Joy Is Commitment
Joy is not just happiness. Happiness depends upon circumstances. When you commit a situation and yourself with it to God, you suddenly have hope.
Alright, thank you very much and hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing all right? Well, I trust everything’s okay at your house. Bless your heart. Nice to be back with you. Let’s come if you will, please, to the 15th chapter of Romans. During these past few weeks, we’ve been taking Romans 12 through the end of the book just to get the practical applications that the apostle Paul offers us after the outline of the gospel and the way God works in His sovereign treatment of history starting with chapter 12.
You have Paul’s conclusion as to practical Christian living. And we’re now in verse 8 I guess it is, of chapter 15. Paul goes on to say in these verses that our Lord Jesus Christ came first to fulfill the promises that have been made to God’s ancient people the Jews. “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.” A promise, for example, such as was made through Moses where the prophesy was “A prophet like unto me shall the Lord your God raise up.”
And our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled that prophesy in that his life and ministry in many ways was a parallel, although a million times further removed because Christ is God in the flesh just as much God is God the Father and God the Spirit so that the parallel is Moses, human on one side and Christ, infinite and divine on the other. Still, the mighty leader, the mighty deliverer, the one who stood between God and his people just as Moses did as an intercessor so many things parallel. And our Lord Jesus Christ came as the fulfillment of that prophesy for example, many, many others obviously.
Our Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of all the picture language that you have in the various offerings that were mandated to God’s people in those early years particularly the Passover where the Passover lamb was slain and its blood was put upon the door post of the houses there in Egypt. And then after the offering had been made and the Passover meal had been eaten, the death angel had visited all the homes in Egypt and God’s people marched out of the land. This became then something that was remembered year after year throughout the centuries.
Then came our Lord Jesus Christ. And on the very day and hour when the Passover lamb was being prepared for households throughout the holy land, our Lord Jesus Christ hung on the cross of Calvary to give His life as a ransom for many, so that Paul the apostle could write later on, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” “Once in the end of the age hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” So you see, the Lord Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all of the promises and prophesies made to God’s ancient people through the years.
“Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” He is the fulfillment, He is the summation, He is God’s final answer to all of the pictorial language of the types and symbols in the Old Testament, all of the questions that may have been raise prophetically, our Lord Jesus Christ is God’s final summation of all of that. And so Paul says He came to confirm the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers. “And besides,” verse 9, “that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.”
Now, Paul quotes a number of passages from the Old Testament. As it is written, “For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he says, “Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with God’s people”. And again, “Praise the Lord, ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.” And still again he quotes another verse; Isaiah says, “there shall be,” this is a quote from Isaiah 11, “There shall be a root of Jesse and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles and in him shall the Gentiles trust”. “Now”, he said, “may the God of hope fill you,” you people at Rome many and the most of them Gentiles, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
Small thought here. Make up your mind that God always keeps His promises—promises of blessings and warnings of punishment. God always keeps His Word. I was brought up in a home where no one ever said to me “Oh, I was just kidding.” My father had a strong aversion to that approach to interpersonal relationships. He would often say, “We don’t kid around in our family, my boy.” And whenever he said anything, he meant it. Now, this, I think would be an earthly picture of what our heavenly Father has as His attitude toward His children. He does keep His Word.
And that makes, then, your prayer life ever so much stronger if you base it upon the Word of God. My good friend Eric Hutchings, who is an evangelist and Bible teacher in Great Britain, made a trip to Korea a year or so ago about which he reported to us when he came to speak at our chapel service. Said he, “I was amazed to find that the churches were completely filled at five in the morning with thousands of people praying and seeking God, praying for unsaved relatives, praying for people who needed the Lord, praying for revival in their own lives and in the lives of others—at five.
One morning, however, I got there at hour early at four in the morning and I found that the congregation had largely already assembled at four although the meeting – the prayer meeting – and they have one every morning, mind you – although the prayer meeting was not due to begin for an hour. Through an interpreter I asked someone, ‘Why are you here so early before the meeting?’ And the answer came back from a bright and smiling face, ‘Oh, I’m looking up some good promises that I can throw up to heaven as the basis for my prayers.’”
These people have learned yonder in Korea, living under the shadow, the constant and ever lingering shadow of aggression and possible invasion; they have learned to live moment by moment on the basis of the Word of God as God promises. They remind God of His promises. They pray on the basis of God’s Word. And their prayers indeed are answered. Paul says, “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” We base our faith on God’s promises not on our feelings.
I may be speaking to someone today who is complaining and saying, “I don’t feel the same way I did when I was first converted, when I first became a Christian.” Well, of course, you may not because you’re feelings vary. They vary with the weather, as a matter of fact, and with the barometric pressure. For years I was a song leader, and I found that you have to work about three times as hard to get a congregation to sing heartily if the barometer is falling. People simply do not respond with hearty singing as easily, that is to say, as they do when the barometer is rising or is high.
Our feelings vary with the barometric pressure and with the weather and with circumstances, certainly. So you don’t base your praying or faith on how you feel. You base it on the Word of God, all right? Our Lord Jesus Christ is the summation of all of God’s promises and He is living proof that God means what He says. Every time you wonder about whether God has forgotten you or whether the promises of God really work for you, look heavenward and realize that your Savior is alive today. He rose from the dead and He’s by the right hand of God and He’s naming your name in intercession. “He ever liveth,” it says “to make intercession for them who come unto God by Him.”
And so when you bow and call upon your Savior, you know that He is mentioning your name in the presence of the Holy Father. Hallelujah for that. Now, because that’s true, because God has kept his promises in giving the Lord Jesus Christ and now in going beyond the ethnic barriers of God’s ancient people and reaching out with salvation’s offer to the rest of us who are called Gentiles, because that is true, then, Paul says, “may the God of hope fill you,” you Romans, you Gentiles, you who normally would be strangers from the commonwealth of promise but now are made nigh by the death of Christ, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
The center of that verse is the word “believing” and you can go both ways from that center. Believing results in hope, joy, and peace. It also results in abounding and hope through the power of the Holy Ghost. This is the way God works. When you trust Him, when you commit yourself to Him, for the first time in your life you have hope that things are going to work out. All of us who know the Lord have gone through this. You faced a situation that was completely impossible, you didn’t have any way out or around or underneath the situation and then you turned it over to God and what happened?
Although the circumstances didn’t change momentarily, suddenly in your own heart you felt better about it all because you had hope. Do you recall that? Where did it start? It started in believing. “The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace and believing,” believing means committing—committing the situation to God. Commitment is turning the situation over to God, risking the outcome on God’s Word and God’s promise and God’s faithfulness. Yes, it’s true, when you commit a situation and yourself with it to God, suddenly you have hope.
The circumstances may not have changed but you know that you’re going to be a victor. You know that God is going to work them out. When you reach out and begin to praise Him for it, then, he says, “The God of hope will fill you with joy.” Once you know that things are in His control and they’re going to work out all right, you can begin to rejoice instead of grumbling. Your mood begins to change, your outlook changes, and your perspective on life changes because you know that God is in control.
And instead of having the blues and being down in the dumps and down in the slough of despond, you can look up and rejoice and start to sing “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” Joy is not just happiness. Happiness depends upon circumstances. A child is happy when you take him to the amusement park and allow him to ride on the merry-go-round. He’s unhappy when his money is gone and there is no more chance to enjoy himself. Happiness depends upon circumstances. Joy is based upon a right relationship with the person—the Lord Jesus Christ.
“These things,” our Savior said, “These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full.” Commitment of the situation to the Lord Jesus Christ all of a sudden gives you hope. You know that things are in His control so they’re going to work out and it gives you joy — that ineffable and vast and deep sense of spiritual well-being that goes beyond the circumstances. A wonderful result of committing yourself to the Lord.
Dear Father, today, may our faith be based upon Thee and Thy Word, 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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