Summary: This is an in depth study of the characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit of JOY.
Fruit of the Spirit—JOY (3 lessons)
Series: Fruit of the Spirit Teaching Series
February 2, 9, 16; March 16, 23; April 6, 13, 2014
(Note to readers: This study borrows from sources I no longer have or remember who they were. If you know to whom I can attribute some of the ideas in this series, please notify me so I can give proper attribution at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Fruit of the Spirit—Joy
TEXT: Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Q. = Discussion QUESTION for the class / A. = ANSWERS or possible answers
Illus. – Mark Twain was a professional humorist whose lectures and writings made people around the world laugh and, for a short time, forget their troubles. Yet Mark Twain himself was, in private, a man whose life was broken by sorrow. When his daughter Jean died suddenly of an epileptic seizure, Twain, too ill to go to the funeral, said to a friend, “I have never greatly envied anyone but the dead. I always envy the dead.”
Contrast that with Jesus, who the Bible says was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Yet He possessed a deep joy that was beyond anything the world could offer As He faced the cruel death of Calvary, Jesus said to His followers in John 15:11 – “These things have I spoken unto you, that MY JOY might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
One of the things that Galatians 5:22 tells us that the Holy Spirit wants to build into the life of every believer is this true abiding joy that Jesus had. Now look at Psalm 16:11 where the Psalmist says “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
See the little phrase, “fullness of joy?” That is what God wants for you.vThat is the privilege of every Christian walking in the Spirit. Unfortunately, few Christians actually experience this abiding joy on a regular basis. They live under a cloud of disappointment and negativism when they could be walking in the sunshine of joy. What has robbed them of their joy?
The answer is found in the book of Philippians. I think that is the place to get a real handle on this thing called joy because Philppians is the “joy book.” This book was a letter to the believers in the church at Philippi. In it, Paul wrote something of an extended missionary thank-you letter. But nestled in this personal letter is found Paul’s secret of Christian joy. At least 19 times in these four chapters, Paul mentions joy, rejoicing, or gladness.
That might seem remarkable until you dig a little deeper and look at the background behind this book: Paul was writing from a Roman prison and his case was coming up shortly. He might be ACQUITTED, or he might be BEHEADED!
Not only was this the case, but Paul must have faced bitter disappointment:
• In Romans 1:13-16, we read that Paul really wanted to go to Rome as a PREACHER – “Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. 14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Q. What was Paul’s desire in this passage? He ended up in Rome, but is this the way he envisioned going there? Do you think he thought he could fulfill the the goals he expressed in Romans 1 by the way he ended up coming to Rome.
A. Instead of coming as a PREACHER, Paul arrived in Rome as a PRISONER. From a human point of view, this would have been a bitter disappointment. He would have arrived in Rome in chains and would not probably have been able to “preach the gospel to you who are in Roma also” (v. 15) and bear much fruit among the Romans (v. 13). Compare Proverbs 13:12: “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”
To make matters worse, Paul could not even count on the Roman believers to stand with him in prayer or moral support. It appears that some of them were totally opposed to the apostle Paul. Turn with me to Philippians 1:14-16 – “And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds.”