I am so thankful for where the Lord has presently put me. I am the part-time teaching pastor at Crossroads Fellowship Church in Augusta, Georgia. These last eight months since losing my seminary position have been so encouraging to me.
I’ve gone through two sermon series: “Saved: Rescued From God, By God, and For God” and “Living for Jesus in an Un-Christian World (a study of Jude).” I’m now working my way through a series I’ve entitled “What Jesus-Followers Believe about __ — and Why.” Each week is a different term. We’ve covered BELIEF, TRUTH, and EVIL. This coming Sunday our topic is JOY.
Someone has said that the mentally and emotionally healthy are those that have learned when to say Yes, when to say No, and when to say Whoopee!
But what is true JOY in the Bible? I agree with the writer who said that the difference between HAPPINESS and JOY is that HAPPINESS depends on HAPPENINGS, the circumstances of life. JOY is much deeper. One may have JOY even in the midst of difficult challenges.
What do we learn about JOY from Jesus? Jesus cares very much about JOY as we learn from John, chapters 15-17. Here’s what the Lord says —
We learn that Jesus wants His JOY to be in His disciples — and He wants that JOY to be complete. Incomplete joy ignores the command to love one another. Complete joy loves Jesus and the people of Jesus (John 15)
We learn in John 16 something very crucial about prayer. We learn that Jesus invites His followers to pray, to realize that His Father “will give you whatever you ask in my name,” and to start asking for things “in His name.” This is not carte blanche for a Porsche or a winning lottery ticket. We are to pray for things “in His name” (which will truly focus our prayer requests, don’t you think?). If we pray this way, our JOY will be complete (John 16).
In John 17 we learn that Jesus is returning to the Father, that He has protected His own and only Judas, the one doomed to destruction, has been lost (to fulfill Scripture). Jesus’ words delivered while He was still “in the world” were said “so that they [might] have the full measure of my joy within them” (v. 13) (John 17).
So, we learn from these three passages in John that Jesus was, indeed, a man of JOY! And He wants His followers to have JOY. But He wants our JOY to be complete and for us to have the full measure of His JOY. This is not simply some mental or emotional condition that Jesus-followers experience. This full JOY is directly related to how we treat one another (John 15),what our prayer list looks like and why we pray for the things we do, and how seriously we take His words (John 17),
Do you have this kind of JOY? What is one way that you can express this JOY to the world? (to be continued)