No One Will Take Your Joy from You – Desiring God

From Gabi Bogdan (VIA) No One Will Take Your Joy from You.

John 16:16-24

“A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

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A “Pillar-Strengthening” Sermon

When I returned from the leave of absence earlier this year Noël and I sat down with representatives of the Elder Care Committee who are charged to help us watch over the pace of our lives, and they suggested that on the weekends when I am teaching a five hour seminar (like I did on Desiring God this weekend), I preach what they affectionately called a “classic sermon”. I thought that was a good idea because it accomplishes two things. One is to take some of the pressure of preparation off by preaching on something familiar; and the other is to strengthen some of the biblical pillars of our church that newer people may not be as aware of as those who have been here for a while.

So that’s what today’s sermon is. I don’t know if “classic” is the right word. But “pillar-strengthening” is. So this is a topical message on the pillar of the truth of Christian Hedonism. And the reason I say the pillar of “the truth” of Christian Hedonism is because the phrase “Christian Hedonism” is not of the essence and is not in any of our official documents. That’s intentional. It’s the truth that matters not the name.

The Aroma of Christian Hedonism

What it refers to is the truth that “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him”—along with the astonishing implications of that truth. After the Bible, which alone is infallible, the most formative document of this church is the Elder Affirmation of Faith. The truth (not the phrase) of Christian Hedonism runs through the document, creating the aroma that we aim at in all we do. For example:

2.2 We believe that God is supremely joyful in the fellowship of the Trinity, each Person beholding and expressing His eternal and unsurpassed delight in the all-satisfying perfections of the triune God.

3.1 We believe that God, from all eternity, in order to display the full extent of His glory for the eternal and ever-increasing enjoyment of all who love Him, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His will, freely and unchangeably ordain and foreknow whatever comes to pass.

4.1 We believe that God created the universe, and everything in it, out of nothing, by the Word of His power. Having no deficiency in Himself, nor moved by any incompleteness in His joyful self-sufficiency, God was pleased in creation to display His glory for the everlasting joy of the redeemed, from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

4.2 We believe that God directly created Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve from his side. We believe that Adam and Eve were the historical parents of the entire human race; that they were created male and female equally in the image of God, without sin; that they were created to glorify their Maker, Ruler, Provider, and Friend by trusting His all-sufficient goodness, admiring His infinite beauty, enjoying His personal fellowship, and obeying His all-wise counsel . . .

12.1 . . . We believe that the ultimate purpose of the Church is to glorify God in the everlasting and ever-increasing gladness of worship.

13. We believe . . . the ultimate aim of world missions is that God would create, by His Word, worshippers who glorify His name through glad-hearted faith and obedience.

14.2 We believe in the blessed hope that at the end of the age Jesus Christ will return to this earth personally, visibly, physically, and suddenly in power and great glory . . . We believe that the righteous will enter into the everlasting joy of their Master, and those who suppressed the truth in unrighteousness will be consigned to everlasting conscious misery.

14.3 We believe that the end of all things in this age will be the beginning of a never-ending, ever-increasing happiness in the hearts of the redeemed, as God displays more and more of His infinite and inexhaustible greatness and glory for the enjoyment of His people.

15.2 . . . We believe that the supreme virtue of love is nourished by the strong meat of God-centered doctrine. And we believe that a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ is sustained in an atmosphere of deep and joyful knowledge of God and His wonderful works.

In other words, Christian Hedonism is woven into the fabric of this foundational document and thus into the faith and life of our church. This document is the way all your elders understand the Bible. In it are the pillars of our common faith—what we believe and what we teach. And so it is fitting that from time to time we explain and strengthen the pillars with sermons like this.

Nine Implications of Christian Hedonism

So here’s where we are going. First, we will go to Philippians 1 for one of the foundational texts underneath this pillar of Christian Hedonism—the truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Then we will spell out 9 implications for our lives and our ministry.

1. God himself, most fully revealed in his Son Jesus Christ, is the supreme value in the universe.

That’s why Paul says in Philippians 1:20, “It is my eager expectation and hope that . . . now as always Christ will be honored in my body.” That is the greatest goal for all of life, because it is the goal of the creation of the universe. “From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom 11:36). Valuing God and the glory of God above all else permeates the leadership of Bethlehem.

2. Joyfully treasuring Jesus above all things in life and death displays his worth and glory.

3. Since God is the most glorious of all beings, and since that glory shines most brightly in us when we are most satisfied in him, therefore it is our duty to pursue the greatest and longest happiness in God every hour of the day and forever.

Psalm 16 is one of the great expressions of this. I get the words “greatest” and “longest” from this psalm. Here is composite of verses 8–11:

“I have set the Lord always before me [so this is intentional; this is pursuit] . . . Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; For . . . You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

We are commanded to pursue our joy in God.

“Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing” (Psa 100:1–2)!

“Delight yourself in the LORD” (Psa 37:4).

“Rejoice in the Lord . . .” (Phil 4:4).

[Illustration of objection: Pursue obedience not joy. That's like saying eat fruit not apples.]

4. When we say you should pursue your joy in God all the time, no exceptions, we do not make a god out of joy. We say that you have already made a god out of whatever you find most pleasure in.

We don’t worship joy; we say that joy in God is the heart of worship. What you find most joy in is what you worship. That’s what worship is. Valuing and treasuring and cherishing and enjoying and being satisfied in God—or, if you are an idolater, anything other than God.

5. The aim of corporate worship is to awaken and express together our joyful admiration of all the wonders and works of God.

“I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God” (Psa 43:4).

I do not criticize you for coming to “get.” I think God greatly honored when people come to corporate worship starving for God. And deeply desiring that they will meet him, and hear from him.

6. The word of God and preaching exist to reveal God to us for the sake of our joy in him.

“The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul; . . .
the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart” (Psa 19:7-8).

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).

Therefore my job in worship is to set a table for you where you eat and rejoice in the God you taste. I am aiming not merely to change your ideas about God but to change your affections for God. God’s glory in your life, hangs in the balance.

7. The aim of all discipling and all Christian relationships is to help each other maintain our joy in God above all things.

This was Paul’s whole ministry.

“Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith” (2 Cor 1:24).

“I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.” (Phil 1:25).

8. Seeking your greatest and longest joy in God severs the root of sin.

Sin only has power because of the promises it makes. Promises for happiness. Nobody sins out of duty. We sin because we believe the promise of sin that we will be happier. The only way to defeat the power of sin’s promise is with the power of a superior promise.

For example, how does the Bible free us from the love of money and the sin of anxiety and greed?

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me” (Heb 13:5–6)?

We are freed from the sin of loving money by the pursuit of “contentment” in God. And that contentment is rooted in a superior promise: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

This is the whole secret of sanctification: The expulsive power of a new affection!

9. The pursuit of joy in God is essential not only because God is glorified by it, but because people are loved by it. Pursuing your joy in God is essential to your loving people.

“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part” (2 Cor 8:1–2).

Love is the overflow of joy in God that meet the needs of others. Or: Love is the grace-enabled impulse to increase your joy by seeing it expand into other people.

“I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive‘” (Acts 20:35).

“For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one” (Heb 10:34).

Loving as Leaders and Husbands

If leaders would love their people, they must pursue their joy in ministry, and the people must help them.

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Heb 13:17).

If husbands are to love their wives, they must pursue their own joy in the joy of their wives.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . . so that he might present the church to himself in splendor . . . In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body” (Eph 5:25–30).

We love them well when we find our joy in their joy. Cherish her, for no one every hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it. Seek her joy for she is you. Her joy is yours.

Invincible Joy in Jesus

And the implications go on and on. But we close. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Therefore, since glorifying God is the main goal of the universe and your life, be relentless and unwavering in fighting for joy in God. This is your lifelong vocation.

And here is a wonderful note to close on: since God is sovereign, he guarantees the triumph of your joy in the end. In the text from the Gospel of John that was read at the beginning, Jesus said to the disciples who were about to lose him in death and get him back at his resurrection, “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22).

No one. It is invincible. Full. Solid. Eternal. No one will take this joy from you. God is our exceeding joy. And he cannot fail.

© Desiring God website desiringGod.org 

Peniel – Provocarea lui Dumnezeu pentru tanara generatie – cu Lucian Oniga

Fondatorul organizatiei Peniel vorbeste despre istoria si valorile miscarii de trezire printre tineri cunoscuta ca Peniel. (Secvente de la Conferinte Peniel incl. Tirgu Mures in minutele 15-22, lucrarea Duhului Sfint minutul 45

Cintare – Voi inalta Numele Tau

              de la o intrunire Peniel.

O inima pentru tanara generatie – Pastor Gheorghe Dicoi, Biserica Flacara Inchinarii, Alba Iulia

Regele Sulurilor

Ce face gindacul?O descriere a muncii desfasurate de un gindac. Considerati maiestria si precizia muncii lor.

Psalm 50:11 11Eu cunosc toate păsările de pe munţi, şi tot ce se mişcă pe cîmp este al Meu.

Gândacul înfăşurător de frunze este, cu cei patru milimetri ai săi, un pitic, însă ceea ce reuşeşte să realizeze este un lucru uriaş.

Gândacul înfăşurător (Deporaus betulae L) este în întregime negru. Singura lui podoabă sunt nişte puncte mari pe aripa chitinoasă. Bărbătuşul se deosebeşte de femelă prin picioruşele posterioare mai ciudate. Acest gândac obscur se găseşte în toată Europa; poate fi întâlnit chiar şi în Siberia şi în nordul Africii.

Tot ceea ce Dumnezeu a creat poartă ştampila genialităţii Sale; de multe ori chiar acolo unde nu te aştepţi. Femela gândacului înfăşurător este doar un pitic, însă ea realizează cu o iscusinţă uluitoare o muncă uriaşă. Ea este dotată cu uneltele necesare şi cu capacitatea de a le folosi în modul cel mai optim. Hardware-ul şi software-ul se completează reciproc. Acest mic gândac cu trompă nu este pur şi simplu un produs al “naturii”; chiar şi el arată spre “Creatorul tuturor lucrurilor”. Tot despre el afirmă Sfânta Scriptură: “Toate lucrurile au fost făcute prin El şi pentru El.”

Pentru a-şi pregăti incubaţia, gândacul femelă stăpâneşte arta de a răsuci nişte “ţigări” elegante şi de o formă desăvârşită. Ca material de lucru slujesc în special frunzele de mesteacăn. Dacă acestea se află la înălţimea ochiului nostru, putem observa „uşor minuscula artistă în timpul lucrului, în acest scop nu trebuie să avem la dispoziţie decât suficient timp, fiindcă munca respectivă se întinde pe parcursul unei zile întregi.

Gândacul îşi alege cu grijă frunza pe care s-o răsucească. Alegerea aceasta este foarte importantă, căci nu sunt potrivite pentru o asemenea lucrare nici frunzele vechi, care sunt greu de prelucrat, nici cele tinere, care sunt prea moi.

Înainte de toate, gândacul străbate în lung şi-n lat frunza. Cu vârful trompei pipăie nervurile frunzei: examenul de capacitate! El verifică astfel dacă alimentarea cu sevă este bună. Dacă examinarea ţesutului este trecută cu succes, gândacul se mai caţără o dată – ca un geometru – pe treimea anterioară a frunzei, de parcă ar vrea s-o măsoare. Apoi lucrurile se precipită: fără să şovăie, insecta începe să taie.

Modul de realizare a tăieturii i-a adus gândacului celebritate mondială. Din partea superioară dreaptă a frunzei (privind din faţă), el realizează o tăietură în formă de S până la nervura centrală. Tăierea frunzei, care oricum este destul de groasă pentru el, este făcută cu precizia unei lame de ras. Operaţia aceasta este asigurată de foarfecele puternice, în formă de lopată, ale aparatului său bucal. Trompa uşor strâmbată se dovedeşte a fi o unealtă de precizie de o înaltă eficienţă. Neobosit, gândacul îşi execută tăietura cu mult avânt. “Aşchiile” sar regulat în stânga şi în dreapta.

Ajungând la nervura centrală, tăietura nu va fi pur şi simplu întreruptă şi continuată după nervură, ci ea este uşor frezată pe direcţia de tăiere.

Tăierea celeilalte jumătăţi a frunzei se face de asemenea în formă de S, însă ceva mai puţin adâncă. Fără această formă ingenioasă, frunza nu s-ar putea răsuci! Datorită circulaţiei permanente a sevei şi a elasticităţii ţesutului celular, gândacului i-ar fi practic imposibil chiar şi numai să îndoaie puţin o frunză.

Cum s-ar putea răsuci o asemenea frunză? Cea mai simplă cale ar fi desigur să rupi codiţa şi să faci operaţia jos pe pământ, însă atunci frunza s-ar ofili curând şi larva care ar ieşi ulterior din ou n-ar mai dispune de hrană proaspătă. Totodată în mijlocul ierburilor şi al mizeriei stânjenitoare nu s-ar putea realiza o asemenea lucrare de fineţe. Sus în copac gândacul lucrează nestânjenit. Iar frunza, care în urma tăierii şi-a pierdut elasticitatea, rămâne totuşi încă mult timp proaspătă şi-i slujeşte larvei ca hrană.

Forma specială a tăieturii corespunde unui principiu geometric (epicicloida); între perimetrul frunzei şi curba în formă de S de pe prima jumătate a suprafeţei frunzei sunt valabile anumite legi geometrice: curba se comportă faţă de marginea frunzei ca o evolută faţă de evolventă; totodată, cea de-a doua curbă în formă de S se află şi ea la rândul ei într-o relaţie geometrică cu prima.

În realizarea modelului tăieturii, gândacul nu este legat de nişte reguli rigide. El poate executa tăietura atât pe dreapta, cât şi pe stânga, ceea ce înseamnă că el este în stare să tragă curbele de tăiere în mod simetric.

După ce tăietura este realizată, gândacul verifică încă o dată în mod amănunţit partea anterioară a frunzei care atârnă. El insistă minute în şir asupra unor anumite porţiuni. Pe dosul frunzei se opreşte puţin asupra acelui fragment cu care va începe să realizeze înfăşurarea.

În niciunul din locurile verificate nu se vor constata urme de mâncare, de răzuire sau zgârieturi. Ce a făcut gândacul? Să fi uns cu un fel de masă cleioasă, care să-i uşureze munca de înfăşurare? Sau a înţepat nervurile cu sevă, pentru ca din ele să iasă un lichid lipicios? – Indiferent ce ar fi, aceste lucrări pregătitoare pot dura vreo cinci ore bune. Abia după aceea începe înfăşurarea, pornind din punctul în care a început şi tăierea frunzei.

Acum este rândul picioruşelor, prevăzute cu nişte minuscule cârlige duble, să-şi dovedească importanţa ca unelte speciale, în partea inferioară ele sunt foarte păroase. Această “talpă” îi permite gândacului să alerge cu mare viteză nu numai în plan vertical, ci şi agăţat.

Gândacul n-are voie să-şi elibereze nici o clipă picioarele; munca lui de ore întregi ar fi distrusă, dacă ar da drumul la rulou într-un moment nepotrivit. Cu o precizie extraordinară şi cu mare atenţie se deschide un cârlig, în timp ce altul se ancorează imediat. Cu toate acestea, uneori se întâmplă ca elasticitatea frunzei să depăşească puterea micului specialistul şi astfel înfăşurarea se desface puţin, însă, cu o tenacitate uimitoare, gândacul o ia de la capăt, până când porţiunea împotrivitoare este supusă.

În timpul primei înfăşurări – ce va fi urmată de alte trei, gândacul femelă va depune două până la cinci ouă, înţepând membrana externă a frunzei şi introducând în fiecare “buzunărel” câte un ou.

Cu toate că acum ouăle sunt depuse şi frunza-l înconjoară ca un clopot protector, gândacul nu-şi găseşte încă mult timp liniştea. După o scurtă pauză, el se va căţăra prin tub şi va căuta începutul ruloului. Apoi va începe să tragă spirala de frunză ca pe un arc de ceas, din interior spre exterior. O muncă cu adevărat dificilă pentru insectă! Din când în când ea iese la lumină, ca şi cum ar vrea să tragă aer proaspăt în piept şi să-şi admire opera din afară. Nici după această a doua înfăşurare nu este mulţumită. A treia, ba chiar a patra oară va trage de arc, tot mai strâns, până când va corespunde formei dorite.

În final, acest micuţ “rege al sulurilor” îşi îndreaptă atenţia asupra jumătăţii exterioare a frunzei, care încă mai atârnă liberă în jurul axului. Acum îl interesează să-i confere înfăşurării rezistenţa necesară. Va trage de înfăşurare până când şi partea exterioară va fi lipită strâns. Atunci înţeapă cu trompa straturile frunzei, în felul acesta nituieşte ruloul care acum este rezistent la intemperii.

După un anumit timp vor ieşi larvele. Ele se hrănesc cu frunza moale, ce şi-a păstrat neschimbată culoarea. Apoi ‘ţigările” se usucă şi cad. Larvele se strecoară în pământ şi se transformă în nimfe. Anul viitor, o nouă generaţie de gândaci înfăşurători îşi va arăta arta…

Eugen Scheible

Salvation by Francis Chan

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