Title: The Joy of the Gospel

Focus: Satan wants to steal our joy from us in order to weaken us and diminish our Christian witness. The way to hold on to that joy is to hold on to the Gospel by proclaiming and living it. This will feed the attitude of joy which is inherent to the Christian faith.

Function: To motivate the congregation to increase their joy through the daily practice of the Gospel

Text: Philippians 3:1


Intro:
1.  Childrenís letters to God.  Brings smile, laughter, and joy
2.  God wants us to have joy, thatís why the Bible says so much about it
	a.  Prov 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up
the bones.
	b.  Neh 8:10 ...the joy of the Lord is your strength
3.  There once was a man who left former career to follow Jesus
	a.  What followed were death threats, persecutions, imprisonments
	b.  He was also slandered, arrested several times
	c.  He continued to follow Christ JOYFULLY
	d.  ON top of all that, had a physical ailment - a ďthorn in the fleshĒ
3.  Phillipians 3:1
	a.  Paul is emphasizing joy in this letter
	b.  Joy is used 6 times, rejoice is used 11 times
	c.  Why does he emphasize it?  - It is a safegaurd
4.  Safegaurd for what?
	a.  Imagine his experience without joy - broken spirit dries up the bones
	b.  He would have had no strength to go on - joy of the Lord is strength
	c.  Satan wants to steal our joy - our strength, our vitality
5.  So how can we maintain our joy?
		- It begins and ends with the Gospel!!

I.  Share the Gospel (1:12-18)
	A.  Paul is in prison, yet he is joyful.  Why?
		1.  Gospel still being proclaimed because of his circumstances
		2.  Even those who proclaim from selfish motives cause him joy
	B.  ILL:  How does proclaiming the Gospel bring joy?
		1.  Meaning of the word Gospel = Good News
			a.  Do you find it a joy to share good news?
				- Passed bar exam
				- Got approved for 80% scholarship
				- She said yes when I asked her to marry me!
				- The medical tests - they were negative!!
			b.  When you hear, you love to tell others about it donít you?
		2.  Paul a bearer of the best news ever!!  It applied to everyone
			a.  There is hope beyond this life
			b.  No bad stuff there, a utopia
			c.  If you knew about place like that, would you want to tell?
		3.  Canít help but be joyful in sharing the Gospel
	C.  ILL:  Spurgeon teaching students about face doing with words
		1.  Told them that face should light up when talk of Heaven
			a.  That a natural reaction
			b.  If you really believe and expect heaven, brings joy
		2.  Told them that when they speak of Hell - ordinary face will do
		3.  Our ordinary face died in the watery grave!!
		4.  Replaced by joyful expectant hope that tells everyone!!!!
	D.  Our passion should be like Paulís
		1.  To tell people how to get to that place
		2.  (v.18) - Didnít matter how or who proclaimed good news
		3.  As long as word got out, he would rejoice
		4.  So, there is joy in proclaiming the Gospel

II.  Share IN the Gospel (Phil 2:1-4)
	A.  A Christian does not just accept, but participates in the Gospel
		1.  What Paul is describing is Christian fellowship
		2.  Involves being intent on one purpose
			a.  Draws people together
			b.  Single purpose is like a magnet
			c.  Polarity pointing same way, draws others to it
	B.  Paul mentions the joy of sharing IN the Gospel several times
		1.  1:4-7 - They participated in the joy of sharing. 
		2.  4:10-17 - What did they share in?
			a.  Participation in financial support
			b.  Not only it benefit others, but themselves (v.17)
		3.  How does this bring benefit?  Bring joy?
			a.  Joy in being part of something significant
			b.  They hearing about fruits of Paulís activities
			c.  They were a part of that!
	C.  ILL:  Many were a part of our activities during the campaign
		1.  Food, host families, door knocking, prayer - THANK YOU
		2.  But there are other ministries you a part of
			a.  Mission work in Mexico and Phillipines
			b. Sallyís trips to Ukraine
			c.  Prison Ministry
	D.  When we hear about result of participation, brings joy
		1.  Look forward to hearing about Mexico, Russia, and Prisons
		2.  Look forward to future Revivals and Campaigns
		
III.  Sail using the Gospel Smiley Gospel Sails
	A.  ILL:  Sails can teach us an important lesson
		1.  Went to Nebraska Youth Camp growing up
			a.  Had canoes and little sail boats
			b.  Friend of mine figured the sail boats
			c.  Could go any direction he wanted - Yet the wind was 
			      only blowing in one direction
		2.  This reminds me of a Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
			One ship drives east and another drives west
				With the selfsame winds that blow
			Tis the set of the sails and not the gales
				Which tells us the way to go
			Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
				As we voyage along through life;
			Tis the set of a soul that decides its goal,
				And not the calm or the strife 
	B.  Talking about the Gospel attitude and disposition (Phil 1:19-26)
		1.  Even in the face of death - there is joy because of the Gospel
		2.  Who said we had to grow up, be responsible and not have fun?
			a.  The image of a somber Christian who doesnít laugh
			b.  The image of a prude Christian with no joy
			c.  Donít be a ninny, we donít laugh, it is so petty
			d.  So uptight, he is about to implode
		3.  This is Satanís breeding ground for bitterness
			a.  That Donkey a Christian?  Has such a long face
			b.  Sour disposition - look like weaned on a Dill Pickle
		4.  Jesus calls us to become as CHILDREN (they have fun)
	C.  But how can I have joy under these circumstances!??
		1.  That is part of the problem
		2.  We live ABOVE not UNDER the worldís circumstances
		3.  Joy not because of, but in spite of circumstances
	D.  Even though winds of life toss us about
		1.  Itís not the wind, but the sail that determines direction
		2.  God has give you a sail --- The Gospel
		3.  Gospel disposition stems from peace of God (Phil 4:4-9)
			a.  Security of the Gospel - Confidence - Joy - laugh
			b.  Gospel gives us HOPE
			c.  Our hope is ABOVE worldís circumstances

Concl:
1.  If secure in your faith, can have joy
	a.  Sharing the Gospel with Confidence
	b.  Sharing IN the work of the Gospel with others -support, prayers
	c.  Setting your Gospel sails for Joy
2.  Are you joyfully secure in your faith or has Satan robbed you
3.  Time to take it back today?
4.  Maybe you have never know his joy?  Never been saved?  Uncomfortable?
	- God is working on you!  Respond today!