GBL-6- The Joy of Christianity
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GREAT BIBLE LESSONS
GREAT BIBLE LESSONS
“Great Bible Lessons: Lesson 6”
Introduction by narrator accompanied by a cappella singing:
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. Spreading the soul-saving message of Jesus. And now,
‘Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.’ There is no
greater joy in all the world than the joy of being a Christian and the joy of
being able to look up to Heaven and say, "Our Father, Who are in Heaven",
We're going to be thinking about why Christianity is such a great joy,
and how wonderful it is to be a Christian.
Sometimes when you see Christians, sadly, they don't look very
joyful. That's contrary to the way the Bible teaches.
Christians ought to be a joyful people. We ought to be able to have
the joy that passes and the peace that passes all understanding. You
know, I heard one fella say that ‘way too many people in the church look
like they've been baptized in pickle juice.’ They've just got a sour
expression, and you never see the joy of Christianity in their heart and in
My friend if there were ever anybody who had reason to be down, it'd
be the apostle Paul. He is in prison in Philippi for preaching the Gospel-
and yet is Paul discouraged and down? No. Acts 16:25 tells us that Paul
and Silas were praying in prison, singing hymns to God, and the prisoners
were listening to them.
The Book of Philippians tells us how to have true joy in Christ. It's one
of those great messages that really comes out of this book. Key verse is
Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I will say, rejoice."
Paul would say to those Christians in Philippi, "You are my joy.” In fact, the
word "joy", occurs some 16 times in this small, four chapter book. Over
and over again you'll hear Paul talk about and express to these Christians
the great joy and happiness of being a child of God.
Now the background to Paul's message to these Christians comes
from his evangelistic journeys in the Book of Acts. Paul received what we
know as the Macedonian call. In Acts 15, Paul sees a vision of a man
saying, "Come over here and help us also". Paul goes to the area of
Philippi, and there he finds certain people gathered by the river at a prayer
From that point, Paul begins to teach about Jesus. He runs into a
woman by the name of Lydia, and her household obey the Gospel. They
invite Paul to stay. She's from the region of Thyatira. There is a young
woman who is possessed by an unclean spirit. Paul casts that out, and she
acknowledges Paul. The unclean spirit acknowledges Paul as being a
servant of the Most High God- which hurts certain people's wealth in that
city because they're making money off of this woman who's possessed.
They eventually get put in jail. They run into the Philippian jailer. He'll base
the Gospel, a lot of good is going on there, but that's kind of the
background and the backdrop in Acts 16 to what's going on with the letter
to the Philippians.
How can a Christian have true joy? What is it that makes being a
Christian so wonderful?
Friend, we want to illustrate from the Book of Philippians, four unique
qualities that make being a Christian so wonderful.
Number one, Christianity is the greatest life and most joyful life ever
because I can live with true purpose in this life. So many people in our
world are going through life without any meaning- without any real purpose,
just a lackadaisical, nonchalant, no purpose, and no meaning life. That's
not what life is about. The Christian has a purpose in this life.
I want you to notice Philippians 1:21. Paul says, "For to me", here's
his purpose. "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain".
Now the context is this- Paul says 'I am between a rock and a hard
place.' For me to live longer, and to stay here on this Earth will mean more
fruit from my labor, and I can be more help to you. To depart and be with
Christ is far better. He says ‘I'm hard pressed between the two.’ And thus
Paul would say for today, "To live is Christ. And to die is gain".
What makes Christianity a joy? I have a clear, concise purpose in this
life. It's to live for Christ. Friend, this means that my whole life is all about
pleasing God and about serving Him. It's no longer about me and what I
may or may not want to do. It's about living for Christ. You see, Paul said
‘the love of Christ compels us because we judge thus but if one die for all,
then all die. And he died for all that they who live for him, they who live
should no longer live for themselves, but live for him who died for them,
and rose again.’ Motivated by God's love, I die to self and live for God
every day. That's why Paul would say, in 1 Corinthians 15:31, "I die daily".
This is why Christians are ‘faithful unto death and will receive the crown of
If I'm going to really have the purpose in life that brings great joy, I've
got to have 100% devotion to God. Remember the words of Jesus. A
lawyer came to him, scribe of the law, one who had spent his entire life
studying the Old Testament. What's the greatest commandment? Jesus
said, "The first and the greatest commandment is this: You shall love the
Lord, your God, with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your
strength". Friend, to really have true joy, you've got to have 100% devotion.
Having one foot in the world, and one foot in the church won't work. 75%
won't work. I've got to be more than anything else completely committed to
Friend, this means that every moment of every day, I've got to realize
my life should be spent glorifying God. That's why I'm here. That's my
whole purpose in life. Isaiah 43:7, God said, "Everyone who's called by my
name whom I created for my glory, I have formed him. Yes, I have made
him". God created me for His glory. This is why Paul would say, in 1
Corinthians 10: 31, "Whether we eat, or whether we drink, or whatever we
do, we're to do all to the glory of God". If I'm really going to have the right
purpose in life, not only do I have to be devoted to God 100%-I've got to
realize my purpose, my aim, my objective in everything I say and do, is to
bring glory and honor to our God in this life. In so doing, I'm placing myself
under the submission and the authority of Jesus Christ. He's got all
authority. Whatever I do, I want to do it by the authority of Christ. I realize if
I'm doing that, I have great joy in following the perfect example of our Lord
and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Now, friend, if I'm really going to follow Christ, and if Christ is going to
be my purpose in this life, then I've got to obey Him as well. The
Ecclesiastes writer put it this way long ago as he looked for purpose, as he
looked for meaning, as he looked for something to attach himself to in this
life; he said this, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter". What's
life all about? ‘Fear God. Keep His Commandments. This is the whole duty
of man.’ Why? ‘God will bring every work into Judgment, including every
secret thing whether good or evil.’ If we could sum up the whole objective
of man, what would it be? Fear God. Keep his Commandments. Live for
Christ. For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
If Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him, I want
to obey him. Jesus said to the pious Jews, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord,
and do not do the things which I say?" Luke 6:46, and it was the Lord who
said ‘it's not everybody that looks up at Heaven and says, Lord, Lord that's
going there, but he who does the will of my Father in Heaven.’ Have
complete devotion to the Lord 100%. Make sure that our purpose is to
glorify God. Be obedient to God and live for Him each and every day.
Then friend, here's how you can rejoice- If my purpose is to live for
Christ, then can't you say like Paul, "For me to live is Christ. And to die is
gain"? Death is no longer that dark, daunting day that I hope never comes.
Death is a day you can actually look forward to. Blessed are the dead who
die in the Lord, Revelation 14:13."Precious in the sight of the Lord is the
death of His saints".
And so, what's that first key ingredient to having the joy of
Christianity? Realize Christ is the purpose of this life.
Secondly, if I'm going to have true joy, I must realize Christ has to
also be the pattern of my life. When you take a pattern, it's something that
you follow. If you follow it correctly, you get the desired result, whether it be
a sewing pattern, whether it be some type of welding pattern, whether it be
a building design, some type of schematic - if you follow the details of that
pattern, you're going to get the end result that you want. Friend, to have
true joy, Christ must be the pattern of my life.
Listen to Philippians 2:5. The Bible says it this way, "Let this mind be
in you, which was also in Christ Jesus". If I'm going to have joy, I've got to
have the mind and pattern of Christ. Now, what makes that such a joyful
mindset? You'll never find a more selfless and serving mind than that of the
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Bible says, in Mark 10:45, "The Son of
Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for
many". Christ was joyful because his life was about serving others and
sacrificing on behalf of others. Do you remember the words of Jesus that
are recorded in Acts 20:35? Paul notes, our Lord said, "It's more blessed to
give than it is to receive". Friend, you'll find no greater joy than a life of
service and a life of giving to others. Christ is the pattern of that life.
Now as you think about Christ's life, you think about a life that not
only is one of sacrifice and service, but think about all that Christ was
willing to give up on man's behalf. Christ was willing to give up His equality
with God. Philippians 2:5-9, "He considered not equality with God, a thing
to be grasped or held on to". God said, "Let us make man in our image."
Jesus, as God's plan goes into action, was willing to come to this Earth. He
tasted death for every man. Jesus gave up Heaven itself. 2 Corinthians 8:9,
“You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ though He was rich, yet for
your sakes he became poor that we, through His poverty, might be made
rich.” Jesus gave up Heaven. He became a man. He humbled himself and
became obedient to death. He gave up his life.
When you think about a life of self-service, following the pattern of
Christ, think about what Jesus gave up. He was mocked. He was beaten.
People spit on Him. His hands and His feet were nailed to a cruel cross. He
hung in agony until He breathed those last words, "It is finished". Why'd He
do all that? “God so loved the world. He gave.” Jesus so loved me and you
that He was willing to die on the cross for each one of us.
Now, friend, as we think about this mind, and as we think about
following the pattern of Christ that leads to true joy, that type of mindset is
going to encourage us to also be sacrificial. We should be a giving type of
individual. I need to be busy trying to spread the Gospel. Teaching
somebody else the Good News of Jesus, will bring more lasting joy than
you can ever begin to imagine. Luke 19:10, the Bible says, "The Son of
Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost". The Son of Man said
to me and you, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Gospel under every
creature,’ Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:18-20.
Jesus' life as a sacrifice should encourage us to try to live lives of
holiness each and every day. 1 Peter 1:15 the Bible says, "Be holy as he
who called you is holy".
If you want to have real joy, here are the first two things you've got to
do: You've got to have Christ as the purpose of life, and you've got to have
Christ as the pattern that you're following in this life.
A third item is necessary if I'm going to have real joy in this life. Christ
has to be the prize of life.
Look in Philippians 3:12-14. Paul says, "Naught but I have already
attained, or am already perfected, but I press on, that I may lay hold of that
for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count
myself to have apprehended but one thing I do. Forgetting those things
which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I
press toward the goal for the prize of the upper call of God in Christ Jesus".
Christ and going to Heaven have got to be the prize in life.
A lot of people don't have joy because they think they're not getting
what they ought to get. ‘I don't have the type of house I ought to have. I
don't have the type of car I ought to have. I don't have as much money as
somebody else has. I'm not as happy in these worldly endeavors and
interests as others.’ Wait a minute now! If I'm going to have real joy, I've got
to reassess what the prize of life is. The world and this stuff and the things
that are one day going to cease to exist, heaven and earth will pass away,
Matthew 24:35. If that's my prize, my friend, that's a very shallow and
I need a prize greater than this whole Earth. I need a prize so much
bigger and better than just the here and now. Christ and Heaven are that
prize. If my hope is built on going to Heaven, and I'm seeking that every
day- that prize is in sight. I can rejoice each and every day.
We need to make sure that that's really our goal. In Colossians 3:1
Paul says to Christians, ‘If then you're raised with Christ, seek those things
which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Do not set
your mind on earthly things. But set our mind on heavenly things.’ When
you think about life make sure you've got the right prize. Don't put your
prize on so many things that are mundane, going to corrupt, and eventually
pass away. Put your prize on Christ and going to Heaven. "There remains
therefore a rest for the people of God,” Hebrews 4:9. Jesus is currently at
the right hand of the Father in Heaven, Hebrews 1:4. If I want to see God, if
I want to see Christ, if I want to live in Heaven, that's got to be my goal
each and every day. If that's my goal, I can find happiness knowing I may
never have the best things in this life. I may face persecution. I may have
difficulty. I may have trials and tribulations, but, if I'm faithful unto death, I
can receive the crown of life.
Here's your prize. This will be the greatest proclamation and the
greatest prize ever given, when Jesus says to His own on that final day,
"Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joys of your Lord".
Friend I'll assure you if you won a million dollars, it wouldn't even be a
drop in the bucket compared to that prize. If that's your prize, you've got
something to rejoice and be happy about each and every day.
Now let's mention that fourth attribute: Christ is the power in my life
I want you to listen to the beautiful words of Philippians 4:13 give
such strength and encouragement and hope to every child of God. Listen to
these words. Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens
me". Now Paul did not end his statement with the first half of that sentence.
Paul did not say, "I can do all things", and the period end there. No, Paul
couldn't do it on his own. ‘I can't do it on my own. But I can do all things
through Christ who strengthens me.’
Friend, if I put my faith, if we'll put our faith and our trust in the Lord,
there's nothing we can't accomplish. I love the example of Paul in Acts
27:25. Listen to the words that Paul gave to the men that he was on the
ship with that looked like it was about to be broken up and destroyed in the
ocean. Notice these words. Acts 27:25 Paul said, “Therefore take heart,
men. For I believe God that it will be just as he has told me". Paul said you
can take it to the bank. God's told me the way it'll be, and that's the way it'll
be. How true it ought to be for every child of God. I need the faith to trust
God and through that, I can do all things. I love the words of Hebrews 13:5-
6. The Bible says, “Let your life be without covetousness. Be content with
such things as you have". Why? Here's why: the Lord has said, "I will never
leave you, nor forsake you". So that you may boldly say, "The Lord is my
helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me? “How wonderful of an
encouragement it is when God says, "I'm going to be right there with you.
I'll never leave you. You'll never be alone. I'll never forsake you. You'll
never be abandoned". ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens
Friend, if I'm going to have this power in my life, and if you're going to
have this power in your life, then we've got to learn to rejoice, regardless of
the physical circumstances. I know that's possible. I know I can have joy
regardless of the circumstances because of the example of Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1-2, the Bible says, "Seeing then, that we're surrounded by so
great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that
does so easily ensnare us. And let us run with endurance, the race that is
set before us. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who
for the joy set before him, endured the Cross".
You don't think of the Cross much as a joy, do you? But Jesus, for
that joy set before him, what joy? The joy of doing God's Will, the joy of
pleasing the Father, the joy of being reunited with God once again. He
endured the Cross. I've got to learn to rejoice in every situation. Do you
remember James 1:2? "My brethren, count it all joy, when you fall into
Secondly, if I'm going to let this power of Christ, rule in my life, not
only do I have to learn to rejoice regardless of the situation; I've got to learn
to not let worry rule my life, but let prayer overcome it. Listen to 1 Peter 5:7.
This is such a beautiful and encouraging passage. The Bible says, "Cast all
your cares upon Him". Why? ‘He cares for you.’
Friend, God loves you. And God loves me. And God says, ‘Let me
help you with that.’ Cast all your care upon him. God cares for you. ‘Men
always to pray and never lose heart,’ Luke 18:1."The effective prayer of a
righteous man, it overcomes much".
We want to strive to do our best and put our heart and our mind on
godly things. You see, your mind and your heart is where it all starts. Listen
to Proverbs 23:7,"As a man thinks in his heart, so is he". If I'm going to be
happy, that's a matter of the mind. "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he".
My thinking determines my outlook in this life. If I can learn to think this
way, that Christ is the purpose of life, Christ is the true pattern of life, Christ
is the prize of life, and Christ gives me the power to overcome life. If I can
learn to adjust my thinking to those four qualities that are clearly illustrated
in the Book of Philippians, I can begin to have real joy. When I do this, I can
say like Paul in Philippians 4:19, "My God shall supply all your needs in
Now friend, here's what we ask you to think about today. Do you
have that joy? Are you happy, spiritually speaking? Do you have the peace
and the joy and the comfort that comes from being a child of God? Maybe
you look into your life right now, and you can say to yourself, ‘I'm not
happy. I don't have that peace. I don't have that joy.’ Maybe you want that
Friend I will promise you more than anything in all the world God
wants you to have that joy also. How do I know that? The Bible says so.
God wants all men that includes you. God wants all men to be saved. God
wants you to be happy. That happiness comes in obedience to the Gospel
and living every day for his Son.
Maybe you're thinking to yourself, ‘Okay, I want that joy and I want to
become a child of God.’ Next question then is-how do you become one?
Jesus clearly taught us how. You first have to believe in Jesus as God's
Son. Jesus said, "Unless you believe that I am he, you will surely die in
your sins”. Once you've believed in Christ, you must be willing to repent of
sin. Unless you repent, you'll all likewise perish. Luke 13:3. Having
repented, would you make that good confession? ‘I believe with all my
heart, Jesus is the Christ’? Acts 8:36-37. Would you do what Jesus said to
be saved? ‘He that believes and is baptized will be saved. He that does not
believe shall be condemned,’ Mark 16:16.
Our hope and our prayer today is that God's joy, Christ's joy, the joy
of being a Christian, can be yours today. If it's not, and we can help you in
any way, please let us know.
Please contact us. We want to help you to have the joy of Christianity
and live the best life possible.
Study Questions for: “Great Bible Lessons: Lesson 6”
1. What were Paul and Silas doing in prison according to Acts 16:25?
2. According to 1 Corinthians 10:31, how should we do all things?
3. What does Revelation 14:13 say about the death of people who die in
4. According to Philippians 2:5, whose mind should we strive to pattern
5. Why did Christ come according to 2 Corinthians 8:9?
6. According to 1 Peter 1:15, why should we be holy?
7. According to Colossians 3:1, what should we seek?
8. According to Philippians 4:13, how can we do all things?
9. What does Paul say of God’s word in Acts 27:25?
10. According to 1 Peter 5:7, why should we cast our cares upon Him?