2021 and beyond: God is good so I can rejoice
Happiness is the most universal human desire and need. Everyone says that they want to find happiness, but very few people intentionally pursue happiness every day. Most people randomly bump into happiness and unhappiness on a regular basis. In this week’s sermon we look at how God is good so we can rejoice.
Bottom-line: Because God is good and uses all things for good, I can rejoice in all things.
Something To Talk About:
Happiness is a chance; joy is a choice. The Bible is full of wisdom regarding how we can learn to rejoice in the Lord regardless of our circumstances. Life is full of potential joy killers, but faith is full of joy fillers. Consider the following two points: .
- Everything is not good, but a good God controls everything.: Why does God allow failure and disappointments to happen if He’s really in control? The first step to dealing positively with failure or disappointment is recognizing that God has allowed or placed us in these situations to add eternal value to our character – that He is accomplishing a good work in us that will far outlast the present disheartening situation. He uses difficulties to teach us to walk by faith and to equip us to make eternal investments in the lives of others. Every situation can have the effect of molding us into Christ’s image: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)“ Circumstances are not truly out of control; they are used for our good in the hands of a loving God. God is always in control. I believe in God. He is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, All-Present, and cares about all things. But I struggle to remember that God is in control. It doesn’t always feel like it. All people–believers in God as well as unbelievers–experience anxiety, frustration, heartache, and disappointment. Some suffer intense physical pain and catastrophic tragedies. But what should distinguish the suffering of believers from unbelievers is the confidence that our suffering is under the control of an all-powerful and all-loving God; our suffering has meaning and purpose in God’s eternal plan, and He brings or allows into our lives only what is for His glory and our good.
- Because God is good and He is using all things for good, I can rejoice in all things: Life is far from easy. We can carefully plan things out, take precautions, save money, and try to balance all the responsibilities life throws at us, but things just happen. We can lose a loved one, watch a hurricane wipe out an entire city, or be laid off from a job due to a pandemic. Suffering surrounds us and there’s really no way of avoiding pain completely. But, regardless of what is swirling around us, we can always make the choice to rejoice. What does it mean to rejoice? There are plenty of reasons to celebrate God, but how, specifically, do you rejoice? When you think about the act of rejoicing, you probably imagine jumping for joy. But, from a biblical standpoint, what does it mean to rejoice? What does Paul mean in 1 Thessalonians when he says to “rejoice always?” Joy is more than just happiness. Jesus wasn’t calling people to dance and laugh or have fun. He was asking them to choose joy instead of hopelessness. Jesus encouraged His disciples to take heart and have peace because He had already overcome the world. “You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!” (Isaiah 55:12) Just like every other command in the Bible, we benefit from rejoicing. People often think of God as a demanding being who makes our lives boring with rules and commands. In reality, His commands are always for our benefit. Obeying God’s commands comes with huge benefits. Choosing to obey God brings you closer to His heart and His peace. Obedience is a true gift, but choosing to rejoice, in particular, comes with special benefits. No matter what is happening, choose to rejoice.
- Why do you think it’s hard to let go of control and trust God for your future?
- Why is it spiritually dangerous to hook your faith to daily circumstances when life is hard? Why is it spiritually dangerous to hook your faith to daily circumstances when life is good?
- How can knowing God is in control help you with inner peace?
- As Christians, should we make it a goal to be happy? What are some ways Americans pursue happiness? Do you think these bring true happiness?
- How hard is it to not let your circumstances affect you? How does this rob you of your joy?
- Life is full of potential joy killers, but faith is full of joy fillers. Agree or disagree and why?
- Happiness is insecure; joy is confident: agree or disagree and why?
- Do you find it easy to be full of joy? Why or why not?
- Do you believe God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose? Explain. Would you count it all as joy?
- Galatians 5: 22–23 lists the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Which fruit of the Spirit do you feel is the hardest to find in yourself?
- Reflect with your group on what have you learned from this message. Has anything surprised you? Have you learned something new?
- Share with your group any changes you want to make as a result of hearing this sermon?
Take one thing home with you:
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Paul’s instructions are to “rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything.” The Christians in Thessalonica had little reason to rejoice. Following Jesus brought persecution, rejection, and relational tension. By human standards, there was nothing to bring joy. Why were these Christians joyful and how what would they rejoice in? They realized that rejoicing has nothing to do with your outward circumstances and everything to do with your inward hope. Their inward hope wasn’t fixed on created items but on Jesus. This allowed them to rejoice, even while experiencing persecution. Life is good, not because of the good things happening, but because God showed up in the form of Jesus. Be joyful when things go right; be joyful when things go wrong. Be joyful in every situation, even if that means ignoring our sinful instinct of worry and finding a joyful way of finding hope in the Lord.Only a foundation in Jesus Christ will stand through every phase and season of your life. Jesus is unchanging and unwavering. He is strong enough for you to build your life on.