Joy

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INTRODUCTION:

Thank you again for being here today. If you came in a little late or are joining us online, my name is Phil and I am the lead pastor here at GracePoint. If you are joining us online, please let us know by commenting in the chat box or submitting a way we can pray for you

A couple weeks ago we began a new series entitled Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life. God desires for all of humanity to respond to his love and grace and be in relationship with him. As we engage in that relationship our heart, soul, and mind are transformed and shaped into being more like Christ. This should change how we live as we saw articulated in Galatians and our lives will be marked by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  This morning, I want to talk about the second fruit of the Spirit, joy.

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) Read Out Loud

22 The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.

Before we jump into today’s teach though, following last week…how were you able to exude love to someone this past week?

What are the things in your life that bring you joy?

Things that bring me joy?  Seeing cars around the parsonage and the church in the mornings. It represents people who are sacrificially giving of their time and resources for me personally, and for GracePoint and ultimately for the Kingdom.

Unlike the word love that we talked about last week, joy is not a word that we typically use. When we think of being joyful, what are some other words that we use to describe that?

Most commonly I think we say happy, or happiness. But there is a difference between happiness and joy.

 

Happiness is… 

  1. shallow
  2. external with external expression
  3. …based on chance
  4. …dependent on circumstances
     

Joy is… 

  1. deep
  2. internal without internal depth
  3. …based on choice
  4. …dependent on Christ

Definition of Joy (Merriam-Webster)

  1. 1a: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires b: the expression or exhibition of such emotion
  2. 2: a state of happiness: bliss
  3. 3: a source or cause of delight

I think there is even a difference in how the word Joy is defined from a biblical standpoint and an earthly definition.

This sounds a lot more like happiness than joy. Scripture defines joy as…

Joy = Grace, Gift: To rejoice amidst the worst of circumstances; full of good will, generous, forgiving, of circumstances

 

Movement 1:

Happiness is rooted in circumstance. Joy is rooted in the abiding grace of Jesus through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

In both the OT and NT joy is consistently the mark of both individually of the believer and corporately of the church. It is a quality and not simply an emotion, grounded upon God himself and indeed derived from Him which characterizes the Christian’s life on earth. (New Bible Dictionary).

Paul uses the term chara ((har-ah) )(which is translated joy) in 3 ways. First, progress in the faith on the part of the members of the body of Christ and particularly those he has led to Christ, is a cause for joy. Second, Christian joy may paradoxically be the outcome of suffering and even sorrow for Christ’s sake since it is produced by the Lord and not ourselves. Third, joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit and is therefore something dynamic and not static. Moreover, it derives from love – God’s and ours – and is therefore closely associated with love in Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit. But since it is a gift which may be interrupted by sin, every believer is called upon to share in the joy of Christ by a daily walk with Him and a daily practice of rejoicing in the knowledge of Him and His salvation (New Bible Dictionary).

In our life we will have many trials…life will be hard. The role of the Holy Spirit is critical.

2 Corinthians 6:3-10 NLT

We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us,[c] and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed.10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

In Christ, we are so much more than our circumstances.

Video: Chewbacca Mom

Movement 2:

John 17:13

…I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy.

“If you have no joy, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.” Billy Sunday

Likely Leaks: lack of repentance, lack of understanding, lack of gratitude, lack of faith during trials

We look to external sources to produce joy like sports, alcohol, drugs.

Living A Life of Joy (Romans 5:1-5):

Romans 5:1-5 (NLT)

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace[a] with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

  1. A life of Joy begins with the Grace of God (Romans 5:1-2a).

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

                                                          -Romans 5:1-2a

What’s that got to do with joy?  There is nothing like the joy of knowing the grace of God.  Of having peace with God, of having the relationship with God that you were created to enjoy.

Two words with the same root:

The Greek cara (har-ah) means:  JOY.      

The Greek caris (har’-ece) means:  GRACE.

You can see the similarity between the two words…both joy and grace come from the same root.  If you’ve received grace, you’ve received joy!

One of my favorite passages of scripture is Psalm 51 and one that I prayed often as the cry of my heart:

My sin is ever before me…wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear JOY and GLADNESS;

that the bones which thou hast broken may REJOICE

Restore unto me the JOY of thy salvation.

                                                          -Psalm 51:3,7,10

There is nothing better than the joy of the grace of God.

  1. A life of Joy ends with the Glory of God (Romans 5:2b).

We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God

-Romans 5:2b

There is a great day coming.  People of the first century continually tried to put out Paul’s joy.  Think of the trouble he endured with joy.

I have . . . been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.  Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked…I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.

-2 Corinthians 11:23-28

What was Paul’s conclusion throughout all this?

… our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

-Romans 8:18

 

As a Christian, you have the joy of knowing . . . THERE IS A GREAT GLORY COMING!

Paul Yonggi Cho describes the brutality of the Communist regime toward Christians in North Korea.  One minister’s family was captured and the Communist leaders put them on what they call the “People’s Trial.”

This time they dug a large hole, putting the pastor, his wife and several children in.  The leader then spoke, “Mister, all these years you misled the people with the superstition of the Bible.  Now publicly disclaim it or you, your wife, and your children will be buried alive.  Make a decision!”

All of his children blurted out, “Oh Daddy! Daddy!  Think of us!  Daddy!”  Think of it.  If you were in his place, what would you do?

This father was shaken, he put up his hand to stop those shoveling the dirt on them, “Yes, yes, I’ll denounce…” but before he could get another word out his wife nudged him, “Daddy!  Say NO!”  “Hush Children,” she said.  “Tonight we are going to have supper with the King of kings, the Lord of lords!”

She led them in singing “In the Sweet By and By,” her husband and children joining in as the Communists buried first the children and then as the dirt rose past their necks their voices were silenced on this earth but came alive in the Glory of God in Heaven.

Almost all those who watched this execution, themselves became Christians, many now members of Cho’s church.  They rejoiced…in the hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2b)!!  THERE’S A GREAT GLORY COMING!!

But how do we make it through the grind of everyday life that exists between the beginning Grace and the ending Glory?

  1. A life of Joy continues through the Knowledge of God (Romans 5:3-4).

When the tough times come we must rejoice in what we know.

…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know…

                                                          -Romans 5:3

Even though we are going through financial difficulty, family difficulty, job difficulty, physical difficulty . . . we can still have joy because we know.  What do we know?  We can know the heart of God.

  1. A life of Joy is POWERED through the SPIRIT of God (Romans 5:5).

And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

                                                          -Romans 5:5

Conclusion:

True joy only comes to those who have devoted themselves to something greater than personal happiness.

John 15:1-13 (NLT)

15 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

“Joy which was the small publicity of the pagan is the gigantic secret of the Christian!” G.K. Chesterton

Undeniable Guilt + Underserved Grace = Unbridled Joy

When people think about you, do they know you by your love? Do they know you by your joy?

Response:

Let’s pray this prayer together…

Heavenly Father, what a comfort to read of the apostles who despite the difficulties and dangers that they were called upon to face, were able to rejoice in the Lord and trust in Your never-failing faithfulness.

We pray that like them we too may receive Your abiding joy and discover like them… that the joy of the Lord is our strength and that the peace that comes from You is an abiding peace that enables us to overcome all difficulties of life – in the power of Your Holy Spirit.

So fill our hearts with Your abiding joy and that we may rejoice in life’s circumstances.. in periods of plenty and during those seasons when we have very little – in times of hardship as well as those times of great sufficiency.

Thank You that we are Your children and You are our Father and Sovereign Lord. May our hearts rejoice in good times and in bad and may Your abiding joy and perfect peace find residence in our heart – as we rest in Your love and trust in Your unfailing goodness and grace. Amen

Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life
Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life
Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life

Goodness