Happiness Is

Happiness Is Knowing Christ

Pastor Paul Chappell

October 06, 2019
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Today, as we continue along understanding about the happiness of the Lord, we're going to look at two men. We're going to look at one man that had the happiness of the Lord and another man that found the happiness of the Lord. So, we'll see if you can figure out who's who as I read. We're going to read several verses, Acts 16:13-31. We're going to find one man that had it, one man that found it, and, hopefully, all of us will have it by the time we're done here today.

Acts 16:13, follow along with me as I read. "And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side where prayer was wont to be made. And we sat down and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us, whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, 'If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there.' And she constrained us.

And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying. The same followed Paul and us and cried, saying, 'These men are the servants of the most-high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.' And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, 'I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.' And he came out the same hour."

Now, just to understand this, this young woman with the spirit of divination – this would have been like someone who reads palms, someone who is given over to demonology – she's following Paul and she's shouting these things really in mockery. And so, the demon is cast out of her in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible says in verse 19, "And when her masters saw – the young woman's master saw – that the hope of their gains – or money – was gone, they caught Paul and Silas and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers and brought them to the magistrates saying, 'These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city and teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.' And the multitude rose up together against them and the magistrates rent off their clothes and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God, and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened and every one's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice saying, 'Do thyself no harm for we are all here.' Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out and said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' And they said, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.' And they spake unto him the word of the Lord and to all that were in his house."

Let's pray together. Our Father in Heaven, we come before you this morning to thank you, Lord, for the wonderful word saved. We thank you that you have given to us the privilege of knowing that we're saved. And we pray this morning that that knowledge would be understood by everyone in this room, that there would be a joy and happiness that would come into the lives of those who know you. So, Lord, help me as I preach and teach this morning. Work in our hearts and grow us closer to you. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.

You may be seated.

Have you ever noticed that people seem to define happiness in so many different ways? It seems like one person says happiness is through a particular experience or through a particular possession. In our home, my wife actually thinks happiness is having a cat and we struggle with that. I like to say it's her cat. The cat brings me no joy. I'm just going to tell you that right now but happy wife, happy life. You know what I'm saying. So, you know, everyone finds happiness in different ways.

We went out this week and we asked some people around the valley what makes you happy? I think you'll find this interesting. It seemed like a lot of varied ways to get happy in Antelope Valley.

[Video playing]

Great. My name is Fred and I'm just out in the community asking people what makes them happy. So, I don't know if you have a second. If I walked away, maybe that would make you happy. Yeah.

Hey, guys, how's it going? This is Freddy and I'm just out here in the community asking people what happiness is to them. What makes you happy, Amber? Being at school with my friends, and my dogs, and my family. I like when I'm allowed to play with my friends and also out of hospital. That's awesome. That's awesome. Money is success, bro. Money is success. My friends. Candy makes me happy. That's cool. Compliments. My girlfriend. I love it. What makes me happy? Music. I need music.

I know you're about to make someone's day right now. What would make you happy? What would really make me happy is to just make other people happy. That's what I'm doing. Being able to wake up and take another breath in this world every single day. Family, friends. God helps make me happy.

[Video ends]

There you go. Family, friends, money, compliments, all of these different ways people seem to say they can get some happiness. But, you know, after 35 years of preaching, I have found that the people that I really respect the most are the people who in their difficult moments of life still seem to find happiness and joy. Have you ever known somebody like that? They've been through hospitalization. They've been through difficulty financially, relationally, and still in the middle of that, they find happiness. They find that there's an inner strength from the Lord.

The Apostle Paul, other than the Lord Jesus Christ himself, shows us how to live a life filled with joy and happiness no matter what the circumstances are all around us. In fact, in Colossians 1, he wrote to the church and he said, "Now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up that which is behind the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body sake, which is the church." In other words, he said, even though I suffer for the body of Christ, he said, still, I have joy that I can do this for you. Even though it's difficult, he was glad that he could serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

The verses that I read to you a moment ago describe what is called the second missionary journey of the Apostle Paul. On this journey, the Apostle Paul went to many different cities preaching Christ and establishing churches so that people could gather and learn more about Jesus Christ. This particular city is known as Philippi. This is the account in Acts 16. Paul comes to Philippi. It was an amazing place, 15,000 inhabitants in the first century, about nine miles in from the Aegean Sea. It was here in this key capitol city of Macedonia the Apostle Paul comes to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The first person that he meets is a business woman. Her name is Lydia. She is a seller of purple. She had a way of taking certain plants and creating a purple dye. She believed in God but had never met Jesus Christ. So, as Paul preached to her, she opened her heart and Lydia became the first convert of the European Church and was wonderfully saved.

The second person to experience the power of the gospel was this young woman who had the evil spirit. She was calling out and making fun of the apostle. The Apostle Paul, in the name of Jesus Christ, delivered her from the power of evil that was within her. What a wonderful moment that was. She was delivered from her slavery by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That's kind of a picture of what Paul the Apostle did. He went from city to city preaching Christ, delivering people, helping people along the way, doing the work that God had called him to do. That was his normal calling as an apostle.

One thing I know about joy and happiness is this. Just as soon as you're enjoying your normal day and doing what you believe God wants you to do, the devil, Satan, is going to try to rob that joy. He's going to try to push you away from doing what God would have you to do. That's exactly what happens in the life of the Apostle Paul. Some hurt is going to come into his life. Some difficulty is going to come into his life. All he's trying to do is what God wants him to do. But suddenly some difficulty comes.

Notice what the Bible says here in verse 20. It tells us, "And they brought them to the magistrate saying these men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city." If you're taking notes tonight or this morning, I want you to notice the hurts of life. I want you to see the suffering that the Apostle Paul is going to experience. One moment he's helping people and the next moment he's going to be in prison. One moment he's helping someone to know Jesus Christ. The next moment he's brought into the city square. He's beaten and he's thrown into prison.

How many of you have ever had a day – you got up, you brushed your teeth, you ate your Cheerios, you go out the door, you have all the best of intentions, and suddenly you realize this day is not going to go the way you planned it. Have you ever had a day like that? It seems like that happens to me a lot. Sometimes they don't go the way you plan at all. As a matter of fact, I've got a couple illustrations of that.

Here's a guy that just didn't have the day he thought he was going to have when his work van wound up in someone's swimming pool. The next one was a guy that forgot to check the height going into a mobile home park. Finally, we have the guy that was texting while he pulled into his driveway and drove right through his garage door. How many of you understand that's just not the way you plan your day to go?

Someone said you know it's going to be a bad day when you turn on the morning news and they are showing emergency routes out of your city. That's not a good sign. It's going to be a bad day when the bird singing out your window is a buzzard. Have you ever had that out here in the desert, maybe a crow? It's a bad day when you put two contacts in one eye. Have you ever done that? It's not good. It's a bad day when you call the suicide prevention hotline and they put you on hold. It's not a good situation. And it's a bad day when your horn gets accidentally stuck on the freeway and you're following a group of Hell's Angels. That's not a good situation.

So, it could be any one of a million things but it seems like a lot of times we start off. We're trying to be happy. We're trying to have a good attitude. We're talking nice to the kids, to the wife, whatever but suddenly situations begin to change. That's what happens on Paul's bad day. He begins to experience some real hurts in his life.

The first thing he experiences is a false accusation. The Bible tells us in verse 19 that when her master saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas and drew them into the marketplace under the rulers. They brought them to the magistrate saying these men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city. Think about this. This woman was owned by at least two men. They were using her to make their livelihood. They were angry because now that she had become a Christian, she no longer could do her demon work. By the way, if Jesus is in your life, those kinds of powers cannot affect you or possess you. So, suddenly, their income is lost.

What do they do? They bring the Apostle Paul and Silas into the middle of the city and they say to the magistrates these men are troublemakers. I want you to think about that for just a moment. Think about the irony of that. All they had done was deliver her from the demon power that was plaguing her. All they had done was help to improve the society, if you will, by seeing someone delivered from an evil impact. But now they're being called the wicked ones in the city, the troublemakers in the city.

Isn't it amazing that sometimes a preacher will get up and he'll preach against those that use drugs or sell drugs? He'll preach against that proliferation. Maybe there's a business man who says that preacher is the troublemaker for preaching that, you see. That's exactly what was happening here. He had preached deliverance. But those who made money on the wicked vice, they weren't happy that that message had been preached. Isn't that an irony?

We see that here there's a false accusation that is made. I wonder has anyone ever said something falsely against you? Have you ever had a false accusation made against you? It doesn't feel good. The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:12, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing happened unto you." There is a false accusation that had come into his life.

Notice, secondly, the persecution that comes into his life. The Bible tells us that they take the Apostle Paul and after they bring him to the marketplace, verse 20 says, they accuse him. Verse 21 says that he was living against the laws of the Romans. So, now, the magistrates' command in verse 22 that they beat the Apostle Paul. Roman imprisonment was always preceded by being flogged or by being beaten. So, now, they're going to beat him. Now they're going to beat him perhaps with rods across his back. And then, they're going to place him into prison.

What I want you just to realize this morning is that sometimes as Christians we have a tendency to complain about how tough it is. We live in California. We don't like some of the laws that are passed. We don't like some of the difficulties that we face. Sometimes we complain about those who would put away our privileges to pray or the Ten Commandments on the walls, all these kinds of things. Certainly, there are those that do not appreciate the Christian faith right here in the United States of America. But the fact is that persecution is something that is common in the lives of Christians since the time of Jesus Christ.

I was thinking this past week of Martin and Gracia Burnham. You might have heard of them several years ago in the Philippines. They were serving the Lord there in the Philippines. It was their wedding anniversary. They decided that they would go to a little motel getaway for a few days. They were by the seashore when Abu Sayyaf, the Muslim terrorist in the Philippines, came and captured them. As they captured them, they began holding them, chaining them around a tree. For many, many months they were chained. Finally, the Philippine army came to try to rescue them. In the process, Martin was killed.

All they were trying to do was tell people about Jesus in the Philippines. All they were doing was serving the Lord but some hurt came into their life. What I want you to know is that if you're trying to live for the Lord and hurt comes into your life, that doesn't mean something is wrong with you. That doesn't mean it's time to quit. That doesn't mean it's time to move. That doesn't mean it's time to throw in the towel. The hurts of life are real and every dedicated Christian will experience some hurt in their life. Paul is showing us that. He is being beaten and he is being thrown in prison. The hurts of life are real.

I want you to notice, secondly, this morning, the hope of the believer. Here is a man in the middle of this time of hurt and betrayal who finds hope. Look at verse 25. What an amazing verse. It says, "And at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God. And the prisoners heard him." Let's just read that verse together. If you have your eyeballs on it, let's read that verse together just for a minute. Verse 25, "And at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God. And the prisoners heard them." This really just grabs my heart when I think about it. Think about that phrase "at midnight".

How many of you notice that when you're sick it's often worse at night? Does anybody else notice that? It seems like the temperature spikes at night. It seems like it's just hard to sleep at night. Nighttime is difficult. Maybe you're going through a time where there are some problems at work, or there are some personnel problems, or some family problems. It seems like your mind goes to those things at night. Is anybody else like that? You wake up thinking about it at midnight.

I think of Paul and Silas. Here they are accused of being the troublemakers when all they were doing was helping. Now they're in prison. Now their bones perhaps are broken. Their body, their flesh is broken. They're in stocks. No doubt they can't sleep. It's the midnight hour. What are they going to do? Are they going to curse the Roman government? Are they going to be upset that they ever tried to follow Jesus in the first place? If this is what Christianity is, I'm out of here. Is that what their attitude was? The Bible says at midnight Paul and Silas, first of all, notice it says, they prayed. They prayed.

James 5:13, "Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray." Psalm 50:15, "And call upon me in the day of trouble. And I will deliver thee. And thou shalt glorify me." Here we see these men praying. I just want to encourage you this morning that if there is some pressure in your life, let it draw you closer to God, not farther away from God. Come to the Lord and speak to him. They prayed.

This one blows my mind. The Bible says, "And they sang praises unto God." They sang praises at midnight when they were hurting, when they couldn't sleep. They come to the Lord and they begin to sing to him. Charles Spurgeon said, "It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but the skillful singer can sing with never a ray of light to read by." Songs in the night come only from God, not in the power of men.

You see, when someone can sing in the night, when someone can sing in the darkness, when someone can sing during the burdensome days, then you know there's something going on. There's someone within them that is producing that song. That song is not of themselves. That song is of God. The word saying here is the Greek word _____ and it means him. The word in the English is the word him and it means specifically a praise song or a scripture song bringing honor to God.

Psalm 40:2 is likewise of that nature. It says, "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God. Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord." Now, friends, this morning, no amount of regret will change your past. No amount of anxiety will change your future. Any amount of grateful joy that comes from the Lord will be able to change your present and your future. So, we must see the importance of bringing these things to the Lord in prayer and even in singing.

The fact is, this morning, that being happy in God is something that is seen in the midnight hour. Perhaps you've heard of the song "What a Friend We Have in Jesus". Do any of you ever sing that song? Let me just see. What a friend we have in Jesus. Written by a man named Joseph Scriven in the 1880s, written after his fiancé drowned. His best friend in all the world taken away. But that's when he learned in the midnight hour what a friend we have in Jesus.

George Matheson in the early 1900s wrote a song entitled "O Love that Will Not Let Me Go". He wrote that song after his fiancé, finding out that George was becoming blind said to him, I don't want to live with a blind man. She let him go. But he found in the midnight hour there was someone that would not let him go and his name was Jesus Christ. And he wrote the song "O Love that Will Not Let Me Go".

Perhaps you've heard of the story of Horatio Spafford, this man whose wife and daughters traveled across the Atlantic. They were caught in a terrible storm and shipwreck. The lives of his daughters were taken at sea. His wife clung to a board and she was saved alone. He found her back in England. They were reunited. As they pondered the loss of their daughters and as they came to the Lord, he wrote the famous hymn "It is Well with my Soul". You see, in his midnight hour, he was able to sing and rejoice because there is someone that comes to us in that hour whose name is Jesus Christ. So, it's a wonderful thing to see the Apostle Paul who had the happiness of God. He prayed and he sang.

I want you see something very quickly in verse 26. Not only did they pray and sing but they were delivered by the Lord. I want you to see this deliverance. Verse 25, first of all, notice it says, "And at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God. And the prisoners heard them." By the way, someone's always watching you when you suffer. The prisoners were hearing it. The prison keeper was hearing it. But in the midst of this singing, notice what happens here in verse 26. It says, "And suddenly, there was a great earthquake so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately, all the doors were opened and everyone's bands were loosed." Suddenly, in the midst of the singing, there was an earthquake. Someone says, Pastor Chappell, if my husband started singing, there would be an earthquake, too. But I don't think that's the reason why. There was a great earthquake that took place.

How many of you believe that we serve a great and a powerful God? He's the creator of this world. The Bible says in Colossians 1:16, "For by him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in Earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. All things were created by him and for him. And he is before all things. And by him all things consist." That word consist tells us that he's holding it all together. How many of you remember that song maybe when you were a kid "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands"? How many of you remember that song? All right, we're going to sing "Kumbaya" next. But, anyway, you remember that era, right? He's got the whole world in his hands. And he really does have the whole world in his hands. By him, all things are held together.

But on this day, something was going on in the world. There were a few of his men in a prison in Philippi and at midnight when they were supposed be sleeping but they couldn't, they were singing. Listen to me. That got God's attention. When we sing with pure hearts of praise unto the Lord, it gets God's attention. When God saw his men in that jail singing, he nudged the ground a little bit and caused an earthquake so that those men would be released.

I want to remind you this morning that there is a God in Heaven that can deliver you from any prison, from any hatred, from any fear, from any sorrow. He holds the whole world in his hand. He is a God that is in the deliverance business today. He can set you free from those difficult, difficult times. Paul and Silas were singing and praying. People were listening to these men in that prison house. Suddenly, the earthquake came and God began his delivery work. He may need to deliver you from something this morning. He is able to do that I tell you.

Perhaps you saw this past week and heard the story of the police officer in Texas, a female deputy that was on her way home. She parked in her parking garage. She thought she was on the right floor. I don't know if she was third or fourth floor. She got off on the wrong floor. She was walking down a hallway. She thinks she's going to her house. The door is cracked open. She walks into her apartment. She gets in there. She sees somebody. She does instinctively what she was trained to do. She draws. She shoots. She kills a man.

She realizes in the aftermath it wasn't the right floor. It wasn't the right apartment. The man was not an intruder. He was an innocent man sitting in his house. Perhaps you saw the story. The hatred began to build. People stood outside the courtroom last week as the jury deliberated. People were upset. Racial tensions were rising. People were calling for her to spend the rest of her life in prison. She did receive several years in prison. But the hate was palpable in the courtroom, except for one young man who was the brother of the deceased.

Why is it that some people in the midst of such uproar and hatred can find happiness and peace? Why is it that they can reason in such godly ways? Notice what the young man had to say to the killer.

[Video plays]

I know I can speak for myself. I forgive you. I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you. I don't think anyone could sit – again, I'm speaking for myself. I'm not even _____ for my family. But I love you just like anyone else. I'm not going to say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did but I personally want the best for you. I wasn't going to ever say this in front of my family or anyone but I don't even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you because I know that's exactly what both of them would want you to do. The best would be give your life to Christ. I'm not going to say anything else. I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that both of them would want you to do. Again, I love you as a person and I don't wish anything bad on you. I don't know if this is possible but can I give her a hug, please? Please. Yes.

[Video ends]

Why is it that some people get caught in hate and anger and other people can say I hope you find Christ? I forgive you. You see, in the midst of his prison of hurt and anxiety, he had the hope that only a believer can have. He had the joy that only Jesus can bring. He was able to give the forgiveness that only Jesus can give and the hurts of life that come. But the fact is that there is always hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. We see that here in the Philippian jail the Apostle Paul and Silas, they're singing. They're making praise to God. Others are listening. I thank the Lord today that in our most desperate times as believers we don't have to hate. We don't have to be filled with anger. We don't have to find ourselves always upset. We can have the hope that comes from Jesus Christ. We see the hurts of life. We hear the hope of the believers in the prison cell.

Notice, finally, this morning, the happiness of salvation. If you haven't guessed it by now, Paul was the one that already had the happiness. But now the jailer is going to learn what happiness is about, too. So, notice, if you would, in verse 27, the dilemma of the jailer. The Bible says, "And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword and would have killed himself supposing that the prisoners had fled." In the Roman system, if you're the prison guard and you're guarding someone and they escape, they're going to kill you. That's the Roman law. So, this guy is saying, I'm not going to wait for my friends to kill me. I'm just going to take care of it right now. He's going to take his own life.

Notice what happens as we read along in verse 28. "Paul cried with a loud voice saying, do thyself no harm. We are all here." Verse 29, "Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" I've been preaching a long time. I don't know that anyone has ever come and asked me that question directly. I will tell you that many people require a catastrophic event before they consider their need to be saved. Many times, we're called to the hospitals. Many times, we're called to the jails. Many times, we're called to the accident sites. Pastor Chappell, what does it mean to be a Christian? What do I need to do to know for sure that I'm on my way to Heaven?

I want to encourage you this morning. Don't wait for a catastrophe. This man in the midst of about losing his job and his very life, he finally realizes what must I do to be saved? I do not believe he meant saved from this predicament. I believe he understood that his soul was in the balance. He had heard the songs. He had, no doubt, heard the testimony of the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul, in hearing this question, says to him, simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved and thy house. And so, here he had this question. What must I do to be saved?

I want to ask you this morning a very simple question. Are you saved? I'm not asking are you religious. The world is incurably religious. The Bible says even the devils believe and tremble at the name of Jesus Christ. The world does not need more religion. There are all kinds of bad religion in the world today. What the world needs today is to know that they are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. The question is, are you saved? Here he says, what must I do to be saved? It's the most important question in all of life. What must I do to be saved?

The Apostle Paul gives the answer. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Someone might say I believe in Jesus, and Allah, and Buddha, and whatever way you want to pick. It's kind of like going to the mall. Whatever road you take as long as you get there. But the Bible says there is none other name given under Heaven whereby you must be saved and that name is Jesus Christ. The Bible says, Jesus speaking, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one cometh to the Father, except by me." You see, the way to Heaven, the way to salvation is quite exclusive. It is the way of the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the way. You say, Pastor Chappell, that's a narrow message. Yeah, it's about as narrow as that book right there. You see, Jesus Christ is the way. What must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.

This man makes a choice. He chooses to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says in verse 31, "And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. And they spake unto him the word of God and to all that were in his house." You see, in this particular situation, for this particular man, the Roman citizens were expected to worship Caesar as God. So, in order to believe on Jesus Christ alone, exclusively, he then must turn from Caesar. He must turn from all that he had trusted in and he must turn to the Lord Jesus Christ.

This moment of changing one's mind is what takes place at salvation. We no longer trust in our religious pedigree. We no longer trust in our self but now we believe exclusively upon the Lord Jesus Christ. In order to be saved, it's very simple my friend. We must first realize that we have a need to be saved. The Bible says that Jesus came to be the Savior of the world. The reason that we need to be saved, quite simply, is because we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. All of us, this morning, we're all sinners according to the word of God. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Every one of us are born with a sinful nature. No one has to teach us how to sin.

We have ten beautiful grandchildren. They're just wonderful. I have their pictures everywhere. I love it when they come over and hug me. You know what. I'll tell you something about my ten grandchildren. They're all sinners. You get them out in our back yard. Pretty soon they're bonking each other with the frisbee or fighting over a doll. You know, I didn't have to teach them how to do that. Their parents didn't have to teach them how to do that. It's just a part of their nature. All have sinned.

If we were not sinners, why would God have sent his son to be a Savior? We're all sinners. I love the story of the two brothers that lived in a town. They were notorious criminals. Their reputations were quite scandalous. One day, one of the brothers passed away. So, the other brother came to the Baptist preacher. He said, preacher, I'd like to have a funeral for my brother. I know you're building a building at the church. I've got a $10,000 check here. I want to give it to the building fund. If you'll just do me one favor, if you'll just say that my brother was a saint. The pastor, being a wise man of God, took the check. The day the funeral came, he said, we're here to remember Joe. He was a scoundrel. He was rotten. He was a liar. He was a thief. But compared to his brother, he was a saint. He figured out a way, right?

Look, all of us fall short. I'm a sinner. We're all sinners. I hope we're not willfully involved in sinful lifestyles but I'm saying in our nature at birth we're born with a need for God's redemption through Jesus Christ because of our sinful nature. In fact, the Bible says the wages of sin is death. What I deserve because of my sin is to be separated from God, ultimately. But it also says the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. And so, this jailer suddenly sees his spiritual need, his need for God.

You see, every one of us are going to stand before the Lord someday. Hebrews 9:27 says, "It is required that we would stand before the Lord and as it is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment." We must see that we fall short and we need a Savior. When we see that we have that need, and when we see that Caesar's not going to be the answer, and the Baptist Church is not the answer, and the Catholic Church is not the answer, and trying to do it my way is not the answer, then we have the opportunity to turn to Jesus Christ.

In fact, the Bible says in Romans 10:9, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." You see, you can be saved, when with all of your heart you turn to Jesus Christ. Not Jesus plus the church, not Jesus plus yourself, not Jesus plus your beads, or not Jesus plus your yoga meditation on Sedona's red rocks, Jesus Christ only. He is the way. He is the truth. He is the life.

Romans 5:8, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." You see, God's not willing that any should perish. The Bible doesn't teach that God wants people to go to hell, to be separated from him. It says God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Shortly stated, God wants you to be saved. He wanted you to be saved so much that he sent forth his son who lived a perfectly sinless life on this Earth and who then went to the cross of Calvary and shed his blood. The Bible says without the shedding of the blood, there's no covering for our sin. Jesus did this because he wants us to know that we are saved. Oh, what a blessing it is to know that you're saved.

Ken Blanchard, the author of the book The One Minute Manager, was once speaking to another management expert Peter Drucker. He said to Mr. Drucker, Peter, why are you a Christian? Peter Drucker said because Jesus paid it all. Jesus paid it all. He didn't pay part. He paid for all of our sin. We see the dilemma of the jailer. We see the decision of the jailer. Notice, finally, the delight of the jailer. Here we see the happiness in this story.

I want you to notice it in verse 33. "And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes, and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house." Here we see that he publicly professes he's willing to identify with the apostle. He washes his wounds. He is baptized.

By the way, folks, in the Bible people were always baptized after they got saved. He got saved. Then, he got baptized. You say I was sprinkled when I was a baby and all this type of thing. I recognize the traditions of churches. I'm just saying in the Bible no one got baptized until they got saved. You can study it out. Every single instance, they, first, of their own volition, received by faith Jesus Christ. Then, they were baptized. And this man was publicly baptized with his family.

Notice the Bible tells us in verse 34, he rejoiced. You see, today, we've called happiness is and for the next seven or eight weeks, I am going to be teaching on biblical principles of happiness in the Christian life. But it really all begins right here. There's no happiness until we receive Christ as our Savior. He is the source of our joy. Now, you see, happiness can be sought in a thousand places but it can only be found in one. And that source is Jesus Christ himself. Here we see a man who did not know happiness or joy, who, even, was to the place of taking his own life. Suddenly, he realized his need and he said what must I do to be saved? The apostle said believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. The jailer's fear turned to faith, his hurt turned to hope, and his anxiety turned to happiness the moment he turned to Jesus Christ as his Savior.

I wonder if there isn't someone here today that needs to bring their hurts, that needs to bring their difficulty, their sin to the Lord Jesus Christ and say, Lord, I've been trusting in this and I've had these Caesars in my life. But today I want to trust in you and you alone. I want to be saved the Bible way. I want you to know the Bible says for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. All you must do is come to him by faith and he will save you today. Cleanse your sin by his shed blood and give you a home in Heaven for all of eternity. You see, happiness is knowing Christ. Take it from a fearful jailer who met Jesus in an earthquake shaken prison. His life was never to be the same. Happiness is knowing Christ as your Savior.

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