28 Jun Joy To The World #4 – Find Joy Even When You’ve Messed Up (Philippians 3:1-16)
– All right. Merry Christmas, love you. Excited to be with you. Great day to be with you. Best day of the week, we are in the book of Philippians, looking at the theme of Joy. If you’ve got a Bible turn to Philippians chapter three, and today I’m gonna tell you how you can find joy, even when you’ve messed up, and let’s just be honest. We’re all in church. We’ve all messed up and God has joy for all of us. Let me start with a story from this past week. So last weekend, a small team of us went down to Mexico. We brought the presents that you gave and you gave a lot of great presents thank you for that. We brought those over the border. We hosted a Christmas dinner for Mexican pastors and their spouses and kids. Most of them are in poor communities, mom and dad are both working a full time job they volunteer at the church and a huge percentage of what the family makes goes just to support the local ministry. So we wanted to honor them and thank them and love them and strengthen the Mexican church. And so we threw a Christmas party that was a smashing success, we’ll do it again, next year, we gave away all the presents that you gave to us and some of the pastors took them back to give to children in need in their community. And the trip was overall great except there was one thing that was a little more complicated. That was the sleeping arrangements. We showed up and they said, okay, you’re sleeping here. One big huge room tile floors for around 20 people on air mattresses, men, women, children, families, the whole deal. And so I married a girl who won’t even stay in a bed and breakfast. So this is too close to camping. This is too close to camping for our family, so Amen. I got an Amen from the front row, from this beautiful blonde girl that I married. So that being said, what happened was they threw the air mattresses down, everybody tries to go to bed but the fatal flaw was they left the windows open and there’s no heat, and it got down to the forties and if you’re from Arizona, that’s really really cold. So 70 and so what happened then during the middle of the night, everybody’s freezing to death. One of the dads who was on the trip literally got up and put on all the clothes that he brought to Mexico, all of his pants, all of his socks, all of his shirts, his coat put his beanie over his face, climbed into his sleeping bag and shivered and only slept about an hour. Thankfully, he was awake when his daughter’s sleeping next to him, threw up in her sister’s blanket. Joy to the world, okay? So at that point he had to spring out of bed, you know, lift his bank robber stocking cap situation. And then there was no laundry facilities. There’s just one bathroom, so he’s in the shower, in all of his clothes with his daughter and they are cleaning out the blanket in the shower, in the middle of the night. The next morning we all get together for breakfast. He slept about an hour and was dealing with puke. And then breakfast, he comes down, smiling, smiling, and he’s sober. And it’s like, why, how, why are you happy? How are you doing? Great, joyful. I heard you had a rough night. Oh yeah, I was up all night freezing to death, my daughter puked. How you feeling? Is such a great day. I’m so glad to be here, I’m so excited. Zero people have slept on a Mexican floor, cleaned up puke and woke up smiling, praising God, okay? This guy has a superpower. And so I asked him, I said, well, what’s to do. It’s like, well, I’m glad to be here. I’m sure God has great things for us today. I really loved the team. I’m glad to be doing missions with my kids. I’m glad that when my daughter threw up, I could be there, which I’d never said once in my whole life. And he said, “I’m happy that when I go home and it’s all said and done, I got a bed, not an air mattress, I got a heater and you know, so it’s just a little while and made me very grateful and content for everything that I have.” It’s not just what you go through. It’s your perspective of it. And the reason I tell you this is so oftentimes when it comes into the holiday season, there are joy killers and joy stealers, and God wants you to have his mind, his attitude, his disposition and so, where we’ve been studying is the book of Philippians, it’s written by a guy named Paul 19 times and 104 verses, he talks about joy and rejoicing. And there’s a lot to learn about joy and rejoicing for you today. We’ll start in chapter three, verse one, where he is going to tell us, remember to rejoice because we forget, right? You would never leave the house without your wallet or your purse or your phone or your keys, but you would leave your house without the joy of the Lord. You’ve got to remember to take it with you. Chapter three, verse one. This is awesome. Finally, now let me just ask this. Is he done with his sermon? No, he’s halfway done. And he says, finally, this is my new life verse, okay? At some point in the sermon, I will say in conclusion or lastly, what I mean is we’re halfway there. That’s what I mean, as some of you will ask, why is that? It’s biblical halfway through the sermon to say, finally, it’s a way of a preacher keeping your attention. It just means that you’re nodding off and I need to get you back. And so here it is, he’s halfway through a sermon. Finally, my brothers, so church, family, and God, his father, what? Rejoice, it’s a decision. It’s a choice that you can make. And the Holy spirit will empower to occur in the Lord to write this same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. Now, what he’s saying here first is that God is a happy God, that God is a cheerful God, that God is a joyful God. How do I know? He’s telling us that no matter where we’re at or what we’re going through, we can enter into the Lord’s joy. We can find joy. We can find reasons to rejoice in the Lord. So joy is in the Lord. So you can’t find joy at Costco. How many of you been to Costco? You gotta go up to the guy with the vest on, say, where’s joy? He’s like, I don’t know. You know, we have a wine section, you know, that’s as close as we can get here and get some dessert, but we can’t get joy. You can get Mayo at Costco, but not joy. You can get enough toilet paper to last you through Armageddon and the millennium, but you cannot get joy at Costco. So if you go on to Amazon and click for joy, will they send it to your house? No, the drone doesn’t deliver that. This time of year, we’re getting things from stores and online retailers. God wants you to know that joy is only found in the Lord. So if you want joy, you’ve got to go to the Lord, Jesus. That’s the only place for joy to be found. And then you can enjoy the people in things that God puts in your life. Therefore, if we can continually access the joy of the Lord, it must mean that the Lord is continuously joyful. If he was happy here, sad here and angry here. If we entered in, then we’d be downloading his anger, downloading His sorrow. And occasionally downloading His joy. God is a cheerful God, God is a joyful God, God is a happy God, this is His disposition constantly. There are occasion, seasons and reasons for His sorrow and His anger and His grief and He has full emotional spectrum. The God of the Bible does, but his default is joy. Some of you didn’t know that and it’s important to know that God is cheerful and joyful and happy because to be godly is to follow in the example of God. If God is cheerless, if God is joyless and God is happiless, then it would be godly to be that way. But because God is joyful, cheerful and happy, the godly children of God should share in his joy. Rejoice, he tells us over and over and over, because we forget, and he’s going to remind us, you need to remind yourself today. You need to remind yourself when you go to work tomorrow, you need to remind yourself when the relatives come over for Christmas, you need to remind yourself to rejoice in the Lord, in those moments, in those seasons, in those circumstances, the joy doesn’t come from the circumstances. The joy comes from the Lord and we bring the circumstances into the joy of the Lord. That’s exactly what he’s teaching and telling us is possible for the children of God. And the reason He reminds us and He keeps saying it is because we keep forgetting. So many of us have so much to do work, shopping, gift wrapping, food buying, party hosting. We forget joy. That’s the one thing that we can easily miss, particularly during the holiday season. And how many of you have a kid? And you realize if you’re raising a child, little parenting tip, you can’t just tell them something once, Amen. It’s not like they’re six months old. Hey, no fornicating, you know. And then they’re 30 and they’re doing it. You’re like I told you when you were six months old, not to do that, that you got to tell them over and over and over in that particular thing, you gotta tattoo it on them, right? You gotta make sure they take it with them. What Paul is doing here is like parenting. We are the children of God. God tells us things. We tend to forget, so he tells us again, that’s why the Bible often repeats itself. It’s like a parenting manual. He says it is no trouble at all. God doesn’t mind reminding us of joy. Now, how do we do this? It’s a mindset reset. It’s a mindset reset. Sometimes we get so focused on the pain, the problems or the people that we miss the joy of the Lord. I’ll give you an analogy, I was thinking about it. I recently got a new phone. My old phone went home to be with the Lord. And it was a very old phone and it stopped working in the camera and it had shaky, blurred vision. So me and the phone are enduring the same thing at the same time. So I go into the store and I said, Hey, I need a new phone. I pulled out my phone and the dude is like, “how old is that phone?” I was like, as old as me I guess. It’s made out of stone, you know. Here’s my phone, they gave me a new phone. My new phone, pray for me has no button. I can’t make this thing do anything. I’m yelling at Siri. I’m sure the Russians have hacked it and hear me saying words, I probably shouldn’t say I can’t get this phone to do anything. And so this phone or this exact replica of a phone, I have not yet proven that it is a phone. What happened this week was it locked up entirely and wouldn’t function. So what did I need to do, I had to reset. I powered it off, powered it back on to reset it and then it functioned. Your life is like that. Sometimes you get locked in pain or problem or person and the result is you need a mindset reset. You need to stop and think and pray and process in the presence of God. For me was my weekend. I know that with Christmas season and we got a lot going on. I mean, church’s going great, but it’s year end and we got Christmas Eve and then I’m preaching. And then I’ve got a kid’s birthday and then we got a wedding. So it’s a real busy season. And I wanted to make sure that I had the presence of God and the joy of God. So I took a 24 hour break, silence, solitude. I turned off my phone. I wanted to be happy, so I didn’t check the news. And I just drove to be with the Lord. And I got time with the Lord and my prayer and my focus was a mindset reset. If I’m looking for joy from grace, if I’m looking for joy from you, if I’m looking for joy from my children, if I’m looking for joy from circumstances, I may not have joy, but if I receive joy from God, then I have joy to share with everyone who’s in my life. And that’s the mindset reset. And what’s interesting is eventually the social sciences catch up with the scriptures. Just give people doing research time. Eventually they land at what the Bible told us a few thousand years ago, there was a study that was done that culminated in a book. it was a scientific secular investigation of joy, happy, cheerful people. What it determined was that your joy, your cheerfulness, your happiness is only 10% contingent on your external circumstances. How much of our time and energy do we devote to what really is not the primary issue? If that would change, if they would change, then I would be happy. 50%, this secular study determined regarding your joy is contingent on your personality, right? Your personality type. Some of you, you just, you sort of lean in one direction or the other. You’re the optimist, you’re the pessimist. You’re the introvert, you’re the extrovert, whatever the case may be. But it also determined that 40% of whether or not you have joy is entirely dependent on the mindset. The 10% of external circumstances, you likely cannot control. You control freaks, need to know that you can’t control everyone and everything. 50% that is your personality. That is the way that God hardwired you. The 40% is a choice that you get to make and what Paul is encouraging exhorting and exemplifying here is this rejoice in the Lord. Now in this moment, Paul does not have circumstances to rejoice in. If you know the story he’s been arrested, he’s in prison, he’s in Rome, he’s 800 miles from the church of friends that he’s writing to and Philippa. He is probably chained to a Roman guard and he sits down to write about joy and you can have joy in prison. You can have joy, separated from family and friends. You can have joy without an uncertain future, if your joy is in the Lord, because that is the only secure source for unshakable continual joy Amen.
– [Congregation] Amen.
– All right.
– [Congregation] All right .
– We’re both fired up, that’s good. All right, now what he’s gonna talk about next, may seem like a tangent, but it’s absolutely incontrovertibly essential. And that is this principle. You can believe something and negate it with a defeater belief. There are certain things that you believe that then undo what you truly believe. So what he’s telling us is to rejoice and have joy and he’s going to tell us about a defeater belief that comes to ruin joy. Give you an example. Let’s say during the holiday season, you decide you’re gonna diet, okay? So you’re like, I’m gonna add a miracle to Jesus list of supernatural events and I will die during the holidays. And every day, all day, you make really good decisions but then at bedtime, you eat all the desserts, that defeats, how many of you are like, I now know my problem, okay? That decision defeats the other decisions. What is true of your body is also true of your mind. You can believe things and then believe other things that defeat the things that you believe. And here’s how Paul is going to articulate it. Religion kills rejoicing. God wants you to have joy and religion is a defeater belief. By religion, I’m not talking about what James calls, pure undefiled, religion, caring for widows, orphans, and those in need. I’m talking about manmade religion. I’m talking about manmade traditions. I’m talking about manmade rules that try to form a ladder by which we can climb and be acceptable in the presence of God. So he says it this way, Philippians three, two, three, six, look out for the dogs. Some of you cat people are like, does the Bible say anything about cats? No, it doesn’t because they don’t matter, okay, that’s why. All right. Does he do this all the time? Yeah, he does, yeah, he does. So will it happen again? Yeah, just hang in there. Okay, watch out for the dogs. Look out for the evil doers, those who mutilate the flesh, talking about religious folks. He can’t be present in Philippi, he’s in prison. Religious people are coming in, okay? We got some rules, here’s what you need to do, stop doing, we’re gonna have meetings and committees and clipboards and judgements and performance reviews. And here they come. For we are the circumcision. How many of you would not have started with that? Who worse? I’ll just keep going. Otherwise, I’ve got to fire myself. Who worship by the spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus? Not glorying in your performance, not glorying in any one or anything other than Christ Jesus. And to put no confidence in the flesh, that’s human works, human efforts, human performance. Though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. So He’s gonna give us his little resume of who he was before he met Jesus. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more circumcised, not just circumcised on the eighth day. So very specific. This is sort of the religious list of those who were Jewish. And some of us look and say what a silly list. Let me just tell you, we’ve all got a silly list. Some of you it’s speaking in tongues, some of you it’s baptism. Sometimes it’s speaking in tongues while being baptized. Woohoo you’re varsity, sometimes it’s mission trips. Sometimes it’s tithing, sometimes it’s homeschooling, sometimes it’s Christian schooling, whatever the case may be. We’ve all got our silly little lists of where are the good people here are the bad people. I’m the standard you fall short, I’m here to judge you. Thank you very much. That’s what religion does. This religious spirit and disposition doesn’t just exist in Christianity, it also props up and promulgates, various religions and every social, moral and political cause. Everyone, We’re the good guys, you’re the bad guys. We’re the good party, you’re the bad party. We’re the good race, you’re the bad race. We’re the good income level, you’re the bad income level. It’s us versus them and we always wear the white hat and you always wear the black cap. That is the spirit and essence of religion. Oh, I’ll show this to you with a funny analogy, my daughter, oldest daughter it’s Grace’s daughter too. So it’s our daughter. She graduated from ASU with her master’s degree, last week. We were at the commencement where they have the big celebration and at the very end, they said now to protect our environment and be environmentally friendly, please take your water bottle on the way out and put it in this bin, not that bin. You can tell immediately and everybody’s looking like, well, are you a good person or a bad person? Is it a bad thing to protect the environment? I know the creator and he wants us to take care of his creation. But even in that moment, it’s a secular way of doing a public act that shows that you are a righteous and good person. So I got all of you, okay, you’re welcome. I have more circumcised, on the eighth day, the people of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews as to the law, a Pharisee, these are the most zealous, devoted, committed, hardcore. As to zeal a persecutor of the church. He murdered an early church leader named Stephen. He arrested people, he harassed people. He was a terrorist and he terrorized. He was doing Jihad before he met Jesus. That’s what he was doing as to righteousness under the law. And this is a crazy statement. The old Testament and the first five books has 613 laws, and here’s what he says, what? Blameless nailed it. Here’s what he’s saying, I don’t need Jesus, I’m Jesus. That’s what he’s saying. What he thought before he met Jesus is that he had arrived and he had achieved near perfection on earth. There was a smug, pride, arrogance, smarminess judgmentalism regarding him until he met Jesus. And what he ultimately does now is he saying, I pursued religion with the utmost zeal, achieved the utmost accomplishment, and I find it all to be absolutely in vain. He’s discouraging you and I from being religious and instead enjoying a relationship with Jesus Christ. And he uses these three sort of metaphors mutilators of the flesh, evil doers. These would have been the negative and pejorative nicknames that the religious people gave to other people, and also the dogs. Let me talk about that briefly. He’s not talking about here, your domesticated dog, your dog that wakes its tail and chases its Frisbee and loves you no matter what you do, not that dog. These are the wild dogs, have you ever seen a wild dog? We were just in Mexico, there were a ton of them. If you’re in a poor community, they tend to be present. I grew up in a poor community, we had wild dogs, they’re covered in fleas, they’re barking all night. They are chasing children. They are terrorizing neighborhoods. They are eating garbage and they are the only domesticated animal that if you die, they will eat you, that’s a wild dog. And he uses the similar language in another book that he writes Galatians in chapter five, verse 15, he says that religious people bite in devour. You ever seen a dog fight? I still remember as a poor kid in a poor neighborhood, some of the wild dogs ended up in a dog fight and I drove up on it on my bike. It was scary and dangerous and there was certainty that one dog or the other was gonna die and they’re biting and attacking one another. That is the demonic spirit of religious people. Biting, devouring, criticizing, name calling, shaming people, beating them up rather than building them up. And some of you need to know this because oftentimes Jesus and religion are put together and people are rejecting religion, but they think that Jesus is religious, he’s not. Jesus is about relationship, not religion, that he will change you by his love. He doesn’t demand that you change to have a relationship with him. He has a relationship with you and through that loving relationship you change. And Paul learned this the hard way and he is here giving us his resume and what he says, he was of the tribe of Benjamin. That’s the only son of the tribes of Israel born in the promised land and the most faithful of all the tribes. When he says, he’s a Hebrew of Hebrews, he’s saying my dad is pure blooded Hebrew, my mom is pure blooded Hebrew. I can trace our family all the way back to Abraham. I am a direct descent of the great man of faith and the founder of the nation of Israel, Abraham. Furthermore, this would mean that he knew the old Testament in its original languages of Hebrew and Aramaic. He could read the Bible, translate the Bible. He had memorized the Bible, whole books of the Bible in his native language. The point is, you need to know the word to know the Lord, but you can know the word without knowing the Lord. He knows about God, but he doesn’t know Jesus as God. And here is ultimately where he lands. He is jealous, he is motivated, he is self-disciplined. He is successful and he is cheerless and he is dangerous. Religion never ends in cheer. It always, always, always brings a spirit of negativity, dourness, and criticism. He was going from house to house harassing and arresting Christians. As I articulated he oversaw the murder of an early church leader named Stephen, he was a terrorist. He was a religious Zealot. And let me just say this, there is a religious spirit that can turn anything into a religious zeal, true or false? Some people have a religious devotion to their political party. Some people have a religious devotion to their race or gender. Some people have a religious devotion to their sports team a couple of you chuckled, right? I know. But so you wear the jersey and what that means is idolize demonize. I first moved here, they’re like, are you for ASU or are you of A, I’m for Jesus, whatever. I mean, I don’t like, what will you get to pick one or the other? Well, you know, I like, no, I like peanut butter and jelly. I don’t know why, because what we do, we idolize demonize. People like me are good, people like you are bad. Therefore, I make a list by which I judge you because you’re not like me. That’s the religious spirit that Paul had. And then he met Jesus and he stopped believing the myth that he was the standard and he compared himself to Jesus as the standard and realized how far he had fallen short. This really is taking God’s place. It is, I will sit on a throne. I am perfect, I am right, I am good, I have laws, I will judge you and punish you, it’s cheerless. How many of you grew up in a religious home and it was cheerless? How many of you, the holidays you’re gonna get together with some religious relatives and they’re cheerless. Religion is the defeater belief of rejoicing. You can believe that the joy of the Lord is your strength. You can believe what the angel said at the birth of Jesus, I bring you good news of great joy for all the people. You can believe the theme of Philippians rejoice in the Lord always I say it again, rejoice. You can believe the old Testament promise that in the presence of God, there is the fullness of joy and it be defeated by a religious mindset. And so Paul here is begging and pleading and he’s testifying that joy is not found in religion, but rather relationship with Jesus, so then he transitions, well, where do we go to get joy? He tells us, Jesus is joy to the world. And this is amazing. Philippians three, seven through 11. And here Paul is taking his past and using it as a testimony so that he can pay your dumb tax, sort of friend of mine calls it. He says, let other people pay your dumb tax. Paul here did some things that were wrong, they were evil, they were dumb. He’s telling us about them so that we won’t do them. He loves you enough to use himself as a negative example, but whatever gain I had, those of you that do accounting think profit and loss column. All of his performance, all of his achievement was in the performance column of gain, whatever I gained, I counted as loss. He moved everything from the gain column, everything I have done over to the loss column, the only thing that he had in the gain column was Jesus Christ. I count everything is lost because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for his sake, I’ve suffered the loss of all things. He lost a lot, he lost his family, he lost his friends there is a possibility that he lost his wife. He was a member of the Sanhedrin, which was a ruling body and one of the requirements was to be married by the time we read of him in the new Testament, he has no wife. She may have died or maybe divorced him when he met Jesus. Some of you’ve had that experience. You meet Jesus, you come home, you tell your spouse. I love Jesus and they’re like peace out. His family would have probably had the equivalent of a funeral for him. Once he gave his life to Jesus, he was out of the family. His degrees were Nolan void. His teaching certification was ultimately rendered? No. He couldn’t go back to teach in the places he had taught. He couldn’t be honored in the places, he was honored. And all of a sudden he lost his income, he lost his safety. He lost his security, he lost his friends. He lost his family, now he’s in prison, he’s lost his freedom and he’s looking at the possibility of losing his life. And what he says is what a great deal, because I got Jesus. I took everything in the profit column that I had done, moved it over to the loss column. The only thing I have in the profit column is a relationship with Jesus Christ and that’s a decision you’ll never regret. That’s a trade you’ll never have remorse for. He goes on to say that I might gain Christ to be found him not having a righteousness, we’ll talk about that because that’s the essence and the heart of the issue of my own, that comes from the law. But that which comes through faith in Christ, that’s trusting him, not me. The righteousness from God, righteousness is not from you, it’s for you, but it’s from God. We’re gonna hit this more and then we get into Romans next summer righteousness from God that depends on faith. That I may know him and the power of his resurrection and may share in his sufferings. Jesus suffered for me is I head home with him. There will be some bumps on my road as well, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible, I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Let me unpack this issue of righteousness. God is righteous that means he’s Holy and pure and blameless and truth and light and good. God made us male and female to be righteous through sin rebellion folly, we have become unrighteous because we were made to be righteous, we still long to be righteous. And so this is the prevailing motivation under self-help life coaches, personal trainers, religious zeal, political causes, social and moral issues. All of it is people who are saying, you know, I’m not the best version of me. I’m not satisfied with this version of me. Something in me needs to change, I think I was made for more and I can do and be better. And then they look at the world and say, this is true of everyone and everything. This is not a religious issue, this is a human issue. And this desire for righteousness leads us to either pursue it through what I will call works, righteousness or gift righteousness. Works righteousness is reading the scriptures or making your own list of moral, acceptable dutiful behaviors and then by bootstrapping and self willing, achieving, and accomplishing so that you can declare yourself a good person who is doing a good job. Here’s the problem. God’s standard is not good or better, but what? Perfect. God is righteous. Some people think God grades on a curve. I’m a C student, I’m sure I’ll be fine. No no no, God’s grading system is not a sliding scale. It’s a pass fail scale. Perfect, imperfect, that’s God scale. How do I know? Jesus says, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees all was a Pharisee, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. That’s like saying if you could, to them, those two teams would have been like the Dodgers and the Yankees. You’re like, well, I can’t play ball at that level. If they’re not good enough, there’s no way our team is good enough. Jesus says, be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect. Why does he say that? So that we would be humbled, that we would know that we need his perfection because we do not possess our own. Even if you, at this moment, did everything perfectly for the rest of your life. It’s too late because you’ve already sent and failed. This is the problem with works righteousness. Now what Paul uses here is a very strong word to explain religious works, seeking to make us righteous in the sight of God. He uses this little word right here, what is it? Rubbish, okay, if you’ve got kids cover their ears and I’ll give you the other English translation of that word some will call it garbage, dung, sewer, trash, filth, worthless, trash, dog dung refuse, a pile of waste and turds. Those are all Bible translations in the English giving definition to this word. Here’s what I want you to know, one of the moms said between the services, she said, that’s funny on the chore child, I’m gonna tell the kids, go out and pick up the religion in the yard. That’s exactly. That’s exactly the metaphor he’s using. Next time you’re out walking your dog and they do something say that’s religion. And what’s weird is people will compare and brag about their religion. There’s my pile of achievement. My pile is bigger than yours, so I’m not sure that’s a real accomplishment. Well, my pile is near than yours. I don’t think either one is a real victory. I feel like my pile is more interesting. Well, congratulations, what a pile. You know, here’s why we’re laughing because religious people take themselves seriously and they don’t take God seriously. I believe we should take God seriously, but not ourselves. And so Paul uses this word. He was teaching people how to do the religious works and he said, when it all got said and done, it’s just garbage. It’s dung it’s refuge, it’s ultimately worthless and in vain. Now a couple of things on this strong language, God is using strong language here. Number one, God rarely uses strong language. If you use words like this all the time, you just naughty potty mouth, that’s what you are, right? You’re like, well, God said it. So I could say it God said at once, right? So he can’t work it into every sentence. And here’s what God is doing, he’ll use strong language, rarely to drive home a vital point. Paul’s in prison, 800 miles away, false religious teachers are showing up and he is telling everybody don’t eat that. In the strongest possible words. In addition, not only does God use strong language, rarely and sparingly, he uses it so that we can see truth, clearly, this is very important. Here’s the big idea. God uses good words for good things and bad words for bad things. And in our culture, we confuse people when we don’t use the right words. So if you kill a baby, that’s a murder, not a choice.
– [Man] All right.
– Okay, let’s just say, that’s a strong word. Well, that’s a strong thing. So we’re gonna use the right word and it’ll be a bad word for a bad thing and a good word for a good thing and we confuse people when all we say is good words, and we apply them to bad things. Okay, this is part of parenting as well. So that being said that is works righteousness, gift righteousness. Every Christmas we remember that the wise men brought three gifts to Jesus. We don’t know how many wise men they were, but they brought three gifts. Every Christmas we give an exchange gifts. This season is all about gift giving and receiving, righteousness is not earned by you, it’s earned by Jesus who gives it as a gift to you, only Jesus is perfect, only Jesus has no sin. Only Jesus has no fall, failure or flaw. Only Jesus didn’t need to repent of anything he ever said or did, okay?
– [Congregation] Yeah.
– So Jesus is righteous. And in one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible, in Corinthians 5:21, God made him who knew no sin to become sin, so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God. You want to be righteous, you need Jesus. Jesus is perfect, he suffered after living a perfect life. He suffered as a perfect substitute for you. He rose to then give you the gift of righteousness. It’s a gift of grace, you have to receive it. Some people will say, Christianity’s too easy. All you need Jesus, no, actually it’s hard because it requires humility. We come to God, not with our hands full of our achievements, but we empty our hands and everything we have is a gift from God. Righteousness is a gift, salvation is a gift, forgiveness of sin is a gift, Heaven is a gift. Everything in heaven will be a gift, you will bring nothing to heaven with you. Everything there will be gifted to you by God. When we come forward for communion, we come empty handed to receive the remembrance of the broken body and shed blood of Jesus and when you do that you are publicly saying, I bring nothing, Jesus brings everything, He is the giver I am the receiver, Amen. That’s gift righteousness. So let me ask you this, do you know Jesus? Do you love Jesus? Do you believe in Jesus? Do you follow Jesus? Do you trust in Jesus? If you don’t that’s the most important decision you will ever make and that’ll determine your eternal destiny. And even right now, even in the quietness of your mind, because the God who loves you also knows your thoughts. You could simply say, Jesus, I’m a sinner and I need a savior, save me. And you know what? Jesus is always glad to show up, forgive love, serve and save. It’s his joy, our God enjoys giving righteousness to people and changing their lives. And so in this, I put together a little bit of a chart just to sort of compare and contrast. Works versus Gift Righteousness and I’ll just, I feel inclined to say this, we’re not saved by our good works, we’re saved to our good works and it’s ultimately the life of Jesus showing up in our life, so it’s the work of Jesus for us. It’s the work of Jesus in us. It’s the work of Jesus through us. It’s all his works just by faith. He begins to work in us and through us, but religious works. It’s all about me, here’s who I am, here’s what I’ve done. God’s grace, it’s all about Jesus. See, Paul says, when I was religious, I talked about myself. Now that I met Jesus, I’m talking about him. My works is about what I do. God’s grace is about what God does. My works, the focus is I make myself better. God’s grace makes me new. You know, what’s even greater than a better you, a new you, right? That’s where self-help will make you better, God help, Will make you new. How many of you God’s made you new? I talked to a guy last Sunday, came up to me, gave me a hug. He’s like I was a heroin addict my whole life. I met Jesus and got baptized here. He said last night I was at a show with some very well known celebrities. And he said they invited me back to the hotel room to do heroin. And he said, “I went home and read my Bible instead and it’s the happiest I’ve ever been.” That’s a new, you. That’s a new you. He said, I don’t even want to do that anymore. He said previously to hang out with celebrities and do heroin, that would have been my focus. Instead, I’d rather be with Jesus than them, reading the Bible rather than participating in some activity that causes me to forget the life that I hate rather than embrace life with Jesus, which I enjoy. Okay, what happens in works, I cannot be wrong or fail. It’s I gotta bootstrap, I gotta achieve. We’re religious people, they’re performance oriented, they’re driven and you can’t fail and you can’t be wrong. So you never say things like, I’m sorry, it was my fault. You gotta blame shift, excuse me, you’ve gotta hide. You gotta change the subject. Religious people can’t say it’s my fault. Religious people can’t say, I’m sorry, religious people can’t say I was wrong because it’s based on their performance. God’s grace I could be wrong or fail. I mean, if what I say and do is so bad that God died for it. Then I could just be honest that I did something wrong, right? I’m sorry, it’s my fault. I was wrong that shouldn’t have happened by God’s grace, it won’t happen again. Works the underlying problem with the religious spirit, is it despises grace and it declares that weak people need grace. Yeah, well, you know, for you, people who fall short, you need God’s grace but for those of us who don’t fall short, we don’t need God’s grace. Oh, I’m praying for you brother. You’re struggling, little smarminess in that. Ultimately weak people need grace. So you need grace, you blew it again. You need forgiveness, according to God’s grace and gift righteousness everybody needs grace, Amen.
– [Congregation] Amen.
– I mean, I know this. I married a girl named Grace. That’s how much God needs to remind me that I need grace, Amen. We all, you need grace to forgive you not just her, but him. You need grace to forgive you. To love you, to serve you, to bless you, to course correct you, to cleanse you we all need God’s grace. And so, you know what you need grace, let me put some grace on it, we all need grace. And that creates a cheerful rather than a cheerless environment. What happens in works righteousness, it’s an independent spirit. I’m on my own, I will accomplish, I will achieve, I will perform. And then God will be pleased and proud. Instead God’s grace provides a dependent spirit. Hey God, I need you, I’m stuck again. I got confused, I made a mistake, I’m scared. I, you know, I don’t know what to do. Whoops help you know, and it’s just this disposition that says, if I don’t have God, I’m doomed and I’m dependent on him. What happens in works, our tribe is superior. God’s grace only Jesus is superior and in religious zeal, this can be, we get down three times a day on a prayer mat and face these toward Mecca or we suffer to pay off our karmic debt. And in Christianity, sometimes we’ll even take good things, make them saving things, which is an awful thing. Well, have you been water baptized? Do you speak in tongues? Did you speak in tongues while you’re getting water baptized? Because then we know your varsity. We all have our silly little lists. What Paul says, I had a list, I flushed it. The only thing on my list is Jesus Christ is Jesus Christ. Here’s the other problem with works, I’m never sure I’m good enough, I talked to a dear saint who was approaching death not long ago, they’re near the end of their life. They do know Jesus, they actually loved Jesus. I said, how’s your soul? How are you doing? They said, man, I sure hope I get into heaven. You hope? They’re like, yeah, I hope God will accept me. No see they believed in Jesus, but they had a defeater belief and that was in addition to what Jesus had done they needed to do some things and if they didn’t do their part, then Jesus wouldn’t accept them. I said, no, no, you can have full confidence and assurance, but if you are in Jesus, then Jesus is enough. Okay and that’s the grace of God, I’m sure Jesus is enough. See, there’s this weird picture. I don’t know where it came from. Some of you may have heard it when you die and stand before Saint Peter at the pearly Gates, I don’t know where any of that came from, but nonetheless, you’re not gonna die and stand before pearly Gates and give an account to Saint Peter. You’re gonna die and stand before Jesus. And here’s what you’re gonna realize, if you have Jesus, you have everything you need it, right? It’s his eternity, it’s his righteousness. It’s his forgiveness, it’s his salvation. If you show up and you’re like, okay, give us your resume, I didn’t bring one, but I’m with Jesus. They’ll be like, that’s your resume? He’s your resume. He’s your grade point average, He’s your performance review. He’s your righteousness. Now works what happens? It ends in cheerless pride or despair. Cheerless, joyless, pride, I’m a good person, you’re not, I’m here to judge you or despair. I tried and I blew it and I’m not good enough and I’m a loser. Religious people and religious spirits never result in cheerfulness and joyfulness. That’s what Paul’s saying. He said I was so religious and so cheerless. I was seeking to make other people cheerless by arresting and murdering them, thinking that I was doing the work and will of a cheerless God. Then I met Jesus and I realized that he has joy in loving, saving, seeking, forgiving, blessing me. He filled me with the fruit of the spirit, which is love and joy. And now I have joy to give other people because God’s grace ends in cheerful, joy, you blew it you got God’s grace, you need help you got God’s grace, you’re dying. You’re gonna exceed Jesus Yay, Amen. And so I just need you to know this, that some of you put Jesus in religion together and you reject it all don’t sever it, take Jesus, reject religion. It was the most devoutly religious people who hated and conspired to murder Jesus, ego, religion and Jesus are not on the same team, Amen.
– [Congregation] Amen.
– I’m preaching myself happy, okay. Here’s a little bit of encouragement for you. Sometimes the problem with our joy in the present and future is because we have not recovered from the past. God has joy in the future, but there is a defeater pain problems in people in the past. Paul addresses this and he says, there’s far more joy in your future than in your past. Philippians three, 12 through 16. Not that I have already obtained this or I’m already one, perfect. We’re gonna unpack that in a moment, but I press on, I move forward to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers we’re family here, God’s our father, Jesus is our big brother. I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do put this on your to do list. Put this on calendar don’t just by your presence, wrap your presence, unwrap your presence, bake your cookies, send out your cards, do this one thing. Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward toward what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, let those of us who are mature think this way and if any of you think, otherwise, we’re not gonna criticize you blog about you or just put a frowny face on your social media. We’ll pray for you and God will reveal that also to you, only let us hold true to what we have attained. In Jesus Christ you have attained righteousness. In Jesus Christ, you have attained relationship with God. In Jesus Christ you have attained eternal life. And then the Holy spirit helps you live up to what Jesus has already attained for you. Religion beats people down, Jesus builds people up. That’s the way that it works. Eight things I wanna share with you, maybe more from this section. Number one, get past your perfectionism. How many of you are perfectionists? Your neat niks, your list makers, your to doers, your checkers, right? Your Christmas present, you’re hoping for a label maker in some files. You like everything in order in sequence how many of you are like that? See some of you are on your phone, you’re not those people, okay? Some of you though and so the problem is unless everything from the past is tidied up. You can’t move forward into the future. The problem is you can’t always fix the past and you’ve got to get over your perfectionism. Here is a clue. Paul says, I am not yet, perfect this guy writes 13. We’re not sure who wrote the book of Hebrews, maybe 14 books of the Bible, there’s only 27, excuse me, in the new Testament. So he writes about half of the new Testament. And at this point he’s been a Christian for 30 years and he’s in prison writing a book of the Bible because he loves Jesus and here’s what he says. I’ve not arrived yet. Here’s the good news, it doesn’t matter how mature you are, we have some incredibly mature saints in this church family. But let me just tell you, don’t always quote the old verses, learn some new ones. Don’t just reread all the old books, pick up some new learning, press spool, word, learn, grow, there’s always more to learn about Jesus and there’s always more ways to become more like Jesus. If the apostle Paul writing the Bible after 30 years says I’m not there yet, then good news for us all. Guess what? We’ve not arrived. We’re works in progress, there’s more to learn more, to change more to experience more to open and become number two. If you cannot fix it, then flush it, right? I’m just using that little word I showed you earlier. If you can’t fix it, flush it. If you can fix it, fix it. There are some things in this past, they can’t fix. He murdered a deacon named Stephen can’t fix that. He can’t be, he had a bunch of Christians terrorized and arrested, you can’t fix that. If you can’t fix it, flush it. If you can’t fix it, flush it. If there’s nothing you can do about it, then move on with the things that God has for you to do. Number three, you know, you have healed from past hurts. When you can talk about it in the present in a healthy way. Some of you will say things like I’m not going back there, I can’t talk about it. That means you’re carrying it with you. Somebody say, well, that’s in the past, that was a long time ago. If you’re crying or emotional, when you’re talking about it, it’s not in the past, it’s in the present and you will be carrying it with you into the future. Some of you will say things like time, heals our wounds it doesn’t only Jesus heals ones. Time actually can make them much worse, how do I know? Shoot somebody and wait. The longer you wait, the worse they get, Amen. What is true of your body is true of your soul? I probably shouldn’t have said that, but it’s a vivid illustration. It’s truth.
– [Woman] Flush it.
– Flush it. There you go. Thank you sister, I received that. Okay, that’s good news. What some people will do, they will say forgetting what lies behind I press forward. But again, in context, what did Paul just tell us. It’s past. Here’s who I was, here’s what I was doing. He’s not unhealthy about it. He’s saying woo thankfully Jesus showed up and here’s where everything pivoted with Jesus. That’s where if you’ll be honest about your past with yourself and God, then you can be honest about your past with others and your past can be a ministry to them. That’s what Paul is doing. If you can’t talk about the past, it’s not in the past, it’s in the present going into the future. If you can’t respond to it in a healthy way or talking about it without an emotional destruction and catastrophising, you’ve not healed. Some of you have been through a lot, you’ve been abused. You’ve been traumatized, you’ve been divorced. You’ve been cheated on, I mean, some horrible things have happened to you. And unless you can be honest and talk about it in a healthy way with God and others, it’s still in your present. It will be in your future. And Paul demonstrates what it looks like to be honest about the past and to have hope for the future. Number four, to move forward, you need to leave some people and things behind, some of you, your lack of joy is you’re trying to take every relationship and every person and every experience and everything into the future. Some of the people that were Paul’s friends were no longer his friends, when he became a Christian, his family probably disowned him. He talks about losing a lot of things, sometimes to move forward, you need to leave some people and things behind. Now you don’t get hard-hearted for them. You hope that they meet Jesus and catch up, but you got to move on into the plan and purpose that God has for your future, hoping and praying that they join you, but not waiting for them. Number five, when you start moving forward, don’t look back. He says, this one thing I do forgetting what lies behind I look forward. There’s a guy in the Bible, his name is Lot. Cause he’s a lot of trouble, okay? That’s lot. He’s in Genesis and they’re leaving this godless town called Sodom and Gomorrah. And God tells them run for your life. And don’t look back because that’s longing and reminiscing, and reconstituting history. Oh, I missed that, no. What happens is they’re fleeing and his wife does what she looks back, what happens to her? She becomes a pillar of salt, which means she is frozen in that glance in perpetuity. Sometimes you will look back and it will literally freeze you, and you’re incapable of moving forward. My wife, Grace was a sprinter. Our daughter, Ashley was a sprinter. Some of you ask pastor Mark, are you a sprinter? Obviously not, but I did watch them run. And what I saw, especially when my daughter started running track. First in high school, she was really fast. Allstate’s front like her mom that sometimes the rookie runners they’d be neck and neck headed to the finish line. What’s the fatal flaw. You look over at the necks and they pass you by because you can’t go here if you’re looking here, this is why Jesus says he uses the analogy of a farmer, plowing a field, he says, if you put your hands to the plow, don’t look back, otherwise, all your lines will be crooked. During our staff Bible study that we use to prepare for the sermon. One of the staff members, one of the team members, they, know a lot about horses. I don’t know anything about horses, but what they said was this, that the reason that they put blinders on a horse, especially when they’re pulling a cart is the horse will wrongly think that the cart is chasing them. And so you need to put blinders on them. So they can’t look back. If they don’t have the blinders on and they look back and see the cart, they will literally out of fear, run, until, they die. Some of you are like that. You’re running from things that aren’t chasing you. You’re looking back and causing yourself, fear, anxiety, worry, and paranoia, that’s where he’s gonna go in Philippians three and four next by looking forward, you’ll have hope and you’ll have faith by looking back, you will have hopelessness and fear. Next point number six, the best is yet to come. So believe by faith until you see by sight. Paul here, I mean, he’s planted churches. He’s written books of the Bible, I mean, his life is amazing. He’s one of the most towering figures in the history of the world, and what he says is tomorrow it’s gonna be my best day, forgetting what lies behind I’m pressing forward. There’s an upward call for me, there’s hope for me. You need not know what the future holds, but you need to know that a good God who loves you and is for you holds that future and you pursue it and chase it by faith until you see it by sight.
– [Congregation] Yeah.
– Let me just testify. I’ll share with you. Our family was in the worst season of our whole life and it was transition time, we moved to Arizona, five kids, elementary, middle school, high school, college. We have no family, we have no friends. We have a couple of acquaintances, we have no job. We have no clue what we’re gonna do. There’s nothing and we press forward. And it’s really good to see you guys, thanks for showing up. You know, I mean, it’s amazing. Four years later, this is the most joyful, healthy, hopeful season of my whole life. This is the healthiest most joyful season in the history of the Driscoll family. I’m here to testify that we have no idea what was out there, but God did. So if you’re in it right now and you’re in the middle of it right now, move forward. Keep going, don’t look back. Don’t get paralyzed. Don’t be consumed by the paralysis of analysis, brush it, forgive, move forward. That’s Paul’s exercitation to you, and I just tell you, you guys are part of our joy, I love you. This is so much fun to teach the Bible and to say crazy things to people who love you enough to bring their friends. That’s awesome, so thank you. This is really fun for me, okay? Number seven, only God can create joy that is genuine, healthy, and unending. God made you for joy and the Bible says that in the presence of God is fullness of joy. It’s not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God that brings joy, if you will invite the joy of the Lord’s presence, then whatever comes into your life is coming into the presence of God, where there is fullness of joy. So you’re bringing hardship or tragedy or loss or crisis or longing or hurt and you’re bringing it into the presence of God, where it is overcome by the joy of the Lord. Because the joy of the Lord is bigger, truer, better, richer than whatever you bring into his presence. God wants his presence and the joy of his presence to live with you day by day, that’s why you can rejoice in the Lord always. In addition, God wants this joy to live in your family. God wants this joy to live in our church family. For that to happen, it will be the presence of God and in the presence of God, there is fullness of joy. Your joy is your choice, your joy is your opportunity. Your joy is your ministry, Number eight, God has joy in your present and future that is bigger than your past mess-ups. some of you are looking back right now and you’re like, man, I can’t believe I said that. I can’t believe they said that, I can’t believe I did that. I can’t believe they did that. If I could just tidy that up, if I could do that over, if I could get over that, if I could stop being haunted by that. Paul’s writing on joy from prison and he lived the life that he now realizes was awful true or false? If you harass Christians, arrest them and kill some you’ve messed up. Amen, how many Christians go? Yeah, I agree with that. He’s now their pastor. God has good, that is much bigger than your bad. So don’t look back at your bad, Look forward to his good. And he begins this whole section, Philippians three, one. Finally, my brothers rejoice in the Lord. Let me just say a few things. Maybe in closing, these are practical things. So you got my poker tail now, you know, okay, this is a personal testimony, so my wife, Grace is the most joyful person, I know. She laughs all the time and I say crazy things. So we are equally yoked, it works really good for us. My wife yesterday was laughing so loud, I was upstairs and heard it and came down just to see what fun I was missing, true. That’s what happens in my house. My wife’s lifer, so preached to you. I think it’s on January 5th, rejoice in the Lord always again, I will say rejoice. I was the defeater to Grace’s joy. I would come home, she’d be happy. I’d be stressed. I would defeat her joy, I would negate her joy. I would sit on the other side of the teeter totter and level her joy out, did this for years. And I told myself things that weren’t true. Like, well, as soon as I fix this problem, then it’ll be good. As soon as I get into this life stage, then it will be better. As soon as that relationship is resolved. As soon as that person apologizes, as soon as I earned that much income, then I will land in happiness and I never did. It was a wild goose chase with no goose. And there were seasons that I believed in God, but it was defeated by a cheerlessness. Then I just tremendously regret. I was actually, I’ll just be real honest with you. I preached the book of Philippians years ago and I was rereading the transcripts and there’s very little joy in them. Because there’s a difference between information and imputation, information is I know a few verses about joy imputation is, and the joy of the Lord lives in me and through me and he is my strength. What I’ve learned then practically, and I’ll just tell you, this is the most joyful season of my whole life. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. The most content and thankful I have ever been. And it is a supernatural provision from a cheerful God, couple of things, I’ve learned. Number one, social media and your phone is not the pathway to happiness.
– [Congregation] Amen.
– It’s not you want to flush something, flush your phone studies show the more you’re on your phone, the more anxiety, stress, and the less joy and cheer you have because you are reading news stories about horrible things that you can’t do anything about. And also you’re comparing yourself to liars on social media. Liars, right? The guy who took the photo of himself in front of the Bugatti, he’s a valet that’s not his Bugatti, right? It’s an illusion just convicted all of Carolyn, okay. Number two, happiness like everything else must be actively pursued. You don’t learn the Bible passively actively. You don’t pray passively actively. You don’t become a generous giver passively, but actively you don’t become healthy passively but actively you don’t become joyful unless you activate the joy of the Lord and you enter into the joy of the Lord and it is a spiritual discipline for the children of God to grow in cheerfulness. Number three, happiness is often a bunch of little things, more than one big thing. Some of you keep waiting for the big thing. It doesn’t happen, but there’s little things along the way. If the Lord gives you joy, then you will find opportunities to enjoy the life that God has set before you, this is my experience yesterday. I took a 24 hour mindset reset to get my heart right for the holidays, turned off my phone, jumped in my Jeep, took the top off. So Jesus could see how happy I am to live in Arizona. Don’t you love living in Arizona in the winter?
– [Congregation] Yes.
– If you’re depressed here during the winter, it’s on you. I mean this is nice. It’s really not like Jesus, thanks for the 70 degree, Christmas weather Amen, I’m driving in the Jeep and I’m just like, Lord, thank you that the sun is shining. Thank you that it’s warm out, I get to the place sit outside, I set up my chair, get on my laptop, studying the Bible out in God’s creation, love that. Get a decent night’s sleep, wake up the next day I go in for breakfast and to heat the room, it was an old ranch. They heated up with a fireplace. So I’m sitting down having breakfast and I can just smell the fire. It’s a Christmas morning and I’m drinking my coffee and I’m just like, Hey Lord, thanks. I mean, I deserve hell. This is awesome. You know, the wood is burning, not me. Yeah, I’m so happy. I mean, honestly, what else do I got here? Number four, your happiness comes in giving to others and bringing happiness and joy to others. This is where God loves a cheerful giver, giving is cheerful. God is the most joyful because he helps the most people, and he gives the most generously. Joy is something that comes from the Lord and is multiplied, as you share it, they did a secular research study, they followed 4,700 people for 20 years. The people who sought to bring joy to others and give generously had remarkably higher rates of happiness and joy. That’s why during Christmas, we’re trying to serve people and give gifts because God is so good that he blesses them and he blesses us. He blesses everyone who chooses joy and generosity. Number five, self control and happiness are friends, not foes. Some people will tell you, well, I just want to be happy and then they overindulge and they make sinful and foolish decisions, how many of you have drank too much and didn’t find joy at the bottom of the bottle? How many of you ate the whole cake and at the end, the joy of the Lord was not your strength? We live in a culture that will tell you that rebellion and folly leads to joyfulness and it never does. Number seven, the paths of happiness and success, rarely intersect. This is a great lie in cultural myth I will set my happiness to the side, I will pursue my success and I am sure somewhere down the road, as soon as I achieve my success, it will intersect with my happiness and I’ll be successful and happy, how many of you have gotten there? Successful, but not happy? Why is it that some of the most powerful people, some of the most influential people, those that are celebrities, they live in large home, they drive nice cars. They’ve got beautiful spouses, they’ve got amazing staff. They have stadiums that cheer their name and they self medicate and commit suicide. We’ve had enough of those stories that we need to allow those people’s tragic testimony to give us the truth. And that is that our success and our joy are not usually paths that intersect. Lastly, and I do mean it this time. Parties, feasting, laughing, making memories, singing, going out, having fun needs to go on the calendar first. So you don’t, I’m just telling you, there’s gonna be some things they’re gonna eat up your budget, so get fun in there early. They’re gonna be some things that take up your schedule. So, get shear in there early. That’s why Paul keeps saying rejoice, rejoice, rejoice. They don’t have it on the calendar yet. They don’t have it on the budget yet, they’re like, well, we’ll get there as soon as we return all our emails and deal with aunt Sally and clean the house and pick up after the dog and do the dishes and what he’s saying is no, start with joy and then you can enjoy everyone in everything that God brings into your life. I want this for you this holiday season. I want you to be happy and cheerful and joyful. And I want you to wake up with hope in your heart and a smile on your face and a spring in your step so you can run through life, enjoying the people and things that God gives you and we do this this time of year by throwing parties because the storyline of the Bible is, there was a party at the end of it lasts forever and it’s amazing. And it uses this language. They’re singing Zephaniah three says, God sings over us we sing over Him, that’s crazy karaoke. I can’t wait to see how that works. And the Bible says that we’re gonna live in mansions and streets lined with gold. It’s gonna be even better than Scottsdale and the sun will always shine and Jesus will pay for everything and there won’t be any more elections. Woo and also there won’t be any taxes, Jesus will take care of everything. And it says that he is gonna feed you the best of meats. Some of you are vegetarians, you could still come, but I call dibs on your steak, in addition, he will give us the choices to have wines. Some of you are Baptists, you can come to dibs on your drink. All right, it’s gonna be a good party, Amen.
– [Congregation] Yeah.
– Yeah, let me pray for you, Father God, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. That you’re a cheerful God, a generous God, a good God, a loving God that we’re your kids and that father just like our kids need us and it’s our joy to serve them, we need you and it’s your joy to serve us. During this holiday season, let us not just sing about joy to the world, but bring joy to the world through the person and work the presence and power of Jesus Christ in whose name we pray. All God’s people say.
– [All] Amen.