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Joy, Joy Unspeakable Joy!

"Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus:
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons.Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer" 
Good Morning Beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day.
Thank you for joining us today, we're glad you're here.
The world we live in has a rather sad reality. It is a world that knows mostly despair, depression, fulfillment, dissatisfaction; and longing for things that never come to pass, with even a sadder reality that there no hope that things should change. Those who are of the world, are constantly searching for love, for happiness, both are at best, elusive and virtually unobtainable. Because they have a worldly view of love, and happiness which depends on ones circumstances.

Christians, on the other hand, have an unconditional love, the love of our Father. And rather than happiness, which depends on the present circumstances, we have the confidence of joy. Immeasurable
Our joy doesn't happen by chance, it is not dependent on our circumstance, in fact, its in spite of our circumstances. It is not limited by a present or future occurrence. It is inexplicable and eternal. That’s very different from happiness. 

In I Peter 1:8, Peter summarizes it beautifully. "and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,"
Fellowship seems to mean many things to different people. Perhaps, like a well worn coin, it may be gradually losing its true impression. The word fellowship simply means “to have in common.” But true Christian fellowship is really much deeper than sharing coffee and pie. Too often what we think is fellowship is really only acquaintanceship or friendship. You cannot have fellowship with someone unless you have something in common; and for Christian fellowship, this means the possessing of eternal life.
I believe that true Christian fellowship is much more than having a name on a church roster or being present at a Bible study. It is possible to be close to people physically and miles away from them spiritually.
Let us bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

We are again so thankful for Your Word, it brings us such joy. We know that is a gift from You. We are grateful for the wonderful truth You have prepared for us today. Thank You for the fellowship of those You have prompted to assemble with us today. We pray that You would speak to our hearts, through Your Holy Spirit, fill us with Your Spirit, produce in us Your overwhelming joy, cause us to be a grateful people. Search the hidden places of our hearts, reveal to us our sin, convict us, then cleanse us. Put Your power and glory on display in our lives, that they might be pleasing to You. All for Your great glory!
In Jesus' name
Today's Message: Joy, Joy, Unspeakable Joy! 

What do you see when you look at your church family? Are you more inclined to see just the things you don’t like? Do you focus in on the negative? Are you one of those people who rarely have a good word to say about anything or anyone? Are you one of those people who is always finding the faults of others? 
If so, the problem is likely not them, but you. That may sound a bit harsh, but it's as they say, "truth hurts." A life controlled by the flesh is filled with bitterness, resentfulness, holding grudges. Speaks harshly and gossips about others.
In contrast, a life controlled by the Holy Spirit seems to be able to find the good in others, in spite of the bad. They tend to speak softly, kindly, forgiving others easily, gives others the benefit of the doubt and loves freely.
Oh do not misunderstand, love never turns a blind eye to sin! Even Jesus dealt with sin in the lives of believers and unbelievers and called it exactly what it was. Sin. The difference however, between us and Jesus, is that He perfectly loved those He was forced to rebuke. We tend to have a problem doing that, don't we? Jesus reacted in love; we tend to react in anger.
I believe this has become a major issue in many of the churches today. There are people who will not forgive, gather in small groups to grumble and find fault with what the church and others are doing. And almost always seem to be out of sorts with the rest of the congregation about something.
As a result, there is a lack of genuine love and forgiveness, souls are not saved and the church is rendered powerless.
Open with me your Bibles to the book of Philippians, you will notice as we begin to study this wonderful epistle, that the apostle Paul has mostly positive things to say about the church of Philippi.
Was the church in Philippi a perfect church? Absolutely not! It was the same as any other church made up of redeemed sinners. There were gossips, there were troublemakers, there were people who said the wrong things, did the wrong things, both at the wrong time, they were clearly imperfect people. 
Yet these people were praying for Paul. They were witnessing and sharing the Gospel. They were working, they were giving sacrificially. There were many good things that they were doing, so Paul refused to focus on the negative things and chose to see the good things.
I believe that often we fail to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect church and there is most certainly no such thing as a perfect Christian. Yes, that means even you! Or me... There is so much bickering in Christian circles, so much complaining, so much unhappiness. This was never the way it was intended to be! Christians were meant to be filled with love and joy and peace – so I hope you will join with me as we seek to restore the joy!
When we love others as we should, we will remember our many faults and failures, rather than concentrating our focus on the shortcomings of others. 
We live in a world of long faces sad heavy hearts, and constant struggles, I believe that the missing ingredient in our lives, is joy. And if there is anywhere that it seems conspicuous by its absence it is the church. I believe that we all understand, we're not in danger of losing our salvation, but we can certainly lose the joy of our salvation. Therefore, I believe that we need our joy restored.
I believe that any Christian that is experiencing depression, feeling discouraged about anything should study the book of Philippians. Sixteen times in four brief chapters Paul speaks of inner joy. So let's begin, shall we?

I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read to you from Philippians chapter 1, verse 1 through 4.

"Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus:
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer"

There is something so special, so deep about the love relationship between Paul and the Philippian believers, that in the situation he is in as a prisoner, and he mentions his imprisonment four times in this chapter, he is basically writing to the Philippians because he’s concerned about their sorrow. And there are other things Paul is concerned about. He’s concerned about their unity, about their faithfulness, however, his deep concern is that they love him so much, they are sad that he is a prisoner. 

In essence, Paul is writing to say to them, "Hey, I am rejoicing in my circumstances, therefore, you should do no less." There are three things I'd like for you to notice here in the first two verses. That is the servants, the saints and the salutation. The servants and saints are in verse one. And the salutation in verse two.

First the servants, "Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus," we all know who they are. We know Paul. We know Timothy. We know what it means to be a bond servant or slave of Christ. But let's look at Paul. Paul, the beloved apostle, who was converted on the Damascus Road, a remarkable man, whom the Holy Spirit used to write 13 of the epistles of the New Testament, a model example to every Christian and the most noble servant of Christ the world has ever known. 

And Timothy, we all know Timothy. Timothy was Paul's son in the faith, he was introduced to him, when Paul visited Derbe in Lystra, as recorded in Acts chapter 16. Paul encountered this young man, then took him as his protégé, trained him, taught him. During which he became a real son to Paul. Timothy was his dear companion, the one to whom he would give the legacy of future ministry when he left this world.
In Philippians chapter 2, verse 19, we find a very wonderful but brief introduction to Timothy. "But I hope, in the Lord Jesus, to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition." So, in this verse we learn that Timothy is Paul's messenger, he will be coming soon. 
He is going to come to you to find out what's going on with you, then he is going return to me and encourage me with what he tells me.

Then, in verse 20 we learn a bit more about Timothy and the reason he's sending him, "For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare." Timothy is genuinely and compassionately concerned about you. In other words, Timothy has my heart, he cares about you, I don't have anyone else to send because they all seek their own interests. Obviously, Timothy was there when the church in Philippi was begun.
Through all of this, I'd like you to remember that when Paul penned this letter, he had already been  imprisoned for two years at Caesarea, without trial, and he has been held an unknown amount of time in Caesar’s jail in Rome. He had survived a disastrous shipwreck while being transported to Rome. He has been deserted by most of his friends. Other Christian leaders are using Paul’s circumstances to advance themselves. He is facing the possibility of execution at any time. It does not sound like a situation that would lend itself to the writing of a joy filled, cheerful letter of encouragement, does it? Yet, I believe that there is no book in the entire Bible, that speaks more of joy, than Paul’s letter to the Philippians. 

Then we have "slaves of Jesus Christ." Now some translation say bondservants, they both are from the Greek word "douloi" or "doulos." They mean the same thing. It conveys ownership, possession, allegiance, dependence, subjection, and loyalty. So Paul and Timothy don’t see themselves as slaves in some abject way, being forced to do something they don’t want to do, but servile, as willing slaves of Christ, willing bondservants of Jesus Christ, serving out of joy, out of willingness, out of affection, out of love. In our culture, when we think of slaves, we think of forced behavior, an unwilling subjection.

He was a bondservant of Jesus Christ, first and foremost. He was not a bondservant of the church, he was not a bondservant of the people. When you attach yourself to people, if you attach yourself to the people of the church, they will disappoint you. When you attach yourself to the Lord, Jesus Christ, He will never disappoint you.
If you evaluate your ministry on the basis of the opinions of people, on the popular vote, you will be lead astray. If you evaluate your ministry solely upon the Lord, you will always know where you stand and will never be lead astray. I believe that it is absolutely necessary for anyone who is serving the Lord. Though I can testify, you will not always be popular with the people. 
In fact, quite the opposite. You will be the target of derogatory comments, frequently called a heresy and out of touch with the needs of society. However, if you bear in mind, that Jesus Himself, was not popular among the people, He was however, right with God, I believe that you'll better understand my view point. I am not called to please men, I am called to please God and teach the Word of God to men.

So, who are they? In verse 1 Paul writes, "To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons." Saints, such a beautiful word, by biblical definition, has somehow gotten so messed up by our cultural understanding, we seem to have lost sight of what a saint is. Some people actually think it means that someone has a statue made of them, while others think they are the dead people on the walls of churches. However, we who are called saints are a little more than dead people.

In fact, is a designation used in Scripture of any and all those who have a new life in Christ; thereby, all Christians are saints. It's synonymous with believer. It's synonymous with Christian. We are made separate, we are made unique, and we are different from the rest of the world.
In verse 2, he writes "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

You can live with joy if your conscious of God’s grace. If you drink deeply from the well of God’s peace.

The Greek word for grace is "charis." It's basic idea is simply "non-meritorious or unearned favor, an unearned gift, a favor or blessings bestowed as a gift, freely and never as merit for work performed."

In other words, grace is that which God does for mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ, which mankind cannot earn, does not deserve, and will never merit.

The Greek work for peace is "eirēnē," conveys the sense of an inner rest, well being and harmony. The ultimate peace is the state of reconciliation with God, effected by placing one's faith in the gospel.

Paul is saying "I wish you grace, I wish you peace. I wish You God's best." The source is God the Father, the source is the Lord Jesus Christ. It says, "I want the very best for you." 

Grace is God's gift, peace is the result. 

In verse 3, Paul writes "I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you." Paul is saying, I don't have any negative memories of you.

Then in verse 4, "always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer." All of my memories, all of my prayers, all of you bring me joy." Paul doesn't seen to identify a negative or any major issue. Were they perfect, of course not, but they deeply and sacrificially loved Paul, and he loved them just as deeply. In fact, in verse 8, I know that jumping a head a bit, and we'll go deeper into this at a later time, he says, "For God is my witness, how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus." What a profound statement of love.

They loved Paul more than any other church; they continually sent him gifts of money to meet his need, to support him. They were generous in their gifts. They cared for Paul with unusual zeal. Even though they were not particularly wealthy, they gave abundantly to Paul’s need on several occasions. But that was the way they loved and cared for him. And every time he thought about them he was filled with joy, he rejoiced. 
We can identify certain characteristics, elements. There was the joy of recollection, the joy of intercession, the joy of participation, the joy of anticipation, the joy of the affection. And nothing can produce that kind of joy apart from thee Holy Spirit. 

I believe that so many suffer from anxiety and depression, because of the inability to see things as they really are. One of the many tactic of the enemy. And, I'm certainly not implying that anyone suffering from depression and anxiety is without God, or an unbeliever. However, Satan has a way of distorting our vision. Fogging up the mirror a bit. The apostle Paul had the uncanny ability to view everything clearly from God's perspective. How God was using his present circumstance to further the gospel and he rejoiced. The apostle Paul also had a complete inventory of his memories and by virtue of the power of the Holy Spirit within him, he focused on the positive ones. 
Obviously, the church in Philippi wasn't perfect, the Philippian believers weren't perfect, that why in Chapter 2, verses 1 to 4, Paul writes "You want to be of the same mind, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose." There must have been some disunity there somewhere, and in chapter 4, those two women, who were not in harmony, clearly there had to be some discord there. But that wasn't what Paul focused on. Every memory Paul had concerning them was cause for delight. The church still brought him unspeakable joy.
In Closing..
All churches fall short. All churches disappoint their pastors, and all pastors disappoint their churches. Like it or not, people will disappoint people. We're all human. And if given enough time, a heart where the Spirit of God is not in control, and has no joy, with the tendency to always focus on the ingratitude of others, the wounds others have inflicted upon them, the hurt they've been caused, the unkindness and faults of others. Essentially, what isn't right about everyone else.

However, if we would learn to walk in the Spirit, learn to yield to the Spirit, and allow the Holy Spirit to have His way with the negative things in our lives, He has a way of erasing those things and replacing them with joyful memories.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will erase every bitterness, every grudge and unforgiveness in the heart of every believer under the sound of my voice. And fill your hearts with love for one another and unspeakable joy, deep within your soul.

May it be so...
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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