Joy That Means Something
The right relationship with the Lord Jesus enables you to rejoice even though your heart may be heavy.
Alright thank you very much. Always nice to greet my friends and know that you and I are together in Christian love and fellowship. How in the world are you? You doing Alright? Well this is your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m feeling great and happy in the Lord and glad to be with you believe me. I look forward to these times when I’m on the radio with you, I look forward like a missionary looks forward to furlough. Oh my, it is so great just to be with you and share the Word of God.
We’re hitting high spots so to speak in the book of Philippians, just as a little break in between our study of Mark and the, the last time we got together I just was meditating with you on this first verse of Philippians 4, “Standing fast in the Lord”.
We got into the second verse then, one mind, be of one mind, “…of the same mind in the Lord”. Standing fast in the Lord involves the process of getting and keeping right with His people, that’s the principle that you have there in that second verse. Standing fast in the Lord involves getting right and staying right with His people. Same mind in the Lord.
What else? He said, “I entreat thee also true yoke-fellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, in with other my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life.” Now he said, if you’re going to can stand fast in the Lord, not only as a matter of being the same mind, get on your knees and pray together in other words, until the Holy Spirit of God gives you that oneness of heart, but he says, “help these people specifically Euodia and Syntyche”, the ones that were feuding. “Help those women”, they labored with me in the gospel, they’re good people, they love God. You don’t give up on people like that, he says, help them.
Now, this is an interesting concept. I don’t know if you’ll buy it or not, but I, I believe it with all my heart and so I’m telling you, if you find people who are at odds with each other, nine chances out of 10, it is so because there is a an unfulfilled need of some sort in either one or both of them. When there is an unfulfilled need in my heart and life, I tend to emphasize that in my relationship with, with other people, sometimes with the result that I get crosswise of them. Somebody is, is feeling neglected. Now, the need there is for recognition, isn’t it? And because he or she feels neglected and there’s a need for recognition, perfectly human need, nothing sinful about that at that point, except when it gets out of control, because there’s a need for recognition. If the person feels neglected, all sorts of other attitudes grow up and it does seem as though everything that happens exacerbates the situation and makes it worse. Now he says, “You help”. Now, don’t make a federal case of this and go up to somebody and say, “I’m going to help you my brother”. No, don’t do that, they’ll stay away from you by the thousands. People will give you up for Lent. No, no. Rather, just quietly survey the situation and see where you can be of help and encouragement to a person. It is amazing, you will be surprised I guarantee you. It is amazing how people’s attitudes change when you help to meet the needs they have in their hearts. Help them. He said, they’re good people, they labored with me in the gospel, they’re good people, don’t give up on them, help them.
Norman Townsend is now with the Lord a good many years. I traveled with him in the British Isles and on the continent and when we were both with Scripture Press. Dear man of God, a very sweet spirit. He was a pastor for many years and an expert in Christian education. He would go to these, he would go to these Sunday school conventions, and you know, in conventions you’re supposed to wear a badge so that people know who you are and what you do. Invariably, Mr. T as he was known, would put on his badge, Norman Townsend, helper. Always put that on, helper. I remember that about him. He had a blessed, sweet spirit and he was always encouraging somebody in the Lord. You want to specialize in that a little bit? Look around you and see people who needs helping. Don’t be officious about it, there’s nothing worse than an officious person who is, who is officially trying to, to help you know, they get in the way instead, don’t they? You ladies when, when you have company and the, the visiting lady comes out into your kitchen and says, “Now, how may I help?”, you want to say, just stay out of the way, but you don’t dare say it, you don’t want to offend her. But, people are who are officially helpful, generally get in the way, so don’t do it that way. Just quietly see something that needs, that needs some help and take care of it. Want to remember that?
Now, he says, “Stand fast in the Lord”. Has it ever occurred to you that practical helpfulness is part of Christian living? Some people are so spiritual they’re no earthly good, isn’t it true? You know they can, they can pray all day, and the house is dirty and the dishes aren’t washed and nothing gets done, but they’re spiritual. I’m sure you’ve run into folk like that. I know I have. No, this matter being helpful, practical helpfulness is part of the Christian life. The closer you get to Jesus, the more you want to help His people.
So He says, “Help”. The way to solve a feud is to help to meet a need. Get on your knees, pray together and then meet a need.
Then what? Now, He says, “Stand fast, be in the same mind, help”, then what? Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, rejoice. “Standing fast in the Lord”, means to rejoice in Him. Now, you can’t always rejoice in the, in the circumstances, that’s for sure. You’re driving to a meeting, it’s raining all of a sudden you’ve a flat tire. You have to get out in the rain, change the tire, people going by splatter you with water and mud, you arrive at the meeting late and soggy and upset. Now, it is, it is folly to say, “Well, you should be happy”. You are unhappy. You are wet and unhappy, you are splattered and unhappy, you are frustrated and tired and muddy and unhappy. And somebody comes along and says, “You should rejoice, you should rejoice, you should be happy”. Oh no, I don’t think God tells us to be happy, He tells us to rejoice in the Lord and that is a lot different.
See joy is not related to circumstances, it’s related to persons. Joy–well take our Lord’s word for it. “These things and have I said spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full”. Look he had just finished telling them He was going to be crucified, killed, buried and raise again the third day, the scribes and the Pharisees and the, and the rulers were going to take it out on Him and their hatred is going to prevail. He told them about that and He said, He’s going away and all of that, and in the face of all and He said in the world, “You shall have tribulation”, but He said, “I’ve spoken these things, unto you that my joy might remain in you”.
There’s a British chorus I’ve, I used to know the tune, but I completely forgotten it, and I’ve lost the songbook in which it was, but I remember the words, “I’m happy when everything happens to please, but happiness comes and goes. While the heart that is stayed on Jesus the Savior, ever with joy oer’flows. Happiness happens but joy abides in the heart that is stayed on Jesus”. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Well, that’s true. See circumstances make us unhappy. But relationship with our Lord Jesus, “Stand fast in the Lord”, said He, rejoice in the Lord, the right relationship with the Lord Jesus, enables you to rejoice even though your heart may be heavy or even breaking with sorrow, there can be joy there that’s over flowing, that spillover of divine presence in your life. It’s possible in the, in the face of bereavement, the death of a loved one, in the face of accident, where bones are broken and, and schedules are disrupted all of that, in the face of financial reversal where problems are facing you too great you don’t know how to get through them, it’s possible with all of these and everything else that may happen in your life, to look up and say, “Hallelujah, Jesus is mine”. Have you learned that beloved? To stand fast in the Lord means to learn the secret, not of just being happy, but of being joy filled, because your relationship with your Lord is right.
I remember Cyril Thompson, always I shall remember this dear man whom I met in 1948, hours, just hours after having arrived in India. Merrill Dunlop and I got into Dumdum airport about four in the morning I guess. Hubert Mitchell and Dick Riley had been there all night long because the buses stopped running at 10 o’clock, and so they took the last bus out to the airport and they were in that airport all night long witnessing to the porters and the Parsis, and all the rest you know, and having a sort of a camp meeting, waiting for us to arrive. And then we came around four, had to sit in the plane for an hour until the immigration people came. Had to go through customs where somebody with a machine gun pointed it in my direction. I said, “Be careful of that thing. I’m the only me I have”. He looked at me with a scowl and said, “You’re in our country now”, and I knew that he meant it.
Well anyhow, along about I suppose 6 o’clock in the morning we got into this ancient Oakland taxi. It was it was built in America, it was an Oakland. Any of you old-timers remember the Oakland? Well, this was a touring car and they, Hubert and Dick Riley bargained with the taxi driver to get the right price, because you can’t trust the taxi meter. It is a larcenous device that has been tampered with, so as to rob the passenger ,so they got the price in advance and off we went, threading our way through the caravan of, of, of camels and, and sacred cows, Rolls-Royce’s, and rickshaws, and pedicabs, and pedestrians, and finally got down to downtown where there was an office. We get out of the car and on up toward the office and here came this, this stocky Britisher and they introduced him and said, this is Cyril Thompson. Well I said, “Brother how are you”? He stood to attention smiled broadly and said, “Brother, I am full of the joy of the Lord”. Oh, it just thrilled me. Still does as I remember. What I didn’t learn until later was at that man didn’t have a rupee to his name. The people who are supporting him in Great Britain hadn’t sent his support for some time and he was stony broke, but he was joyful. Oh what a lesson to learn. You can enjoy in Jesus, even though the circumstances are terrible.
Dear Father today, help us to be joyful in the Lord Jesus, because our relationship with Him is right, in His 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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