Sunday, February 19, 2006

Joy-The Christians Fruit

Intro.: As I have mentioned several times over the last few weeks, I set down to create this series of sermons last November.

  1. But over the last two or three weeks, as I have followed the outline I set out it seems to me that we have focused too often on the sad, the downer emotions: Disappointment, doubt, fear, impatience, and depression.

  2. Then I got to thinking, aren't there any up-beat emotions? Any positive emotions?

  3. I had not quite made the decision to change this week's sermon, but then Jonathan began asking me would I ever be discussing any good emotions. I couldn't quite get myself to tell him what I was thinking. Not till this morning.

  4. Jonathan, you need to know that you are partially responsible for today's sermon.

  5. Too often, like we did these past few weeks, we find ourselves living in depths of our feelings.

  6. Yet God has given us what we need, both to hansdle the difficult times, and to enjoy better times as well.

  7. Today, I want to tackle the most difficult of them all – joy.

Read: Galatians 5:19-26
Trans: The last few weeks have been hard.

  1. There have been times that I have preached when I know you have been hurting.

  2. There have been times that I have been afraid that my preaching would set you up for some difficult lessons.

  3. But today, it is not you that am concerned about. But me.

  4. In the last five days I have spent considerable time praying for you. I have visited the hospital four times in the last six days.

  5. So, in the midst of a busy week, I am preaching about joy.

T.S. In the next few minutes we will look at four characteristics of this thing we call joy.

  1. First, joy begins as a natural out growth of our faith.

    1. I have my favorite fruits. For example, I like bananas and oranges; but I do not like apples.

    2. Fruit is the natural output of the plant upon which it grows. Apples grow on apple tree. Oranges come from orange trees.

    3. Humans are spiritual beings – and we bear spiritual fruit.

    4. Joy is the fruit of our walk with Jesus.

(Ill.) A missionary teacher tells of a Japanese woman who asked her if only beautiful girls were accepted by her school. “Why no,” she replied, “We take all the girls who come to us.” “But,” continued the woman, “all your girls seem to be very beautiful.” “That’s because we teach them the value of their souls in God’s sight,” explained the teacher, “and this makes their faces lovely.” “Well,” said the woman, “I don’t want my daughter to become a Christian, but I would like to send her to your school to get that look on her face.”i

    1. Joy is something that God allows you enjoy as a follower of Jesus Christ.

  1. We need to distinguish between joy and happiness

      1. Happiness is the result of things going our way in life. Its being glad that we have received blessings. There will be times that we can be happy. But God never promised us happiness. Things will go our way sometimes – we will be happy. Things will not go our way sometimes – and we will be unhappy.

      2. While happiness is the result of things going our way. Joy is the result of knowing that things are going God's way.

    (Ill.) Oswald Chambers wrote, “The Bible talks plentifully about joy, but it nowhere talks about a “happy Christian.” Happiness depends on what happens; joy does not. Remember, Jesus Christ had joy, and He prays “that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.”ii

    (Ill.) To help us understand the difference – remember that dogs can be happy. They like it when you come home, they appreciate the food that is put out for them – or in the case of Val's dogs, that is left out on the counter for them or not. Dogs demonstrate their happiness with a wagging tail, by jumping up, by running around in circles – yep dogs can be happy.

    But joy is something that is reserved for us. I comes at those times when we know that we are following God's way. It is knowing that we have made a decision out of faith, rather than just for ourselves.

    (Ill.) Polycarp, venerable bishop of Smyrna was a personal friend and pupil of John the Apostle. But Polycarp is most widely known for the circumstances of his death. Polycarp was arrested at the age of 86 on the charge of being a Christian -- a member of a politically dangerous cult whose rapid growth needed to be stopped. He was urged by the Roman proconsul to reproach Christ and be set free. The proconsul, who wanted to show some mercy toward the old man, said: “I have respect for your age. Simply say, 'Caesar is Lord' and be set free.” Polycarp solemnly said, “Eighty and six years have I served Him and He never did me any injury. How then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?” In 155 AD, he joyfully went to the stake, burned alive, thanking God for counting him worthy to be numbered among the martyrs.iii

    (Ill.) Aquinas once said, “Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures.”iv

    (Appl.) The secret to experiencing joy, is knowing that you are living with in the way God has laid down for you. It does not come from having fun, it does not come from good food, it does not come from our entertainment – joy comes from living our lives under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. That is why Polycarp could be joyful even as he was martyred for the sake of his Lord and Savior. Happy? I don't know about that. Joyful, I have no doubt about that.

  1. Finally, joy is connected to our relationships in the church

    1. We spent most of last Fall looking at the book of Philippians. No other book of the Bible has more to say about joy, than the four chapters of this single book.

    2. Turn for a moment to Philippians 2 – Look at the first two verses: If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

    3. For Paul, joy is not only the result of living a life under the Lordship of Christ, but in knowing that others are doing the same.

    4. Joy is not just the result of my living a life of faith, it is also the result of seeing others do the same.

Conclusion: Let me conclude by saying this.

  1. It is not my wish that you be unhappy.

  2. Rather, whether you are happy or unhappy, my prayer is that you will experience the joy of knowing and serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

  3. I do not know what this week will bring – but I do know that if you faithfully are obedient to Jesus, you will experience joy – whether you are happy or not.


iAMG Bible Illustrations. 2000 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.

iiWater, M. (2000). The new encyclopedia of Christian quotations (Page 538). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

iiiTan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : [a treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers]. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

ivWater, M. (2000). The new encyclopedia of Christian quotations (Page 536). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

No comments: