This is a sermon that my husband, Bob Rasmussen, wrote and shared with us at Janesville Apostolic Ministries a few weeks back. It was an awesome message and I wanted to share it with you.
(click the title to watch the sermon at Christian World Media)
We worshipped with a lot of songs this morning with the word Joy in them. The Bible tells us to be joyful:
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. – Philippians 4:4
Now 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. – Romans 15:13
The joy of the Lord, having him in our lives something to absolutely be joyful about, amen? During one of our services, a scripture was brought to my mind:
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2
This morning, I would like to discuss specifically “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross”. If you read the commentaries on this scripture, there are 2 schools of thought of the meaning – there might be more but in my study it was predominantly 2. And the word that drives that train of thought is the word “for”.
The first interpretation is that “for” means instead. That is, that Jesus, instead of maintaining His preincarnate heavenly state, chose to come down to earth and fulfill the path of securing salvation for mankind, bearing sin and shame on the cross.
The second interpretation is that “for” means “in exchange for” or to “obtain” salvation for those he loved. I think both are correct, but I would like to focus on the second. That basically, you, you, and I are the joy of the Lord – the fulfillment of his accomplished work.
We are the joy of the Lord!
But what does that even mean to us?
He says we are the light!
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light
unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16
He says that we are the salt!
Ye are the salt of the earth – Matthew 5:13
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary:
5:13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth. Mankind, lying in ignorance and wickedness, were as a vast heap, ready to putrify; but Christ sent forth his disciples, by their lives and doctrines to season it with knowledge and grace.
God sings over us:
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice
over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17
Wow – we are the joy of the Lord!
Part of our identity, of who we are, is how we think about ourselves. And no, I am not a
psychologist, some might think I need to see one – But there is a battle in this world. The war has been won, Jesus has defeated death, but the bible tells us there will be battles.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. – Ephesians 6:12
I love that Paul, markedly one of the greatest apostles, includes himself. He doesn’t say you, he says we. That tells me that no matter your position, situation, no matter what, we all will have battles – that we are in this together.
So today, I do have a question, do you feel like you are the joy of the Lord?
Sometimes, I have disqualified myself from being the joy of the Lord. I remember when I first came to Jesus and gave my life and felt the overwhelming cleansing power of his blood. I gave it all to Jesus – (sins on board)It was so, so joyful. After some time though, I would go back to the altar, and I reminded God why I was such a bad person. And I’d go back again, and again. Have you ever done that?
The Word says that when we confess our sin:
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. – Acts 3:19
I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. – Isaiah 44:22
I had to learn, and I am still learning that I do not need to remind God about my sin – he has already blotted it out. He’s already forgiven me.
I had to learn to stop trying to disqualify myself from the joy of the Lord.
His grace is more than sufficient for me.
One day as Diana and I were talking about being the joy of the Lord, and I already asked is I could share this, she said – I don’t feel like I am the Joy of the Lord because I still do (insert whatever here) – it wasn’t a sin, it was just something she felt that the Lord had put on her heart to change. That ever happen to you?
We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, he lives in us. He is so many things to us – comforter, counselor, healer – but He is also our Shepperd. I think that as we grow with Jesus, He only wants for the best, He wants us to grow with him and there may be things or patterns in our life that He wants to change – that’s maturity. But it should not make you feel disqualified or less than, if anything, it just shows how much more He loves and cares for you.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:1-2
Let’s go back to Paul in Ephesians 6:
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:14-17
This body has been through some things. We have lost loved ones, we have family fighting disease, we have relationships that need healing, and the list goes on. I am faithful for Jesus to help all of us. But in this battle, the enemy will try to steal your Joy of the Lord, he’ll try to challenge your thoughts about your salvation or your worth to him.
I try to see things in the physical that show me what God does in the spirit, As I was preparing this message, I was reminded of my beautiful wonderful grand daughter Devin, or DJ as we call her and how Diana (and my) reactions ( and for our other children, it was the same, this is just he most recent).
We were made aware of her coming, there was expectation!
She was born, there was rejoicing!
There was unadulterated love in cuddling and holding her tiny fingers and toes.
There is joy in who she is and who she is becoming.
And then we just had joy, music courtesy of brother Doug.
It so reminds me of Jesus, who with the Joy that was set before him.
Aware what was coming, the salvation of mankind
Rejoicing we were born again,
And joy in who we are!
Sister Laura spoke a word a few weeks ago and I asked if could share. If you will humor me, close your eyes for a second and focus on these words, let them remind you of the Joy that you are to Him and He is to you:
Run to Him full of joy
So much freedom, so much uninhibited love, both given and received
Hold nothing back, he has got you.
Let him lift you up and swing you around – tossing everything else aside. It’s just you and him,laughing, care free.
As a child, we trust completely that daddy won’t drop me – find that child like, pure, unrestrained comfort in Him again.
As the worship team comes forward, I have asked they do a new song, it is called “To The Table”.
One of my favorite verses is:
He can see the weight you carry
The fears that hold your heart
But through the cross you’ve been forgiven
You’re accepted as you are
And then it goes to the chorus
So bring it all to the table
The altar is open, we have a baptismal if you have not been and want to become part of the kingdom. Pastor Mike and Jeff are here to pray with you, as are anyone else here to stand with you in prayer.
So , won’t you come to the Table?