Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday, Decemeber 13
- Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee (Ode To Joy)
- Joy To The World (Unspeakable Joy)
- He Has Come For Us (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)
- Please turn to John 15 and Luke 10:38.We celebrate this third week of Advent as the week of Joy. This is the week that we proclaim, “Joy to the world! The Lord is come!” Joy to the world, for, Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” This is the week of Joy. We’ve been told that Christians should be the most joyful people in the world because we know the Savior, we know what it’s like to be forgiven, we know what it’s like to be delivered from death and have the promise of eternal life.Yet - being joyful can be a challenge. How well can you sing every day, “Joy to the world!” or “Joyful, joyful we adore Thee. God of glory, Lord of love?” Being joyful can be a challenge.I asked myself where does joy come from? I know it comes from being saved, yet I know a lot of people who are saved who are not joyful. I know joy comes from the love and the blessings of God, but I know some people who are loved and blessed and they're not very joyful. So where does this joy - this supernatural biblical joy come from?God’s Word doesn’t leave us hanging - God tells us. Let’s look at John 15 - verse 11.These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.Whose joy? His. Who is Jesus? Immanuel, God in the flesh. Everything God is, Jesus is and His joy can be where? … that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.This is an absolute possibility. We must start with the truth that we can have God’s full joy in us. But how? How do we get His joy in us? Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy would be in you.” So we have to know what “these things” are. We have to go back to verse 1. I apologize, but we need to plow through these …“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.1) Joy comes from knowing Jesus - All of JesusWhich means knowing all of God, not knowing about Him, but knowing Him - personally, experientially, intimately - having a personal and corporate relationship with Jesus.What does it mean that Jesus is the True Vine? Simply put, the Vine is everything the Branch needs. Jesus is everything we need.Jesus is the sacrificial lamb. He is the High Priest. He is a Prophet, King, Lord, Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, Light of the world, Life of men, the Good Shepherd, the Bread of life, the Alpha and Omega, He’s the Creator and Sustainer of life, Healer, Banner, Protector, Rock ... we could go on and on.Jesus is everything! If we have an incomplete or substandard view of Jesus as revealed in His Word, we will lack joy. Until we can humbly accept and believe that Jesus the Christ is everything He says He is and everything we need, then we will lack joy!So, joy comes from knowing Jesus - knowing all of Him.Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.2) Joy comes from bearing fruit - The Right FruitWhat do I mean?Bearing fruit means that through our relationship with the Lord, and by doing what God wants us to do and being who He wants us to be, our lives will produce something beneficial for the Kingdom of God.What is that something? That something is the fruit. Ok, so what is the fruit? It’s whatever the Vine wants it to be. The fruit is whatever Jesus wants produced either in your or through you. It's not always what you and I think it should be. It's not what others say it should be. The fruit our lives produce is whatever Jesus wants produced in your or through you.So joy comes from producing the right kind of fruit. Some people are working too hard to produce fruit that God never intended for that person to produce. There’s no joy in that (e.g. some sermons). Some people are not even trying to produce fruit. There’s no joy in that (warning).We’re going out of sequence for a moment -As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.4) Joy comes from obedience - Holistic ObedienceWe are body, soul, spirit - physical, emotional, spiritual - that’s a holistic and I think a biblical view. So, what we do is just as important to God as who we are - holistically. Now God’s commandments are NEVER pointless or solely for His whims. His commandments are always Kingdom centered - for His greater purposes of redemption and our character development (loving God, others, self).So, His commandments are not always about doing - do this, don’t do that …. Sometimes His commands are about being - who we are - being shaped into the image of Christ. So look, if you think God's commands are only about doing, you will miss His commandments about being. And if you miss that, you will miss some of the joy that He has for you.Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.3) Joy comes from abiding - Abiding is PloppingAbiding is not synonymous with doing more, or more effort, or striving harder, striving for perfection, approval, or reading the Bible more, praying more etc., etc. Abiding is synonymous with plopping. Follow me.Jesus said abide in what? His love. In the Greek, “His love” for us is written in the aorist tense - it is an absolute, fixed, never changing fact. God will never love you more or less than He does right now. His love for us is fixed and it is immense - so immense that He gave His life for you and for me. So no amount of striving, no amount of perfection, no amount of whatever we do will make God love us more, and no amount of sin or imperfection will make God love us less.Verse 9 again -As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.So how do we abide in His love? We plop down in it. What?Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”Who had joy? The one who was abiding. The one who plopped down and sat at Jesus’ feet.Andrew Murray in his book, The True Vine wrote,“Abiding in the Vine then comes to be nothing more or less than the restful surrender of the soul to let Christ have all and work all …” (37). ~ Andrew MurrayHe goes onto to ask,“How much weary labor there has been in striving to understand what abiding is, how much fruitless effort in trying to attain it! Why was this?Because the attention was turned to the abiding as a work we have to do, instead of to the living …. We thought of abiding as a continual strain and effort - we forget that it means rest from …” (40). ~ Andrew MurrayTo abide in something, I must enter into which I abide.You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.If we want that joy, we must enter God's presence, we must abide in Him and plop down at His feet. I fear that a lot of people forfeit true joy because they fail to take the time to enter God’s presence, to plop down with Jesus.How? Start with what Mary did.Do you know Jesus - all of Him?Bearing the right fruit?Obeying?Plopping?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.
- From The Inside Out
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