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The church period after ascension had early Christians engaging in activities for breeding spiritual happiness although they also experienced sad moments.
THE ASPECTS OF HAPPINESS FOR EARLY CHRISTIANS (sources of happiness, happiness to the early church
1. Preaching the good news gospel to all races so as to generate spiritual pleasure.
2. The rite of baptism that initiated a person into the faith brought happiness to the church as it would expand the faith.
3. Receiving spiritual gifts which helped ease their work and boosted confidence. Such included speaking in tongues, healing, prophesying etc
4. Taking part in fellowships helped early Christians to meet up and share experiences which would Re energise their church ministry.
5. Christians also found happiness in prayer, communicating to the Father in heaven for guidance, providence, protection etc.
6. The practice of fasting bred happiness too because it bred total devotion of oneself to God. Abstaining from food to concentrate on God brought people closer to Him
7. Through paraising and worshipping God, early Christians would get happy. They knew it was through this that they would please God who would in turn provide for them.
8. The practice of Eucharist /Holy communion that included sharing bread and wine bred happiness because it would serve to remind them of Jesus’ mission on Earth.
9. Taking part in bible studies would help the brethren to interpret and understand more the Bible truth which made people happy.
10. Performance of miracles by some early christians would be viewed with happiness because they proved existence and power if God.
11. They got pleasure in helping the needy such as widow’s, the homeless, the lame etc. According to Matthew 22:45 they knew they would be doing it for Jesus himself.
12. Early christians also found happiness in settling disputes among the new converts, and even among themselves because this would make them only stronger.
13. The construction of churches where Christians would need to worship God was also a source of happiness.
14. Writing down epistles by such Christians as St Paul, Peter etc brought happiness because otherwise, the oral gospel would be wiped out by persecution.
THE ASPECTS OF UNHAPPINESS/SADNESS IN THE EARLY CHURCH HISTORY (causes of unhappiness in the early church/monks/missionaries
1. Jesus’ human hood. The gospel message reflected Jesus as a poor man with many problems. He was born in a poor family, had uneducated disciples etc which made readers and apostles unhappy.
2. Persecution. Gospel broadcasters of the time we’re persecuted by locals and leaders. Roman governors imprisoned many of them eg St Peter.
3. Martyrdom. The apostles tried to spread the gospel in a religiously hostile environment and many if them were killed for the faith eg Stephen.
4. Tropical Africa. The Christian missionaries that came into Tropical Africa faced problems such as Tropical diseases, hostile tribes and most of them lost their lives.
5. Colonialism. Missionaries came closely followed by imperialists who subjected local people to a lot of suffering. Natives were saddened by the role of the new faith in their suffering.
6. Remoteness of some places. Apostles and apostles had to travel and stay in touch with distant churches with meagre resources. They had no funds, roads were bad etc.
7. Lonesomeness. Missionaries and some apostles were tied to their work of broadcasting the gospel which denied them the chance to be with their families hence unhappiness.
8. Continued slavery. Converted slaves were unfortunately never immediately freed by their Christian masters. . They continued working harshly hence unhappiness.
9. False doctrine. Some teachings lacked biblical backing and wrong. These included the sale of indulgences, …. etc which made some Christians unhappy leading to reformation.
10. Poverty. The lack of basic necessities due to lack of income for early Christians caused unhappiness among most of them.
11. Interdenominational conflicts. These were wars especially between Catholics and protestants and especially here in Africa which caused more enmity and death hence sadness.
12. Marital restrictions. Some spreaders had to endure a life of single lives with out marriage. This especial was done by monks to strengthen their focus on the faith.
13. Disunity among the apostles themselves. The disagreements about the basics of the Christian faith especially between Paul, James and Barnabas caused friction among their hearers.
14. Facing the intellectuals. All apostles apart from Paul were illiterate. They faced problem having to engage in religious debates with Greek philosophers hence the unhappiness.
THE BIBLICAL TEACHING ON HAPPINESS. (the Christian lessons/teaching in the Bible about happiness, as a Christian, what is happiness?
The Bible gives the most suitable guideline of what true happiness to a Christian should be.
MOMENTS OF HAPPINESS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.
1. God’s creation. After God had completed the work of creation on the sixth day, he saw all creation good and expressed happiness. Gen 3. God is happy with all good things made.
2. Companionship. Adam had lived a lonely and sad life but when he was given Eve as a wife, he got pleased. Gen 2:23. A God given companion brings happiness.
3. Child bearing. Women, Sarah and Hannah had been barren and sad. This changed when they bore sons, Isaac and Samuel. Children are blessing from God to bring happiness.
4. Passover. Exodus 12 shows talks of an event when Jew’s were to be liberated from bondage in Egypt which brought happiness. Christians should get happy when freed from sin.
5. Day of atonement. It was a day when the Jews’ high priest would offer a sacrifice for the people’s sins which would bring happiness. Lev 16. Repentance and God’s forgiveness breeds happiness.
6. Feast of tabernacles. This would be a thanks giving celebration of crop harvests. The happiness got from God’s providence has to be thanked by every Christian.
7. Conquest victories. Israelites had been granted victory against their foes, the neighboring kingdoms eg Philistines, the edomites etc. This usually brought happiness.
8. David’s victory. 1st Samuel 18:5-7 shows David defeating the arrogant Goliath, hero of the Philistines which brought happiness. Victory against life’s troubles, helped by God breeds happiness.
9. Return of the ark. Jews felt happy when the ark of the covenant was brought back into Jerusalem from Phillistia 2Sam 6:16.
10. Dedication of the temple. Following the completion of the temple by king Solomon, a huge feast was ordered where 22000 cattle and 120000 sheep and goats were sacrificed to show happiness.
11. Elijah’s contest. At mt Carmel, Elijah helped people know the true God, when the altar sacrifice got burnt. It brought to an end a drought and hence brought happiness
12. Jobs blessings. After a period of suffering, Job got blessed again and prosperous. He and his close relatives got very happy.
13. Restoration of Israel. Israelites who had been taken away into exile felt happy when Prophet Amos announced that God would return them home. Amos 9:11,15
14. Prophesies of a saviour. Messianic prophets such as Isaiah announced a prince of peace that would bring salvation. His would be a system of justice, and Grace. This brought happiness.
MOMENTS OF UNHAPPINESS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
1. Downfall of man. Gen 3 shows the beginning of man’s unhappiness, that comes out of disobedience, after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Man is expelled from God’s presence.
2. Cain’s murder of his brother. Jealousy drives Cain against his brother Abel for offering a more pleasing sacrifices to God in Gen 4.
3. The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. Angels from heaven fall in love with earthlings, and commit with them terrible sexual sins. This upsets God, and He blazes the two cities to the ground.
4. The tower of Babel. God is unhappy with people when they decide to search for Him with human pride by building a tower to heaven I Gen 11. He confuses the with many languages, which breed more unhappiness.
5. Israelite Slavery. Exodus 1 shows how Israelites are subjected to terrible mistreatment that breeds unhappiness. God liberates then with His own show of unhappiness by bringing on plagues to Egyptians.
6. Battle defeats. The whole Old Testament presents periods when Israelite armies would be defeated by neighbouring kingdoms at war eg Phillistia, Syria, etc which would bring unhappiness.
7. The capture of the ark of the covenant. 1 Sam 4:10 shows Israelite unhappiness due to the capture of the covenant box by the Philistines. It signifies God’s absence from Israel.
8. The demand of a king. Israelites demanded for a king to be like their neighboring kingdoms. This saddened Prophet Samuel because political kings would suppress and move people away from God.
9. Saul’s disobedience. God and his Prophet Samuel are unhappy when Saul spares Agag, the Amalekite king and his wealth, against God’s command. This breeds unhappiness to Saul’s reign.
10. Saul’s jealousy. God’s raises David from a shepherd to a popular young man, praised by Israelites in 1 Sam 18. Saul gets jealous of this and gets unhappy.
11. David’s affair with Bathsheba. David’s sin causes unhappiness to a large part of society. He gets humiliated and loses his record of righteousness. Uriah is killed, and his marriage breaks down.
12. Ahab and Naboth’s vineyard. 1 Kings 21 shows King Ahab out of greed and advice of his evil wife Jezebel grabbing Naboth’s vineyard, which makes God Prophet Elijah and Naboth unhappy.
13. Israel’s harsh judgement. After many evil deeds by Israel such idolatry, God gets upset and uses his prophets eg Hosea and Isaiah to pronounce doom upon the kingdom. This breeds unhappiness.
14. Exile. Due to many unheeded warnings of doom, God allows neighboring kingdoms eg Assyria and Babylon to invade Israelites and take them away into exile that breeds terrible unhappiness.
THE DOWNFALL OF MAN AND HOW IT BREEDS MAN’S UNHAPPINESS
1. Loss of Divine Glory. The first sin denies man the opportunity to live in respect and happiness that befitts a holy being. It puts him at an almost equal pace with animals.
2. Loss of divine fellowship. Man had enjoyed the company of God, who would come to be with him in Eden. With the sin of disobedience, God appears no more.
3. Fear and guilt. The garden of Eden now becomes a place fear and hiding from God. Man loses the confidence of freely meeting God due to the shame and guilt.
4. Introduction of judgment. The terrible sin makes God very upset. He can’t trust man anymore. He pronounces the introduction of a last judgement when man would account for his deeds on Earth.
5. Sour man-woman relationship. The harmonious relationship between husband and wife dies out. Instead it becomes sour starting with man blaming woman. The woman is made to submit to the man.
6. Expulsion. Gen 3:23 Man is chased away from the garden of Eden with it’s abundance. He has to go out and face the world of trouble and live a life absent of mercy.
7. Immorality. Man’s act breeds immoral minds among people. Sin separates people and God with His blessings permanently breeding unhappiness.
8. Hostile World. Man loses the ease and bliss and encounters a difficult life of thorns and scrubs in the wilderness which causes unhappiness.
9. Maternal problems. Gen 3:16 God pronounces difficulty of pain during the woman’s delivery of children. This pain would sometimes lead to death.
10. Enmity with the beasts. Man is advised to deal with animals with violence because it’s what they will do themselves. He is to crush the head of the serpent or it will bite him.
11. Loss of divine providence. Man loses free provision of needs and has to sketch out life himself and survive without divine help, breeding unhappiness.
12. Hard and painful work. Man is to work very hard and sweat for his bread. Gen 3 :19. No good thing will come easily.
13. Cursed ground. In spite of man’s hard work, his struggle won’t yield the expected harvest for the ground has been cursed. This signifies the disappointment that comes from floods, war, drought etc.
14. Death. Due to his sin, man is sentenced to death Gen 3:22, to go back to the soil from whence he came. This is the most saddening phenomenon among human beings.
1. How was the disobedience of Adam the root cause of man’s unhappiness?
WAYS HOW JESUS IS THE SOURCE OF TRUE HAPPINESS TO HIS FOLLOWERS (why Christians look at Jesus as the only true happiness, how the life of Jesus helps to deal with unhappiness)
1. Jesus washes away sin from man through death on the cross. Sin is the major cause of unhappiness because it leads to death. Taking it away makes Him think source of happiness.
2. Jesus is the prince of peace who brings calm to the problematic life on earth. Through faith in him Christians share in this spiritual peace which breeds happiness.
3. Jesus is the good shepherd that leads His sheep to the best pasture and cares for them fully. Spiritually, it means He gives us the best guidance and always cares which breeds happiness.
4. Jesus also brings God’s gift of salvation whereby human souls are saved from perishing and instead given the hope to live a blissful eternal life.
5. Jesus serves as the lamb that will is sacrificed on our behalf, to pay for the sins we have committed. The position of the lamb of God brings happiness.
6. Jesus introduces the theme of God’s Grace upon every human being that believes the gospel. Divine Grace allows people to get right with God not by following laws but by faith.
7. The opportunity of the forgiveness of sins is also a source of happiness that comes from Jesus. When a sinner confesses and repents, Jesus shows mercy and forgives them.
8. Jesus also makes real the power of God over all nature through the miracles he performed. This inspires faith and hope in God’s ability to care for them hence happiness.
9. The virtue of compassion is another trait that we learn from him. We his followers have to lrovide for the disadvantaged which breeds happiness to them.
10. Jesus’ humility in his service also is a source of happiness because it presents us with a good example of a leader that identifies with subjects. It gives us hope in living with God in his kingdom. 09:24
11. Jesus frees people from rigid laws that are burdensome. The laws concerning Sabbath for instance were put right through explaining to people that it was made for them and not them for it.
12. Jesus encourages children to get close to him. He likes them to the righteous and hence creates a situation that respects their rights. This breeds happiness.
13. The position of women in God’s Kingdom is boosted by Jesus’ ministry. He has them as friends eg Mary and Martha, encourages justice for them and thus is a source of happiness to them.
14. Jesus’ resurrection makes living forever after death a reality. Eternal life is a life of pain-free abundance that lasts forever which is the greatest happiness. This is got from total faith in Jesus.
THE BEATITUDES (MATTHEW 5) AS A CHRISTIAN GUIDE TO TRUE HAPPINESS
The beatitudes refer to the sermon Jesus gave on the mount in which he talked about what true happiness is. Accordingly, true happiness is the following.
1. Happy are those that are spiritually poor. Those who know they need constant guidance of the Holy Spirit will inherit God’s Kingdom. 5:3
2. Those who mourn will be comforted by God. People that undergo challenges of misery and persecution for their sake of God have His favour and support. 5:4
3. Humility breeds achievement. Christians should be humble if they’re to receive God’s promises blessings. 5:5.
4. Mercy to other people breeds mercy to them from God. Being considerate to other people makes them happy. 5:7
5. Purity in one’s thoughts, words and actions will enable them to see God. One’s lifestyle should reflect the gospel and hence true happiness. 5:8
6. Peace making and conflict resolution should be one’s important role in society. God takes care of such people as His own children. 5:9
7. Enduring persecution should also be ones happiness because it helps expand God’s Kingdom as he requires. Doing this takes one to heaven. 5:10
8. Christians bearing with people’s insults and evil schemes against them without revenge is also try happiness because their reward is right in heaven. 5:11
9. Forgiveness of people who wrong us is what will enable God accept our gifts to him. Christians shouldn’t get angry at fellow Christians. 5:24
10. Doing away with sins is like cutting away a body part that causes one to sin. Trying to avoid sin is true happiness. 5:29
11. The permanence of marriage is emphasized, with Jesus calling divorce adultery. A marriage that last a lifetime is tryue happiness. 5:31
12. Enemies have to be loved and prayed for because all people, friends and foes are God’s own people. 5:43
13. Understanding laws and commandments, and following them in the proper manner. 5:17
14. Being a good example to others, is like being the salt and light of the whole human race. This is what you happiness is. 5:13
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