"TRUE JOY is the BY-PRODUCT of BELIEVING The TRUTH." (Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones)
'There was GREAT JOY in THAT city' (Acts 8:8). YET -- there was NO CHANGE in the CIRCUMSTANCES in THAT city (San Diego, Castillejos, Matei, Tijuana, Naselesele, San Ysidro, Naqara, Cotabato, Hillcrest, Manila, North Park, Nadi, Labasa, La Jolla, New York City, etc).
There was NO CHANGE in the people's finances, NO CHANGE in their health, NO CHANGE in their housing situation, NO CHANGE in climate and environment, NO CHANGE in the government, NO CHANGE in politics -- there was NO CHANGE in that city's OUTward circumstances.
THAT city's JOY was from each individual's INward CHANGE wrought by his/her BELIEF INto The TRUTH -- CHRIST JESUS Himself. "It is CHRISTianity ALONE that can give us REAL JOY!" Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones makes this EXCLUSIVE claim --and i myself PROclaim this REALITY.
The system of the world canNOT give anyone JOY -- TRUE, LASTING JOY -- though it tries by offering its version of "joy" (fleeting happiness) by temporarily alleviating a person's misery through giving the STUFF of the world -- i.e., the government legislating TRILLIONS of dollars of financial boost to corporations and individuals, SELF-deluded politicians promising free health care and education, humanistic man-made religions (belief systems of endless reincarnations, ultimate Nirvana, Muhammed), drugs, psychology, humanism (SELF-help/psychoanalysis, SELF-effort, SELF-esteem).
The world's "joy" doesn't last -- and "there's ALWAYS a fly in the ointment." The STUFF of the world gets old -- and wars, pestilences, pandemics, aging and certain death are the plain REALITIES of Life. ESCAPEism (the pleasure mania, alcohol, drugs, SELF-deception) for a while brings "joy" -- but sooner or later REALITY sets in. There is NO REAL CHANGE in the OUTward CIRCUMSTANCES that is the NORM in THAT city... THAT individual.
SO HOW was it that "THERE WAS GREAT JOY IN THAT CITY" of Samaria, 2000+ years ago? THAT city's (the persons') JOY was INward -- it was by GOD-given FAITH, in BELIEVING the TRUTH, in TRUSTING INto The TRUTH Himself -- CHRIST JESUS, The LORD over ALL Creation, even LORD over Death and the Grave!
TRUE JOY, JOYous abandon, JOYful exultation in simply being ALIVE is the REALITY of TRUE CHRISTian JOY. It is DEEP, INward JOY that canNOT be erased or suppressed by the OUTward daily circumstances that beset each person.
TRUE JOY is from GOD -- not from man, not from man's philosophies. TRUE JOY is INternal and therefore IMMUNE to EXternal CIRCUMSTANCES. 'The JOY OF The LORD is my Strength' (Nehemiah 8:10), 'for the JOY that was set before Him, JESUS ENDURED The Cross' (Hebrews 12:2), 'there was GREAT JOY in that city (Acts 8:8).
There was GREAT JOY in THAT city of Samaria because the people BELIEVED Philip's preaching of TRUTH -- the TRUTH of The GOOD News (NOT the kind of FAKE NEWS proliferated by TOday's media), the HIStorical FACT of JESUS, GOD IN CHRIST, Who left HIS GLORY to come into THIS miserable world 2000+ years ago, to bring into REALITY the ONLY way of SALVATION OUT of THIS miserable world -- and INto EVERlasting GLORY with the TRIune GOD in the Heavenly Realms.
CHRIST JESUS Himself IS THE Way and THE Truth and THE Life to/with The FATHER in Heaven. The LORD JESUS is The CHRIST sent of GOD to SAVE sinners from SIN, Satan and SELF. CHRIST JESUS IS LORD -- indeed HE IS LORD even over Death and the Grave. The LORD JESUS IS The WAY to EVERlasting TRUE JOY! \o/
(The above are my personal notes from Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones sermon on Acts 8:8 -- "GREAT JOY In That City" -- https://www.mljtrust.org/sermons-online/acts-8-8/great-joy-in-that-city/. This particular sermon explains WHY i have this INward JOY that manifests itself despite the OUTward circumstances of daily Life. When my zumba friends at Border View YMCA ask me from where i get such JOYful energy, i simply answer "THE JOY OF The LORD IS MY STRENGTH." When the folks at Ocean View Church or Westview Bible Church see the JOYful OUTward EXpression of my INward JOYfulness -- they know it's but the INward LIFE of The Risen LORD JESUS manifesting OUTwardly by the OUTworkings of the INdwelling Holy SPIRIT. That's WHY (as painted on my OUTer wear) i can JOYfully and TRULY PROclaim my INward FAITH -- 'TO LIVE IS CHRIST, TO DIE IS GAIN' (Philippians 1:21) -- read https://rl-n.blogspot.com/2010/04/rlns-last-expression-her-last-gazillion.html. My purpose in THIS lifetime, in THIS city, in THIS body -- is to GLORIFY GOD and to enJOY HIM forEVER, so that whether i LIVE or DIE tomorrow -- in ALL things, in WHATever i do, in WHATever the circumstance, my HEART's deepest desire is to please The TRIune GOD alone with the ALL that HE has gifted me by and through the INfinite RICHES of His Amazing GRACE and the INfinite WISDOM of His INfallible TRUTH -- The LORD JESUS CHRIST Himself, FULL of GRACE and TRUTH! \o/