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May 3, 2015
Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church
Sermon 2 in Sermon Series
“Five Marks of a Christian”
Adapted from: “Five Marks of a Methodist”
By Steve Harper
Psalm 73:24-28 CEB
Philippians 4:4-9 NIV
I Will Rejoice For He Is My God!
Prayer for God’s word to be heard through me or in spite of me…
I love getting good news, be it for myself or for someone else. Good news is so needed in a world that seems to be nothing but bad. We see it in the news and in the news paper. This world seems to have gone from bad to worse. So when someone has good news it really is something to rejoice about.
Even in heaven there is rejoicing. We are told in scripture that there is much rejoicing when one soul turns from sin and turns to God. When God created the heavens and the earth and all that is within it, He stepped back and rejoiced in His creation and called it very good.
I would rather live my life rejoicing…looking to find the good that there is in the world and rejoicing about it…than the alternative of feeling down all the time…finding not much to rejoice about. At dinner time, we sit around the table and give thanks…rejoice about…one thing that happened that day that was good…something that we are thankful for.
We have begun our journey of looking at the five things…five ways…that we can see that we are “being changed by the story” of Easter. I have adapted this Sermon Series from a book written by Steve Harper that is titled “Five Marks of a Methodist: The Fruit of a Living Faith.” But this book is not just for “Methodist”, it is for all who follow Christ. It gives five distinct ways to tell…to visually see…that you are being “changed by the story”, not just reading it.
The five ways are as follows:
A “Christian” not just Methodist:
1. Loves God
2. Rejoices in God
3. Gives Thanks
4. Prays Constantly
5. Loves Others
Last week, we talked about the first of these character traits. We love God. We love God with all that we are…and all that we have within us. This love we have for God is what drives us in our relationship with Him. The more we are in love with Him the more we want to know Him. And the more we know Him the more we want of Him in our lives.
The next tell tale sign is that we rejoice in God. The Psalm that I read this morning, talks about rejoicing in God…being so overjoyed that there is nothing that compares to Him. We are so overjoyed that we can’t help but talk about Him and all that He has done. As we rejoice in the Lord, we witness to a world that is in such need of the Good News. There are so many that need the hope of the gospel. As they hear the news and accept it in their lives, they too begin to rejoice in our God and Savior…
In the Letter to the Philippians, Paul talks about this rejoicing in God. In the fourth chapter He gives these instructions:
Philippians 4:4-9New International Version (NIV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
As we rejoice in the Lord we are changed…the story has changed us…we become gentle and “fearless”. We know that we can go to God in prayer and He will answer. We are given peace. Instead of concentrating on the chaos around us we are concentrated on what is good. And that brings us joy instead of the despair that our world seems pretty abundant with.
Joy…real joy that makes you “dance in the streets”…flows from the love of God. The joy of the Lord truly is our strength. Being a Christ follower…being a disciple of Christ …is a whole-life response to God’s grace…With all of our heart…all of our mind…and all of our strength. This joy is not a fleeting or superficial thing but it takes over our whole being. Being loved by God and loving God builds a bond that produces a life that can only be found in relationship with Him.
A Christian rejoices in God…they rejoice with God…for God is there all in all. So how is it with your joy meter? Are you rejoicing in god or is the chaos of the world creeping in and stealing your joy? Come to the fountain of joy and be revived again. Come to the life giving waters our Savoir offers and come away rejoicing in the streets. Come to the font of blessings and have the joy of your salvation restored. Rejoice in God for He is good.