Summary: This kind of Joy is really a "cheerful, calm, delight, and Christians should experience this joy more than any other people.
Well, we still have the Joy book, Philippians, fairly fresh in our minds from this winter. And as we talk about Joy as a fruit of the spirit we are talking not so much about jumping up and down for joy like when you win the lottery, though it might be like that I suppose. Sometimes I think people who are always bouncing around seeming ridiculously happy may actually be covering up something that is not true joy.
The direct translation is “cheerful calm delight”. But this joy is usually more like a contentment, or a state of intense gratitude, a constant inner smile regardless of what is going on around you, but it’s also noticeable by others. Sometimes we rejoice in an energetic way, other times we rejoice in a calmer way.
I have chosen watermelon to represent joy because it usually reminds us of summer and when you eat a slice of watermelon you are usually left with the rind in the shape of a smile. So let’s look at two things about this joy today. First we see:
I. The Motivation for Joy starting with:
A. The Salvation of Our Souls
Every single human being ever born since Adam and Eve is destined for death and eternal separation from God. Let’s let that sink in for minute. Until you claim Christ as Saviour and Lord, believe in Him and entrust your life to Him, you are a dead man walking.
Now it’s easy to say, “well I better make the most of life while I have it then”, and that is true, but the methods you choose have eternal consequences. Life is short but our souls are eternal and will reside somewhere after the death of this body. According to the Bible there are two choices, heaven or hell. Those people who choose to get every drop out of life, by doing whatever they desire, and fail to accept Jesus’ salvation might have a great time in this millisecond of eternity life, but forever isn’t going to be very pleasant.
So for the believing Christian the greatest thing we have, and will ever have to rejoice in, is the salvation our souls. Jesus is promising eternal communion with God in the Kingdom of Heaven after we die. How can we not rejoice in that when we think of the alternative?
In Luke 10:20 Jesus tells the 72 disciples that went out and performed miracles, not to rejoice that the spirits are subject to you, rejoice that your names are written in heaven, that you are saved.
1 Peter 1:3-9 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
No matter what the Christian’s situation, we always have this to rejoice about.
B. Another motivation is The Realization of the Lord’s Presence
Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” There are many Psalms where David rejoices about being in the presence of the Lord. Is His presence your greatest joy? Have you experienced His presence in your life?
He talks about pleasures, but pleasures are fleeting, joy can be constant, and I believe it will be in heaven. Our actions not only show what we believe, but they also show what our greatest joy is. Is it being on the golf course? Our actions will tell. Is it our work? Actions will tell. Is it our family? Actions will tell. Is it God and our salvation? Our actions will tell.
John 16:20-24 “20Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”