Having looked at the secrets/keys to continuous rejoicing and what can hinder Christians from continuing in this joy, we felt compelled to also look at this joy with respect to our Christian race.
We should be reminded of how and when this joy begins in a believer. Acts 16:34 and Ps 51:12 tell us that the beginning of this joy is at salvation which God gives everyone that has seen the light of the gospel.
What is the joy about? Actually, it is joy unspeakable! You have this hope of eternal life, freedom from all bondages, an assurance of the future, rest from your labour and eternal glory. It is this hope and promise of the weight of eternal glory God has prepared for us that produces joy in a believer (Rom. 12:12; 15:13). This joy produces strength in him to persevere, endure and run patiently the mandatory race of life (Neh. 8:10; Heb. 12:1b).
We want to look at two example models, among others, that finished strong their race because they put this joy before them.
Jesus Christ was able to accomplish God’s purpose because He kept looking at the joy placed ahead of Him.
“…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” Heb. 12:2
It was the joy ahead that strengthened him to endure the death on the cross, that blinded his eyes to shame and ridicule from men. He saw the eternal glory ahead which surpasses anything else in heaven and on earth. Therefore he was able to knock down the Devil behind him when he presented him the kingdom of the world and its glory (Matt. 4:8).
Brethren, God does not put any man on the track without setting before him the reward-eternal glory. It takes you to have seen the glory of God’s kingdom before you can place the glory of the present world behind you (Matt. 6:33). Have you seen the joy ahead of you? Can you look beyond the passing glory of the present world and see what God has promised you in the world to come? I pray God will help us in Jesus Christ name.
Abraham believed God for his promise, but he somehow saw it beyond this world. He realised God was not just talking about the present world but of his eternal kingdom(Heb. 11:8-16). Therefore he longed for a heavenly Jerusalem whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10).
“..but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” Heb. 11:13
Four things happened to Abraham that we must see and do to finish strong our race. He saw the eternal glory of God- the promise that outlasts this world with the eyes of faith afar off. And he was persuaded, convinced of the same beyond all doubts. He then embraced, accepted and longed for it even from afar off. Therefore, he was able to declare himself and live as a stranger, passer-by on the earth.
Brethren you cannot be persuaded of God’s glory if you have not seen it; you cannot accept and embrace what you are not convinced of, and you cannot see yourself as a stranger in this world if you have not embraced His glory. Maybe that is why you are struggling in your race? You’re one leg in God one leg in the world because you’re unsure. What makes you live here on earth and enjoy the good of the land without jeopardising your eternal home is to first beg God to show you the glory ahead, which if you fully believe and long for will in return fuel in you an overflowing joy- strength to finish strong(2 Cor. 4:17).
Have you seen the glory of God? What are you doing about it?-Matt? 13:44.
This sermon, Beholding The Joy Ahead: The Secret to Finishing Strong, by Minister Joseph Ogunjobi was first delivered on March 6, 2016