This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on June 26th 2022 by Lasya. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
FINDING TRUE JOY IN JESUS
If I were to ask you - what do you enjoy the most, what would you say? For me - swimming in the ocean, eating good food, chatting with a friend/ 2 over a nice cup of coffee, waking up to a beautiful view, having my cat sleep on me… The list goes on. So we all know the feeling - of enjoyment, of delighting in something that is good. But somehow when we say that we enjoy God in the same breath it feels like we are being too religious/ weird/fake. Why do you feel that is? Is it even biblical to enjoy God? Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart”
George Muller, the great evangelist said “the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord.” he says “the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experiential acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself”
How can we love and enjoy God in our daily lives in a way that is authentic, powerful and based on scripture? We’re in the series on the tag line of Word of Grace - Enjoying God, Making Friends, Changing Lives. I’ve entitled this message, Enjoying God: finding true joy in Jesus.
Last week Navaz shared about the overwhelming, never ending, amazing love of God. So we know that God loves us and he demonstrated it on the cross and by being with us now. But for any functional relationship, you need reciprocity. (why do we love God?)
As John Piper says “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”
The entire Law is summarized in this that you Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and that you love your neighbor as yourself.
(How do we love God?)
Love is a choice and often we can think of loving God as choosing between the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But in fact, God said to Adam and Eve in the garden, you can eat from any tree in the garden but one. In the same way, enjoying God is a multifaceted activity and we can enjoy him in every part of life.
Have you heard about the 5 love languages? All of us receive love mainly in 1 or 2 ways. But God loves and receives love perfectly. Think of it like your mobile data.(1G - 5 G illustration) So how can we grow in loving him? Today we are going to explore 5 ways in which we can love God and enjoy Him.
Loving God in 5G: Gather, Grow, Give, Glow and Glorify.
1. Gather to his Presence (Touch): Every time we meet at Word of Grace, we worship. Have you noticed? The Greek word for worship that is used again and again in the bible is proskuneo Which means to kiss/ to kneel to physically express reverence. Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst”. That is why I feel this is most like the love language of touch. In the OT each time the Israelites would worship God in an acceptable way, it says that His glory would come down so people would have to back down and make room for him. 1 Kings 8:11 “And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.” Experience of Physical manifestation of God in worship at Living Room. If you feel like he’s not responding to you, he is not answering your prayer, you can't feel anything…Just keep coming! Examples of Mary and Martha… choose the better thing.
AP - Take every opportunity to gather - GYM meetings, Sunday Meetings, Living Room, Mens meetings - come and let us gather to Jesus.
2. Grow in intimacy (Quality Time): Quiet time, learning to listen to his voice. Psalm 111:2: “Great are the Works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.” Illustration - youversion audio study. Why do you have a quiet time in the morning? A relationship with Jesus cannot be built on just ritual. (Illustration - dinner table talk) Theology means the systematic study of God - it comes from the word Theos meaning God and logos, meaning discourse, or simply put, conversation. How do you move from being a servant of God to being a friend of God? John 15:15 “ No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” If public worship is the only time you’re intimate with God, you’re missing out on enjoying God. Our public worship is just an expression of our private devotion. Don’t be a bystander in the house of God, be involved, be intimate with Jesus.
AP - Spend time alone with Jesus, take at least 15 mins to study His word, learn to hear His voice… have a rich conversation with God.
3. Give (Gifts): Matthew 6:21 “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. If you’re struggling to enjoy God, the first checkpoint is - am I giving faithfully, generously and gratefully. Somehow, the physical act of giving, has an impact on the posture and attitude of our hearts. Even God so loved the world that he gave…
AP - Give more, give regularly, give sacrificially, give gratefully, give everywhere.
4. Glow (Acts of Service):Matthew 5:14- 16 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Eph 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” Our jobs, our society, our community - these are all lampstands on which we are supposed to glow and it is one of the ways we express love to God. We can get caught up in the big works of God - the calling- but our good works are all around us. Matt 25: 40 “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,] you did it to me” It’s on the path of loving God and serving that we stumble upon our calling. It is a call to service and laying down our lives.
AP - serve diligently at home, serve at the church (Sign up for set up, clear up etc. - testimony) serve well at work, get to know and love your neighbors… WWJD
5. Glorify (Words of Affirmation):Prov 3:6 “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” We love God through the stories we tell each other. testify of the nature and works of God in your life. After the entire nation of Israel crossed the river Jordan, God instructed Joshua to take 12 stones for a memorial in Joshua 4: 6-7 Joshua says “When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ Then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.””
AP - Take every opportunity - sunday meeting, GYM etc. to praise God and testify of his goodness.
So let’s see which area we can grow in and love God well!
The way to fulfill your calling in Christ is to first and foremost love him well. The world is broken but Jesus is so attractive. When we love him authentically, we invite people to do the same. Then you don't have to keep questioning what your purpose is. Our purpose always flows from our position and our position is lovers of God.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.