New Hope Notes
Five Things God Wants You To Have
Heroes...Who Bring Hope
Dr. Paul Risser
It is a great honor to be here and I am very lucky to be here with Point of Grace and their beautiful harmony. I am so glad to be here again with Pastor Wayne Cordeiro. When he was around 20 years old he used to come to my church. And now I am so glad that I am visiting here with Doing Church As a Team (DCAT). You are one of the best churches in the world not only in numbers but in spirit.
I always feel conspicuous when I come here to speak because I know that a lot of people come to hear Pastor Wayne speak, instead of me. At a convention I had the misfortune of overhearing another Pastor’s wife saying how disappointed she was to learn that I would be speaking instead of Pastor Wayne. Later, however, to my surprise she came over to me and said she wanted me to speak at her church! At first I thought I would never go there because of her unkind comment. But then again I thought I would go - but bring my worst sermon!
Today I want to talk about five things that God wants you to have. But I will mostly speak about two of them. The first is joy which is expounded upon in the Book of Philippians, one of Paul’s epistles. Paul writes about his joy in Christ even though he was in a cold, dark prison at the time. Even under the worst circumstances he continued to be joyful. He was facing death by guillotine, being burned at the stake, crucifixion or being torn apart by wild animals. But he thought that everything was fine because if they finally did free him he could continue preaching but if they did execute him he would go to His Lord in Heaven. Paul wrote about the five things to have. He wanted you to have joy, peace, contentment, worth and love.
In Ephesians 4:30, the Bible says, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” This means that in your daily life do not do things that would embarrass the Holy Spirit. You should not go against the Holy Spirit because God wants to work through you and not have to have the Holy Spirit work on you all the time! Years ago, there was an accident at a youth camp and a boy got cut so I took him to the doctor. The doctor asked me to assist as he began to clean the wound but the sight of the blood made me sick! The doctor then had to attend to me! That was not right. We should have been working on the boy. The Holy Spirit is like that doctor wanting to use me to heal others and not wanting to have to work on me. I want the Lord to use me as a blessing to the world.
There was a pastor that envied being the pastor of a certain church. He pleaded and pleaded with officials to let him have that church. Finally, they gave in and he became the pastor of that church. He soon realized that he had ignored many warning signs on his way to getting that church. At his first sermon there, his wife cried and they both realized that they had missed God along the way. It took ten years before the pastor got back on track with God. God wants to show Himself through you.
There was an officer in Bulgaria that was an atheist but he noticed a girl in his office that always so happy. He thought that she must be stupid! Her unusual happiness tormented him and he first thought that he should avoid her but eventually he found out that she was so happy because she knew Christ. Because of her example he finally did accept Christ. He asked for forgiveness and invited Jesus into his life.
The point to remember is that around the world a lot of people do not read the Bible but everyone pays attention to the people around them. So it is important as Christians that we show everyone our best qualities so that God can show Himself through us.
The five things God wants you to have are joy, peace, contentment, worth and love. Philippians talks a lot about love.
One of the first things God wants us to have is …
What is joy? Most of us think of joy as happiness but it is really a contrast to happiness. We are happy if everything goes well – we get the sports car, the new house, the raise or promotion, etc. But when Christians talk about joy it should mean it is because we are plugged into Christ.
As a boy I used to ride across the California desert without air conditioning and we used to suffer terribly! It made reaching our destination seem like Heaven. These days, I do have air conditioning in my car so going through the desert is a joy. Air conditioning is portable. I can take it everywhere I go. Joy should be like that too. You should be able to take it with you everywhere you go – no matter what the circumstances.
You should practice rejoicing frequently because rejoicing restores your joy. As the Bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4 NKJ).
Always remember, having joy, peace, contentment, worth and love is not due to your circumstances. It will be because of your state of mind and heart and how you live. What is humanly impossible is made possible through Jesus Christ.
I had the privilege and honor of knowing a wonderfully devout Christian couple that lived in a run down shack but still were very joyous. The Moore’s did not have much materially but there was nothing wrong with their joy. They were always so positive and it was a joy just to be around them and you knew that they were so much in love with each other. But one day Mr. Moore died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage. I was devastated but it became my job to tell Mrs. Moore and I dreaded telling her because I believed that the news would kill her since they were so perfect as a couple. I procrastinated and procrastinated and even prayed for his resurrection so that I would not have to tell her! But when I got to Mrs. Moore’s house, she told me that Jesus had already come and told her that her husband was in Heaven. I cried and cried and so she hugged and comforted me! She even prayed for me! Godly people teach you a lot.
The Bible gives you peace. With Jesus, even when it seems you should not be joyful, you are. God wants to give you all of these five things; joy, peace, contentment, worth and love, if you let Him.
The Book of John2 tells us that Jesus was at a wedding when the wine ran out so He transformed water into pots of the very best wine. Jesus is like that with joy – even when it seems like you have run out, He can transform anything into more joy. You will never find joy like the joy in Jesus Christ. It is the joy of the highest quality.
Famous stunt rider Evel Knievel had all the material wealth he could want. He had Rolls Royces, houses, money and he lived like a prince. But he said that he actually was miserable. Eventually he noticed how joyful the Christians around him were and realized that that was how he wanted to be. When he finally became a Christian he then became joyful, himself.
Remember, the enemy comes to steal and destroy. Jesus said that He came so that we could have life abundantly.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has fifty billion dollars! But he will never have the joy that ordinary Christians have. Our joy in Jesus Christ will take us through the dark and hard places in our lives that no money can.
God also wants to give you …
As the Bible says, “ … and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7 NKJ).
The next thing God wants to give you is …
It is written, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Phil. 4:12).
God also wants to give you …
He wants us to feel worthy because we mean everything to God. It is only our sinful nature that drags us down. Everyone here knows how embarrassing events in our childhood and high school can make us feel worthless. As a boy, I saw an escalator for the first time and ofcourse had to try going up the down escalator! Life seems to be like that down escalator – we try to get ahead and everything around us seems to be trying to bring us down. The world has all kinds of ways to make you feel worthless; ethnicity, bad parents, trouble with the law or divorce. Everything in life seems to want to take you down. But remember, Jesus says that you have all the worth and value in the world.
Missionaries can come home feeling worthless because in the time it took to travel back home all the good they did could be washed away by evil forces. One of the world’s greatest painters, Michelangelo who painted the famous Sistine Chapel even said that he was not a great artist because the Devil is always whispering in all of our ears that we are failures.
I knew a member of my church named Leonard who once told me that he wished I was his father. I was as surprised as complimented because Leonard was much older than me. Anyway, Leonard’s wife died suddenly and Leonard’s children told me that Leonard was refusing to attend the funeral. I convinced Leonard to attend by telling to go like I was his father. He did go and later said that that was the best day of his life because he found out how much people valued him. You see, all his life, Leonard had felt worthless because his father left him when he was five years old and said that he could not care less about Leonard because Leonard would not amount to even a dime. But after the funeral and finding out that he was valued and worthy, Leonard changed and people saw him differently. He even began bringing in new people to church.
The fifth thing that I want to mention that God wants you to have is …
So remember, do not let the Devil keep you down. Plug yourself into Jesus and you will be blessed with joy, peace, contentment, worth and love. When you do so, other people will see and want to become like you and the Lord can use you to bring more people to Him.
1. How could you have restored joy in your life when you were sad?
2. Why should you not “grieve the Holy Spirit”?
3. Which one of the 5 do you feel you need more of? Why?
4. How will you get more of the 5?
5. How portable is your joy?
6. Where does your worth come from?