Summary: As believers of Jesus we can expect joy; joy that is full and long-lasting. Joy that so fills our hearts it spills over into our attitudes and our lives.
Faith Expectations Part 4
[This lesson and this series are drawn from the writings of Tom Allen in his book “What to expect now that you believe.”]
This lesson is another in the series titled Faith Expectations. I know it is probably true of many gathered here tonight, I know it true for myself, that when we had obeyed the call of the gospel, accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and been Baptized into Him there were great expectations of what our faith would do in us, for us, and through us. And we are justified in these expectations:
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
John 10:10b “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
We are right to have high hopes for our faith. As believers we should never lose the “great expectations” of our faith especially since the greatest expectation is yet to come, that being the return of our Lord and Savior. Until that day it remains for us to balance our expectations with the reality of living as sojourners in this world. And so let us consider a great expectation of our faith: Expect Joy.
Try for a moment to enter into the emotion of the moment when the crippled man is instantly, completely, and permanently healed. Imagine the feeling of standing on your own for the very first time. Can you feel the wonder that he felt at being able to obey the command of Peter to walk? I can only imagine the joy that must have been surging throughout his heart but I think we can see it in what was recorded in Acts 3:8 “With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.” Joy in what the power of Jesus had done for him was a natural outcome for the crippled beggar and Joy is the outcome of that same power of Jesus in all who believe in His name today. We all are crippled by sin and just as helpless to cure ourselves as the beggar was helpless to strengthen his ankles by his own efforts. But by the power of Jesus we are healed, cleansed so we may as Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:8 “greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory…”
I.Joy In Our Forgiveness
A.Unexpected, undeserved, and certainly unearned, we are forgiven.
1.This is the greatest gift imaginable. More valuable than any gold or silver, more precious even than any physical healing.
2.By the blood of Jesus our almighty God has declared our sins atoned for, our guilt absolved, we are completely forgiven.
3.Psalm 51:9-12 “Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Through repentance of our iniquity and belief in Jesus we open the door of our heart to the Joy of salvation.
B.By the sacrifice of Jesus we have a new standing with God
1.In Christ we are new creatures and our relationship with God is restored.
2.We stand as sons and daughters of God our adoption signed and sealed by the blood of Jesus.
a.We do not stand alone for Jesus stands with us.
b.1 John 2:1-2 “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”
We can rejoice in our new standing as children of God.
II.Joy For The Duration
A.Jesus provides the context for our joy
1.John 15:9-11 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
a.“These things I have spoken to you…” refers to the “keeping” and the “abiding” previous in the verses.
b.Having the “joy of the Lord” in us is partly dependent upon us abiding in His love through obedience to His commandments.
2.Paul expressed a similar sentiment
2 Timothy 1:12b “for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”