FOUR TALKS ON JOY - 3
© Rosemary Bardsley 2016
TOPIC 3: THE JOY YOU HAVE GIVEN ME
[Alternate: Where has all the joy gone? Answer #3: Swept away by the winds of the world]
Psalm 4:7 [NEB]: 'The joy that you have given me is more than they will ever have with all their corn and wine'
The world around us is filled with attitudes and isms that undermine faith in God. These mindsets and worldviews that surround us subtly influence us and slowly but surely, if we are not careful, erode, corrode and diminish our joy.
What are these influences?
In this mindset
there is no god or any supernatural power
there are no miracles
there is no resurrection
there is no heaven or hell
there is no sin or salvation
there are no absolute moral values
Jesus is only a man
the Bible is not the word of God
B. Secular Humanism
This dominant ism:
Believes there is no god.
Believes humans are capable and responsible for their own destiny and salvation
Believes religion is harmful
Believes there is no life after death
Believes there are no absolute moral values - 'ethics' is autonomous and situational
Exults human reason and human intelligence
Believes in individual freedom of choice, including sexual freedom - nothing is evil in itself
Believes in a full range of civil liberties
Promotes one-world government.
C. Postmodernism and nihilism
As the logical flow-on of secular humanism, postmodernism/nihilism end up in -
For biblical examples:
The parable of the rich fool.
The rich young ruler.
In the church:
Demanding wealth and health from God
Healing in the atonement
Must have bigger and better
Can't do without
Luxuries are common fare
No concept of economy
Must keep up with the Jones's
Our children mustn't do without
All of this sweeps away our joy.
"Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die."
If it feels good, do it.
If it makes you feel good, it's right.
Pleasure is the ultimate good.
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon sought satisfaction [meaning, purpose] in
Wisdom and knowledge
He found that it was all like chasing the wind.
Our society is filled with hdeonists, and so are our churches.
In religious hedonism we find people:
Seeking religious thrill feelings
Seeking ecstatic experiences
Not satisfied with the solid truth of the Word.
Church-hopping and church-shopping, trying to find one that 'gives a buzz'.
The Joy of the Lord:
All of these influences subtly penetrate our minds and undermine and sweep away our joy - the joy the Lord has given us.
We must not let ourselves be fooled.
None of these isms is right.
All are from the enemy.
Some may for a time appear to give a certain joy - but is is a short-lived joy.
The joy the Lord gives us is one that stands in contrast to all of these isms:
 It is the joy of trust and confidence in an almighty God whose every word can be relied on completely.
 It is the joy of knowing the true God who is good: loving, merciful and forgiving, intent on our salvation, not our destruction.
 It is the joy of knowing that I do not stand alone: rather, I was created to reflect the glory of my Creator for ever.
 It is the joy of being content: 'though the fig tree does not bud ... yet I will rejoice in the LORD. I will be joyful in God my Saviour - the Sovereign LORD is my strength' [Habakkuk 3:17-19].
 It is the joy of having found peace and satisfaction in Christ in the midst of a pleasure craving, thrill seeking world, where increasingly there is no meaning and no hope.
This joy that God has given us is more ... more than anything the isms of the world can offer.
Let us resist their inroads into our lives. Let us deny them the power and the right to diminish our God-given, Christ-centred JOY.