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Scripture: Romans 14:17-18; John 10:10; 1 Thes. 5:1...
Track 7 of in the series
Running time: 11 minutes, 21 seconds.
In our study of holiness, we talked a lot about what we had to do to put away the old self. To most Christians, putting away sin is a constant struggle. Because it is a daily thing, we have a tendency to focus on that and that alone. That is not what God wants for us. Godliness is a whole lot more. There are benefits from living a live free from sins bondage and one of those benefits is JOY.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

The Practice of Godliness

Romans 14:17-18 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

I don’t know where you are when it comes down to JOY in your life but I think this is one of the most misunderstood fruits of the Holy Spirit that there is. As we read Romans 14:17, Paul tells us plainly that the Kingdom of God is not only a matter of righteousness and peace, but also JOY. Furthermore, we learn from verse 18 that without JOY in our lives, our lives are not very pleasing to God.

In our study of holiness, we talked a lot about what we had to do to put away the old self. To most Christians, putting away sin is a constant struggle. Because it is a daily thing, we have a tendency to focus on that and that alone. That is not what God wants for us. Godliness is a whole lot more. There are benefits from living a live free from sin’s bondage and one of those benefits is JOY.

In reality, many Christians don’t know what Joy is. The reason is because they have not experienced it. Christians are the only people who have a reason to be joyful. In fact, the Bible says every Christian should be joyful.

True or False: True Christian joy is both a privilege and a duty.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Joy is included in Jesus definition of a full life. If you are not joyful, then something is not right. Twice in his talk to his disciples on the evening of his betrayal, Jesus referred to the joy that he desired for them to have. Just like the other character traits we have studied about Godliness, He has done all to make it possible for us to live joyful lives.

Are we to sit around waiting for circumstances to make us joyful? Look at 1 Thes. 5:16. How are we commanded to be joyful? Always! Look at verse 17 & 18. How does prayer and thankfulness affect your joy?

Like the other character traits we have studied, joy is not an option available only to those whose personalities lean that way. All of us are to exhibit the fruit of joy. And just being joyful is not enough. We must grow in joy everyday.

Explain to me how a Christian who professes to be a child of God, the God who created the universe and who governs it for his glory and the good of his people, can wear a gloomy countenance? How can that happen? Why does it happen?

What harm does it do to the Christian? It ignores God and his attributes. What is joy? Someone describe it or me? Emotion excited by expectation or acquisition of good. It is not the same as happiness that depends largely on happenings. It may be experienced even in affliction. What is the source of our joy? Where do we find it? Matthew 5:11-12 Romans 15:13 Romans 5:1-2

Stumbling Blocks To Joy

So if Christians are supposed to have joy in their lives, then why are so many not experiencing this trait? Are there hindrances to joy? We will see there are things that can keep joy out of a Christian’s life. One of the most common is sin in our lives.

Christian joy is essentially the enjoyment of God, the fruit of communion with him. Sin obviously breaks that communion and the enjoyment of his presence. Look at what David said when he was confessing his sin of adultery with Bathsheba:

Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

As David agonized over his sin, he prayed to God by saying, “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.” Psalm 32:3-4

When you are not experiencing joy, who do you talk to? Where do you go? What do you think I the cause? We need to start examining our lives and our hearts. The fruit of joy cannot exist when there is a sinful attitude or habit living in our life.

Another stumbling block to joy is misplaced confidence. In Philippians 3:1, Paul tells the church to rejoice in the Lord. Then right after that he made it clear that the opposite of rejoicing in the Lord was putting confidence in the flesh.

What would some of the actions be that would be considered putting confidence in the flesh? Good works, religious attainment. In Paul’s day – Jewish legalism.

Philippians 3:2-6 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.

Why would this cause us to have a problem with Joy? How does it affect joy?

A third thing that could choke off joy in our lives is the chastening or discipline that God often administers to his children.

Why do you think this could cause joy to leave us?

Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Discipline is never a joyful experience. It is not designed to be joyful. That is why it is affective. If we lose sight of the reason for discipline, then we can fall into self-pity.

What is the secret of maintaining some semblance of joy in the midst of discipline?
The Lord disciplines those he loves and the results later produce righteousness and peace.

A fourth hindrance to joy can be experiencing trials in life. Trails differ from discipline.

What is the difference from a trial in life and discipline?
Discipline is designed to deal with sin. Trails are designed to exercise our faith.

God allows trials in order to develop perseverance in us and to cause us to fix our hopes on the glory that is yet to be revealed. I think trials are God’s way to help you and focus on the things that matter in life.

Trials can come in many forms. Name some of the things you would consider to be trials in life. No matter what the trials are, their purpose is to strengthen our character. No pain, No gain

Practical Aids to Joy

So what are the steps we can take that will help us develop a joyful life? We first must remember that joy is a fruit of the Spirit, the effects of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our hearts.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we experience the joy of salvation and are enabled to rejoice even in the midst of trials. One way in which the Holy Spirit does it is by a direct connection between God and his word. Getting your GRIP on God’s word will help produce joy in your life for it is from the scriptures we learn of our rewards and salvation. There are realities that bring joy to the Christian.

1. Confess and forsake sin – Forgiveness always amazes and restores
2. Trust in God – Knowing God means what he says and keeps his promises brings joy.
3. Take the long range view of life – Scriptures constantly teach that our hope and joy should be focused on the inheritance that awaits us in heaven

Medley of Scripture In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
1 Peter 1:6; Romans 5:2; 2 Corinthians 4:18; Hebrews 10:34

4. Give thanks in all circumstances – We do this not because we are happy about our bad times, we do it because we know God has his hand in it.