(John 15:11 KJVA) These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
We are on our a quest for joy. Last week we opened up this series with defining what joy was and talking about what it is not. We discovered that it was not dependant upon happening or chance, like happiness. We also talked about how it is a command. We are commanded to rejoice. That should give us a clue into the reality that it is a choice. Joy is a choice. Today we are going to investigate the how of joy. How do we access this thing called joy especially in a dark and dieing world where there is no hope? The only thing this world has to look forward to is the sun becoming a super nova and turning the entire planet into a lake of fire. Oh, I know, that may not happen for another billion of years but the fact is, it will happen. That is this worldís destiny. But it does not have to be yours.
If you know anything about this 15th chapter of John you already know the answer to accessing real lasting joy. Jesus is talking to all of us today. He is talking to you Christian, who have known the LORD for many years but seem to get side swiped by great sorrow at times. He is talking to you new believer who really still might not know the difference between joy and happiness. He is talking to you agnostic, who really do not know what you believe. He desires you to be full of joy even if you do not know why. And he is even talking to the unbeliever and you of a completely different faith. God loves you all right where you are at. He loves the sinner as much as He loves the saint.
What we Christians need to learn is how to be more like Jesus and how to love like him. We are too quick to look down our noses at someone or too quick to make a judgment on others. We need to learn to love the unlovable and forgive the unrepentant. We need to pray for those who spitefully harm us and we need to learn to give with a cheerful heart. I know that we have heard how we are living in an upside down kingdom. Loving those who donít love you. Giving without expecting anything in return. But the truth is; that is if you really desire the truth, the truth is you are not of this world. That is why you donít feel like you belong sometimes. You are not of this world, but you are in the world to be a light unto the world.
Let me try to explain this little better by looking into this passage of the book of John. In the 14th chapter Jesus just told His disciples that He was soon going to be going away, so that the comforter could come to them all. Of course they did not understand. It is still hard for us to understand this today. We can get so wrapped up with the here and now that we can not see eternity in front of us. Jesus came from the Father and was going back to the Father to send the Holy Spirit. Yet all are the same one and each is different. This is after two thousand years of studying the truth. You see how the disciples must have been confused.
But God did not give us the spirit of confusion. He gave us the Spirit of Love and of power and of a sound mind. We can understand these things. We can see the invisible. I believe it was Frank Gains who said:
ďOnly He who can see the invisible can do the impossible.Ē
I am trying to get you to do the impossible today by actually seeing the invisible. You might say that you can not see the invisible, but you canít see the wind either can you? No, but you can see the effects of the wind. And if you can see the effects of the wind then you can see that the wind must be there. And if you can see that the wind must be there then are you not saying that you can see the wind. So you see, you can see the invisible. The same is true in the spiritual world, only more so. You can not see your emotions, but they are real. The love of God goes so much deeper than our emotions. And if you really study and search and dig for the truth, you will discover that it is this invisible Love of God that holds everything that is in existence together. If I can get you to even get a glimpse to the truth of Godís love for you today then you will be well on your way to discovering the how of joy.
Last week we talked about how joy was the foundation of our hope. We know that the future has a lot more in store for us then what the world has revealed to us. All the world has shown us is death and decay. We walk through any cemetery and read peopleís names and see the dates of their lives. All they lived for and through and did is coved by the dash between the year of their birth and the year of their death. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust was not spoken of the soul. If death was all we had to look forward to then there really could not be any foundation of hope to stand upon. But death where is thy victory and grave where is thy goal There was a man who over came the grave and went into the depths of hell and took the keys and won the victory over death for us all.
I have to try to speak to the unbeliever right now. What if it is true? What if Jesus was who He said He was? What if He is the way the truth and the life? What if? OK, OK waitÖ. Letís start from the other direction. What if it is not true? Letís imagine that there is not a heaven or hell, and this life is all there is. We would die and that would be the end. So, here I am living my life believing in eternal life, living with hope and joy and love and peace for no reason. When I die I die, same as you. And there you are miserable, lonely, empty, with no hope, only sporadic moments of happiness, waiting for that proverbial moment when it all comes to a final end.
Now, letís take a look at it the other way. What if I am right and Jesus is the way and our souls are eternal and it is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment? Here I am, knowing that I know, that I know that I am forgiven and that my name is written down in the book of life. I have peace, real deep down peace within me. I am loved with an everlasting, never ending love. And the hope I have for eternity outshines the sun. How about You?
Donít be all depressed, It is not too late. You too really are loved with a supernatural love and God has already paid the price for all, and I mean all of your sins. All you have to do today is to accept the simple truth of His love for you. I know that might be hard because sometimes we can not find many reasons to even love ourselves, but God knows your heart. He created you to love you. He died so that you can live. He took the punishment so you could be set free. All, I hope to do today is to get you to see the truth. It is up to you to accept it. It is up to you to receive Him.
I will tell you this, When you do, you will never be the same.
And now I need to talk to you Christian! Where is your joy. Letís go ahead and read the Word together and find what you already have inside you.
(John 14:1- 4 KJV) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
As we read further on in this chapter we discover how Jesus explains how He and the Father are one. He then goes on to tell His disciples that He has to go so the Holy Spirit can come. Please donít let all that doctrine and theology confuse you or distract you from the truth. He is not telling us this to confuse us. He is telling you all of this, even though it might be hard to see, because the invisible is not easily perceived. He wants you to be at peace within your self. Donít let the things you donít know, cause you to doubt the things you do know for sure. Find that peace within you and hang unto it.
(John 14:27-29 KJV) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
Jesus is telling us all of this so that our joy will be full. Now letís go back to the 15th chapter and start at the beginning.
(John 15:1-4 KJV) I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
The key word to our how of joy is: (μένω)
A primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): - abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry.
Abide in the vine. Too often we think that we know what something means and we go on without even giving it much more thought. Abiding in the LORD is more than just keeping the faith. It is having the deep rooted, expectancy of heaven to come. Maybe what we Christians need is a clearer picture of what God has stored up for us in heaven. All we see in this world is reaping and sowing. And too often you do not get the fruit of your labor. How many times have we thought to ourselves, if not out loud, that we are not getting our fair share. I donít know about you but I have discovered that the world is not fair. Corporations are making giant profits when we make less and less and the month outlast the money. The guy next door who hasnít done a hard days work in his life is driving a nicer car then you and it just isnít fair. You work your fingers to the bone for your family and are not appreciated for it all. If just isnít fair. You go the extra mile at work and get the brunt of everyoneís criticism. It just isnít fair. You exercise and gain more weight. You give and you give and you give and people just continue to take and take and take. It just isnít fair.
Guess what? This world isnít fair. But you are not of this world!!!!!! If you are not reaping the fruit you hope for then maybe you need to sow in a different field. Look at what God has waiting for you:
(Revelation 21:1-4 KJVA) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
The Bible tells us that eye has not seen nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the mind of man the magnificent things that God has in store for us in heaven. I want you to imagine the greatest future possible. Now I want you to imagine the greatest future that is even more than possible, imagine the impossible and then know that even in your wildest imagination God has got in store for you more then you can dream.
That is the type of abide you need to grab onto. Too often we read the chapter and all we hear is ďobey my commandants!Ē I donít know about you, maybe it is just me, but all that obey me stuff, kind of turns me off. If we read these passages in the original language it really is not this harsh commandment as much as it isÖ. Well, a prescription, or something to aim at. Look at what I mean:
This is how the King James puts John 15:10
(John 15:10 KJV) If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
It really does make it sound like it is a religion of works. (If you obey my commandants!) look now at verse 14:
(John 15:14 KJV) Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Can you imagine someone coming up to you and telling you that you could be their friend if you did what ever they told you to do? I donít think you would be jumping at a chance to be their friend. Even most every other translation says the same thing:
(ASV) Ye are my friends, if ye do the things which I command you.
(BBE) You are my friends, if you do what I give you orders to do.
(CEV) And you are my friends, if you obey me.
(LITV) You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
What I want us to do is to look at the original language and let the Spirit guide you as to how to genuinely abide in the LORD! The word for ďcommandantsĒ in verse 10 is:
From G1781; injunction, that is, an authoritative prescription: - commandment, precept.
It is a prescription: If the doctor told you that you were going to die unless you took this one certain prescription, wouldnít you make sure that you got it and took it according to instructions? Now let, go to verse 14 and look at the word there for ďcommand.Ē
From G1722 and the base of G5056; to enjoin: - (give) charge, (give) command(-ments), injoin.
And donít stop there, go to the base word G5056:
From a primary word τέλλω tellō (to set out for a definite point or goal); properly the point aimed at as a limit, result [immediate, ultimate or prophetic], purpose);
RATHER THEN COMMANDING YOU TO DO THIS OR THAT OR ELSE, GOD IS GIVING YOU THE PERSCRIPTION FOR JOY!!!!!!!!!
It is all about abiding in Him. It is all about doing what Jesus did. It is all about LOVE! Now I am not going to go on about this prescription of loving one another. You should already have digested that one. I want us to really get the how of joy today.
(John 15:11 KJVA) These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
What are ďthese thingsĒ that Jesus has spoken to us about? He revealed to us the invisible. He gave us a glimpse into the eternal. He told us the truth. Back in chapter 14 we saw how He informed His disciples that He was going away soon. We need to know that times are going to be tough for a while here on Earth. He also told us that He has already given us a peace that passes all understanding. Not like the peace of this world that is here today and gone tomorrow. Then He opens our eyes the key to real joy. It is in Him. Trusting in Jesus is the key. The Amplified version of the Bible translates abide in the 7th verse like this:
If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] ďVitally united to Christ.Ē That is where I want to be. That is the goal, the target, the prescription for joy. Get united with Jesus, Get plugged into the eternal abundant power of Godís love. And the rest of verse 7 lets us know how to do that:
(John 15:7 LITV) If you remain in Me, and My Words remain in you, whatever you desire you will ask, and it shall happen to you.
Ask and you shall receive. Knock and the door will be opened. Seek and you will find. If you want joy today then come to the fountain. If you have been feeling empty and dry, drink from the waters of life. Let the joy of the LORD spring forth from within you unto eternal life. Call out to the LORD in your time of trouble and He will answer you. Call upon the name of the LORD and you will be saved.
Joy, Joy, Joy. Deep down in your heart. It is there to stay. Let the Joy of the LORD be your strength and walk in strength and victory for the LORD your God is with you!