The sermon yesterday was on one verse- Romans 5:11:
"And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation."
We are still talking about rejoicing in the Lord, folks! That's been the theme of the last three weeks' sermons, but what an appropriate, all-encompassing, super important thing to understand! Seriously, when we lose our joy in the Lord, we lose all joy in life. period. In our faith, our new life in Christ, we rejoice in God. When the Bible talks about rejoicing, it does so in two ways. One of those ways gives us an objective command- rejoice in the Lord. If you ain't, you should be, because it's something we must pursue. Like patience, kind tongue, and a pure mind.
The other way is as a subjective reality. A desire, a knowingness, a romantic rejoicing. Our pastor spent a lot of time discussing the word "romantic" and how it really is how we ought to pursue Christ. The definition he used is, "characterized by a preoccupation of love". We have made the love of God intellectual and work. We've taken the romance out of love. But, we need to be consumed with Christ, just as in a godly marriage husband and wife are consumed with thinking of the other-- makes sense, because as the church we are Christ's bride, afterall. The great marriage the Bible talks about is not a marriage of mediocrity-- it is glorious.
Here are 5 points that spoke to me:
1) God changed our hearts that we can find our joy in Him. When you truly enjoy something, it's hard not to praise the thing you find your joy in, isn't it? You LOVE your Starbucks-- you just can't help Instagramming it! You think your little sister is the cutest thing ever-- you just can't help sharing the adorable things she says! Your fiancé gave you flowers-- you can't help singing his praises from the rooftops! You know why? CS Lewis expresses it well:
“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.”Our praise of God is a part of our enjoyment of Him!
2) The Bible commands us to pursue our joy in God-- think of all the Psalms which use "rejoice" as a command. I talked about this a little bit above.
3) The Bible severely warns us about what happens when we do not obey His commandments and forget what He has done to us- Deuteronomy 28. Because we are saved, we are called out of our old negativity and into exaltation! Happiness! When we have attitudes of gloominess, do you think that's pleasing to the Lord who gave us everything we need?
4) The essence of sin is to pursue our joy apart from God. We have an easier time identifying and dealing with sins like stealing, adultery, coveting, than we do keeping the Lord as #1 in our life, do we not? But this is the start of all sin! When we find our pleasure in anything other than God, that thing is our idol and we are trying to replace God. Not cool.
5) The greatest joy we can ever know is when we pursue our joy in the Lord. Psalm 16:11. Now that we are justified by faith, we are given so much joy. Every human has a void in their heart that only God can fill. If we search for something besides God to fill that romantic void, we will never find it, and we will keep looking for that next adrenaline rush, that next finished project, that next successful match-making endeavor.
My hair was a mess when I woke up, so I straightened it and flipped out the ends. Because of the hat, I pulled it off to one side-- no fuss! Long dangly earrings (with a leaf pattern that matched my skirt) helped flatter my round face.
Shirt: Plato's Closet ($6)
Halftee: c/o Halftee.com
Belt: Thrift Store ($2)
Skirt: Made by me (Free fabric) (Skirt pattern in my eBook | reverse applique and waistband tutorials on my sewing blog)
Shoes: Charity shop ($2)
Earrings: Charity shop ($2)
Hat: Sears ($3)
How was your sermon? What kind of application has it had for your life this week?