1 Timothy 4:8
For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is…
Is happiness attainable? First, there is something in our condition as sinners against God, that militates against our happiness. God "made man upright, but he hath sought out many inventions."
I. In order to show that happiness is attainable, I shall first appeal to the INFALLIBLE ASSURANCES OF GOD'S INSPIRED WORD (2 Chronicles 20:20; 2 Chronicles 26:5; Job 36:11). In the first Psalm there is an encomium upon the happiness of the godly (Matthew 6:33).
II. THE MANIFEST AND UNQUESTIONABLE TENDENCY OF TRUE GODLINESS TO IMPART AND INSURE HAPPINESS. Health is by universal consent considered an essential ingredient to happiness. Cheerfulness is a part of happiness. And who can pretend to cheerfulness on such just grounds as the real Christian, the man of genuine godliness? His principles make him happy. Look at the influence of those principles on friendship; which is essential to happiness. Mark how the principles of godliness bear upon a man's usefulness. How can I be happy unless I am useful?
III. THE EXPERIENCE OF THE POWER OF THE GOD WHOM WE SERVE. If I can show you that happiness has been actually attained, it will be quite clear that it is attainable. Look, therefore, at the history and experience of the servants of God. I will grant the straitness of their circumstances, for they are often a poor and an afflicted people. Let me call your attention to the case of the prophet Habbakuk. "Although the fig tree shall not blossom neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labour of the olive shall fail and the field shall yield no meat, the flocks shall be cut off from the fold and there shall be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Look at Paul and Silas — their backs lacerated with the Roman scourge, their feet made fast in the stocks, condemned to spend the night in a prison; "at midnight they prayed and sang praises to God; and the prisoners heard them." Now either these persons must be grossly deceived, or happiness is attainable.
IV. In the fourth place, I must make an appeal to the fact of the EXISTENCE OF HYPOCRITES IN THE CHURCH. The counterfeit itself proves the value and the existence of the genuine coin.
V. Finally, I make my appeal to the CONFESSIONS AND LAMENTATIONS OF THE UNGODLY THEMSELVES; who, having discarded religion, both in principle and in practice, have been left to rue their own folly, and to admit that their happiness was indeed illusory and vain, ending in bitter disappointment. Some have been honest enough to confess this; that they have "forsaken the fountain of living waters," and they have heaped to themselves immeasurable bitterness and sorrow of heart.
1. In conclusion, then, let this subject, in the first place, rectify our judgments.
2. In the next place, let this subject decide our choice. The consideration of it will do us good, if the decisions of the will should follow the enlightenment of the understanding.
3. Let this subject, thirdly, awaken our gratitude.
4. Finally, let this subject serve to stimulate our desire for a more full and complete and final happiness beyond the grave.
Parallel VersesKJV: For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.