We continue our NEW sermon series called ‘Joy Bringers’
Just as productivity is important to industry, so the same is true of Christianity, in that we are called to be spiritually productive. The key to the believer’s fruitful productivity is RELATIONSHIP and the need to abide in Christ by reading his Word and through prayer (James 4 v 8.)
Challenge – How intimate is your relationship to Christ? Are you abiding in him by Word and by prayer?
This close relationship between Jesus and the disciple is a paradigm of the relationship between Jesus and the Father, with both resting to two identical foundations: –
The Father had loved the Son before the creation of the world (John 17 v 24) and publically affirmed that love at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3 v 17) and transfiguration (Matthew 17 v 5.)
Jesus had always loved his disciples, as illustrated by the washing of their grubby feet (John 13 v 1) and his journey to the cross, with the challenge being to abide in that love. So how do we abide in the love of God? The answer is to be found in the second foundation: –
Jesus remained in the Father’s love by absolute obedience (John 5 v 30) even during times of temptation (Matthew 4 v 1 – 11) and acute spiritual conflict (Matthew 26 v 36 – 46)
The disciple who truly loves Jesus will obey his commands (John 14 v 15 & Acts 4 v 19 – 20.) Not to do so is to fail to abide in his love.
Challenge – Are you abiding in the love of Jesus via obedience to his commands?
But why did Jesus say these things to his disciples? He himself supplies the answer – “So that my joy may be in you and your joy complete.” Joy will be the result of abiding in such loving obedience, about which three things can be said: –
1 – It is an imparted joy
Jesus has already given his disciples his peace (John 14 v 27) now his imparts to them – “my joy.” Being himself a joyful person (Luke 10 v 21 & Hebrews 12 v 2) he now shared his joy with his followers.
2 – It is an internal joy
The joy that Jesus imparts is an “inside job” – “so that my joy may be in you.” It is a deep inner delight that unlike happiness is not based on circumstances and external conditions.
3 – It is an intact joy
It is not a partial or incomplete joy, rather – “that your joy may be complete.” It is full to the brim and overflowing, like most of the blessings that Jesus offers his followers, such as the fullness of God (Ephesians 3 v 19.); the fullness of the Spirit (Ephesians 5 v 18); the knowledge of his will (Colossians 1 v 9); and blessings in Christ (Romans 15 v 29.)
Pause 4 thought – Is you Christian life lacking the spiritual fruit of joy? (Galatians 5 v 23) Then take some time out to reflect if you are in that position of abiding in loving obedience.
1 – Take an honest inventory of your Christian life? How fruitful is it? What adjustments do you need to make in terms of Bible reading and prayer life in order to be more spiritually productive?
2 – There are 3 levels of obedience: –
A – Fear – I have to obey because I am afraid of what will happen if I don’t
B – Reward – I will get something out of it if I am obedient
C – Love – I will do as you say because I love you.
When it comes to being obedient to Jesus, at what level should the Christian be operating and why?
3 – Joy is supposed to be one of the hallmarks of the follower of Jesus. Why does it seem in such short supply, especially during tough times?
Title: Joy in abiding
Reading: John 15 v 9 – 11
Preacher: Chris Hughes