Summary: A sermon on the fruits of the Spirit.
pt. 2 - I Will Be Joyful
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Introduction: I want to welcome you this morning to part 2 of a new sermon series based on the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5. This series is all about life change and what God wants to do in our lives if we will let Him. Make no mistake my friends; the goal of God in salvation is Christlikeness. God wants to change us into the image (icon -- exact replica) of His Son in character, conduct and personality. Just by way of review let's look at a definitive statement found in:
18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are (being) changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Let me also remind you that we can translate the first few words of verse 22, "The fruit of the Spirit..." to read "...the fruit that the Spirit produces..."
Now let me make an observation just before we get started. There are many mistaken notions about the subject of joy in the Christian life. To be perfectly honest there are those who think that to be a Christian you have to give up anything that is pleasurable in life. That being a Christian is dull and monotonous. In years past there were even those who believed that anything that brought pleasure into life was sinful. The Puritans and Quakers said that "ice cream" must surely be sinful because anything that tasted so good and gave so much pleasure had to be of the devil! This attitude and others like it certainly have been responsible for how the world views Christianity. I want to add that many unsaved people get the wrong impression about the Christian life and put-off or postpone salvation because of their interaction with those who profess to be Christians yet seem to project anything but a joyful experience. I heard a preacher say one time that some Christians look like they have been sucking on a "green persimmon" because they have such a sour demeanor and disposition! They are negative in their comments and their countenance! I think all of us would agree that this is not what the Lord had in mind when He went to the cross to die for our sins.
I want to present four points for your consideration this morning. First let's consider:
I. The Foundation for Joy
a. The character of Christ
The Bible makes it plain that Jesus is joy personified. When Paul speaks of the fruit that the Spirit produces He is referencing these attributes in the life of Christ where all of these were perfected. What is this joy that Jesus had? Well it was certainly not what our culture refers to today when it speaks of happiness. Happiness and joy are two entirely different concepts. Someone has said that "happiness depends on happenings while joy depends on Jesus." Happiness is fleeting. We can be happy one moment and sad the next and we often are but if we have what Jesus is offering it will be markedly different. Happiness is "skin deep" while joy is deep down within. This kind of joy is so unique His that it is referred to as "...the joy of Lord..." Not even the prospect of the Cross could diminish this joy. He had "enduring joy."
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
b. The conduct of the Comforter
1 Thessalonians 1:6And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive...
II. The Formation of Joy
a. Our relationship with the Savior
There can be no joy apart from a personal relationship with Jesus. When any individual receives Jesus as their personal Savior they receive what I want to refer to as "effervescent joy." Let me quote a passage that I think we help us understand this truth. It's found in John 4:13-14:
John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well (fountain) of water springing up into everlasting life.