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Where Is Your Joy?

"But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 18 You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me."

Good Morning Beloved,

Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We're so blessed to have you all here.
We would like to welcome our brothers and sisters in Christ from Oman, Indonesia, Libya and Turkey. 
We're covering you in prayer.
We live in a world where the darkness prevails. However, at the same time, it provides us with an opportunity to shine our lights. When you become a Christian the Holy Spirit lives in you. You accept Christ and the Holy Spirit dwells in your life. So wherever we go, work, school or in the marketplace we before us have an amazing opportunity to let our light shine for Christ. We can choose to be on the cutting edge. We need to run as the torchbearer, unaffected by the distractions that surrounds us, leading others to victory in Christ. We need to live shining our light before this dark generation.

While it is essentially true that joy AND sacrifice are both part of the Christian life, The problem being is more often than not, we cannot seem to put either one of these in a healthy perspective.

After all, what kind of Christian experience produces great, satisfying, life-affirming and visible JOY in the life of the believer, even in the midst of sad, difficult and sacrifice, demanding circumstances?  

Let us bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this Word today, open our eyes to see that our relationship with Christ, is built upon a continuing intimacy with Him. Cultivate within us an attitude of obedience, humility that we might yield to the fullness of sacrificial joy. Help us to put people and relationships above material things. Put us on the cutting edge where we risk insulating ourselves in comfort, in order to meet the needs of others. That we would risk the safety of silence, when we should be taking a stand, speaking Christ, pointing others to the cross, that even one more might be saved.
May it all be for your glory and to the glory of Christ.
In His name we pray,
Today's Message: Where Is Your Joy?
Many of you who have been following my ministry for sometime, know that I love to read books and I spend a lot of time reading books. In fact, books have become a major preoccupation of my life. There is rarely ever a day in my life when I am not reading. The funny thing is, before being called, I rarely read books, and it was even more rarely that I ever finished a book. However, I did have a passion for knowledge. The only book I read with any regularity, was the dictionary. I would read a page a day, memorizing the words and definitions, to increase my vocabulary knowledge, because used to enjoy listening to people who spoke words that others would run and look up after their conversation. It sparked a passion for increasing my own vocabulary. 
God turned that passion into what has been called an "obsession," for His purposes and plans. I have hundreds of books which I have read, and re-read, while constantly adding new books, biblical studies, commentaries, as well as of course, the Word of God. I love the challenge of being able to bring a fresh perspective, in keeping true to the doctrine.
Open with me your Bible to Philippians chapter 2, verses 17-18. This portion of God's Word, is not what you would call profound theologically. There are no real doctrinal treasures hidden here either, in fact, it's more practical, than a doctrinal passage. However, I believe that in it's own right, it is profound in the sense it provides for us, a Christian's manual of sorts, a "how to" for spiritual living and Christian virtue.

I would like to encourage you to follow along with me, as I read to get the text set in our minds. Philippians 2:17-18.

"But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me."
Here in Philippians chapter 2, we find the apostle Paul offering himself, his beloved son Timothy, and his dear friend Epaphroditus as models of spiritual life, as models of spiritual service for us to follow. 
Throughout the text, Paul has been emphasizing the importance of humility. In fact, it is apparent that humility was at the forefront of his mind when he began chapter 2. And in verses 3-5, he said "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
Paul throughout this wonderful epistle, he has been teaching us about the importance of humility. Then, after making us realize the importance of humility, discussing how God will honor the humble. In verse 12 and 13, he speaks to us how we are to work out our salvation. Paul tells us that God puts it in us, and we are responsible for working it out. In other words, we are to demonstrate the behavior of a transformed, while remaining humble, we are to work out our own salvation. Then, in verse 14, he exhorts us to "Do all things without grumbling or disputing." And that's the pattern for living the Christian life in spiritual service. 

I've already given you the principal, humility, a non grumbling spirit, working out your salvation in the power of God. That's the principal. Now he says, here let me show you the pattern, how that works in my life, in Timothy's life and in the life of Epaphroditus.
Now, in verses 17–18, Paul speaks about this rejoicing. Some may ask, "Why is Paul always rejoicing? Why does he make a big deal out of joy?" It's not because everything is going his way with all the circumstances the way he would have planned them. In fact, it is just the opposite. Paul is in prison. Everything has gone against him. He does not know how his trail is going to come out. As far as Paul knew he is going to be martyred. He is there in prison facing the possibility of death, yet his true joy came from the strength of the Lord. That is why Paul knew joy. It is only when our joy is in the Lord that we really experience joy. Paul uses an unusual term. He says, verse 17, "But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all."

"Poured out as a drink offering.." Many Christians think that must mean that we pour ourselves out for Christ. What Paul actually meant by using this phrase, was to speak of his own martyrdom. When he said, even if I am being poured out like a drink offering, he was referring to, even if he is martyred. He might be killed for the cause of Christ yet he said even in this I am glad and I rejoice with all of you. The word Paul used for "poured out, is the Greek verb "spendomai," alludes to pouring out a libation. Most generally wine. In other words, Paul was saying if my life-blood is poured out.

So, as we come to verses and 18, keep in mind where Paul's heart is, remembering what he said in verse 16, "I did not run in vain nor toil in vain." We know that Paul ministered out of love, we know that. However, within the heart of Paul, was a healthy fear. The kind of fear that says, "I'm afraid that all my efforts might turn out to be for nothing. I'm afraid that I may have run in vain. A compelling fear that unless he gave it his all, it all might crumble. Paul ministered with that fear and had a real passion for bringing others to Christ. 

In I Corinthians 9:27, Paul expresses his fear a different way, "Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified."

The apostle Paul was genuinely driven, he was compelled to do what he did. Paul knew that God had called him, he knew that God had gifted him, and revealed to him that which he needed to know in order to do it. And Paul wanted to do it to the very best of his ability.

Paul was also filled with joy, even in his difficult circumstances because he lived and breathed Christ, he practiced the presence of God, and he proclaimed His power.

Paul loved Christ. He loved the church. And he loved Timothy and Epaphroditus. Paul was a passionate man. I'd like you to note, that Timothy is also a passionate man, consumed not with his own interests, but the interests of Christ. You will see the Epaphroditus was a passionate man as well, who risked his life for the sake of fulfilling his ministry. And so, we see three very passionate men, who were driven both by their love for Christ, and by the fear of failure. It is what I believe, marked them to be the men, we know them to be.

Paul is expressing what is often on the hearts of spiritual leaders that pour their lives into trying to equip the church. If those Christians become cool and indifferent to the things of Christ, then they feel that they have run for nothing, that it is all for not. And that is what Paul was expressing. Only when the Philippians were really living for Christ was all that he did, all that he sacrificed, worth it.

Paul is writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and did not hesitate to direct Paul to use himself as an illustration. Paul felt the success of his own life was intertwined with that of the Philippians. Paul said to them, how you live your life is going to make a difference. It will determine whether I did all that for you in vain or if it is really going to count for something. Paul was willing to sacrifice his own life. But not just for any reason, but for a purpose.

Paul envisions standing before the judgment seat before Christ, when the Philippian believers are receiving their reward and hearing Jesus say, "Well done good and faithful servant," it would have all been worth it. 

Here's something I'd like for you to think about... Do you spend at least as much of your time and energy profitably proclaiming the Word of God as you do entertaining yourself with Television, video games, social media et cetera? Half as much time? A quarter? Are you living a life claiming the name of Christ or are you living your life for Christ? 

Beloved, it's OK for Christians to express our joy so that others see it, I have found nothing in Scripture that equates long solemn faces with godliness. In fact, quite the opposite is true! There is verse after verse about expressing our joy, praising, rejoicing, and singing. 

The world offers a kind of joy that if you have all these material gain and status. Christ offers Christian joy even in the midst of suffering and troubles. 

Where is your joy? The world or Jesus Christ!

If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, it is my prayer for you that today would be that day. 

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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