Those who are influenced and directed by the sword of the Spirit will produce “the fruit of the Spirit” in their lives…Galatians 5:22-23
- We noted in our previous study that there is not a plurality of fruits, but one fruit
- Yes, only one fruit that is made up of several interrelated graces or virtues, all of which will be manifested if one is truly walking in the Spirit
Prominent, of course, will be the virtue of love, which we observed…
- Was defined as active good will, that which seeks the highest good of others
- It is best exemplified by Jesus Christ, who through His example has taught us what love really is
- John 15:13
- 1 John 3:16
- Agape must be the “universal motive” for all that we do… 1 Corinthians 16:14
As noted in Galatians 5:22, the fruit of the Spirit also involves joy…
- It is interesting to note the relationship between the Holy Spirit and joy in several passages:
- Romans 14:17… The kingdom of God is “joy in the Holy Spirit”
- 1 Thessalonians 1:6… The Thessalonians had received the word “with joy of the Holy Spirit”
- And of course, our text in Galatians 5:22
- Therefore, one who is led by the Spirit, and walking by the Spirit, will be someone filled with much joy in his or her life!
But what is joy?
- How can Christians be filled with joy?
- As we seek to produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, let’s take a closer look at joy…
THE DEFINITION OF JOY
The Greek word is “chara”
- Which Thayer defines as chara“joy, gladness”
- Vine adds “delight”
- By one count the word is used 60 times in the New Testament
The verb form of “chara” is “chairein”
- Which is most often translated “to rejoice”
- It is used 72 times in the New Testament
Closely related is the word “charis”
- Which is the word most often translated as “grace”
- Vine defines grace in the objective sense as “that which bestows or occasions pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard”
- Therefore grace is what produces joy!
The connection between grace and joy
- One’s joy is directly proportional to the grace one has received, or at least to the perception of grace that one has received
- Receive a small gift, and your joy might be minimal
- Receive a large gift, and your joyous reaction is greater
- When Christians’ don’t have much joy in their lives, something is wrong: “If you have no joy in your religion, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.”
- Here is one explanation why Christians may be joyless: “The reason why many poor souls have so little heat of joy in their hearts, is that they have so little light of Gospel knowledge in their mind. The further a soul stands from the light of truth, the further he must needs be from the heat of comfort.”
The joy of the Lord is abiding
- The Lord certainly does not want Christians to be joyless…John 15:11
- The joy He gives is “inexpressible and full of glory,” able to sustain us in the worst of circumstances…1 Peter 1:6-8
- Unlike the “passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:25) which are fleeting
- Even the good things in life eventually prove to be “vanity” (Eccl. 2:10-11)
- Therefore He has made it possible for the Christian to say with Paul:“Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice” (Phil. 4:4)
A failure to remember those things graciously given us which make for joy in our lives can explain why some Christians do not have the degree of joy (gladness, delight) they should have.
- But Christians have every reason to be joyful.
- We just need to remember what it is that produces joy.
- Let’s review just a few…
SOURCES OF JOY FOR THE CHRISTIAN
- Joy is a consequence of faith
- Joy comes from having a confident trust (faith) in God…Philippians 1:25
- Without faith in God and Christ, we cannot experience abiding joy
- Why is faith essential to joy?
- It dispels the attitudes that prevent joy from occurring
- Such as worry (cf. Mt 6:25-30), doubt and fear (cf. Mt 14:27-31)
Since joy is based upon faith, this emphasizes the importance of the Word of God in producing joy…
- For faith comes from the Word of God… Romans 10:17
- The Word of God produces faith
- In turn faith produces joy… Romans 15:13
- The very teachings of Jesus are designed to give us joy… John 15:11; 17:13
- Thus, we see the need to read and study the Bible daily!
Joy is also the result of obedience
- Obedience to the Word of God fosters joy in the hearts of the obedient
- Notice the conversion of the Samaritans… Acts 8:5-8
- Also, the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch – Acts 8:35-38
- And the conversion of the Thessalonians… 1 Thessalonians 1:6
- Conversely, disobedience dispels joy and produces fear!… Hebrews 10:26-27
- Could lack of joy be an indication of lack of obedience on your part?
Joy is based upon forgiveness
- The guilt of sin is a major reason why many people lack joy
- Awareness of such guilt causes stress, unhappiness, and worry
- Even as Paul illustrated in describing the condition of one struggling with the problem of sin… Romans 7:22-24
- But where there is forgiveness, there can be joy!
- Consider the 32nd Psalm of David
- He introduces his theme by speaking of the “blessedness” (or joy) of one whose sins are forgiven…Psalm 32:1-2
- He describes how the guilt of his sin affected him inwardly… Psalm 32:3-4
- But at last he confessed his sin and was forgiven… Psalm 32:5
- He describes the joy that the righteous (i.e., the forgiven) can experience… Psalm 32:10-11
- The correlation between forgiveness and joy is also seen in Psalm 51:7-12
- Today, those in Christ can enjoy forgiveness of sins and the joy that follows… Romans 5:1-2, 10-11
- If you have not yet received the forgiveness found only in Christ, there is no way to experience the abiding joy that comes only “in the Lord”
Joy also comes from Christian fellowship
- It is a joy just to “see” such fellowship
- Paul experienced joy by witnessing love and fellowship in Philemon… Philemon 7
- He also found great joy in learning of the restoration of brethren… 2 Corinthians 7:7
- How much more, the joy of “experiencing” such fellowship!
- Paul rejoiced in the fellowship he had with the Philippians… Philippians 4:10
- John spoke of the joy that comes of Christian fellowship reunited… 2 John 12
- Are you developing and nurturing the kind of Christian fellowship that adds to our joy?
Joy comes from Christian service
- There is the joy of spreading the gospel
- Barnabas rejoiced in the conversions at Antioch… Acts 11:20-23
- The Christian Jews delighted to hear of the conversion of the Gentiles… Acts 15:3
- There is great joy in seeing the spiritual progress of others
- This was a frequent source of joy to Paul
- Romans 16:19
- Colossians 2:5
- 1 Thessalonians 3:6-9
- John wrote that this was the highest form of joy… 3 John 4
- One reason this is true is that those whom we have brought to Christ…
- Will not only be a source of joy for us now
- But especially in the day of Christ!… 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
- Jesus also spoke of the “blessedness” (i.e., joy) of giving to others…Acts 20:35
- All those who are willing to become involved in serving the Lord, whether it be through teaching or the giving of one’s time, energy or money, will experience joy from such service!
The wonderful joy of the Lord is open to all who would receive it through such things as:
- Faith in Christ
- Obedience to His Will
- Forgiveness through His blood
- Fellowship with His disciples
- Service in His Kingdom
- And it is the kind of joy that can sustain us through life, as Nehemiah told Israel… Nehemiah 8:10
Certainly those who are born of the Spirit, who are walking in the Spirit, and are being led by the Spirit will be involvedin all these things, and as a consequence will bear the fruit of the Spirit which includes “joy”
Why not begin experiencing this joy today by…
- Obeying the gospel of Christ
- Receiving the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ
- Participate in the fellowship of Christian love as you work toward bringing others to salvation in Christ… Acts 2:38-42