Faithlife Sermons

The Joy of Knowing the Risen Christ

Topical: Easter Sunday  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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In a time where it may seem difficult to find deep-seated joy in life, hear how Jesus promises abundant and unshakeable joy and then fulfills that promise in his resurrection from the grave!


The Joy of Knowing the Risen Christ - John 16:20-22, John 20:20, Luke 24:51-53, Hebrews 12:1–3

INTRO: What difference does the resurrection of Jesus make?! MUCH, in every way!
Results of the resurrection - This week as I prepared I landed on the Joy of Knowing Christ (to share with you this Resurrection Sunday).
Jesus’ resurrection brings joy to life!
We might shout in elated spirit, I LOVE JESUS! (like the sweet child at the close of our opening video) … But even when we don’t feel that excitement (like we have when praising God in a great auditorium with hundreds or thousands of fellows believers, or praising Him in the safety of our homes).
We can be alone with our tears and have joy in knowing God, of belonging to him, of having our confidence in Him, of knowing his sovereign control, of knowing his love toward us, of certainty of his perfect plans… Joy can undergird the one who knows God this way even in emotional agony.

What is JOY?

A definition: Joy is a deep-seated attitude of delight and well-being that comes from knowing and serving God.
The difference between temporal happiness and deep-seated joy is the difference between a treat and a feast… between a seasonal stream and the ocean’s depths.
Illust. - Wet-weather’s impact on our creeks around here… canoeing, etc.
- According to the oceanic institute, 71% of the earth is covered in water. What’s more?!, the oceans contain 97% of the earth’s water!
Then I picture myself standing on a tiny island with nothing but ocean surrounding me. — This is how great his love is toward us! That is joy.
Are you experiencing this joy? Concerning your understanding and experience of true joy, I have two questions for you today that need to be answered: Do you know Jesus? And where is your focus?
Let’s explore the answers in this lesson.
Last week we highlighted a passage in John chapter 12, right on the heels of the so-called Triumphal Entry, where Jesus explains that he MUST die in order to give life to many. There we discussed that truly knowing Jesus means understanding this purpose and then embracing it as our own—believing that Jesus died to pay the penalty for my sin and rose again, so that if I call on him I can have spiritual life in his name.
Next John’s Gospel has this unique and lengthy section that runs from chapter 13 through 17, all taking place on Thursday evening when he shares a Passover meal with his disciples, where Jesus prepares them for his departure… both his impending crucifixion (only hours away now) as well as his subsequent ascension after the resurrection.
In this section Jesus is teaching them how to lead like him (by serving), about how to love like he loves (sacrificing everything for the good of others). He’s comforting them about his departure, and He promises to send the Holy Spirit to guide them when he ascends into heaven. In an amazing prayer to the Father, he reiterates his purpose for coming (Jn 17:3), praying not only for his disciples but for all those who will become his in the future.
Shortly before that prayer in John 17

Jesus promised his people abundant and unshakeable JOY. (Jn 16:20-22)

…This deep-seated attitude of delight and well-being that comes from knowing and serving God.
John 16:20 ESV
Truly, 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.
You will weep and lament is a specific reference to their anguish over Jesus being lifted up on a cross, wrongfully accused, tried, and crucified.
The world will rejoice bc they think they have disposed of him for good.
Your sorrow (grief) will turn to joy - What could cause such great sorrow to turn to joy? They will rejoice at seeing Jesus resurrected!
Jesus gives a powerful illustration to drive home the point:
John 16:21 ESV
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.
Some of you can do more than imagine this; you can remember it… vividly!
What is striking to me about the whole birthing process is the way that the agony of the labor pains and the necessity of pushing out the child… all formalities and niceties are pointless and worthless. It is dire, difficult, and dirty. But the result is such great delight, that the horrifying process soon dissipates. You hold your child in your arms… and what joy!!!
John 16:22 ESV
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.
Again… “The joy the disciples are promised springs from Jesus’ resurrection.” D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 544.
Once the disciples rejoice because of the resurrection, no one will take away their joy.
John 20:20 ESV
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
“Were glad” - Rejoicing… overjoyed.
The resurrection of Jesus gives us joy to live by. Not just enough to get by; rather, knowing the risen Jesus gives us spiritual life, resulting in abundant & unshakable joy.

How does knowing the risen Jesus produce lasting JOY? (Lk 24:36-53)

… a deep-seated attitude of delight and well-being that comes from knowing and serving God.
Luke 24:51–53 ESV
While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.
Why does seeing the risen Jesus result in such joy for His disciples?
Jesus was gracious to offer proof of his historical bodily resurrection (24:36-43)
He was gracious to open the eyes of their hearts (their understanding) for them to comprehend his fulfillment of the Scriptures (vv. 44-46)
He was gracious to make them witnesses of his resurrection and to assign them the mission of spreading the news about him (vv. 47-48)
Jesus was gracious to give them the Holy Spirit to empower them for this new life and new purpose (v. 49)
Illust. - Coming to the end of a good book…
Have you read a book that you just loved all the way through… and then even during the rising conflict and the climax (the catastrophe), you knew there must be some resolution… and then the ending was even better than you imagined! “That was awesome… how do I get my hands on the next book in the series?”
Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings… or movie series: Marvel’s Avengers
A good book entertains you. A REALLY good book leaves you wanting more, makes you think about your life, and challenges and inspires you to grow.
What makes the Bible truly unique is that it isn’t just an amazing book. The Bible is more than great literature, but it is not less!
It is a written communication from God, about himself, for the purpose that people may know him. The primary character is God himself, and the culminating figure is Jesus—God revealing himself in human form and doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
When you reach the end of the Gospels and Acts (or all of the N.T.), you find that the adventure continues on in us. Christ’s mission continues through us, who have become sons, citizens, and soldiers of our King!
THAT’s how knowing the risen Jesus produces lasting joy!

Can I have this JOY? (Jn 20:30-31, Rom 10:9-10,13)

… this deep-seated sense of delight and well-being that comes from knowing and serving God.
What we’re talking about is the Joy of Believing, the joy of knowing that he has made you his own, the joy of being a part of his mission for the world in this life.
Going back to John’s Gospel… Sandwiched right in the middle of resurrection appearances, John offers this explanation of all that he has written:
John 20:30–31 ESV
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Are you convinced that Jesus is the Savior, and have you called on him as Lord... to save you?
Romans 10:9–10 ESV
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Romans 10:13 ESV
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
God has made the offer of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you received it?
Illust. - Gift boxes are sent each year through Samaritan’s Purse. (Operation Christmas Child) - The gifts are offered freely, but each one must personally accept the gift or reject it.
The gift has been offered. Will you receive it?

Should I be experiencing the JOY of the Lord in my daily living? (Heb 12:1-3)

As I walk with God in the journey of this life, how can I experience this joy, this deep-seated attitude of delight and well-being that comes from knowing and serving God?
What role does joy play in your life? … What impact can it have, should it have…? What difference does joy make? (for your motivation & purpose in daily living)
Well, let’s explain this first: We tend to think that we don’t have joy because our situation is difficult, or because the people around us are making us miserable. But…
Nothing can rob you of biblical joy but self-centeredness.
If you know the risen Jesus, nothing other than your own self-centeredness can steal your joy.
The thief of joy is self-focus (being self-absorbed … And it often-times creeps up on you by comparing yourself to others — who I am and what I have, compared to others etc. —> Do I personally have times of despairing, of doubt, of wanting to quit? You bet I do. But I must also admit... At the root of that bitter tree is ALWAYS some kind of “poor me.” - Jesus didn’t say poor me. He said, “your will be done.”
By contrast to this self-centered mindset...
“Biblical joy is the result of a Christ-prioritized life.” - Meg Bucher
Hebrews 12:1–3 ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Jesus’ joy was not knowing the brevity of suffering on the cross but the result of his cross and resurrection—the eternal glory of God and the eternal good of those whom he makes his own.
For us…
Living according to who we are in Christ will increase joy!
so that we will not grow weary or fainthearted.
John 15:11 ESV
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
And see the verses before it and after it (esp. 8-13 bearing fruit, obedience, abiding in his love, and loving like Christ loves!)
If you want to experience real joy, do not look to your circumstances, look to Christ. Do not focus on what you want, focus on how you can bless others. Then you will experience the abundant and unshakeable joy of knowing the risen Christ!
In our final section for today, I’d like us to solidify the joy of Christ keeping his promise to rise from the grave, and consider…

The fact that Jesus rose from the grave gives us confidence in all of his promises: (Col 3:1-4)

Colossians 3:1–4 ESV
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
R - Right relationship with God through faith in Jesus (Rom 5:1-2, 1 Jn 3:1, Gal 4:6)
- Rom. 5:1-2 (declared right with God only by Jesus’ righteousness; peace with God)— His children: 1 John 3:1 , and Galatians 4:6 (Holy Spirit into our hearts)
Romans 5:1–2 ESV
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
1 Jn 3:1a “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
Galatians 4:6 ESV
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
— What sustains me and gives me joy in trial? “I am a child of God.”
I - Imperishable inheritance guaranteed by Christ’s indestructible life (1 Pet 1:3-4)
1 Peter 1:3–4 ESV
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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
… knowing that God is the one who holds us His by his goodness, his power… he is our confidence
S - Slavery to sin is broken (Jn 8:34-36, Rom 8:2)
Sin no longer holds ruling power over you.
John 8:34–36 ESV
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Romans 8:2 ESV
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
E - Everything we need for life and godliness from our new Master (2 Pet 1:2-3)
2 Peter 1:2–3 ESV
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
N - Nothing to fear because of the One who holds us (Rom 8:38-39, Jn 10:27-30)
“Christ in you [is] the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27)
Romans 8:38–39 ESV
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 10:27–30 ESV
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
PRAY with me in closing: Lord, we are convinced that you promise abundant joy for those who know you. With whatever trials we are experiencing, Father, help us by your strength to keep our eyes off of the wind and waves, and to fix them on who Jesus is and what he promises for his people. Lead us to look beyond our own needs and wants to the needs of others. We love you because you first loved us and gave us your Son to be the Savior… and our King. Amen.
Romans 15:13 ESV
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
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