A merry heart is the best medicine. It makes a difference in a room, a family, a community. A smile inside can speak for what God has done in us. Enjoy the grace and forgiveness. Paul found people who turned to the Lord to be his glory and joy. (Proverbs 17:23; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 2:19, 30)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
7:00 PM on 4/21/2021
P. Schaller –
Alright. You may be seated. I’d like you to turn to one verse with me, Proverbs 17:22. Tonight I’d like to speak about
joy. We’re going to have a good time. Yeah! Joy! Joy! “A merry heart does good like medicine.”
That’s one of our verses here. Proverbs 17:22. How does a joyful heart affect our lives? How does it
affect our bodies? Maybe hormones, dopamine, other stimulants are released in our body.
Maybe stress is relieved and we just have a good belly laugh. That’s awesome. Have you ever
laughed so hard you just cry? Yeah. Wouldn’t it be amazing if it was every day? Wouldn’t it? It
doesn’t happen to me every day but that would be fun, maybe. Sorrow is part of life and that’s
undeniable. To be sober, serious is part of life but so is joy. In the presence of God is fullness of
joy. It’s his nature. He is a joyful God. Because love thinks a certain way. Love does not think
evil. Love thinks the best. Love is encouraging.
Love reaches out and so does a merry heart. We are able to lose our burden and our heaviness and at times the heaviness sticks with us but we have to also learn to release ourselves by a song, by words, by prayer, by submission, by worship. To come into the presence of God and worship him is expressing ourselves. I think the
lockdown this passed year has affected people in a negative way because the seriousness, the
fear, the isolation, the lack of a merry heart. But that’s not for us. No! No! That’s not for us. A
merry heart is the way we live. You learn to enjoy little things. How many of you ladies like
flowers? How about guys you like cars, trucks, tractors, machines, motorcycles. How many of
you like little things. A sunny day. A good day. All of this part of life. How about a good
conversation? How about a good friend? How about a happy, good word? What about a word of
grace? Somebody gives me grace. They say I love you. Really? When I was in Bible college,
one of my friends was depressed. He sat on the porch and he told me the story.
He said I was sad and depressed all afternoon and then a dog came up and licked my hand! And it changed
my life! You love me! If the dog loves me and then the logical sequence was maybe God loves
me also. I remember Martin Luther fell into a depression and Kathryn, his wife, dressed in black.
He said why are you doing that? She said because God is dead. He fell into a depression and
she corrected him by correcting him and dressing in black and saying, God is dead! Let us be
depressed! There’s no hope. It’s over! God is dead! Think about it. He isn’t. He made you. He
made the stars, the fish, the sea. He made the beautiful things and let us enjoy them. How
about a little baby and their little feet. They’re about that big, right? They’re little feet and just
kind of chubby cheeks. What a miracle a child is! What a miracle an angel is! What a miracle to
be forgiven! What a miracle to have Christ, to shed his blood to save us! What a miracle our
name is in the book of life! Isn’t it amazing! So that will be our message tonight. I want to have a
good time here tonight.
Before we do the announcements and take the offering and have a
song, I’d like you to have a happy attitude. Would you stand for a minute. I know it’s
Wednesday. It’s hard to get you on your feet on Wednesday. One of these coronavirus jokes
was as the lockdown continues and I’m eating more and more food, the buttons on my shirt are
starting to social distance! Hey! Have a good attitude. Be thankful. Turn to your neighbor. Build
them up. Love them up. Have a good night tonight in Jesus’ name. Alright. Go ahead and take a
few minutes. Many of you know Brittany who just sang. Just to say she is a remarkable young
lady who lives in Turkey as a missionary. You know, you appreciate the quality of people’s lives
when you know them. We worship God. She glorifies God with her life and the song and with
Roge and Liz and the team and the work of God in Izmir. It’s amazing. Also, our Convention
coming up at the end of June and again we assemble every year and we hear, we watch, we
discern, we recognize the work of God.
I was with the high school seniors today. We were on the deck teaching them. I just look at each life and ask you to keep them in your prayers as they graduate and move on into the next phase of their lives. Again, discerning, recognizing, forgiving, loving, encouraging. Then I was thinking of the very little ones and to pray for the little
ones. The newborn and one-year old and two-year old children amongst us and to actually
believe God for them, that God will work in their lives and their families blessed. So we are in a
great work. We are in an amazing work of grace that is happening in the 21st century. Many
works of God in our country and around the world and we are happy to be a part of it. And it is
relating to the fact that Christ is the head of the Body. He is the head of the church and he has a
mind. We have been given that mind. We read that in 1 Corinthians 2. That has to do with the subject
of joy because that is his mind. I mean one of the characteristics of it. Spurgeon said, “there is a
marvelous, medicinal power in joy. Most medicines are distasteful, but this, which is the best of all medicines, is sweet to the taste and comforting to the heart. This blessed joy is very
One delirious spirit brings a kind of plague into the house. One person who is
wretched seems to stop all the birds from singing wherever he goes, but the grace of joy is
contagious. Holy joy will oil the wheels of your life’s machinery. Holy joy will strengthen you for
your daily labor. Holy joy will beautify you and give you an influence over the lives of others.”
Turn with me to 1 Thessalonians 2 please for our text. I think we will quote some of the verses we are not
turning to but follow with me. Psalm 16:8 regarding the Messiah. His body would not see corruption
but his body would be glorified, raised from the grave and in God’s presence is fullness of joy
and his right hand are pleasures forevermore. This is what we are born into by our new birth.
We are born again into the presence of God with his joy. Psalm 32 we are blessed because we
have been forgiven. Sometimes I think of myself as a very bad sinner and I am but then I’m not.
Hallelujah! But I could be. Think of the very bad things that people do and then to be forgiven of
them. So this is where our blessedness comes from. I have been forgiven. I have been forgiven.
God has given me grace. He has given me joy. Weeping happens in the night, Psalm 30:5, but
joy comes in the morning.
What kind of morning? Morning when Jesus – remember they were
fishing, and said throw your net on the right side. Joy coming in a fresh – your mercies are new
every morning. Great is your faithfulness. Then we have the forgiveness of Psalm 51. “Create in
me a clean heart. Renew a right spirit within me.” A right spirit within me. Not a critical spirit but
a joyful spirit. Not judging people or myself but forgiving myself and putting on the garment of
praise for the spirit of heaviness. The spirit of heaviness happens to all of us. We get heavy
regarding the thorns, the cares of this life, the heavy things that happen in this world. But I want
to draw a little picture of a concept to share with you. This is from a poem by George Herbert
called, “The Size.” Some of you poets might know his name. Amazing poet. I don’t remember
maybe the 14th or 13th century. “The Size.” The theme of the poem – actually I copied a piece. I
wanted to share with you. About this poem, that’s all I’m going to read. “This is a poem which
Herbert directly addresses his own heart. We often have an unhealthy desire to enjoy a bigger
allotment of pleasure than the Lord has assigned to us in this world.” We believe the amount of
pleasure we should have is bigger than what God gives us. Right?
I want. This is what I want. This is – and the poem is saying I should have another kind of mindset regarding what I have in this life and enjoy it. What I have and enjoy it. In heaven, – this is the – in heaven, is really where
our treasure is and the things that really count are ours in that life and in this one. Love. Joy.
Peace. This is how we live. Love, joy, peace is our new life now. For the kingdom of heaven is
not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. And maybe we err by
having a bigger concept of what we deserve or what we should have. Maybe we need to make
an adjustment and say I have a lot. I actually have a lot and I enjoy it because I enjoy God, and
God is teaching me to enjoy and be lighthearted and very thankful for what it is that I have.
Jesus said in Luke 10, rejoice not that you can cast out demons, but rejoice that your name is
written in the book of life. It’s great to cast out demons but there’s bigger. There’s a greater thing
happening. Your name is in the book of life that God is for you.
Think about this for a second. God is for me. I have a short list here. God is for you and rejoices over you. God has given to you repentance. We changed. We woke up. We turned from idols to God. We turned to God
from idols, actually. It’s 1 Thessalonians 1:9. Look at that verse on repentance. They show us what
manner of entering in – another way of saying that is that the way we came to your city and
started to preach and you started to rejoice and repent and turn from idols to God that showed
us the work of the Holy Spirit. When we saw that, we realized this is a work of grace. This is
what we want to see happening around the world, that God’s people will go places and we will
see how Christ saves souls, how he changes lives, how they turn from idols to God. Wow! Let’s
look at the verse again. He’s writing to the Thessalonians and he’s saying other parts of the
country are talking about you, how you have turned. vs.9. So Thessalonian people were a
source of joy for the Apostle Paul. He saw it. And I was thinking last year we had June Alive in
Baltimore. That was when we decided to reach out to the city and P. Gary G. and Renaldo and
Pat Lynch and a team of people and we had three on three basketball games here in the
parking lot. We had joy.
We had joy in our work just like we do. We are saying that God – when he thinks about you and me, he says I have turned them. They fear me, Psalm 147:11. They are praying to me, Prov. 15:8. They are hoping in my mercy. They are meek in Psalm 149:4 and they are upright, so I will prosper them, Deuteronomy 30:9. I will do them good, Deuteronomy 28:63. Do you feel that God is doing you good? Do you sense it in your spirit and your heart? We are unworthy but this is where our joy comes from. We are forgiven. He has created in us a new heart and we rejoice
in his righteousness and he delights to do us good, Deuteronomy 28:63. Then, he leads us and he wants
to and does deliver us, 2 Samuel 22:20. comforts us. Gives us an inheritance and we see this
exemplified by many people in the Bible whether it is David. He prospers wherever he went.
Whether it was Solomon in 1 Kings 10:9. When they saw his court they said that this man is an
extraordinary man. Look at the people around him. Look at his throne. What has happened? It is
his God that has done well for him. It’s God that has done it. So turn to 1 Thessalonians 2. I want you to
notice this. I feel this in our hearts. I think we are together on this. In the church in Thessalonica,
Paul is writing to them and saying how we entered, we came, how you received the word with a
lot of joy, 1:6.
You became followers of us and the Lord having received the word in much
affliction and with joy of the Holy Spirit. There is something about going on a mission. There’s
something about piling into a car and driving an hour or two and ministering and loving and
edifying and having a faith vision. I remember very distinctly, I was living in Finland as a young
man and I was in the office and I said – I don’t know if it was a Monday night or a Tuesday night
– but I go we don’t have anything on the schedule. Guys, do you want to go with me? We’ll go to
a small town an hour from here. They said, yeah, let’s go. So we piled into the car and we drove
to [?], small town. We just found it on the map. Threw a dart. We’re going to “Veety” (?). So we
drove there. Couple young men standing outside the cafe. Guess who one of them one. Tapio
Savinen. Yep! He came and we ministered and we had time. Tapio is here tonight probably
sitting over here. And his family and so on. What does this mean? These works of faith that you
and I do is one of the sources of our joy. It’s where we say God is real. We didn’t do that.
God did that. We don’t know exactly what we are doing. We are faith walkers to Frederick, Maryland
where P. Dennis White and P. Jason Moore. P. Jason, Wilmington. We are faith walkers.
Owings Mills. Federal Hill. We don’t have to be busy. We are walking by faith and asking God to
bless our work and our relationships. We’re riding in the car and we start telling jokes, goofing
around and quoting the Bible and praying together and we go and talk to people and we
minister to them. And we share our faith with them. What if that was happening all over the
United States tonight? Every church was on the move with the joy and the peace and the love.
What would happen? How many people would come to Christ? How many prayers would be
answered? How much would happen because of the spirit that we have and the joy that we
have. Look at chapter 2:19. There’s many things. What is our hope? We could say our children
may be a hope. Or a relationship of some kind is our hope or a job or a career or a home or
something. That might be our hope.
But what is our hope or our joy or crown of rejoicing? vs. 19b. That’s it. That our hope is that the church would be healthy. Our hope is that we would be prospering. Our hope is that God would put his hand on us. That God would help us in life and teach us righteousness and turn from our idols to the living God and make him the only thing. I
have to say something. I have to do that in my heart every once in a while. I have to make my
calibration in my life. Something that becomes too important so I bring it to the cross. Something
disturbs me so I have to go to the cross and ask God to renew me and get the right size like that
picture, the right size for my life. I do not need this or that. I just would like that we as believers
would finish our course with joy. I don’t know about this or that but I would like it that we as a
Body would be increasing and growing and people would get delivered from the works of evil,
from the devil, from the lies that are so prevailing in our world and in our society. No, I want his
truth in my heart and joy. You know why people have? They have external world that they live
in, and then when it collapses, their internal world collapses.
They have an external world that they are living in, maybe big size. Big thing and then when it’s gone and it doesn’t happen, they are empty and their world collapses. We have it the other way. Our internal world is to be
satisfying. If it isn’t, seek God. He will fill you. He will satisfy you. If your internal world is weak, it
may not be able to hold up in life even in normal circumstances. Even in very little trials. The
coffee spills or something or there’s an argument in your house. It’s the end of the world
because you haven’t found the reality of the living God. And we turn from idols to the living God.
He is enough. He is enough. What about the little that I have with food and raiment therewith
be content. It’s easy for many of us to say that. You know what I mean. That’s our perspective of
things. Amen. We’re almost done here. Look at chapter 2:19. That’s our hope, our joy, our
crown. People. People having fun in the Lord. People growing up in the Lord. People, a good
phone call from abroad. I told one man today living abroad, I want you to tell your wife, she is a very, very, very good woman. Tell your wife. I’m so blessed by her. I know he is wondering why
I’m saying this. Then I explained it.
I said she supports you. She is behind you. She is that secret behind you in your life. You have a ministry and you’re a team, and your wife is very, very godly and focused woman. She’s a blessing. Then he laughed and said thank you. I’m going to tell her that. And couldn’t mean it more. It’s beautiful. People are precious. Hearts of people are
precious. This is where our joy comes from. It’s kind of like a little quiet smile you have in your
heart when somebody is a godly person or someone is not demanding or murmuring or
complaining or whining. But they are godly. They have found God. They are quietly godly. They
are a godly person. They’re just quietly abiding. I want to say this too about the women in our
church. These are amazing women in our church. These are amazing women. They are
amazing women. Honest. They are 1 Peter 3. They are clothed with a beauty that’s called a quiet
– what is it called? A quiet and what spirit? Meek and quiet spirit. They are just like godly
women that are helping us so much in the ministry and in their wisdom and their love and their
godliness. They are godly women. They are amazing women. Thank you, Lord. This is our joy.
The love. The unity. Good works that happen.
The fruit of it is beautiful and Paul said our entering into your city and into your hearts, it all happened and it was not in vain, chapter 2:1. vs. 20. People. Our joy. A lot of people think people are dangerous. I’ll stay away. I’ll guard
myself. I understand it and I agree. I agree. I mean people can be pain – can inflict a lot of
trouble and a lot of pain. A lot of broken hearts. A lot of sadness. A lot of sleepless nights. A lot
of arguing. A lot of stress. It can happen with people. But then we read this. You are our joy and
our crown in our rejoicing, the Body of Christ. You. How did that happen but God gave us his
favor, his grace, his love, his joy and his right hand are pleasures forevermore. What kind of
church are we? A joyful one. How did it happen? He did it. He is the God, the God of all grace
that produces joy in our heart and peace. We are getting older but we don’t see it that clearly
because we are just not aging like other people. We are, our youth is renewed. I tell myself that
every day! I try to convince myself! No, it’s true though, isn’t it?
One last word on joy. I think I can find something here. “God rewards his servants. Billy Bray was a miner. He accepted Christ in 1823. He lived a life of drunkenness and debauchery before his salvation. He became such
an outgoing witness and testimony for God that he became know as God’s glad man. One time
he was digging potatoes from his garden and felt the devil. It seemed to him the devil said to
him, Billy Bray, God doesn’t love you. If he did, he wouldn’t give you such puny potatoes and so
few. Such puny and so few potatoes. Billy Bray, do you hear me? But Billy Bray didn’t listen to
the devil’s temptation. He talked back to him. He said, I’ve served you long and true, devil, and
no better servant could a master have that I was to you. But when I served you, you didn’t give
me any potatoes!” Yeah, put that in your pipe, devil! “When I served you, you didn’t give me
anything good for my efforts. Billy Bray reminded himself that the burden he had serving Christ
was lighter than he had serving the devil.” You know that’s it. We have a lightness about us. We
are serving God. We must serve him with gladness it says in Deuteronomy 28:48. We must serve him with
gladness because this is his nature. If I lose my joy, I need to find it again. If I get troubled about
things, maybe my size is wrong.
Maybe I’m expecting something not really from God. Let God give to me what he will and at his right hand are pleasures forevermore and in his presence is fullness of joy and we have what we need. I’m anticipating a great spring. I’m anticipating a summer based on whatever he will give us. I’m anticipating new people. I’m anticipating a
ministry of the Word of God to the hearts of people that will change us from glory to glory. Be
patient and trust him in every area of your life. Don’t lose your joy. Enjoy it. Walk in it. A merry
heart does good like medicine. Learn how to talk, how to lighten people’s loads, how to break
the tension and the seriousness that happens amongst people. Be lighthearted. Be a story
teller. Invest in others and lead them to Jesus Christ. Amen. I’m packing up my papers and
going home! My potatoes might be small and puny but at least I got some! Would you pray with
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.