Sunday, August 26 I began a series of sermons on “Philippians, the Letter of Joy”. It is important to note that Paul was in prison for preaching the Good News of Christ, yet his letter is filled with joy. That is because his heart was set on heavenly things that are eternal, not on earthly things that will pass away.
The Christian life should be filled with joy. While there is a whole lot of evil and corruption in our world, we know the end of the story and we know God still has everything under control. Our joy comes from knowing Jesus and having his Holy Spirit live within our hearts.
We often share in the common joys of people in this world: a marriage, the birth of a child, celebrating a new job, etc. These are good things and should be celebrated. But when we look at the example of Paul, we see a Christian man filled with joy, even when the comforts and joys of this life were taken away and he was imprisoned.
In John 15:1-17 Jesus compared himself to a grape vine and we as its branches. He told us that at times God the Father, will prune us back for greater productivity; at other times we will flourish and be productive. But he said we must remain connected to him to be productive. Then he said, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (v. 11 NLT). He went on to emphasize that he wanted us to love one another and that he appointed us to produce lasting fruit.
As we know Jesus, love and obey him, we abide in him. That is when our joy is full, even if like Paul the Apostle we are in circumstances we normally would not want to be in. Our joy is not from this world, but from God himself.
Hoping you will have the full joy of knowing Jesus in your life.
-Pastor Andy Maxwell