Sunday, June 21, 2009

God's Spirit - Part 4 - Spiritual Fruit of Joy I

Our Great Commission
God’s Spirit
Part 3: The Fruit of Joy PART I
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith –


6:00PM Evening Service at the church –
“Seminary Students will be preaching”

Monday Bible Study back at the Shields’ 5:00PM

Tuesday Women’s at Lori’s 5:00PM

Men’s on Friday at the church 8:00PM


† Maturing in Christ
† Understanding in Christ
† Love of God

This Series: God’s Spirit

God’s Spirit with us / in us
The Fruit of the Spirit
The Fruit of Love

TODAY’S SERMON: Our Great Commission
God’s Spirit
Part 4: The Fruit of Joy



John 15:11 – Jesus Speaking
“These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

“My joy…” Jesus wants His joy for us to remain

“…that your joy might be full.” He also wants us to have joy in life


This morning we’re going to take a look into the Spiritual Fruit called “joy” as we continue in our series based on the Fruits of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23.It’s safe to say that joy is one of the most elusive fruits for us as believers.

It’s not a very popular fruit and is not produced near enough today.

Part of the problem is that joy is often misunderstood.We tend to equate “happiness” with joy, but they are two totally different ideas because they each spring from a different source.

One comes from the world around us.

The other originates directly from the Spirit of the Living God.

Happiness is conditioned by and often dependent upon what is “happening” to us. If people treat us well, if things are going well in our lives, then we’re happy.

If our circumstances aren’t favorable, then we’re unhappy.
Joy, on the other hand, we see throughout Scripture as a profound, compelling quality of life that transcends the events and disasters which may attack God’s people.

Joy is a divine dimension of living that is not shackled by circumstances.

The Hebrew word means, “to leap or spin around with pleasure.”

In the New Testament the word refers to “gladness, bliss and celebration.”To have the fruit of joy ripen in our lives is to recognize the journey involved in getting there. It takes time, diligence, patience, and hard work to make a grapevine produce grapes.

Fruit is not instantaneous because it has to overcome weather, bugs, weeds, poor soil and neglect.

Likewise, in our journey to joy we’re faced with the waves of indifference, the currents of negativity, the deluge of doubt and the pitfalls of despair.

There is no way we can manufacture this fruit on our own.
If we want to see this fruit ripen in our lives, we desperately need the Holy Spirit to prune away whatever it is that hinders our joy and then empower us to make some choices that move us closer to a lifestyle of rejoicing.

We need to guard ourselves against common Joy Busters.
These joy busters are like weeds, or bugs which attack and can keep our fruit from producing and ripening.

Joy Busters
Before Paul wrote to the church at Galatia about the Fruit of the Spirit, he asked a very important question in Galatians 4:15: “What has happened to all your joy…”

That question needs to be asked in the church today. What has happened to all my joy? What has happened to all your joy?

William Barclay, a popular Scottish theologian who died in 1978, has said that “a gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms, and nothing in all religious history has done Christianity more harm than its connection with black clothing and long faces.”

Let’s look at a few common joy stealers that often give us long faces.

1. (Joy Stealer) Unsatisfied expectations.

Do you ever feel like you’re just going through some joyless routines in life?
If the truth were known, some of us are discontent with the way our lives are progressing.

It could be that your expectations for your marriage have not been met. Or, maybe your kids aren’t living like they should.

Perhaps you don’t have everything you want – a bigger house, a nicer car, and a better job.I’m convinced that a spirit of discontentment can rob many of us of joy.

Listen to how Paul discovered the secret of being content with what God had given him

Philippians 4:12: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”I find it interesting to note that Paul calls contentment a “secret.”

There’s a mystery about it. He also had to “learn” how to live with unsatisfied expectations. Likewise, we must learn to live with plenty or with little.

Contentment doesn’t come when we have everything we want but when we are satisfied with everything we have.

2. (Joy Stealer) Unresolved conflict.

Our joy evaporates when we allow conflict between ourselves and another person to go on. When offenses between us occupy our mental and emotional attention, we have little left over for the Lord.

Anger clouds the eyes of our heart and obscures our view of God, draining away our joy.Hebrews 12:14-15 challenges us to not allow relational ruptures to fester because bitterness can set in: “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”We addressed this last week when we spoke on love, and we know from 1 Corinthians 13 that love keeps no record of wrongs.

If you’re still itemizing people’s mess-ups and offenses, the fruit of joy will be squashed in your life.

Paul recognizes the link between joy and unity in Philippians 2:2: “Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”

3. (Joy Stealer) Unconfessed sin.

This third joy buster is perhaps responsible for chasing more joy out of lives than any other. Guilt can gut your joy faster than anything I know. Sin can send joy far away. David understood this very well when he attempted to ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit when he was convicted of his sin.

Psalm 32:1-5:
“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’ -- and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”I love how this Psalm ends. After David owns his sin, his joy returns. Notice verse 11: “Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!”

Did you catch that? He was not able to rejoice and experience the joy of the Lord until he confessed his sins!

That’s very similar to what David wrote in Psalm 51:7-8: “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.”

Is the weight of the Lord heavy upon you because like David, you are not answering the Holy Spirits conviction in your life?

Confess your sins, repent and you will be forgiven, and you too will once again feel the Fruit of joy in your life.

Before we move on to some positive joy builders, I want to give the Holy Spirit an opportunity right now to do some pruning in your life.

Let’s take a moment as I walk through these joy busters.

Allow God’s Spirit to prompt you to acknowledge, confess, and repent.

• Do you have some unsatisfied expectations that have led to a spirit of discontentment? If so, determine to do whatever it takes to learn the secret of wanting everything you have and not necessarily having everything you want. When you do, you’ll begin to experience joy in even the small things of life. Confess your discontentment to Him right now.• Are you involved in some conflict with someone? If so, confess it to God and make plans to meet with that person face-to-face so that you can be reconciled and get back on your journey to joy.• Is God’s hand heavy upon you right now because of some sin that you’ve not confessed and repented of? Don’t keep silent any longer – it will only chew you up on the inside. Acknowledge your transgression and taste the joy that was once yours. Then you’ll be truly glad and rejoice in the Lord again.

I have some great news this morning.

Lost joy can be restored.
As a result of some discontentment, some conflict, and some open sin, David had flattened out spiritually.

His joy was a long-lost memory. And yet, he boldly prays in Psalm 51:12, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation…”

God honored his prayer, and He will honor yours.