Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning, Sep. 30, 2001, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia.
HAPPINESS IS MORE THAN JUST KNOWING THE TRUTH
By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia
Scripture Reading: John 13:1-17
Text: John 13:17
John 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Introduction: I believe that one of the most important priorities of life should be to find and know the truth.
Jesus said ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.
However, some of the most miserable people I know are folks who KNOW the truth, but don’t OBEY the truth.
I. HAPPINESS IS MORE THAN JUST KNOWING THE TRUTH ABOUT SALVATION
Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
The emphasis in the above verse is not on KNOWING the gospel, but rather on OBEYING the gospel. Obedience has to do with BELIEVING the report, which is equated with in scripture putting faith in Christ and His finished work.
Perhaps you have seen the bumper sticker that says, “Happiness is Knowing That You’re Going to Heaven.” Well, it is true that assurance of salvation brings happiness, but we must also remember that no one gets the happiness of salvation simply by KNOWING the way of salvation but by TAKING the way of salvation.
That is why we give an invitation at the close of the service.
That is why we bring people to a decision to trust Christ when we go soul-winning.
A. It is one thing to be confronted by a soul-winner but another thing to accept him into your home
- Many people have had the opportunity to hear the gospel, but they would not let the soul- winner in, would not receive a tract, would not listen to the radio or television preacher, or would not visit the church down the road!
B. It is one thing to be convicted by the Spirit of God but another thing to give in to Him
- I believe MANY people know they are headed for hell. They just haven’t YET done anything about it!
- They think they will lose some happiness if they get saved.
- They think they will not be as joyful if they trust Christ.
C. It is one thing to be convinced about salvation but another thing to trust Christ as Savior
- The joy of salvation does not come until you HAVE it!
- Eternal life is a GIFT (Romans 6:23), and a gift must be RECEIVED in order to be enjoyed!
- You can receive God’s gift of eternal life today by believing on Jesus, God’s Son, who died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures! (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Acts 16:29-31)
I began witnessing to Terrell Stephens around 1976. He told me, “If I could believe like you believe, I would be the happiest man in the world.” He was a member of the Church of Christ, who believe in salvation by works. Around 1979 I won him to Christ, and he remembered what he said. He was glad to tell everyone, “I AM the happiest man in the world!” He finally gave in and trusted Christ.
II. HAPPINESS IS MORE THAN JUST KNOWING THE TRUTH ABOUT THE STAND WE SHOULD TAKE
Acts 26:2 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:
2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
Paul not only knew the stand to take, but he TOOK it. He took his stand privately and publicly. He took it when he was among friends and among enemies.
In order to be happy, you should not only KNOW the stand to take but you need to also:
A. TAKE the correct stand
- Speak up!
- Some rebels seem to think that they have a lot of courage because they speak up in a church business meeting about something they don’t like.
- How about speaking up for Christ and his word on the JOB? at a family reunion?
B. Take a clear-cut stand
- No one should have to wonder how you believe.
- 2 Timothy 3:10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
- I have told you where I stand, we have put it on tape, we have put it on the Internet, and we have put it into print.
C. Take a consistent stand
- Take it at home and at church.
- Take it on the job.
- Take it when you are on vacation.
D. Take a compassionate stand
- Stand WITH one another FOR the Lord AGAINST the world, the flesh, and the DEVIL!
- Those who are taking the wrong stand are not our enemies. The spirit who influences them is our enemy.
III. HAPPINESS IS MORE THAN JUST KNOWING THE TRUTH ABOUT SACRIFICE
Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Philippians 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
Yesterday a number of our people met at the church at 9 AM. We had songs, prayer, some instructions, after which we went into the highways and hedges here and knocked on the doors of people’s homes.
I am sure that nearly everyone who participated time sacrificed some time, plans, comfort, ease, emotional stress, and pleasure. Nearly everyone who went door-knocking is SORE. I dare say, however, that everyone who went door-knocking has inner JOY for doing it!
Happiness through sacrifice comes:
A. When you give and you have given beyond what you think is “safe”
- The Corinthian saints were willing to give beyond their power (2 Corinthians 8:3).
B. When you go and you have gone beyond what you think is your ability
- You experience the joy of experiencing some pain and weariness for Him who died for you!
- You experience what it means to “do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
IV. HAPPINESS IS MORE THAN JUST KNOWING THE TRUTH ABOUT SERVICE
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
A. Happiness comes as you DO START serving God
- Confession of faith
- Church Membership
- Faithful attendance
- Tithes and offerings
- Listening, learning, and living it
- Daily prayer
- Daily Bible reading
- Daily soul-winning
B. Happiness comes as you DO STAY serving God
- Don’t quit!
- Some of the most miserable people in this town are Christians, folks who claim to be saved, who are no longer preachers, no longer teachers, no longer church musicians, no longer soul-winners. Some of them don’t even attend church!
- Lee Roberson is happy in his 90s. Hugh Pyle is happy in his 80s. I am a three-time grandpappy at this time, and God helping me, I plan to serve God, stand for Christ, sacrifice for Him, sing His praises, and SHOUT THE VICTORY ’til I get home to GLORY!!!
Will you DO what you KNOW you should DO today?
Will you ACT on what you KNOW?
Will you OBEY the TRUTH you hold?
Do it now!