Sermon: Does God Want You to Be Happy?


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Purpose: To see that our happiness depends upon what God wants, not what we want

Does God Want You to Be Happy?

Matthew 5.1–12

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • February 7, In the year of our Lord, 2016

Scripture Reader and Reading: Wayne Duncan – Matthew 5.10–12

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Phil Joseph – Songs related to joy, rejoicing, etc.


  1. I have heard people say
    1. escaped from something unpleasant to them, or
    2. did something that they know is questionable, because
      1. they did not believe that God wants them to be miserable.
      2. They used God to justify
        1. what He does not want us to do!
  2. What about God and our happiness?


  1. Does God Want Us to Be Happy?
    1. Yes, otherwise, He would not have created us.
    2. Yes, otherwise, He would not have put the first humans in paradise.
    3. Yes, otherwise, He would not have sent Jesus.
    4. Yes, otherwise, He would not have given us a way to heaven.
    5. Yes, otherwise, He would not have given us the Scriptures,
      1. which also reveal to us what He means by happiness, or rather
      2. what He means by joy and gladness.
        1. It comes down to this:
        2. Do we pursue the happiness we prescribe for ourselves or the happiness that God prescribes for us?
  2. True Happiness
    1. What does God say about happiness?
    2. Where does the Bible say
      1. that a career leads to happiness?
      2. that a college education leads to happiness?
      3. that having a family leads to happiness?
    3. Have you read the Book of Ecclesiastes?
      1. Knowledge and wisdom man him wish that he did not know so much,

        18 For in much wisdom is much grief,
        And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
        (Ecc 1.18)
      2. Pleasure left him empty,

        10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.
        I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure,
        For my heart rejoiced in all my labor;
        And this was my reward from all my labor.
        11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
        And on the labor in which I had toiled;
        And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
        There was no profit under the sun.
        (Ecc 2.10–11)
      3. Future generations made him nervous,

        18 Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity (Ecc 2.18–19).
      4. And so it goes to the end of the Book.
        1. Everything that we think should bring happiness does not.
        2. Living your life in God you will have the happiness He intends.
    4. Consider the closing message of Habakkuk,

      17 Though the fig tree may not blossom,
      Nor fruit be on the vines;
      Though the labor of the olive may fail,
      And the fields yield no food;
      Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
      And there be no herd in the stalls—
      18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
      I will joy in the God of my salvation.
      19a The Lord God is my strength;
      He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
      And He will make me walk on my high hills.
      (Hab 3.17–19a)
  3. Jesus Defines Happiness
    1. The beginning of the Sermon on the Mount teaches us about happiness.
      1. Jesus began all eight Beatitudes with, “Blessed are…,”
        1. which could have been translated, “Happy are…”
        2. What would the One who created us say is happiness for us?
      2. Note that each one speaks of the condition your inward nature,

        3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
        For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
        4 Blessed are those who mourn,
        For they shall be comforted.
        5 Blessed are the meek,
        For they shall inherit the earth.
        6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
        For they shall be filled.
        7 Blessed are the merciful,
        For they shall obtain mercy.
        8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
        For they shall see God.
        9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
        For they shall be called sons of God.”
        (Matt 5.3–9)
    2. People say that God does not want them to suffer, but
      1. they have not read the Scriptures,
      2. especially when it comes to the last Beatitude, because
        1. it does speak of our outward circumstances bringing happiness, but
        2. not in the way people might anticipate,

          10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
          For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
          11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5.10–12).
    3. What about Jesus?
      1. Isaiah 53 prophesied that He would
        1. carry our sorrows,
        2. that God would strike Him, smite Him, and afflict Him,
        3. that He received wounds,
        4. that He was bruised,
        5. that He was chastised,
        6. that He received stripes,
        7. that He was oppressed,
        8. that He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
        9. that it pleased God to bruise Him,
        10. that He experienced grief,
        11. that His soul labored, and verse 3 says,

          3 He is despised and rejected by men,
          A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
          And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
          He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
          (Isa 53.3)
      2. Do I need to remind you of His crucifixion and
        1. the experiences that led up to it?
        2. Did the scourging and the crucifixion make Him happy?
          1. Why did He not say
          2. that He would not do those things, because
            1. He did not think
            2. that God wanted Him to be miserable?
  4. Happiness: Fellowship with God
    1. What surpasses fellowship with God?
    2. First John 1.3

      3 …that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (1Jo 1.3–4).
    3. However, First John 1.5–6

      5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth (1Jo 1.5–6).
    4. So then, First John 1.7

      7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1Jo 1.7).
    5. Make this choice, Hebrews 11.25

      25 …choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin (Heb 11.25).


  1. What is the point of your life?