Intro: Joy is not syrupy or sappy, sentimental or seasonal. Joy is not happiness, because happiness depends on what happens to you. Joy is also not the absence of sorrow.
Psalm 16:11 “You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.”
Listen to Hebrews 12.2 to find a good definition for joy. Hebrews 12:2 “Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”
Joy is looking beyond your present problems to God’s eternal promises.
God’s first and greatest promise is “I will be with you.”
I. Joy is gladness for the presence of Jesus in our lives
A) What he did for us
Psalm 126.3 “Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy!” Joy can also be translated glad. The word joy often means an attitude of cheerfulness or gladness. The joy is in the Lord and His activity in our life.
B) What he is doing in us
C) What He is doing through us
II. Joy grants us protection from overwhelming emotions
Joy will not stop struggle, sorrow, stress, or sadness but it will transform them.
John 16:20 “I assure you: You will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.”
Hebrews 10:34 “For you sympathized with the prisoners[a] and accepted with joy the confiscation of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession.”
1 Thessalonians 1:6 “and you became imitators of us and of the Lord when, in spite of severe persecution, you welcomed the message with joy from the Holy Spirit.”
All the problems of this life can cause us to lose sight of the eternal promises of God. His promise of salvation, provision, protection, healing, etc. When we forget His goodness we lose our gladness and it often turns to sadness. An old proverb says “a sad heart tires in a mile.” What does a heart filled with the joy of God’s eternal presence and promises?
It rejoices in the Lord and not life’s happenings. The Lord Jesus is unchangeable and constant. The happenings of life are forever changing. Emotions cannot consume us if Jesus does.
III. Joy grows as we abide in Jesus
John 15:11 ““I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete”
What did Jesus speak to them?
A) Abiding requires surrender (John 15.4, James 4.7)
What is true surrender? It is submission to God’s law that represents God’s person. Love God with all your everything. It is seeking first His kingdom and setting aside our desire to rule and reign our lives. It is true submission that results in obedience.
B) Abiding requires depending (John 15.5)
When Jesus says abide in me He means depend on me. He uses the picture of a vine and a branch. The branch depends on the vine for everything, life, food, water, everything. For God to be everything we must learn to be nothing.
C) Abiding requires resting
In verse nine Jesus says, "As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love." That means to rest in His love. The Bible tells us in Galatians 5.22 that joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit. We cannot create joy; we must simply rest in the Vine.
D) Abiding requires obedience
Joy is the result of obedience despite what the results of that obedience will be.
Remember peace is God’s presence in your life. Joy is the pleasure of God’s presence in your life despite what your present circumstances are.
Jesus says in verse ten: "If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love..." Jesus kept the commandments of His Father. We also must obey Him. There's no way to have joy unless we obey.
A preacher was headed to the meeting of the church but it was a down pour and he was a little late arriving. The people knew that He was always thankful when he opened in prayer so they waited to see how he could be thankful or joyful in the face of such a day.
The preacher began “Thank you Father that not every day is like today.”
A joyful heart rejoices not at the problems of life but the possibilities of life with Jesus.