Joy In Troubles
God's presence is more real as we experience trials in our lives. The Holy Spirit gives us joy in the middle of hard times. Someone will want to pattern their life after yours when they see what God is doing in your life.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Everything going alright at your house? Well, I trust so. Bless your heart. Before I begin this broadcast, I assure you I pray that God may bless you, my dear friends. And that something that is said during these brief moments may just exactly fit your need. Oh, may God answer that prayer for you today.
We are looking are 1 Thessalonians 1. “Paul said, you know the kind of person I was. I lived my life for your sake, and then you became followers of me but the following that you did was based on the word of God.” Now he said, “you received the word,” this is in verse 6, “in much affliction.” You received the Word in much affliction.
Small thought here: It does seem that God is able to talk to us more clearly and directly oftentimes when we are going through troubles. I have lived a while now and I have learned that when troubles hit me, it constitutes, the occasion constitutes an opportunity for God to say something to my heart so I listen to see what he is going to say. “You received the Word and you were in much affliction.” I do not know what their afflictions were at the time, what their troubles were, he just says they were troubles. But they received the Word.
Now somebody to whom I am speaking to this moment is going through the wringer. You got troubles. Maybe you are broke, maybe you lost a job, maybe you got a straying husband or a wife, maybe you got prodigal children that are breaking your hearts, maybe your health is failing and you can sense it in your body, and you think oh boy, what is going to happen now? Troubles I do not know, what are these?
We all got them, and sometimes it seems they come in clusters, have you noticed that? Troubles seem to come in clusters and it is not one thing. It is half a dozen. And finally you say, oh this is all I need when something else happens. (Laughs) Have you said that? I know I have.
Will you learn with me? I have to relearn these lessons. You know you never, you never learn them permanently. You have to relearn them and relive them. So learn with me this blessed lesson that when you are in the midst of troubles, you are going through the wringer, things are rough, everything is falling in just at that point look up and say, “Oh God speak to my heart.” He will.
You see His promises. I will be with him in trouble. The presence of God when you are going through troubles and trials and heartaches and tears, the presence of God when you are going through it is one of the most precious experience that you can have. And so Paul links that much affliction phrase to the next one which is with joy of the Holy Ghost. Can you have joy through your tears? The answer is yes you can. Why? Because the blessed person of the Holy Spirit indwells the believer; and the more you yield to Him, the more you let Him fill every room in your heart house until you are quite literally filled with the Spirit the more joy you are going to have.
Paul said in Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power – through what kind of power? Through the power of the Holy Ghost,” the blessed Holy Spirit that causes you to abound, to spill over with love and peace and joy and hope. That is the normal Christian life that just spills over God’s joy in the midst of trials.
You receive the Word – that is the basis, with in much affliction – that is the circumstance, but with much joy – that is the real underlying condition. Doesn’t it seem strange to some of you that I say you can have joy in the midst of your troubles. And you look at me and you say, Brother Cook you do not know what I am going through, you do not know how bad I feel. Of course you are right. How can I know, I do not live inside your skin. I can care about you but I cannot really know how you feel, only Jesus knows that. We have a high priest the Bible tells us who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows how I feel, and He knows how you feel.
But listen, the Bible says that when the Holy Spirit of God is in charge, you can have and see joy it is not happiness. Happiness depends on circumstances. Joy depends on a personal relationship. Joy depends upon an appropriation of God’s Word. “These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full,” Jesus said.
“Therefore with joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation,” said Isaiah. Joy depends upon a relationship with a person, and so as you receive your blessed Lord’s will, that is the Holy Spirit of God makes Christ real in your life. This is not simply theory, beloved. You may be weeping this very minute. Some of you are. You may be hurting, and you may even be angry at life and at people, but as you yield to your blessed Lord in spite of circumstances as you yield to your Lord and obey His word. Paul said, “you go through it with joy of the Holy Ghost.” That is a great passage there, isn’t it?
Now, he said the result of that was you became followers of me and then other people became followers of you. They began to model their lifestyle and their attitudes on yours, sets you were examples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaiah. They had a mission filled of their own, and this of course then is the automatic result of obeying God. Somebody else is going to pattern his or her life after yours because they see what God is doing.
It is like the little red-haired boy that burst into a school bus that was being used off campus from Kansas City High School years ago. Al Metzger told me the story. Said, the little red haired boy burst in in the middle of a high school Bible club meeting. They had this bus that Youth for Christ had bought and they would ran it around to the different schools because they were no longer allowed to hold the meetings, that club meetings on the campus of the schools so they park the bus outside on the street so the kids would come and have the meeting. Here came the red headed boy busting into the bus. He said, “Listen, either you guys stop praying for me or else you have to tell what this being saved business is all about.” You have to tell what this being saved business is all about.
Oh it’s the young man working in the railroad shops in Altoona years ago they told me about it as they drove me to a meeting. He said, “I was working alongside this other young man and I was getting drunk every night, my wife had left me, and I come to work and things would go badly. But next to me, was this young man whose work seems to go well.
He would whistle a chorus or sing a little tune as at his work, and when it came lunch time, he would open his dinner bucket and he would prop up a New Testament up against it and he would read it, and things seems to be going well for him. And finally one day after the quitting little whistle blew I went over to stand beside him and I said, you have to tell me Jim, you have to tell me what it is”, then the young man led him to Jesus.
“He became followers of us and then you were examples to all of the people around you”. Brothers, sisters, listen you have a mission field. Do not think that it is necessary to go to Africa, or India or China or the islands of the sea in order to have a mission field, you got one right now. And there are people whose hearts are hungry for God, and they look to you for some demonstration of the fact that Jesus is real. The pitiful idea is that so many of our lives are Christianity, are a mere formal profession. And folk looking at this identified it that way. They can tell the difference.
But oh, for the person who is real, the person who has learned that you can have joy in the midst of trials because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the person who is busy obeying the Word of God, and thus has a life that is based solidly upon eternal truth. For that kind of a person there are people everywhere looking for something that is real, and you will find people coming your way today seeking you out. They may not verbalize it and say, I want to become a Christian, but they will be asking you questions: what makes you tick, what makes you what you are, how do I get to be like that, and you can lead people to Christ because there is a hunger generated in their hearts when they see the genuineness of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Ye became followers of us and then you were examples for all of them who were round about you. Because you said, “from you,” now we are on verse 8 of 1 Thessalonians 1. “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God is spread abroad so we need not speak anything. For they themselves show us what manner of entering in we had on to you.”
He said your faith is, is spoken of everywhere. Did you know that it is impossible to keep either good or bad news from spreading among people? We call it the great find, don’t we? People talk. I remember on one occasion, I had a telephone call from the Palermo brothers. This is back when we were both working in Youth for Christ. I was president, and they were field evangelists. And we had a very close friendship as well, and so I got this telephone call from them, and Phil was on the line and he always greeted me in Italian, “la friche le presidente.” (Laughs) It is a kind of a, kind of an epithet that they use lovingly to me, in the face of the president – that is what it actually means I think in Italian.
So I said, hello how are you buddy? Well, he said, you know have you heard so and so and so and so. Now then, they told me something that had happened in California. They heard about it in Minneapolis by a telephone call from New Jersey. I do not remember as a matter of fact. I do not remember what the details were anymore. I only remember that they called me to tell me something that it happened in California. They were in Minneapolis, and they got a telephone call from New Jersey telling them what it happened in California. Have you heard? Well, the grapevine works and if you think you can keep anything a secret, you are kidding yourself. Jesus said there is no mark up in hypocrisy because what you said in the ear, in closets will be shouted from the house tops. You just do not keep anything a secret for very long. People know who and what you are, and they are going to spread either the good news or the bad news.
So why not then be real with God. Why not walk with the Lord every minute. Why not trust the lord Jesus to keep you real and keep you filled with His Holy Spirit. So there is no doubt in the eyes of the observers. No doubt in the minds of those who observe you that Jesus Christ is really real and that you do know, and that you do serve him and of the Holy Spirit is in charge of your life. “From you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia that is the region around about where they lived, but also every place your faith to God is spread abroad so we do not have to say anything.”
The best sermon oftentimes is the example of a transformed life. The best sermon oftentimes is the example of a transformed life and that does not mean merely the God saved you from alcohol abuse or, drug abuse or bank robbery or whatever it may be. Many of us need transformation in the respectable sin areas is of our life like worry, or greed or luster, envy or pride, or jealousy, or unforgiveness.
Oh, when God does something into the areas of your life that people know about, it is the best sermon that can be preached. Amen! Now we go on with this the next time when we get together.
Father God, today, Oh may our lives be an inspiration to others who are hungry for the reality of God. I ask in Jesus name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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