baptist
- The presence of Jesus in the womb brought so much joy that his cousin who was also in the womb leaped for JOY!
- The fulfillment of God’s promises and His will brings GREAT JOY AND BLESSING!
SEEK AND SERVE CHRIST JOYFULLY, WITH GLADNESS
Psalm 100:3 – Serve the Lord with GLADNESS…
- Special note: IT IS A WONDERFUL PRIVILEGE AND PLEASURE TO SEEK AND TO SERVE JESUS!
- SONG: With a Cheerful Heart I Joyfully Seek for Jesus
WITH A CHEERFUL HEART I JOYFULLY SEEK FOR JESUS; WITH A CHEERFUL HEART I JOYFULLY SEEK FOR HIM
FOR HE’S MY LORD AND SAVIOR – AND WITHOUT HIM I AM NOTHING…
WITH A CHEERFUL HEART I JOYFULLY SEEK – AND LIVE, FOR HIM!
DREADFUL CONSEQUENCES FOR NOT SERVING JOYFULLY
Deuteronomy 28: 47,48“ Because you DID NOT SERVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH JOY AND GLADNESS OF HEART, for the abundance of everything, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you.
JOYFUL description. Once again let’s be reminded what it means to be JOYFUL. These are some of the synonyms of being JOYFUL: Happy, cheerful, contented, enthusiastic, excited, glad, grateful, merry, pleasant, joyous, delighted, etc…
THERE IS GREAT JOY IN SERVING THE LORD!
- BEING MERRY IS GOOD is good!
- Proverbs 17:22 – A MERRY HEART does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.
- When the prodigal son returned to his father – there was MERRIMENT AND CELEBRATION!
- Luke 15:24 – this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be MERRY.
SEEK CHRIST JOYFULLY, CHEERFULLY, AND WITH CONTENTMENT
- Again, let’s be reminded that IT IS A WONDERFUL PRIVILEGE AND PLEASURE TO SERVE JESUS!
CHEERFULNESS – CHEERFUL GIVING – CONTENTMENT
- 2 Corinthians 9:7 – So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves A CHEERFUL GIVER.
- Proverbs 15:13 – A MERRY heart makes A CHEERFUL COUNTENANCE, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
- James 5:13 – Is anyone CHEERFUL? Let him sing psalms (songs)…
Hymn: JOY IN SERVING JESUS (Oswald J. Smith) (1)
There is joy in serving Jesus, As I journey on my way,Joy that fills the heart with praises, Ev’ry hour and ev’ry day.
There is joy, joy, joy in serving Jesus,
Joy that throbs within my heart;
Ev’ry moment, ev’ry hour,
As I draw upon His power,
There is joy, joy, joy that never shall depart.
There is joy in serving Jesus, Joy that triumphs over pain, Fills my soul with heaven’s music, Till I join the glad refrain.
There is joy in serving Jesus, As I walk alone with God. Tis the joy of Christ, my Savior, Who the path of suffering trod.
There is joy in serving Jesus, Joy amid the darkest night. For I’ve learned the wondrous secret, And I’m walking in the light.
#2 JOY OF SERVING JESUS – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T-Kui-LGrU&ab_channel=StaceyShiflett (2)
The joys of serving Jesus are what make my life complete,
To enjoy all the good things that I find at His feet!
I don’t need earthly pleasures to bring a smile to my face,
I just think of Calvary and how He took my place!
Oh, the joy of serving Jesus how it thrills my weary soul,
When I remember where He found me when He saved me and made me whole!
*Oh, the joy of living for Him what a blessed life divine,
Just to labor for my Savior – I am His and He is mine. (D.S. al Fine) :l
Many times in this life doubt creeps in and calls at you,
To question if the blessings God has promised will come true!
Then you remember all the times, He’s never once let you down,
And you keep on going on reaching forward for the crown.
Let’s SEEK AND SERVE THE LORD WITH REJOICING, GLADNESS, HAPPINESS, DELIGHT, ENTHUSIASM, EXCITEMENT, CHEERFULNESS, CONTENTMENT, PLEASANTNESS, MERRIMENT, ETC.…
- (REPEATING for emphasis ) Psalm 100:1,2 – Make a JOYFUL shout to the Lord, all you lands!
2 Serve the Lord with GLADNESS; Come before His presence with singing.
MORE SCRIPTURES ABOUT SEEKING AND SERVING THE LORD WITH JOY
- Psalm 97:1 – The Lord reigns; Let the earth rejoice; Let the MULTITUDE OF ISLES BE GLAD!…
SERVING WITH CONTENTMENT
- Psalm 63:5 – My soul shall be SATISFIED as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with JOYFUL lips.
- Philippians 4:11 – Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be CONTENT:
- I Timothy 6:6,18 – Now godliness with CONTENTMENT is great gain… And having food and clothing, with these we shall be CONTENT.
- Hebrews 13:5 – be CONTENT with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
JOY BRINGS STRENGTH
- Nehemiah 8:10-12…for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH.”
ATTENDING SERVICES IS A SOURCE OF JOY
- Psalm 122:1 – I was GLAD when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS JOY
- Romans 14:17 – for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and JOY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.
EVERLASTING JOY AND GLADNESS
- Isaiah 35:10; 51:11 And the RANSOMED of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With EVERLASTING JOY on their heads. They shall OBTAIN JOY AND GLADNESS, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
OUR HEARTS CAN BE FULL OF JOY TODAY
- Psalm 118:24 – This is the day the Lord has made; WE WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD in it.
REVIVAL BRINGS JOY
- Psalm 85:6 – Will You not REVIVE US AGAIN, That Your people may REJOICE IN YOU?
- Habakkuk 3:17-18 – Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength;
- Philippians 4:4,5 – REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS. (delight, take pleasure in Him – AMP) Again I will say, rejoice! …The Lord is at hand.
ERV – Always be FILLED WITH JOY IN THE LORD. I will say it again. BE FILLED WITH JOY.
EASY – ALWAYS BE HAPPY BECAUSE YOU BELONG TO THE LORD. I will say that again, ‘BE HAPPY’.
EXB – BE FULL OF JOY (Rejoice) in the Lord always. I will say again, BE FULL OF JOY (Rejoice).
GW – ALWAYS BE JOYFUL IN THE LORD! I’ll say it again, BE JOYFUL!
NTFE – CELEBRATE JOYFULLY IN THE LORD, ALL THE TIME. I’ll say it again: CELEBRATE!
WE –ALWAYS BE GLAD FOR WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE, I will say it again, BE GLAD.
CONCLUSION / summary
Deuteronomy 26:11 – So you shall REJOICE in every good thing which the Lord your God has given to you and your house,
WE HAVE SO MUCH TO REJOICE ABOUT!
- GOD’S GREAT LOVE, MERCY AND FORGIVENESS;
- PROTECTION AND PROVISION;
- SALVATION; REDEMPTION;
- ABUNDANT BLESSINGS AND GOODNESS;
- THE WORD;
- DIVINE DIRECTION;
- HOPE OF RESURRECTION;
It is our JOYOUS PRIVILEGE TO SEEK AND SERVE THE LORD! Let’s do it cheerfully and with thankful hearts all the days of our life!
- Special acknowledgement and appreciation for the classic hymn: JOY IN SERVING JESUS, composed by Oswald J. Smith, founder of Peoples Church, Toronto, Canada, and his great missions-minded, joyful service to the Lord.
- Special acknowledgement and appreciation to the Shiflett family for sharing the song JOY OF SERVING JESUS that is made available on youtube.