INTRO: Do you consider yourself to be a happy person? If so, what is the source of your happiness? If not, what would it take to make you happy? Are we not all, in some way and to some degree, seeking happiness for our lives? The happiness of which I speak is not giddy, thrilling ... or, for that matter, emotional. The happiness of which I speak is not a come and go sort of thing. True happiness is not necessarily a trouble free existence. Happiness, real happiness, is a state of mind and being which can exist in the midst of a storm. Still, happiness does have some very earthbound foundations which make it more than a philosophical thing to be discussed or debated. How do we find and insure happiness in our lives?
I HAPPINESS MUST BEGIN WITH A RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
A. Prov 16:20 - This certainly involves trust in God
1. a problem with happiness? trust placement!
2. 1 Tim 6:17 with Prov 23:5 - trust in material things is tenuous!
3. listen: Ps 146:3-6 with Ps 90:1,2 - put your confidence here!
B. Heb 10:15-22 - We must trust God for covenant privilege
1. a right relationship with God requires atonement, remission - Acts 2:38
2. Rom 6:3 - baptized into... - the place the atonement becomes mine
3. sin is a great cause of unhappiness! distresses of every sort come as the result of sin (ill. Rom 1:27b) - right relationship with God begins for you and me in baptism ... in baptism there is true reason for happiness ... Acts 8:39
C. Prov 29:18 - Thence, we must look to Gods law and will for our lives
1. without the instruction of the law people perish
2. the word perish has in it the idea of exposed, naked (vulnerable!)
3. Ps 37:23 - the structure for our lives which comes from walking carefully in the way and will of God is a solid basis for true happiness - 1 Thes 4:1
II HAPPINESS IS FOUND IN FAMILY
A. True, not every family is a happy family
1. and the reasons may be several, or many
2. we see families torn asunder by unfaithfulness, strife, tensions, turmoil
3. still, I believe Gods intent is that families can contribute to happiness
B. Ps 127:3-5 & 128:1-4 - I do not doubt what the psalmist says!
1. one of the keys, however, is noted at 127:1 & 128:1 - acknowledging in practice (in the family) the ways and will of the Lord (with reverence for Him)
2. honoring God given roles, counsel from God are essential if the family is to contribute to happiness
3. I have a strong suspicion that the family of Prov 31 was very happy!
III HAPPINESS IS FOUND AMONG FRIENDS
A. I have always been amazed by the emphasis scripture gives friendship
1. few people can live happily without friends - not fair weather friends
2. most of us probably think of ourselves has having friends, many friends
3. are we mistaking acquaintances for friends? do acquaintances stick with us through good times and bad?
B. Job 2:11 - What wonderful words are they came
1. Deut 13:6 - which is as thine own soul - a beautiful description!
2. companionship, counsel, correction, carrying burdens, etc. are all the sorts of things friends bring into our lives (do we reciprocate?)
3. a word of concern - friendships can be harmful! ill: Prov 22:24,25
IV HAPPINESS IS FOUND IN THE BODY OF CHRIST, THE CHURCH
A. Yes, many of us, most of us, can remember an unhappy experience
1. the church is people ... and where there are people there may be hurt
2. still, I do not know what people outside the church do without the church
3. we hear much about support groups ... Heb 10:23-25!!!
B. You are my family; you are my life; you are among my greatest joys
1. lives touch in the church in ways they never touch in secular world
2. how many of your lives have touch mine over forty+ years?
3. 1 Thes 2:19,20 - though written against a somewhat different circumstance, these are my sentiments
CLOSE: Such an occasion as this brings thoughts of friendship welling up within me. But it all comes back to this - Ps 146:5 - Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.
Cecil A. Hutson
07 March 2004
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)