Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

Notes from Sunday morning message for Shallowford.Church

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Fruit of the Spirit:  Joy
Gal. 5:22-23

Why is it called the “Fruit” of the Spirit?
1. Fruit is something we bear – not produce. (John 15:4-6)
2. Fruit is a result of abiding in Christ (Source). (John 15:4-6)
3. Fruit is different from the “Gifts” of the Spirit. (I Cor. 12:18-20)

In the New Testament, the word “Fruit” is used to describe:

1. Activity (Col. 1:10) “…bearing fruit in every good work”
2. New believers (1 Cor. 16:15; Rom 16:5) called “first fruits”
3. Attitude (Gal. 5:22-23)

How can we define this “JOY” that is produced by the Holy Spirit?

• Joy is a deep-seated feeling.
• Joy is MORE than a feeling
• Joy is inner witness of the Spirit (His Spirit bearing witness in our spirit).
• Jesus wants us to know Joy. (Jn 15:11)

We are all so different — Are we ALL supposed to be Joyful?
Different temperaments and personalities (some outgoing, some reserved)
• Globally,  cultural differences & expectations- different ways to express emotions.
• However:  The “Joy of the Lord, Rejoicing in Christ, Joy of the Spirit” –  is expected of all believers.  It’s not optional.

How do we see  “JOY”  in the Old Testament?
Different words translated “joy” and “rejoice.”

  • God rejoices over His people (Zeph. 3:17)
  • God’s people find joy in Him (Ps. 14:7; 32:11; 97:12; 149:2)
  • Gentiles are invited to find joy in Jehovah (Rom. 15:8-13 quoting OT)

Be careful to recognize how some find temporary joy in evil.

  • rejoice in evil (Prov. 2:14)
  • Earthly joy is temporary (Moses reference Heb 11:25-26)
  • Nature of joy is found in the source — object producing joy.
  • If God as source and object of our Joy, we will never be disappointed.
    (Rom. 10:11 quoting O.T.)

How can we summarize and apply teaching of “Joy” in the Bible?

1. Joy is a Celebration
• Joy is the deep-seated emotion that leaps from within.
• Great Joy expressed in Worship (1 Chronicles 16:10; Ps. 100)
• Commanded to be Joyful in Festivals. (Deut. 16:11,14)
• Feast after returning from exile (Ezra 6:22)

2. Joy celebrates a Connection
• Joy is an internal connection with someone or something we encounter.
• Jesus told three parables about broken connections being restored.

In each case, the restored relationship was celebrated with Joy.
Lost Sheep (Luke 15:6-7)
Lost Coin (Luke 15:9-10)
Lost Son (Luke 15:22-24)

Examples: separated by sin, the need to be reconnected, repentance leading to Joy

  • Hearing, conviction, weeping, and Joy of being restored. (Neh. 8:8-12)
  • David repenting and asking God to restore his Joy (Ps. 51:10-12)

 

3. Joy is not Circumstantial

• Holy Spirit, from within, moves our heart to see beyond the immediate situation and temporal circumstances.
Though (things are bad) …. Yet, I will rejoice, I will be Joyful. (Hab. 3:17-18)
• Disciples rejoiced they were counted worthy to suffer. (Acts 5:40-41)
• Count it joy… encounter trials. (James 1:2)
• Paul & Silas sang in jail after being beaten; Jailer rejoiced in Gospel (Acts 16:23-34)
4. Joy is Confidence in God

• Paul and Philippians (Phil. 1:4-6)
Paul, from jail, writes of joy in his life and his joy in them.
Paul assures them that God will finish the good work in their lives.

• Jesus and the cross (Heb. 12:2)
Jesus looked beyond the cross and saw joy.
The “joy set before Him” moved Him to endure the cross and shame.

• When I recognize His presence in my inner man, and entrust my soul to Him, a witness of the Spirit (deep within) moves me to celebrate my connection to the One who runs the universe and knows my name.

 

Conclusion

What tell me about God?

  • God wants us to know the Joy of His presence (Ps. 16:11)
  • We are created for God’s pleasure (Rev. 4:11)
  • We are Redeemed and saved by His will, for His pleasure (Eph. 1:1-22)

 

What does this call out of my heart?

  • I can let my sin and external circumstances steal my Joy.
  • Or, I can look beyond the circumstances and see God’s is working.

 

Are the commands to obey?

  • Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (Phil 4:4)
  • Rejoice always. (1 Thess. 5:16-18)

 

Putting it into Practice

  • Confess any sin that steals my joy. Do it right now (I Jn. 1:9)
  • Recognize the presence of Christ in my heart and circumstances.
  • Celebrate His presence my heart.
  • Ask Him to help me see His presence daily, moment by moment, as the Fruit of Joy comes forth in my inner being, from the indwelling Source.

Fruit of the Spirit: Christlikeness

Notice the 9 words describing a cluster of fruit.  Not different kinds of fruits (apples, bananas, oranges, etc),  but fruit of one kind: Christ-like character.   This fruit is the  expected evidence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of all believers.  (Jn. 15:4-5Gal. 5:22-23)

Fruit of the Spirit is Different than the Gifts of the Spirit

We have different gifts.  God distributes the different gifts to His children and places them in the Body of Christ  (1 Cor. 12:18).  We do not all have the same gift.

We do have the same Fruit of the Spirit.  This fruit is not optional.  We can not select one and ignore the other saying:  “God did not give me peace but He gave me self-control.” Wrong!   It is expected that all of these elements of the character of God will be on display in the lives of God’s children as they walk in the Spirit.

God’s Spirit Changes Us — From the Inside Out

When Jesus called us to follow Him, He said that He would change us : “I will make you…”  (Matt. 4:19).  Following Christ, walking in the Spirit, we are being transformed into the likeness of Christ.   (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 8:29).

God is working in our lives changing us, giving evidence of His indwelling Life. God is working through our lives giving public evidence that we are His disciples  (Jn. 15:81 Jn. 3:14 ; 4:13).

As God changes us, from the inside out, Christlikeness is the result. The perfect demonstration of the Fruit of the Spirit is Christ Himself.  And we are to be like Christ.

Are you cooperating with His working in your life?  Jerry Bridges wrote:

“Christlikeness is God’s goal for all who trust in Christ,

and that should be our goal also.”

 

 

Cooperating With God

“I am the vine; you are the branches” (John 15:5a)

It doesn’t sound right to say we “cooperate” with God. We certainly don’t operate equally.

No religious activity, is in and of itself, life-giving. We cannot produce any genuine spiritual fruit on our own; He makes that clear when He says, “apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Our job is to abide. Not produce, abide.

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)

How do we abide?

We cooperate with God.

We cooperate with His work in our lives — so He can demonstrate His life in our work.

Abiding in Christ

In John 15:1-11  Jesus challenges His disciples to Abide in Him.  He is preparing them to live on earth without Him (physically) and yet He tells them to abide in Him (spiritually).

Jesus promised He would live in His disciples through the Holy Spirit.  He challenged them to recognize His indwelling life and to depend on Him for everything:

“apart from Me you can do nothing.”  (Jn. 15: 5)

As we learn to abide in Christ, we see:

1.  God is our Source

2.  God is our Safe Place

Father, today we recognize that You are our source.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from You.  You are the Father of lights, and there is no variation in You, and You are perfectly consistent.  Nothing about You is subject to change.  

I run to You as my safe place.  I trust in You as my source.  This day, right now, I depend on the Life of Christ as my life.  Live resurrection life in me today and fill me with the fruit of righteousness that comes from Jesus– for Your glory and praise.

In the name of Jesus, the source of my life, Amen. 

Introducing New Series: Fruit of the Spirit

John R. W. Stott was a well-known British theologian of the last century.  Christopher J.H. Wright said Dr. Stott prayed this prayer every morning:

Heavenly Father, I pray that this day I may live in Your presence and please You more and more.

 Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow You.

 Holy Spirit, I pray that this day You will fill me with Yourself and cause Your fruit to ripen in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

Interesting phrase don’t you think?   “…cause Your fruit to ripen in my life.”

 Over the next few weeks we are going to pray this prayer as we open God’s Word to Gal. 5:22-23.  But before we consider that text, let’s listen to the foundational Words of Jesus in John 15:

  • “I am the true vine”
  • “I am the vine, you are the branches.”
  • “Abide in Me, and I in you.”
  • “…bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
  • “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.”

We don’t use the word “abide” in everyday conversation.  Since Jesus uses the word 4 times in 2 verses, we need to pause and see what it means.

In its simplest form it means “to remain, to dwell.”  The old English language used another form of the word to mean a house, a dwelling place, an “abode.”

I guess you could say that during these days we have been told to abide in our abodes.

Jesus told His disciples to dwell in Him– and promised He would dwell in them.

The fruit of the Spirit depends on the work of the Spirit in and through our lives.  Now that the Spirit of God has come to dwell in our hearts — He abides is us.

Let’s make this our prayer:  “Lord Jesus, teach me how to abide in You.”