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Summary: Each of us experience the natural seasons of winter, spring, summer and autumn; and we also experience spiritual seasons in our lives. I want us to consider together how we can Live in a Season of Joy.

We continue in our series on discovering our destiny and for the last few weeks across our group of churches we have been thinking about knowing what season we are in.

Each of us experience the natural seasons of winter, spring, summer and autumn; and we also experience spiritual seasons in our lives. We will encounter many seasons on our journey through life and the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that every season of life has a purpose.

This morning on this healing and wholeness Sunday I want us to consider together the Season of Joy. Joy is something we all long for. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, produced by God’s work in us, and it is part of God’s will for us. Experiencing joy should be a part of every season in a Christian’s life.

Joy is a gift from God. The root word for joy in the Greek is “chara”, which is closely related to the Greek word for grace “charis”. Joy comes when we are aware of God’s grace. Joy is a gift of God and also a response to the gifts of God.

The Prophet Nehemiah said in Nehemiah 8:10, “the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

Sounds good... But what does it mean? What is the joy of the Lord? One commentator on this verse wrote “The joy of the Lord is the gladness of heart that comes from knowing God, abiding in Christ, and being filled with the Holy Spirit.”

When Jesus was born, the angels announced “good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10).

If you are a Christian, a follower, a disciple of Jesus, then you have already experienced the good tidings of joy He has brought into your life.

The joy of knowing that Jesus died for you.

The joy of knowing your place in Heaven is assured because of what Jesus has done for you.

The joy of knowing your sins, past, present and future have already been forgiven.

The joy of knowing that you are in a relationship with a God who loves you and cares for you and has a plan for you.

The joy of knowing that the Holy Spirit resides in you, leading and guiding you to bring honour and glory to God.

Knowing Jesus brings joy into our daily lives.

Jesus demonstrated joy in His ministry. In Luke 7:34 the Pharisees even accused Jesus of being too joyful. Luke 10:21 tells us “Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit”.

Listen to the words of Jesus recorded in John 15:9-11, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”

In John 16:24 Jesus told His disciples, “Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.”

In many of Jesus’ parables, there is joy, for example in Luke 15 there is the Parable of the Lost Sheep, Parable of the Lost Coin and Parable of the Lost Son; these Parables end with a joyful shepherd, a joyful woman and a joyful father.

In Luke 15:10 Jesus said, “there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”

One of the characteristics of the early church was joy. Acts 2:46-47 says, “They worshipped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.” Acts 13:52 tells us, “the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”

The Apostle Paul often wrote about joy, in Romans 14:17 Paul wrote, “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

If you are a follower of Jesus this morning then you are part of the kingdom of God, you share in the life, peace and joy of God’s kingdom.

Again Paul writing to the church at Philippi, said in Philippians 4:4, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” In 1 Thessalonians 5:16, Paul wrote, “Always be joyful.”

It’s not just Paul that wrote about joy, listen to the words of Peter from 1 Peter 1:6-9, “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.

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