Summary: Talks about what it means to have joy. Includes an exhaustive outline on every reason the Bible gives to have joy. A great resource & encouragement for pastors
TEXT: Galatians 5:22-25
The Fruit of the Spirit - Part 2: Joy
Last week, we started this series on the Fruit of the Spirit as we talked about “Love.” We talked about the different Greek words for love & their differences. There is so much attention paid to love & its variations. However, as we move on in this series to talk about joy, I thought this would be a sermon that wouldn’t take too long. However, instead of lacking information about joy, I discovered that there was more information that I could possibly share in one sermon. That is why I have given the info as a handout so that you can see what the Bible says about joy.
We could name just about any Hollywood movie that talks about some form of love. But can you name one movie that talks about joy? When was the last time you read an article in the secular media about joy? How about a book? Have you heard a song played on a secular radio station about joy?
Why is that? Joy manages to be an emotion that can be exerted by the Christian only. We are the ones that sing about it: “Joy unspeakable & full of glory,” “Joy to the world, the Lord has come,” “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart… Where?”
The NIV translation of the Bible gives 355 different Scriptures where the word joy or a derivative is included. I would say that shows that God considers joy an important part of life. Out of the 66 books in the Bible, only 15 exclude the word of theme “joy” from their Scriptures. 77% of the books in the Bible make joy & rejoicing a topic of discussion. I would say that it becomes obvious that joy is something he wants us to understand and experience.
Joy is defined by most people as “intense happiness or pleasure.” However, joy is much more than a trite emotion like happiness. Joy is gladness; it is an “exhilaration of spirits” as Webster’s puts it. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.” That is joy!
When a baby comes into the world, it is a time like Martin Luther King, Jr. described. Words seem so feeble & undescriptive of how we truly feel. Our hearts bubble over with exhilaration. We experience true joy.
Joy is most obvious when a person should be depressed & upset by the world’s standards, yet they still show contentment & a resolute attitude. How can a person act that way, when they’ve got bills to pay & mouths to feed? Because they know that the same God that clothes the lilies of the field & feeds the birds of the air, can feed & clothe them without it taking Him by surprise.
Several weeks ago, I read this passage on the fruit of the Spirit for about the thousandth time. It is so short that a person with ADD can read it; it is so simple that a child can understand it; yet it is so profound to study, that it amazes even the theologians. Think about the fruit on a deeper level for a moment. (SHOW TRANSP.) When you truly begin to understand love, then you have joy; when you begin to understand joy, you have peace; when you understand peace, you have patience, when you understand patience, you have kindness & goodness; when you understand kindness & goodness, you will have faithfulness; when you understand faithfulness, you will have gentleness; when you understand gentleness, you will have self-control; and when you understand self-control, you will have love. To me, that is so amazing. If you really stop to think about it for a moment, the order of this fruit all makes perfect sense. It is so simple, yet can be very profound.
One observation that is worth noting, almost every O.T. reference to joy has to do with God’s promises & blessings. However, the New Testament almost seems to take the opposite approach. Almost every reference of joy in the N.T. has to do with the joy of salvation & the joy in suffering.
As we look to the handout, we notice that there are 22 different reasons for man to have joy. And every one of them has to do with God. We are never commanded to have joy separate from God. Why? Only God can give joy. It is an emotion & feeling that God bestows upon people.
The last point on the handout, gives a wonderful Scripture that most of us are familiar with. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Some times, we hear or even use the phrase, “the devil stole my joy.” In reality, God’s joy is our strength. God’s joy is based or dependent on feelings or anything temporal. God’s joy never ends and that is supposed to be our strength. Let’s look at the handout to see the many reasons for mankind to have joy in God.