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WHAT IS JOY?
April 25, 2010 Galatians 5:16-26
David R. Hosick
Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy,* drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.
On the last night of Jesus’ earthly life, he dined with his disciples in the Upper Room. He took the occasion to teach one last time. He reminded them of what was crucial to being his disciple. He said things like, “Abide in me.” “Abide in my love.” “Keep my commandments.” Then he said these most important words: “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 14:11) There is not a person in this room or in this city who does not want joy. We all want to be joyful and joyous. We want our joy to be real, lasting, and complete. So for the next several weeks, we will center our thoughts around the theme “Find True Joy.” This morning, we start with the question, “What is Joy?” First I’ll offer three observations of joy, and then I’ll answer the question. (1) First observation: Joy surprises. It comes unbidden. In fact, it is counterproductive to try to make yourself or someone joyous. Real joy cannot be commanded or commandeered or coerced, or
even coaxed. Paul says it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. As a fruit of the Holy Spirit it blows where it wills on its own timetable. In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis remembers his first encounter with real, spiritual joy. When he was five years old, his older brother, Warner, made a little toy garden of twigs and flowers in the lid of a cookie tin. Lewis says the sight of it enchanted him; he fell under its spell. It symbolized paradise to him. It aroused in him a longing for something unobtainable but deeply desired. It would occasionally come upon him at odd, unpredictable moments. He discovered it was restlessness for God and it always snuck up and surprised him. Second observation: Joy differs from pleasure, happiness, fun and excitement. Joy is similar to these with some common characteristics. But real joy is deeper and more satisfying. The longing that comes with joy differs. Other desires are experienced as pleasures if we expect them to be satisfied soon. For example, we hunger, and our hunger can be readily satisfied by a home-cooked meal. We tire and long for sleep. And eight hours of
”(2) One commentator defined joy like this: It is the gift of the Spirit that becomes a condition of the heart which is confident of its relationship to Christ — a forgiven sinner accepted by God’s grace with the living Christ as a daily companion. It is from the same root as grace. What a site! Their faces were alight with an unmistakable glow and radiance. It was a day long remembered and resulted in an upsurge of life in Christ in Uganda. Christian joy remains because in Christ. Now. he is with us and nothing can separate us from him and the love of God he offers. and there seems to be nothing but despair and death. That last night in the Upper Room. This was powerfully illustrated by three Ugandan men who were executed by the forces of Idi Amin. The soldiers stood there with guns cocked and bewilderment on their faces. It is not the pleasure we derive from material things. Paul says joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The people waved back. Two other ministers were with me. Ask them to accept him into their lives as I did. How do you present the gospel to doomed men who were probably seething with rage? We approached them from behind. Third observation: Joy co-exists with pain. They were so dumbfounded they forgot to put the hoods over the prisoners’ faces. Our longings are more pleasant when we know satisfactions are on the way. but when it is satisfied it need never be lost. It differs from pleasure. has any power to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. nothing can separate us from God’s love. Paul was fond of telling the first Christian to “rejoice in the Lord. These men lived in the diocese of Bishop Festo Kivingere in Uganda. (3) Imagine that you live in a land ruled by a king who lives in a distant castle.” The two other men told similar stories. “Bishop. by the presence of the Holy Spirit. despair. The bishop tells what happened: People were commanded to go to the stadium to watch the execution. Jesus said more to his disciples: “So you have pain now. The fruit the Spirit gives us is experience of the love of God. And it coexists with problems. but his son has come among you and told you of his father. He came in and forgave my sins! Now heaven is open and there is nothing between me and my God. The three stood close 2 together. and no one will take your joy from you. Please tell my wife and children I am going to be with Jesus. Many of our desires and longings can be easily satisfied. Christ proved indestructible by rising from death. Joy coexists with pain.” (John 16:22) There is indestructibility to Christian joy. like when we leave work hungry and arrive home or at restaurant where dinner awaits. Still less is it the happiness of achievement or acclaim. No one sees the king. They excitedly raised their hands which rattled their handcuffs. “It is a joy whose foundation is God.rest refreshes and satisfies. happiness and fun. 8:35. Then shots rang out and they were with Jesus. but I will see you again. Before we could say anything.” (Rom. but … you will rejoice and no one will take your joy from you. and you will rejoice. This is the joy Jesus wishes to complete in us. The bishop said he felt like he needed to talk with the soldiers. You’ve come to understand the king as one who is . Joy surprises. I asked Jesus to come into my heart. one of them burst out. pains.” The basis of our joy is Jesus Christ. I wondered what to say. what is joy? Joy is when an elated peace comes over us because our deepest longing for God’s love is satisfied. Joy differs from pleasures. Death permeated the atmosphere. “You will have pain now. 39) Even in circumstances where joy would seem impossible. They looked to the crowd and began to wave. They were handcuffed and their feet were chained. “Neither death nor life. Three thousand people gaped at the spectacle. and death. thank you for coming! I want to tell you the day I was arrested.” Christian joy is indestructible because Christ is indestructible. They turned to look at us. The firing squad stood at attention. They brought the men in a truck and unloaded them. As Jesus said. So he told them what the prisoners had said. The Greek work both Paul and John use for joy is CHARA. nor anything else. Paul assured the first Christians. But. Bishop Kivingere reports: I had permission from the authorities to speak to the men before they died.
That longing is satisfied through Jesus Christ. God looks at us and says. When you arrive at the castle and enter the throne room. Jesus said he desires for his joy to be in us and for our joy to be complete. S. 4. Be glad I am your king.” Joy is the elated peace that comes from satisfying our deep longing for God’s love. Your soul would soar. He stands directly in front of you and stares you in the eye. The son leads you to the throne and you behold the king. wise. This is our Christian joy. Sources: C. Then he beams a grand and royal smile and says. good. the sweatier your palms get. Live in my love forever. or by contacting the church office. he steps down from his throne. 116. WORD. the king’s son comes and says. Florida 33701-2618 (727) 822-2031 www. “I am especially fond of you. His grandeur and majesty overwhelm you and you fall on your face in fear. 5. the drier your mouth gets. It would happen every time you thought of it. If we accept him. Rev. He motions for you to rise. p. Lewis. 1: “What is Joy?” 701 Beach Drive NE St. 6. Doris Donnelley expands on Lewis in The Living Pulpit. “I am especially fond of you. David R.” The close you get to the castle. and concerned about his land and people. The Communicator’s Commentary. 8. p. One day. Westminster. 50 Maxie D. he promises no one will take our joy from us. you long to meet the king. God’s son. and a little anxiety. “Follow me. 3 . Dunnam. With a mix of awe and curiosity. Chapter One. p. There is not a person in this room who does not want joy. I am glad you are my subject. Dr. the faster your heart beats. Hosick. Pastor Sermon Series: Finding True Joy No.” Would that bring you joy? Absolutely.org Additional copies of this sermon and others are available on the website. My father desires to see you. No. you can hardly breathe. your throat is so tight. William Barclay. Vol.powerful. Jesus. Vol. brings us to God. The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians.fpc-stpete. Surprised by Joy. As you do. Petersburg. your heart would rejoice. loving.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?