I recently shared with two groups of people, “5 reasons to have joy as a Christian.” One was for a church in Masbate, Philippines.
The other was for our local church in State College, PA. The message really did some good, so I decided to share it with you here.
But since it was a 40-minute message, I’m going to break it down into five parts.
(However, you can also listen to the full message here:)
The first reason for joy is that we are part of an unshakeable Kingdom.
Daniel 4:3 says, “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.”
Did you know that in Christ, we have an unshakeable Kingdom?
I think of God’s Kingdom as this, “the realm of Christ’s rule and reign.” Governments may fall, nations may crumble, leaders may falter, but the Kingdom of God stands forever.
Marriages may shake, children may stumble, jobs may end, but Christ’s dominion endures from generation to generation. There is no more stable, triumphant, or secure structure.
And thank God, within the Kingdom of God is the Church, the people of God. The Bible calls the Church, “the Body of Christ.” Now just as Christ gave his physical body as a gift to us, he also gave the Church as a gift to us. Each of us has the gift of Christ in us, so we ought to treat each other as the gift we are to each other.
We ought to be like, “Oh, Christ is in him” and “Christ is in her” and honor the gift of Christ in each other. If we regarded each other as a gift of Christ to us, would that change the way we treat each other?
This is what I’ve observed: when the Church is functioning properly, there’s nothing like it.
In the Philippines, we visited an island called Masbate. We stopped at the hut of a boy named Jemar.
Jemar had been abandoned by his mother, then his father gave him up to his grandmother. Jemar wanted to start attending his local church, so his grandmother started taking him.
See his leg? When we visited, he had been suffering with an infected leg for two years. The local doctor didn’t know what to do, so he just sent him home. But God had other plans to use His Body, the Church, to help Jamer.
When we met him, I snapped this picture. Then when we got back to Manila, I showed the picture to the director of a mission organization. She just “happened” to have 20 doctors onsite to provide free medical care, so she showed the picture to them. It was agreed that Jemar needed immediate medical attention or he may lose his leg… or worse.
Jemar needed to get to Manila. But he was extremely poor, his grandmother didn’t read, write or even have a government ID card, PLUS our ministry budget was at $29. How will this work?
Well boarding the plane from Manila to Tokyo for my flight home, I spoke with Pastor Roy, “Just find Jemar and his grandmother plane tickets.”
So he went to work on that while I flew to Tokyo. As I disembarked in Tokyo, I thought again, How will this work?
Then I checked my email and just that moment, an unsolicited donation came in from a couple in Seattle to cover their plane tickets. And on top of that, another surprise donation come in from Cucamonga, California to cover other costs.
So we bought their tickets, they flew to Manila, and are now in line to be looked at.
Do you see what I’m saying?
An orphan in the Philippines with a great need started going to church and because of that, her local pastor brought a guy from Pennsylvania around (that’s me), who snapped a picture on his iPhone, showed that picture to a lady from New York (the director of the mission organization), who showed it to a group of doctors, who said he must get treatment, then without hearing anything about the need, a couple from Seattle donated and a lady from Cucamonga, California donated, and now that orphan is getting treatment in the big city of Manila.
And now this deed is the talk of the village – they knew we preached the Gospel when we were there, but now they are seeing it demonstrated through action, and Jesus is getting more glory than before, and the village is understanding what the Kingdom of God is all about.
I love the Church, which is part of the unshakeable Kingdom! People of God, that’s just one reason to have joy, and I have four more…