Google+ 05/07/13 The Year of Great Joy!

Acts 15:30-32

 

 The messengers went at once to Antioch,

Where they called a general meeting of the believers and delivered the letter.

And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message.

Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers,

Encouraging and strengthening their faith.   

 

For all of you that worship every Sunday, I would like to ask you a question.  When was the last time that you remember there being great joy in your church?  I am not referring to a particular song or sermon that people enjoyed.  I am not referencing a new recipe that was at the most recent church dinner.  I am not pointing out a particular Sunday school lesson that touched your heart.  I am talking about a group of believers who come to church to celebrate what the people at Antioch were joyful about.  The news was incredible.  People that had previously been lost and disillusioned were accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, because Paul and Silas were preaching about Him!  The congregation took time to be overcome with joy about evangelism.  Should this fact not occur every week in all of our churches?  I don't know about you, but most "general meetings" called in the churches I have served are not convened to share the great joy of the success of our evangelism and discipleship programs!  As a matter of fact, there is usually not much joy at all, and many people just choose to not come.  Isn't our resurrection story compelling enough to produce joy in our congregation at every general meeting?  I am about to say something that probably won't be popular, but it is true.  Why has the great joy left the church?  The reason is because we have stopped doing the two things that God, through Christ, has called us to do.  We are to go into all the world and preach the Good News of our resurrection in Jesus.  Then we are supposed to teach, baptize, and make disciples of those we have enlightened with God's truth.  If we constantly, consistently, and daily do these two things, we will find the congregation has great joy!  If we don't, church becomes just like the rest of the world, groaning, whining, and complaining about everything.  Sound familiar?  So, during this Easter season, let's get back to having great joy in our lives and in our churches.  Remember how exciting it was to talk about the birth and resurrection of Jesus?  Just so you know, it still is exciting!  As you travel life's highway today, speak about Jesus and your salvation often.  Teach everything you know about Jesus to your friends, family, co-workers, and yes, even strangers.  When you go back to church, tell the congregation what God has done through you.  Maybe if you do, the annual report in your church next year will be entitled, "The Year of Great Joy!"