Why Pursue Exceeding Joy in God? Exceeding Joy in God Series  Selected Scriptures May 5, 2013 Pastor Paul K. Kim
JOY IN GOD: BRINGING FORTH THE POSITIVE SIDE OF SELF-DENIAL • A Noble yet Critical Neglect: Lack of desire/joy.
An Appeal to Desire If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire. - C. S. Lewis
JOY IN GOD: BRINGING FORTH THE POSITIVE SIDE OF SELF-DENIAL The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. • The Chief End of Man: Is lack of “enjoying God” is acceptable? Or is it a critical neglect in the purpose of life?
FOUR KEY REASONS WHY WE OUGHT TO PURSUE EXCEEDING JOY IN GOD 1) God’s GOD-CENTEREDNESS is the true source of the most-satisfying joy in life. The heavens declare the glory of God. Psalm 19:1 9 “For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off.10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. Isaiah 48:9-11 • God is God-centered at all times, displaying his own glory. • Why? God’s glory is the true source of all-satisfying joy.
FOUR KEY REASONS WHY WE OUGHT TO PURSUE EXCEEDING JOY IN GOD 1) God’s GOD-CENTEREDNESS is the true source of the most-satisfying joy in life. Then I will go to... God my exceeding joy. (Psalm 43:4) Because your steadfast love is better than life. (Psalm 63:3) ...in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11) If you don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. John Piper • Heaven is a good reminder. What makes heaven heaven? • Our deepest/lasting joy is in God with our self-forgetfulness.
The Blushing Promises of the Reward If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. - C. S. Lewis
FOUR KEY REASONS WHY WE OUGHT TO PURSUE EXCEEDING JOY IN GOD 2) It is God’s command for us to SEEK JOY AND HAPPINESS in the LORD. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4
FOUR KEY REASONS WHY WE OUGHT TO PURSUE EXCEEDING JOY IN GOD 2) It is God’s command for us to SEEK JOY AND HAPPINESS in the LORD. ...[do] the acts of mercy “with cheerfulness” Romans 12:8 [be] a “cheerful” giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 ... keep watch over souls “with joy” Hebrews 13:17 • God’s desire is for us to be happy and satisfied in himself as well as in the good things he provides for us. • Without faith, it is impossible to please/glorify God; the essential part of faith in delight in God. • Therefore, God commands us to take our delight in him seriously.
FOUR KEY REASONS WHY WE OUGHT TO PURSUE EXCEEDING JOY IN GOD 3) Joy in God has A SUSTAINING POWER against all harsh realities of life. ...we are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. 2 Corinthians 6:8b-10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
FOUR KEY REASONS WHY WE OUGHT TO PURSUE EXCEEDING JOY IN GOD 3) Joy in God has A SUSTAINING POWER against all harsh realities of life. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26 • Unlike other joys, joy in God is inextinguishable joy. • Why? God is greater and stronger than any life-circumstances, trials, afflictions, and yes, even death. • Therefore, joy in God is far greater and infinitely stronger than any blows of life’s harsh circumstances.
FOUR KEY REASONS WHY WE OUGHT TO PURSUE EXCEEDING JOY IN GOD 4) Glorifying God and enjoying God are ACTUALLY ONE CHIEF END OF LIFE. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
FOUR KEY REASONS WHY WE OUGHT TO PURSUE EXCEEDING JOY IN GOD 4) Glorifying God and enjoying God are ACTUALLY ONE CHIEF END OF LIFE. The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. John Piper For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21 • Two are to be one interwoven purpose of life. • Why? Our pursuit of joy in God is our pursuit of God’s glory. • Therefore, we are to seek EXCEEDING JOY IN GOD!
THREE PRACTICAL QUESTIONS FOR OUR EVERYDAY LIFE • What must be changed in me to realize that God is the most-satisfying exceeding joy in life? • How will I recover from the noble yet critical neglect of pursuing joy and happiness IN GOD? • How do I seek God’s glory and my happiness/joy as one in my everyday life? What is my first step toward living this out?