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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 2011-03-06: "Whatever Happenned To Joy?"

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Whatever happened to joy?

SERMON STARTER

          A counseling client was in my office recently weeping over lost joy. She remembers back into her youthful optimistic days and longs for her joyous faith in Christ in those early years. Life now has become burdensome while happiness and joy seem pretty illusive. She is mourning the lost spiritual joy of her past. She reminded me of my own early days of optimistic faith. There was much joy in focusing on my future and longing to be in the place of service into which Christ was calling me.

          Lois and I had a 24 voice youth choir in my suburban Baptist church of the late sixties. One of the praise songs we learned back then was from Nehemiah 8:10b,

"THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH"

The joy of the LORD is my strength
The joy of the LORD is my strength
The joy of the LORD is my strength
Oh, the joy of the LORD is my strength.

He gives me living water and I thirst no more, (Repeat)
If you want joy you must sing for it (Repeat)
If you want joy you must shout …jump for it..(Repeat)
          God has provided a way of spiritual refreshing through faith in His written word. This sermon explores an aspect of intercessory prayer that technically is an intercession for your yourself and the longing for spiritual rest and refreshing. There is much prejudice about what Koine Greek calls, "Glossa-la-lia."

The King James translation of the Bible calls it the "Unknown Tongue." For decades the phenomenon was relegated to the Pentecostals whom we sneeringly referred to as "Holy Rollers."

          In the late 1960's Pentecostalism moved from the other side of the tracks into downtown mainstream Christianity. Pentecostal enthusiasm and relentless soul-winning caused their churches to explode and Pentecostalism became respectable. This sermon explores an aspect of "Glossalalia" known as "Praying in the Spirit." Romans chapter eight calls it, "Unutterable Groanings."

 

Pastor Phil  <><<

Sheepfold Ministries, March 06, 2011

Pastor Phil Roland

 

Whatever happened to joy?

1 Corinthians 14

 “Stress, tension and hopelessness are "Joy Killers" when it comes to living the Christian life. Sorrow and deep disappointment can drain your spiritual life of joy. Guard your heart because from it are the issues of life. ” 

 

Nehemiah 8:10

"Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

 

I.  HAS YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE BECOME LUKEWARM?  Rev. 3:16

“So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

          A. Joy drainers are everywhere in our culture

                        1. Pursue Joy in a multitude of ways

                                    a. Addictive behaviors

                                    b. Substance abuse

                                    c. Fame and Fortune - Eg. Charlie Sheen

                        2. Religious Activities

                                    a. Shame and Guilt based

                                    b. Mindless attempts to earn approval

                                    c. Deep need for acceptance and love

            B. Personal Time with God becomes a chore, not a delight

                        1. Prayers without substance

                        2. Lack of inspiration

                        3. passionless, Insipid, Now-I-Lay-Me-Down-To-sleep Prayers

 

II.  BURNED OUT SAINTS WITHDRAW FROM EACH OTHER

Hebrews 10:24,25

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

            A. Burn-Out happens in our God relationship

                        1. Lose our sense of God’s Presence

                        2. Lose our ability to hear His Voice

            B. Burn-Out in our relationships with one another

                        1. Become recluse, don’t need anyone

                        2. Become independent, self-sufficient

          C. We need God and we need one another

                        1. Shut yourself off from People

                        2. Shut yourself off from God

                        3. Both are part of your spiritual life

 

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO JOY?, cont., p.2

 

III. GOD HAS PREPARED AN AVENUE OF RENEWAL

          A. We are refreshed as we explore avenues of prayer

                        1. Formal prayers

                        2. Private intercessory prayers

                        3. Prevailing prayer

                        4. Simple One-Liner prayers

                        5. Conversational prayer

                        6. Boring, monotonous, ritualistic prayers

            B. The Devotional Prayer Tongue - 1 Cor. 14:18,19

            “I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church

 I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten

 thousand words in a tongue.”

            1. Prayers with Passion – Unutterable Groaning – Romans 8:26

            “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not

know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

                                    a. Wordless Prayers are Holy Groanings before God

                                    b. “Thy Kingdom Come. . .”

                                    c. God’s Spirit joins our spirit w/a prayer God hears

2. Praying in the Spirit - 1 Cor. 14:4; 15

“He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who    prophesies edifies the church.”

                             “I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind”

a. Edifying Oneself in the Prayer Closet

b. Building up Oneself in the Spirit

                          3. Pure Intercessory Prayer – 1 Corinthians 14:14

                         “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.”

                                    a. Your spirit prays mysteries your mind can’t grasp

                                    b. You may or may not comprehend what you’re praying

                                    c. Makes it possible to pray continuously

”Pray without ceasing” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17

 

IV. THINGS THAT OBSTRUCT OUR ABILITY TO PRAY

 “In the law it is written: “With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 14:21 (NKJV)
            A. Stubbornness shuts us off from God’s Voice - 1 Sam. 15:22,23

“Then Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and

sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king." 

1. Hardness of Heart can destroy both motivation and desire

2.  Distractions will be everywhere

3. Mostly, SELFISHNESS blocks prayer, "I want it my wayyyy!"

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO JOY?, cont., p.3

 

            B. Unrealistic expectations of God and Prayer

                        1. God doesn't hop to our commands

                        2. Immature belief that we can manipulate God

            C. Obsessional thinking about money and materialism

                        1. Money doesn't afford security

                        2. Acquisition of material goods fill the heart and mind

            D. Personal Health problems

 

IV. GOD'S REMEDY FOR LOST JOY - Isaiah 28:10-12

10 "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.”
11 For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people,
12 To whom He said, “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing”; Yet they would not hear.”

            A. Background for Isaiah 28:11

                        1. Israel was being warned by Prophet Isaiah about judgment

                                    a. Northern Kingdom, Israel fell in 721 B.C.

                                    b. Invaded by fierce Assyrians

                        2. God tells Israel He will speak to them through men of a                                     foreign language

                                    a. Sign that God's judgment was near

                                    b. Tongues are a sign of God's coming judgment

            B. Text appears contradictory: a statement in opposite

                        1. Foreigners are going to force you to change your lifestyle

                        2. You will find God's promised rest  - Hebrews 4:1

                        "Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear

                        lest any of you seem to have come short of it."

                        3. God's Rest through Destruction? - Hebrews 12:5-8

                                "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to

                        sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be

                        discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD

                        loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives."

                        If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what

                        son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without

                        chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are

                        illegitimate and not sons."

            C. Paul quotes Isaiah in 1 Corinthians 14:21

            “In the law it is written: “With men of other tongues and other lips I

            will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,”

            says the Lord.”

                        1. SIX kinds of tongues

                                    1) Tongues of Men             2) Tongues of Angels

                                    3) Acts Two Tongue          4) Devil's Tongue

                                    5) Assembly Tongue w/Interpretation

                                    6) Devotional Tongue

                        2. Suffering, Grief and Loss force us back to God's Refreshing

Isaiah 30:15

“15  For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not,”

 

 

Whatever happened to joy?, Text

1 Corinthians 14

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

2  For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.

3  But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.

4  He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

5  I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

 

13  Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.

14  For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.

15  What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

16  Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say "Amen" at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?

17  For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.

18  I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;

19  yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

20  Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.

21  In the law it is written: "With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me," says the Lord.

22  Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.