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The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy

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The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy

Galatians 5: 22-23 (NRSV)

 

The Fruit of the Spirit

 

… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control…

 

 The 3 Triads of the Fruit of the Spirit

1.     The first triad is: love, joy, and peace. These relate to our attitude and our approach to God.

2.     The 2nd triad is: patience, kindness, and generosity. These relate to our attitude and our approach to others.

3.     The 3rd triad is: faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These final three things have much to say about how we should approach our individual lives and about our own individual attitudes.

     This morning we continue our series on Spiritual fruit as we examine the 2nd component of the 1st triad: The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy.

[Scripture Text: Philippians 2: 1-18] Notice the 2 “therefores” as we read the text!

Definition of Joy: A positive or pleasant emotion; delight. It expresses itself in many ways in our lives: gladness, contentment, and cheerfulness.  But these are worldly definitions of joy…not the joy described as being a Fruit of the Spirit. Sure…joy as a Fruit of the Spirit may mirror some of these things…but it goes much deeper. Even non-Christians experience joy in their lives…but Christian joy is an altogether different thing. To help us understand Christian joy…there are 5 things I want to look at this morning.

I.                  The Theology of Joy

 

A.    The Apostle Paul: A Theologian of Joy

1.     Of the 326 occurrences of words for “joy” in the New Testament, 131 (or 44%) of them are found in the ten letters written by the Apostle Paul.

2.     For Paul, Christianity is as much a religion of joy as it is of grace.

3.     Being saved by grace and reconciled with God results in the ability to, as Paul said in Philippians 4: 4: “Rejoice in the Lord always, I say it again rejoice.”

4.     Those who have experienced God’s grace…and stand firm in their faith…can celebrate the Christian life as a festival of joy…living in freedom from all anxious worries and fears.

 

              B.  The Greek Vocabulary of Joy

                            1.  Χαίρω: I Rejoice

                            2.  Χαρά: Joy, delight

                            3.  Χάρις: Grace, favor, kindness

II.               The Source of Our Joy: Union with Christ

 

A.   Christianity is a religion based on the idea that as followers of Christ we live in a personal relationship with him.

B.   Being united with Christ is the source of our joy.

C.   Or, in other words…where Christ and his kingdom are present…joy is present. It has been this way from the very first times Christ was present among mankind.

1.     When Mary was still pregnant with the soon to born Messiah, she went to see her cousin Elizabeth…and Elizabeth said: “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” (Luke 1: 44) Even in utero Jesus presence brings joy.

 

2.     When Jesus was born the angel announced his arrival by saying: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.” (Luke 2: 10)

 

3.     Then the Magi learned of Jesus’ birth by seeing a star in the sky…and we are told: “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” (Matthew 2: 10)

 

D.   Jesus last words to his followers were: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."  (Matthew 28:20) This is the source of joy in the Christian life…the presence of God…every where and always.

E.   The Apostle Paul sums it up this way: Philippians 4:4-7:  Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

F.    Union with Christ is our first and foremost source of joy…but we also find joy by living in unity with other followers of Christ. Paul said it this way:

 

Philippians 2:1-4

 

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.

III.           The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy

  

A.   The joy that Paul talks about as being the Fruit of the Spirit is much, much more than just a positive attitude or a pleasant emotion.

B.   The joy which the people of God should display in their lives is holy and pure.

C.   It is a joy which rises above circumstances and focuses on the very character of God.

D.   Joy in the Lord enables us to enjoy all that God has given us. We can rejoice in family, food and fellowship,

E.    This kind of joy is distinctly different from simple happiness. Joy like this possible even in the midst of sorrow and suffering.

F.    This kind of joy looks beyond the present to our future salvation and eternal life.

IV.           Joy in Suffering

 

A.   There is a paradox when it comes to the joy experienced by Christians. Christian joy prevails in the midst of suffering.

B.   I said earlier that being saved by grace and reconciled with God results in the ability to, as Paul said in Philippians 4: 4: “Rejoice in the Lord always, I say it again rejoice.”

 

C.   When are we to rejoice? Always. What times of our life does always include? All of them…both the good…and the bad.

D.   We live in a broken, fallen, sinful world. And as we live in this world we encounter things like: being mis-treated by people who are suppose to love us…being treated un-fairly at work or at school…being let down by our friends. In a fallen world we are subject to getting things like cancer…and having heart problems…or diabetes. In a broken, fallen and sinful world…people we love die.

E.   And in all of these situations…the Apostle Paul says we are still able to experience the joy of Lord. “Rejoice in the Lord always, I say it again rejoice.”

F.    These are not words spoken by a man who was unfamiliar with suffering. Paul spoke these words from a prison cell. Paul could speak of joy in the midst of suffering because his model for living was Jesus Christ: who humbled himself…looked to the interests of others…kept God’s plan for his life in the foreground…and looked to his future glorification and life of joy.

G.   Paul understood that as a follower of Christ, life’s struggles…either with external circumstances or with internal anxieties…can be endured with a heart of joy because we are no longer citizens of this world.

H.   Rock of My Salvation:

 

Though storms of strife assail me without warning,

and though they try to steal my joy away.

I will find rest in knowing you have saved me,

Precious Jesus, Rock of my salvation.

 

V.               The Eschatology of Joy

 

A.   Philippians 3: 17 – 4: 1: Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. 4Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

B.   Christian joy is a joy grounded in hope. Regardless of our present circumstances we have the hope the world cannot offer…we have the hope that comes from knowing that one day we will share the glory of God and live a life of perfect joy in the world to come.

VI.           Summary

 

A.   Through God’s grace, Christians experience joy in the midst of life in a broken, fallen and sinful world.

B.   Would you like to experience more of the Fruit of Joy in your life?

1.      Knowledge of God’s word produces it.

2.     Worshiping God evokes it.

3.     Obedience discovers it.

4.     Christian service promotes and develops it.

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