- Sermon Notes
The Keys to Happiness
ILLUS – Malina’s declaration after her 4th birthday
1. With a sermon title like “The Keys to Happiness” it would be easy to assume that this message will be something similar to what you would hear at a “self-help” seminar.
2. But let me assure you that this is not a “self-help” seminar!
3. Yet, there is a deep desire within all of us to be happy.
4. Our world offers many opinions for what brings true happiness.
5. Unfortunately, there has been confusion in the church as well. Sadly, it is difficult to discern the difference between some sermons and a Madison Avenue advertising pitch.
6. So, let’s look to God’s Word and discover The Keys to Happiness.
I. Be in the World, Not of the World (1)
A. A blessed life is a happy life
1. Literally, the beginning of the first verse reads, “Oh how very, very happy is the man…”
2. The word “blessed” comes from a word which means “to go straight, go forward, set right, to advance in the way of understanding”.
3. The word “blessed” is also plural which pictures a person who is blessed in many ways because of their relationship with God.
4. Finally, this “happy” person is also aware and thankful that their heavenly Father is always near and will be faithful to meet their every need every moment of every day.
Psalm 73:25-26, 28, Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever… But as for me, the nearness of my God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.
APPL – The first key to happiness is to place your faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
Psalm 32:1, How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
APPL – You might ask, “Why Jesus only?
• That sounds exclusive.
• Don’t all paths lead to God?
• No, the only way to the God is through Jesus.
John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
• Therefore, the first key to happiness is to receive the gift of salvation that God offers through His Son, Jesus, for the salvation of your soul.
Transition – So, the blessed life begins with Jesus and all of your future choices flow from your decision to receive Jesus as your Savior.
B. A happy life is a holy life
1. He does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.
a. “Does not” means it is a decisive choice; it’s a resolution of will.
b. To “walk” means “to go along with, to follow a way of life.” If one makes the wrong choice it will be their first step towards compromise.
c. The word “counsel” means to “purpose, plan, or way of thinking.” It refers to an attitude, a state of mind, or a viewpoint that determines the decisions a person makes.
d. “Wicked” refers to someone who is guided or controlled by their fleshly desires, emotions, or impulses. They are unstable and morally loose; not necessarily as evil as they could be but superficial in their view of life and unconcerned about the consequences of their choices.
ILLUS – Esau sold his birthright for a taste of red stew.
APPL – In today’s terms, what does this counsel look like?
1 Peter 3:15, 18, … sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts… For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God…
2. He does not stand in the path of the sinners.
a. “Stand” means “to stop, to be firm.” From merely walking in their counsel, one becomes more confirmed, involved, and influenced.
b. “Path” means “a way, journey, or course of action.” It refers to one’s conduct, patterns, habits, and responses. One moves from thinking like the world to acting like the world.
c. The word “sinners” is an archery term which means “to fall short, miss the mark, aim at the wrong target.”
Matthew 15:14, … if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.
3. He does not sit in the seat of scoffers.
a. Notice the progression from walking to standing to sitting which signifies that one has become settled or at home in a bad way of life.
b. “Seat” is a place of assembly where counsel is given, and decisions or deals are made.
c. “Scoffers” are those who “mock, deride, ridicule, scoff.” It refers to one who is actively engaged in putting down the things of God and His Word.
APPL – In today’s terms, what does a scoffer sound like?
Quote: It sounds like atheist, Richard Dawkins, who wrote in his book, The God Delusion, “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
Psalm 14:1, The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
2 Peter 3:3-4, Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
ILLUS – When I reflect on this progression in Psalm 1, I’m reminded of Lot and his choice to live in Sodom and Gomorrah.
APPL – Our lives are progressing towards a target.
• The wicked, the sinners, and the scoffers are all aiming at the wrong target (See vv. 4-6).
• The question is, “What target are you aiming at?”
Warren Wiersbe, “We must have contact with the world but not be contaminated by it.”
Transition – How do we do this? God wants us to know, He does not leave us in the dark…
II. Live in God’s Word (2-3)
A. Delight in the counsel from God’s Word
1. “Delight” means “to be mindful of, attentive to,” and so it came to mean, “keep, or protect.” When something delights us, we desire to protect it or guard it.
2. Reading God’s Word brings joy because it reveals God and His plan for our lives.
Psalm 119:14-16, I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.
APPL – What do you delight in? The answer is revealed by what has captured your heart.
Psalm 37:4, Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Transition – What we delight in is reflected in how we use our time…
B. Meditate on the counsel from God’s Word
1. Biblical meditation is not “eastern meditation” where one empties their mind to become one with the cosmic universe.
2. Biblical meditation is the filling of the mind with the precepts, principles, and promises of God’s Word, the Bible.
Colossians 3:16, Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you
3. “Day and night”
a. This is not a reference to morning and evening study, though there is truly nothing wrong with doing so.
b. Rather, it is a reference to a life that is continually and consistently in God’s Word.
c. This is a comprehensive term for the study and application of God’s Word to one’s life. It involves thinking about what the Bible means and how to apply it.
Psalm 119:97-99, O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation.
APPL – What are some practical ways to study the Bible?
• Read from Genesis to Revelation
• Memorizing Scripture verses
• Repetitive reading
ILLUS – Jim Rutledge, founder of Next Step Ministries
APPL – If you are new to the Christian faith, I recommend that you begin with the Gospel of John. After you have read it, then read 1 John.
APPL – How should we approach our study of the Bible?
• Prayerfully – Ask God to open your eyes.
• Expectantly – Ask God to meet your needs.
• Humbly – Submit yourself to God’s authority.
• Contemplatively – Digest God’s Word.
C. God will bless you through His Word
1. A tree portrays stability and the capacity to withstand the storms of life.
a. It’s a picture of mental, emotional, and spiritual stability in every kind of situation.
b. It’s also a picture growth over time.
2. The word “planted” means “to transplant, to cause to take root, to become firmly established for the purpose of stability, nutrition, growth, and eventually production.”
Matthew 7:24-25, Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
3. “By streams of water” is symbolic of the life that is continually refreshed by the Holy Spirit.
ILLUS – The counsel Dr. Lanier Burns received from his wife after a long semester at DTS.
4. “Yields it fruit in its season”; meaning the fruit is ripe.
a. Fruit takes time to grow and mature.
b. Fruit can only grow from a branch that abides in the vine.
John 15:4-5, Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.
5. “Its leaf does not wither” is a picture of vitality.
APPL – Personally, the older I get the more appealing and comforting I find these verses!
• We may be getting older, but there’s a radiance that shines through a life that is filled with the Holy Spirit and maturing in Christ.
• In Christ we’re going from glory to glory!
2 Corinthians 4:16, Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
6. “In whatever he does, he prospers”.
a. Because he has renounced worldly things.
b. He has delighted himself in the Word.
c. Therefore, God will bless what he does in accordance with the Word.
Joshua 1:8, This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
ILLUS – God’s answer to my prayer 32 years ago…
Psalm 119:11, 105, Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You… Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 1:1-6 NASB
1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the [a]path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by [b]streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its [c]leaf does not wither;
And [d]in whatever he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord [e]knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.