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Joy Unspeakable

By Mike Taylor

 

 

Do you have joy in your life? Do you have a joy unspeakable and full of glory? I look around me and see church members who are depressed about the situation in our world here at home and abroad. We in the church are concerned about our country and the path our leaders have taken us, and know judgment could be just over the horizon. But I’m reminded of the good Boy Scouts and their motto, "Be prepared." Disaster, either natural or man-made, can occur at any moment. A good Boy Scout--or, more importantly, an awake Christian—prepares for the unexpected, the natural disaster, or yes, even a terrorist attack. But should we be anxious, looking over our shoulders for impending disaster and wringing our hands in worrisome fretting over the end of all things? Should we be obsessed with thoughts of the end of the world? I think not.

I have held onto the promises of Psalm 91 since I was a boy. Whenever danger has been about, I have always read and claimed the promises in this inspiring passage written by King David so long ago. And in this psalm asking the protection of Almighty God, there’s a catch, per se: The verse states that we have to stay right up close to God to be assured of His protection against the everyday challenges that come our way. We can’t try to serve our Lord haphazardly. If we are diligently serving Him and being ever watchful, then we’re promised we have nothing to fear. God is in charge and is watching over each person who is diligently trying to serve Him in faith and who is watching for the blessed hope--the soon return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I get excited about the signs of the times that are all around us. As one of the “children of the day” who is “not blinded by being in darkness,” I know that the Rapture could be close--even right at the door. So I fear not, and neither should you. We should be longing for the blessed promises that God made for His children.

I just love the words the Holy Spirit prompted the apostle Paul to record in the eighth chapter of his book to the Romans:

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God And if children, then heirs; and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:16-18).

Yes, we have aches, pains, financial problems and loved ones who die sooner than we expect. Sometimes, the cares of this life weigh us down. But we are given a glorious promise as we read on in this passage:

“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:19-25).

Notice how Paul lays the foundation by turning our attention to our hope. He reminds us that God purposefully made life subject to futility. Futility is a frustrating quality that wears away at one’s confidence. It can produce a sense of hopelessness that leads to us to think that nothing will work out. Sometimes our pilgrimage seems so long and arduous that we take our eyes from our Savior. Hopelessness builds. However, Paul reminds us that God does everything in love and wisdom, and for our good. He uses the futility we perceive, and allows it to point us to Him as the source of our strength. This builds our faith in spite of our circumstances.

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:26).

We have been called. We have been chosen to be conformed to the image of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord, through the will of the Father. Again, “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according His purpose.” Repeat that when troubles come your way and it will increase your faith.

Now let’s contemplate just for a moment the implication of a verse we quoted. “We are heirs and joint heirs with Jesus Christ” (verse 17). What a glorious promise!!! What He is and what is His will be ours as well. We will be like Him in Spirit and in relationships to family fortunes. Whatever belongs to the Son, we will be given a portion of that inheritance. That is mind-boggling! We will be kings and priests who will rule over portions of this universe and who will do whatever pleases the Father. We will have unlimited access to His throne room and audience with our Him and our Savior Jesus Christ. We will be in the same family, as adopted sons and daughters of the Ruler of the entire universe, We will live forever, even as they live. Now that should get anyone excited!

To end the eighth chapter of Romans, Paul gives us another promise that cannot be broken:

“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:30-39).

Nothing can come between us and our eternal home. Nothing in this life, and nothing in this mixed-up world that we see self destructing can take away that promise. All He asks for is our love, our unwavering faith in Him, our obedience, and our willingness to put Him first, ahead of everything else. He gave us a way….the only way.

Now turn to John 14:

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:1-6).

Even as we speak, Jesus, our Savior and soon-coming King, is preparing a place for us. Where? In His Father’s house. When? Right now. His Father’s house is somewhere out there in the place some call heaven. It’s where the Father and Son are right now. What will that mean, and how will it be accomplished? I have believed in the Rapture all my life and still do. The timing is what gets people all in an uproar. But from Scripture, we know that He is close, very close—even right at the door. When it comes right down to it, brethren, the timing doesn’t matter--even though I believe in a Pretrib Rapture. What matters is just that we get there. And how do we get there? Jesus gives the answer in John 6:28-29: “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

We get there by believing in faith and following the commands of the one God sent to die for our sins.

1 Peter chapter 1 states:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.v6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 3-9).

That is our destiny; that is our goal. That is why we were born. That is why we struggle with daily living, and that is why, as Christians, we will win—to the glory of the Father.

In these times of uncertainty, we should be in glorious expectation, waiting for the blessed hope, that hope that is in Jesus Christ our Lord. We must be prepared, be good stewards of the talents He has given us, use His Word to reach others, and do the will of the Father by striving to become the image of His Son. We must put on the “whole armor of God,” as Ephesians 6:13-17 admonishes us to do:

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 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.”

Do you know this Jesus? Are you expecting His soon return? Have you made that the most important part of your life? Have you asked Him to come into your heart and cleanse you from all unrighteousness? He said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). Do you believe Him? Is the Holy Spirit calling you right now? Pray these simple words with heartfelt conviction” “Lord, I ask you to come into my heart. Cleanse me from my sins. I believe that you lived and died on a cruel cross for my sins. I believe you rose from the dead on the third day after you were buried, and that you live and sit now at the right hand of God the Father. Soon you will come back, and I want to go with you onto glory. In Jesus’ name, I confess my wish to be saved. Amen.”

May God bless you and keep you. Remember, Paul said in Philippians 4:13, “ I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.“ Let us go on with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”