The homecoming message was brought by Eddie Foster.

Life in general produced hardness.  There is, however, joy and it comes from knowing the Lord.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.     John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

There is a certain amount of temporary happiness in things.  Wealth, health, family and friends do bring happiness but this is only temporary. A new car is kept spotless but when the “new wears off” it’s not kept so clean. Solomon is a good example of all this. He told us it was all temporary. He had wisdom, wealth and women. The man who had it all said it was vanity–it left a void that couldn’t be filled. Search the world over. You might find temporary happiness but the only lasting happiness is in Jesus Christ.

There is something called the “shrine of the golden arches.”  Do you know what that is? McDonald’s. What is that meal they sell to kids called?  The happy meal. McDonald’s want you to think that you’re not just buying a hamburger and fries and a toy. You’re buying happiness. Is there a McDonald’s vacuum inside of us? No. Does that happy meal last forever?  No. The only one who gets any happiness out of it is McDonald’s because of all the money coming in from the billions served. We try to fill the void with things of this world but it doesn’t last. Some look to the future and say “when I get married, I’ll be happy” or “when I get this debt paid off, I’ll be happy.” You can be happy now! True happiness begins when you receive Jesus Christ as Savior.  I want to share four things that bring happiness.

No. 1:  Assurance of salvation.  Do you know that you know that you know you are saved? I do.  I was there when it happened. I know the Holy Spirit convicted me and by the blood of the cross Jesus set me free. When a person doubts, there is no fullness of joy. Has there ever been a moment you doubted your salvation? I have. The devil works on the mind to try and convince us we have not been saved. I take him back to the time Jesus lifted me.  First John 1:4 says And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.  In First John 5:13 he says These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.  We learn that we can know it. Some denominations say “I hope.”  There is hope in the Bible but it’s a confident hope. I know when I leave this body I will be present with the Lord.  Our loved ones who believed Jesus Christ went to be with him when they stepped out of this world. They have gotten the prize. This is not based on feelings. They change. If I get up tomorrow on Cloud 9, I’m saved.  If I get up the next day in a low mood, I’m still saved. So feelings aren’t the clue. You can’t base your salvation on someone else’s experience. I’ve seen some people shout and run the isles when they got saved; I’ve seen others never shed a tear.  Both were saved if they truly trusted in Jesus Christ. You cannot base salvation on your works. We’ll never do enough. I don’t care how much you do, it will come short and be empty. You cannot “work” to be saved. I work because I’m saved, not to get it. I’ll not go because someone else says I will or because I do my best. The Word says I am saved when I call on Jesus. That’s what I did and he saved me.  You’ll have a difficult time getting others to be saved if you’re not sure you’ve been saved. You can be sure and that brings joy.

No 2: Happiness is growing. Are you growing–maturing–as a Christian?  Shame on you if you’re not. It should be natural. If you plant a garden you expect things to grow. A healthy church will grow. If it doesn’t, one of two things is happening. Either it’s not being fed. I don’t think anyone could say that here. I know Bob and you’re being fed.  The other is the people are being fed but they are not eating what they’re being fed. Do you come expecting to be fed and then do you take it and eat it? If a baby doesn’t grow you take it to the doctor. A baby grows and Christians are to grow. In First Corinthians 3:1 Paul mentions three types of Christians:  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. There are spiritual, carnal, and babes.  When you get saved you are a baby but you shouldn’t stay that way. You should develop skills that grow you. Some become preachers or teachers or singers. Grow.  A growing church is a happy church.

No. 3: A happy Christian shares his or her faith with someone else. Sharing your faith isn’t always easy. There are many excuses for not doing it such as “I don’t have the knack” or “I don’t want to embarrass anyone” or “I don’t have the right words.”  It is our responsibility to do it. We learn. I’d rather embarrass someone than have them go to hell. God will give us the words to say. It’s like bass fishing. This is not how I like to fish. I want to go to the river bank, throw in my line and sit down and wait.  In bass fishing you throw out the line, reel it in, throw out the line, reel it in. You do this over and over. Then if you’ve not caught anything you move up the river a bit and go through the whole thing again. You might not catch anything until the 100th time. Then you catch a five pound bass. Was it worth it?  Yes! That’s how it is sharing the gospel. We keep doing it. It will be worth it when someone gets saved. Don’t give up. The next person may be the one who gets saved. All you can do is keep throwing the gospel out there.

No. 4: Happiness is surrendering to Jesus as the Lord of your life.  The devil did nothing but make a mess of my life. Why should I keep serving him? Switch masters. Don’t just accept Jesus as Savior. He saved us from hell. He died in our place taking what we should have taken. Now we don’t have to. There’s a lot of people who have accepted Jesus as Savior but not as Lord. That means he directs your life. This is where true happiness is. He has never steered me wrong.  There is a difference between happiness and joy. If a doctor tells me I have an incurable illness, will it make me happy. Of course not, but I can still retain the joy in Jesus Christ.

Are you sure you’re saved? Do you know you’ve been born again? We’ve all failed. First John 1:9 tells us he still forgives us when we sin.  He’s talking to Christians as says If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Get beyond “I hope I’m saved.”  You can know it. That’s true happiness!

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