Jentezen Franklin - I Serve A Happy God
If you have your Bibles, I'm gonna talk to you for just a few moments from Exodus 6 today. Exodus 6. I'll begin with Exodus 6:2. "And God spoke to Moses and said to him, 'I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty. Listen. But for my name Lord, I was not known to them'".
In other words, they knew me as the God that they perceived me to be. And the way that they saw me, that is the God I became to them. But then He said there was so much of me that I wanna show you that they didn't see. They didn't know me as Lord. He became known as the God of Abraham, which means, it's how Abraham perceived Him. The God of Isaac and Jacob. But then God himself says to Moses, but they didn't see me and call me by the name Lord, and I'm showing you something about me that maybe they never saw.
And I wanna talk to you for a few minutes today about the God that I see. Specifically, I wanna talk about "I Serve a Happy God". We can only reflect of God what we see of God. If you see God as mean, if you see God as angry, if you see God as out to get you, if you see God as mad at you, then that's the kinda God, the God of Abraham, that was the kinda God that he perceived was the kinda God he was to him. It was personal. And so many people have only seen a certain kinda God in their mind, and that's what they think God is. But I want you today to see Him as the Lord. I want you to see Him as Jesus, who is God in the flesh. And the Bible said that Jesus came to show us what God looks like.
So the thing that I want you to see is so many people don't have an awareness of who God really is. People go to church like this, especially people who've been outta church, and they come in, and they're expecting people to be tired. To be sad. To be bored. They expect to hear the sky is falling. The end of the world. And you aren't ready, and you're no good. But that's not the God that I see in the Bible. That is not His message. He said, I came to give you life, and give it to you more abundantly. When people go to church, and they see a church that's filled with happy people, not everything perfect in their life, but they're sorrowful sometimes yet rejoicing. They're going through some challenges, but they realize that my source of joy is not in my happenings, but it's in Jesus, and Jesus is the center of my life.
Therefore, no man can take my joy. No circumstance can take my joy. And if you don't have that, then you need to get back Jesus-centered in your life. Because our joy should not be in materialism. Our joy should not be in how much money we've got. Our joy should not be in anything this world has to offer. It oughtta come from Jesus. People go to church, and if they see people happy, they see people upbeat, they see people encouraged, they really don't know what to think. But I've come today to declare that our God is a joyful God. Our God is a happy God. Our God is a musical God. He said praise me in the dance. He said praise me with the loud cymbals. He's not sitting up there during praise and worship with His fingers in His ears, saying I wish they'd turn the sound down. God says, I like rejoicing. I like a party. I like celebration. Let there be joy.
As a matter of fact, He said you're not even coming into my presence unless you enter in through the gates of praise and into my courts with thanksgiving. You're not gonna get in my presence, 'cause I'm a happy God, and I don't wanna see your sorrow, and I don't wanna, you come into my presence and praise me, and in my presence there's fullness of joy. And I'm not denying that you got challenges. I'm not denying that your heart may be heavy. I'm not denying that there's problems in your life. But you're not supposed to come to church and feel sorrowful. You're supposed to leave here and get a good bucket of joy poured on your soul, saying the joy of the Lord is my strength. And I can take it, and I can make it 'cause He's with me. Take a minute and create an atmosphere that God likes. And smile. He's a happy God. I serve a joyful God.
People say tsunamis are an act of God. That's 'cause they have a mindset, they perceive God as mad and mean. They call earthquakes an act of God. Tornadoes an act of God. How 'bout we're in a fallen world? How 'bout things just happen in life because we're human beings, and this place is not our home? But if you wanna know what kinda world God likes, check out Heaven. He said it's a place where there's no more sorrow, no more tears, no more sickness, no more death, no more dying. He said I'll wipe all tears from your eyes 'cause I'm a happy God. And when you get up here, you're gonna have everything you need to be happy. But until then, you can have happiness in your soul even though you live in a world that is plagued with problems.
Jesus came to preach, according to Luke 4, the acceptable year of the Lord's favor on your life. If you want the viewpoint of God, He's not a mad God. He's not upset. He's not angry. It's hard to go to church and smile. It's hard to go to church and rejoice if you think the only reason you're here is so God can hand out demerits and remind you of how horrible you are. No matter how joyful the music is, some people just can't believe that God wants us joyful. The Pharisees studied God as a subject, but not as a friend. Not as a relationship with a person. It was about policy. The Pharisees were all about policy. The law says. The law says. Policy, policy, policy.
And Jesus was standing there, and they had no relationship with the person. But their religion was all about policy. Policy. You can't get the policy side right if you don't have a relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. It's interesting. The word policy comes from the root word police. Therefore, their mentality of super-religious people like Pharisees, the mentality was He's the high sheriff of Heaven. That's who God is. And they had policy, but they didn't know the person of Jesus Christ.
And I'm preaching to you today that it's not enough to come and sit on a seat, and hear a preacher preach, and call yourself a Christian. If you don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ, all you have is a theory, and policy, and you may be able to quote John 3:16, but if you don't know Him as your savior, you can't get the joy outta this thing. They had no relationship with Jesus. It was all about policy.
So they took a woman caught in the act of adultery. They said, we've got policy. They reminded Jesus, we've got policy that says, and it's been a long time since we stoned anybody, and we're looking forward to it. Let's kill her. That's religion. But look at Jesus. Jesus wasn't angry. Jesus wasn't mean to her. First of all, He dealt with them and said, let he who is without sin cast your first stone. And all you heard was thud, thud, thud, thud, thud as they dropped the rocks. And when they walked off, Jesus didn't say boy, you're filthy. You're just terrible. You know what He said? He said, where are your accusers? Neither do I, I'm not a mad God. I'm a loving, happy Jesus. And He said, neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.
That night, I got a feeling her lover came around and was knocking on the door. But she wouldn't let him in. I think she said, you're never coming in this house again because I met a person. Not because it's in a policy. I met a person, and the person changed me, and I'm living this book because of who's living in the house with me. He's greater than anything you can offer me, knocking on my door. Clap your hands like you believe He's a happy God. We serve a happy God. I serve a God that smiles a lot.
Turn to somebody and say, I can tell by your face who you serve. I serve a God who smiles a lot. Turn to the other person that you didn't care to talk to first. Turn to them and say, if you're happy, notify your face. People oughtta come in, the Bible said that when the queen of Sheba, the thing that impressed her was the joy of the servants. The happiness of the servants. She said, your servants are so happy. My God is a joyful God. Therefore, I refuse to let them have more joy in a mall and more smiles in a mall than we do at Free Chapel. We are a happy church because we serve a happy God. And I can put on the garment of praise no matter what this week brought me because my joy is not in this world. Not of this world.
Now I wanna give you some real clean theology right here. That if you live by it, you'll have good days. I serve a good God, and the devil is a bad devil. I said God is a good God. I don't serve a God who's running around trying to destroy people's lives to keep 'em humble. Nor do I believe in a devil who's running around handing out roses and checks. God is good because He never leaves me, and He never forsakes me. He wants the best for His kids.
Lemme put it to you right out of the words of Jesus. If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. Not only is God a good God, but God is good at being God. And He knows it. If you don't ever praise Him, it ain't like He feels less than because you wouldn't praise Him this morning. God has self-awareness. He knows He's God. He said to Moses in my text, I am the Lord. I am large and in charge, and if Pharaoh says anything to you and he asks who I am, you tell him I am, listen to the attitude, I am that I am. His little pitiful army with that little raggedy chariot army he's got does not make me lose my joy. I'm God, and I'm aware that I'm God.
God has no identity crisis like most of us. He is at peace with His own identity, and if you don't ever praise Him, you're not hurting Him. I guarantee you. I like when He created earth, you know? Created everything. Created the universe. Created the heavens. The stars. The Bible said on the first day, He created. And there's nobody to praise Him yet, so He said I am good. The second day, He creates trees, please. Boom. And grass, and moon, and stars. And then He sits back, and looks at it, and says man, I'm God. I'm good. I'm good. I'm good. I'm good. I'm good. He does that for six days, and gets to the sixth day, and looks at everything when He's finished and says, I am very good.
So if your little praise don't ever go up, please don't think that you're somehow hurting God's self-esteem. He has full awareness, and He wants His people to have full awareness. He's God over everything you're facing in the world. Hallelujah. He's not afraid of the antichrist. He's not afraid of any administration. He pulls men down. Raises men up. He's God, and He's aware He's God. He knows it. The angels cry day and night. They face every direction.
And if this pulpit is God, one's on this side saying holy. One's back here saying holy. One's over here, and they cease not. And we think that would be very repetitive throughout all eternity. But what the rabbis teach is as soon as it comes outta the mouth, and they're perceiving who God is, and seeing Him right there, see an aspect of Him, as soon as they see it and it goes around, by the time it comes back around, the angels see, and God says, you hadn't seen this part yet.
And something, He shows, and the angels, holy. It's not like it's a less enthusiastic holy. They're just seeing more, and more, and more of your God. You know, the one who said I love you so much, I'll die on the cross. The angels never stopped crying. Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy. They been doing it for all eternity.
I wanna tell you something else about God. I serve a God who came to make friends. Jesus came to say hey, let's be friends. Let's get over the animosity. Let's get over the bad stuff. Just blame me for everything. That's what the cross is. Just blame it all on me. I'll take it. I came to be your friend. I'm not angry at you. This is the year of the Lord's favor in Luke 4. He said I said came to decree the favor of God over your life. I mean, the religious God that so many people, who's mad and angry, you don't read the Bible. Jesus was the life of the party.
Religion paints Jesus like some stoic, puny, pitiful looking, but men wouldn't give up everything and say I'll follow you if there wasn't something about Him that was winsome and charismatic. Fun to be around. Look at it. Children don't play, y'all. And children ran up to Him, and jumped in His lap, and wanted to, pulling on His shirt, and playing with, children, they have a sixth sense or something. They can tell when somebody's real. Men. Big ol' grown men. They're not gonna follow, they're not, men aren't gonna follow some painting-looking Jesus. Sugar pants Jesus. They're not gonna follow that.
There was something about Him. He was the life, the Bible said He was the friend of sinners. One of the greatest criticisms religious people have, He's a friend of sinners. 'Cause sinners they were like, when most Christians walk into a room, sinners spread like Raid hitting a roach camp. But here Jesus is. He walks in, and sinners... 'Cause He's happy. He's happy. He didn't make them feel bad. You don't gravitate toward somebody who makes you feel bad. Some of you are just bound and determined to have a mean God. A mad God. Well, that's just not biblical. He does get mad. OK, I agree with you. The Bible said He's slow to anger. Slow.
Lemme give you a biblical example of that. We act like Jesus was mad. The first thing a religious person quotes, He took the whip into the temple, and He beat the devil outta them 'cause He was mad. You're not reading the whole story. The Bible said He sat in the corner. Read your Bible. And He made a whip. How long does it take to make a whip? He's braiding it. And He's saying well, I'm slow to anger. I'm giving you another service, and another chance, and another word, and I know you got some problems.
And if you don't straighten up, whom the Lord loveth, He whippeth. And I'm gonna whip you. But I'm slow to anger. I been waiting a long time. I let you come last Sunday, and the Sunday before. And you still haven't forgiven, and you still got that little secret thing going on. So let me just, I'm slow to anger, but it's just about at the top. I'm gonna tie this off, and then I'm gonna go to whipping you if I can't get you here any other way where you need to be. But I'm not gonna let you go to hell without you feeling a little sting on you. That's the God I serve. He's happy. He's slow to anger.
Oh, please. If He was mad at you, you wouldn't catch your next breath. So since you got one, praise Him 'cause He's a happy God. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. I'm just convinced He's mad at me. If He were mad at you, you would, right there where you're sitting. I'd give you a discount on a funeral, too. You wanna know why I know Jesus was happy all the time? He came to make friends with people. Isn't that something? Isn't that a different kinda Jesus than some of us picture? Wherever Jesus was, there was always food. Jesus loved Him some food. He fasted one time, and then every time else you see Him, food.
If you ever hear a Christian come up to you and say hey, brother, you wanna fellowship? That's code for eat. That's code for food. 'Cause that's what we like to do, and Jesus is our example. Fellowship. Eat food together. He fed 5.000. Multiplied happy people. Peter had denied Christ three times and gone back to fishing, and Jesus showed up in His resurrected body. And you know what He did? He cooked breakfast on the beach. Cooked fish and bread, the Bible said, and called for Peter to jump outta the boat and said, come on. I'm back. Let's eat. He didn't say, you sorry thing. We're gonna talk about how you cussed and denied me, didn't ya? He said come on, come on. Man, I came to make friends. Let's eat.
The last thing Jesus did before He went to Heaven, it's called the Last Supper. The Pharisees, religious people even got upset and said, we noticed that John's disciples fast often, but your disciples don't ever fast. Why? You know what Jesus said? Jesus was so bad. Watch. He said as long as I'm here, we're eating. I like this food down here, and as long as I'm here, we're eating. When I'm taken, then shall they fast. But by the way, when you get to Heaven, the first thing you're gonna do is sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb. And we're gonna have a party, and we're gonna have fun, and we're gonna wipe the tears away, and you're gonna enter into the joy of the Lord. What a family reunion. What a happy time with a happy God. Woo!
Why you screaming? I apologize for screaming. I'm saying to you today that we serve a happy God. He came to make friends. And isn't it amazing that He said the way that I'm gonna make friends with you is we're gonna have communion. We're gonna eat together. This bread is my body. This wine is my blood. As oft as you do this in remembrance of me. We come together at this table. Isn't that powerful? But I wanna be with you. I don't call you my servant. I call you my friend. 'Cause I'm a happy God, and I want my people happy. We sorrow not as those who have no hope.
Paul said we're sorrowful. Yes, we go through the same hell everybody else goes through. We're sorrowful. Tragedies happen. Terrible things happen. Bad diagnoses happen. Family issues happen. But we are not to allow our joy on the inside to be determined by the happenings on the outside. 'Cause you serve a happy God. And He says in the midst of it all, if you will receive what I offer you, the Holy Spirit, He'll give you joy unspeakable. That means you can't describe why, but you're still happy even after all you've been through. We need to get back to what really makes us happy is Jesus. Only Jesus can satisfy your soul.