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A Happy Life 幸せな人生

If there’s one thing we can surely all agree on it’s that we want to live a happy life, right?
But what does a happy life look like?


‘Noise/test pattern clip: no such thing! Some people believe there is no such thing as a truly happy life and they live by this belief. They believe the most practical way to live is to just make do with what you’ve got. Life is merely an exercise in damage control. No time for this childish happiness nonsense.

そんなことあり得ません! ある人達は本当に幸せな人生みたいなものがあると信じていない人達がいます、そしてそんなものは無いと思って生きています。

Sound of Music clip. Some people believe that happiness is about twirling on a mountain top. As long as you’re feeling happy, nothing else matters. There are no responsibilities, no challenges to face, no hardships to overcome, no particular achievements or purposes to fulfil. And it certainly doesn’t mean much if it’s just a happy moment and then when you come back down the mountain you’re back on antidepressants. Just feeling happy can actually be deceptive.


Scrooge McDuck clip. Some people, like Scrooge McDuck, believe that money will be the answer to all their problems. Money can make a big difference if you live in abject poverty. But we don’t. Money is not the answer. I know some very rich people. They still have problems. It doesn’t make them happy.
ある人達はスクルージ マクダックのようにお金が全て彼らの問題を解決するだろうと信じてる人達がいます。もし絶望的な貧困な人生に置かれいるならお金は大きな違いを生むことが出来ます。でも私たちは違います。お金が幸せの答えではありません。私は何人かの大富豪達を知っています。彼らはそれでも問題を抱えています。お金は彼らを幸せにさせません。

Lady and the Tramp clip. Romance. Romance is a beautiful thing. But it’s a bit like eating chocolate. Tastes great but you can’t live on it.

27 celebrities clip. Fame. As each of these famous celebrities has stated, they hate being famous. If there was one thing they could erase from their lives it would be fame. I know some famous people. And fame is only an impediment to their happiness.
For others, living a happy life centres around pure luck, or family, or health, or food or success, or friends…

It’s worth pointing out that most of the things I’ve mentioned are actually good things. Things like family and health and romance and twirling on a mountain top can be gifts from God and used well can bring a lot of happiness. But the thing is, they produce situation-based happiness not heart-based joy. I can’t imagine Julie Andrews twirling in prison. The joy of family life only goes so far at work. If health brings you happiness then does that mean you cannot be happy if you’re unhealthy?

私はジュリー アンドリュースさんが刑務所で駆け巡っている姿は想像できません。

If happiness is simply situation-based emotion then our happiness can only ever be as great as our circumstances and will always be limited by our circumstances.

God wants you to live a happy life. God is the giver of a happiness. But most people seek happiness instead of seeking God. And that’s where they miss the mark.

Ultimately God doesn’t just want you live a happy life, He wants you to live a blessed life.

Today I would like to show you how to live a truly blessed life – one that enables you to have, not just happiness, but lasting joy in your heart regardless of your situation. The apostle Paul writes about this in his letter to the Ephesians (1:3-5):
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

4 みまえにきよく傷のない者となるようにと、天地の造られる前から、キリストにあってわたしたちを選び、
5 わたしたちに、イエス・キリストによって神の子たる身分を授けるようにと、御旨のよしとするところに従い、愛のうちにあらかじめ定めて下さったのである。

This passage lays the foundation for a blessed life which begins with our

Identity アイデンティティー(本質、個性、正体)

Whether we think about it much or not, we all take on an identity. The way we think, behave and look all reflect our answer to the great questions ‘Who am I?’, ‘Of what value am I?’ and even ‘What’s the point of living?’
私たちがアイデンティティーについて沢山考えるかあまり考えないか、私たちは全て個性を持ちます。‘自分は何者なんだろう?’ ‘自分に何の価値があるのだろう?’ ’何のために生きているのだろう?’とうい疑問に私たちの答えが私たちの考え方や振る舞いに現されます。

Some people take on the identity of their job like a teacher or a businessman. For others, their identity has to do with their passions or hobbies like being a sportsman or an artist. Others still find their identity in their role, like being a parent or a leader. I know for many in Japan their identity is found in being ‘futsuu’ (ordinary). Sadly, some shape their identity around their weaknesses or failures, seeing themselves as a loser, as someone who is hopeless, someone who is wounded, and even as someone who is sinful or dirty.

But none of those identities are who you were created to be. You might be a gifted teacher or a devoted mother and you might even be a dirty sinner but that is not the primary identity that God created you to have.

Your identity, your destiny, your purpose is to be a child of God.
I know that might sound pretty odd in social circles to introduce yourself (like this slide) as a child of God but that is fundamentally – more than anything else – who you were created to be. And this understanding is important because it is the foundation upon which a truly blessed and happy life is built.


The apostle John said: Yet to all who did receive him [Jesus Christ], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:12,13
13 それらの人は、血すじによらず、肉の欲によらず、また、人の欲にもよらず、ただ神によって生れたのである。

We become the children of God when we receive Jesus Christ into our lives. This is when the blessed life starts.

The blessed life continues when we understand who this Jesus was, what he taught and what he achieved. This is all about

2. Grace 恵み
The apostle Paul continues:
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. Ephesians 1:7
わたしたちは、御子にあって、神の豊かな恵みのゆえに、その血によるあがない、すなわち、罪過のゆるしを受けたのである。 エペソ人への手紙 1:7
There is a lot to unpack just from this simple verse but let’s focus on the forgiveness of sins because this is what Jesus came to do and what he achieved for us. When Jesus died on the cross as the perfect Son of God, he paid the penalty for our sins. Only a perfect person could pay for the sins of another. We call it the Great Exchange.

The Bible says, “God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!” 2 Corinthians 5:21 LB

This means that when we choose to repent of our sins and put our faith in Jesus Christ, there is no more guilt, there is no more sin, there is no more condemnation upon our lives. There is only grace. It doesn’t matter what you have done or how bad you’ve been, when you are in Christ, you are forgiven, clean, pure, righteous, regenerate, a brand new person.

This transforms our lives because not only are we completely forgiven but we are able to completely forgive others who have hurt us.

So not only do we live in freedom from our own sins, but we also live in freedom from the bitterness of not forgiving others. So many people live in prisons of unforgiveness. Bound up by things in the past, reliving the hurtful words and actions of others. Unforgiveness is soul cancer.

But in Christ, we are free from that. Jesus teaches us to pray ‘Father, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’.
We live under grace, not condemnation. Likewise in our lives we extend grace to others, not condemnation. This is liberating and it is the essence of living a blessed and happy life.

If I couldn’t demonstrate the truth of this then it’s just feel-good teaching. But we know this is true because three days after dying, Jesus resurrected from the dead. Normal people can’t do that. He was seen alive again by as many as 500 different people, some of them who were previously haters of Jesus who then completely changed their lives when they encountered Him alive. Jesus then returned to heaven and gave His Holy Spirit to lead us, which takes us to our third and final means of living a blessed life:

(1. Identity アイデンティティー, 2. 2. Grace 恵み)

3. Inheritance 相続

Continuing with what Paul wrote to the Ephesians:パウロがエペソ人への手紙に書いている続きです。

You also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13,14

14 この聖霊は、わたしたちが神の国をつぐことの保証であって、やがて神につける者が全くあがなわれ、神の栄光をほめたたえるに至るためである。

Even in Western countries, most people don’t know what a Christian is. Here’s a quick quiz.
A Christian is: クリスチャンとは
Someone who believes in God and does good to other people.
Someone who regularly goes to church, reads the Bible and prays to God.
Someone who annoys other people by stopping them in the street and asking them if they’ve been washed in the blood of the lamb.
Someone who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, has received Him as their Lord and Savior, and lives as He did.

The answer is d). The other options are all things that Christians do (well, hopefully not all of them!) but they do not make a person a Christian.
答えは d) です。 その他のもの全てのことがらはクリスチャンはします(それらの全てではありませんが)でもそれらが人をクリスチャンにさせるのではありません。

The final verses of this section of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians state the Christian gospel very clearly. And in doing so it concludes how it is that we live a blessed and happy life.


You hear a message about Jesus Christ like this one you’re hearing now.
You believe what you hear about Jesus Christ being the only way to have your sins forgiven and about His resurrection from the dead.
You receive the Holy Spirit of God who marks you as a child of God, and guarantees your inheritance.

Before I finish, let’s take a look at what this ‘inheritance’ means. It doesn’t mean you’re going to get a lot of money when you die. (And what would be the point of that?!) But it does mean that we inherit something from God and not just when we die.
The inheritance from God has to do with hope for the future and power for today.

Our future is eternal life in heaven. That’s the promise of Jesus:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16


But the inheritance is also for today. The Holy Spirit gives us peace, comfort, guidance, teaching, assurance, discernment, wisdom, power and joy to live a blessed and happy life.

This year we have been focussing on the Kingdom of God.
The kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world are two completely different kingdoms.
One is seen, the other is unseen. 一方は見えますが、もう一方は見えません。
One a kingdom of sight, the other is a kingdom of faith.
一方は見える国ですが 、もう一方は信仰の国です。
One is a kingdom of pride and self-sufficiency, the other is a kingdom of grace, love and power.
One is evil, the other is good.

Life is short. I wouldn’t want to waste a single day not living under grace and love in the Kingdom of God.
The apostle Peter, the first head of the church, said to a crowd of people,

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38-39

39 この約束は、われらの主なる神の召しにあずかるすべての者、すなわちあなたがたと、あなたがたの子らと、遠くの者一同とに、与えられているものである」。

And that’s my invitation to you tonight. Don’t waste another day by not living under the grace and love of God. Repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, receive the Holy Spirit and enter eternal life. Here’s how:

If you would like to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, I invite you to come forward in a minute with everyone else and take communion, marking your entry into a new life in Christ.


Let me explain the elements of communion.
The bread and the wine are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ and taking them marks a person’s entrance into and surrender to the body of Christ and the life of His church. If you have never taken communion before or haven’t for a long time but tonight would like to commit or recommit your life to Christ, I invite you to come forward with the others and receive prayer and the elements.

Take a moment to examine your lives, to give your lives to God, and when you are ready, please come forward.