Introduction: 1. According to the Scriptures, God's people have always been taught to "be glad." 2. Psalm 118:24 is one of the many passages in the Old Testament that taught the Israelites to "be glad." 3. In the New Testament, Acts 2:46 shows how Christians are to "be glad." a. We learn from this verse that the members of the Jerusalem church enjoyed worshiping together and eating meals together. b. Please note that these early Christians ate their meals "with gladness." 4. Gladness: feeling of joy or pleasure, cheerfulness 5. In our lesson we are concentrating on the role that "gladness" plays in the lives of Christians. 6. We will examine a number of Scriptures that tie in "gladness" with: a. the way that we hear God's Word b. the way that we worship c. the way that we respond to difficulty. 7. Let us begin by showing that . . .
I. WE ARE TO HEAR GOD'S WORD WITH GLADNESS
A. Acts 2:41 mentions "they that gladly received his word." 1. Peter had preached a great sermon in which he showed that Jesus is the Christ (see vs.36). 2. This sermon pricked the hearts of those who heard it (see vs.37). 3. (vs.38) Peter told them what they needed to do. 4. According to vs.41, about 3,000 people "gladly received his word." a. They responded by being baptized. b. They were added to the Lord's church (vs.41b, 47b). B. We need to examine the way that we hear the Scriptures (Luke 8:18 -- Jesus said, "Take heed therefore how ye hear"). 1. God's Word is not "grievous" (1 John 5:3). 2. We need to appreciate God's Word for what it is and for what it will do (Psalm 19:7-11). 3. We need to be like the people we read about in Mark 12:37 -- "And the common people heard Him [Jesus] gladly."
II. WE ARE TO WORSHIP WITH GLADNESS
A. The proper attitude toward worship is expressed in Psalm 122:1 -- "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." 1. Reflecting upon God's goodness will lead us to be extremely thankful. 2. Thankfulness will lead us to worship with "gladness" (Psalm 100). B. Learning to worship with gladness will take care of a problem addressed in Hebrews 10:25.
III. WE ARE TO RESPOND TO DIFFICULTY WITH GLADNESS
A. We learn this from Matthew 5:10-12; 1 Peter 4:12-14. B. By following the instructions given in Philippians 4:4-8 we can respond to difficulty with "gladness." 1. (vs.4) The Lord's will is for Christians to "rejoice" [be glad] always. 2. To accomplish this we must: a. demonstrate forbearance unto all men (vs.5) b. avoid being anxious (vs.6) c. think upon the right things (vs.8). 3. A special blessing is in store for those who follow these instructions (vs.7).
1. According to the Scriptures, "gladness" plays a very important role in the lives of Christians. 2. Since "gladness" is so important, perhaps we should begin each day with the words expressed in Psalm 118:24. 3. A special event that relates to "gladness" is mentioned in Luke 15:32.