The Joy of Salvation
by Cooper Abrams
Introduction: God is telling us that the fruit of the Spirit of God living within us is Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, goodness and faith.
1. I want us to look today at one part of the what salvation should bring to the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. That one thing is joy. The Child of God should have joy in their hearts.
There is a real possibility that many believers do not have the joy the God speaks of.
3. When we read verses such as James 1:2, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations," and we find ourselves depressed we find doubts in our mind.
When we see God telling us to "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice." Phil. 4:4
some do no understand and questions come to mind?
What really is the joy the Bible speaks of? Do I have it, and if not why not?
4. Even after Constantine had made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire, there came to the throne another Emperor called Julian, who wished to put the clock back and to bring back the old gods. His complaint, as Ibsen puts it, was: "Have you looked at these Christians closely? Hollow-eyed, pale-checked, flat-breasted all; they brood their lives away, unspurred by ambition: the sun shines for them, but they do not see it: the earth offers them its fullness, but they desire it not; all their desire is to renounce and to suffer that they may come to die."
As Julian saw it, Christianity took the vividness out of life.
Oliver Wendell Homes once said, "I might have entered the ministry if certain clergymen I knew had not looked and acted so much like undertakers."
Robert Louis Stevenson once entered in his diary, as if he was recording an extraordinary phenomenon, "I have been to Church today, and am not depressed."
5. David cried unto the Lord, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit." Psalms 51:12
6. The answer is not magic. There is not 1,2,3 answer to having joy in ones life. But there is a answer and there most definitely is a way to have joy as a Christian.
In fact joy really should be normal for a believer and should not be dependent on circumstances.
One nationally know preacher says: A believer's spiritual maturity can be measured by what it take to steal their joy.
Joy is the fruit of a Spirit filled life and controlled life.
In all circumstances that come our way the Spirit of God can produce joy in our lives, and there should be some joy in our lives no matter how bad things get.
7. The question that the believer must ask is this?
a. Do I really want joy in my life?
b. I am alarmed when I see that some professing Christians do not seem to want joy in their hearts and have resigned themselves to live a dreary sad life. Folks there is a trap the Devil sets for many which appeals to the old carnal nature.
c. I call it the martyrdom syndrome. The trap begins when we begin to pity ourselves because of our situation. We tell others about it and it gets us attention which we like. We like people to be sympathetic to us. The worst thing in this situation is that the more attention we get and the more people sympathize with us.
A good example of a similar situation is the hypochondriac. They use their illnesses to get attention and pity. If they are not sick they make themselves sick.
This trap of self pity comes from selfishness. As a child of God says we are to: "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." (Phil 2:4)
Note the principle of serving others is taught in the following verses:
Rom. 14:19 "Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."
Eph. 4:29 "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
1 Thess. 5:11 "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."
A quick way to diagnose if you are guilty of this is by asking yourself this simple question. Do you feel hurt or resentment when you are not recognized for what you do? Let me say that we are all human and like to be recognized for what we do, but to the child of God who is serving the Lord an has the proper attitude, he may realize he is not getting the credit he is due, but it does not effect his peace and joy. He is serving the Lord.....and if he is faithful he knows God is pleased....He know that God is aware of what is happening. The child of God living by faith is not concerned about reward, but is concerned with giving God the glory in his life and serving others in gratitude to God who saved him.
d. Some hold bitterness or an unforgiving spirit in their hearts and it robs them of any chance of joy. The old carnal nature likes vengeance and fueled by pride it can take control and rule our lives.
e. Some let pride rob them of their peace and joy. If people are not totally accommodating to them, agreeing with them, doing things their way, hold them in high esteem, giving them the lime light, their pride is hurt. Again the root here is selfishness.
f. Some will let unconfessed sin in their lives rob them of God peace and joy in their hearts. Unconfessed sin will destroy a child of God. You cannot have peace and joy without being in fellowship with the Lord and unconfessed sin robs you of God's fellowship. Some have committed sins that require restitution be made and they refuse to do it. 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Confession and repentance means we admit our sin and then set it right.
g. Hopefully, most will quickly answer, "Yes, sure I do! I want joy in my life."
Then the next question is this? "Are you really willing to seek the Lord's help and let Him bring joy in you life?"
"Will you do as God says that you might be what He wants and you want, that brings joy in your life."
Are you tired of living in confusion, guilt and being out of true fellowship with the Lord?When peace and joy is not in our lives it simply means we are letting something other than the Lord direct us! When there is true fellowship with God their is peace and joy.
This does not mean that we will not have trouble, but where their is biblical peace and joy.....trouble is only something that drives us closer to the Lord. That why God said, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:2-5).
I. JOY IS ONE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD.
A. Joy is a fruit: What does that mean?
1. In simple terms it means that joy is the result of the Holy Spirit working within a believers life.
2. Every believer is indwelled when they are saved. With salvation comes the indwelling Spirit of God.
3. He, the Holy Spirit, guides us, illuminates our minds and most of all....brings us the very nature of God.
The lost man does not have this.
B. What the verse is saying is that where the Holy Spirit is HE will produce fruit.
1. Many folks claim to be saved and yet there is very little if any real change in there life. How could that be?
2. How could God, that's who the Holy Spirit is come into ones life and there be no outward sign of His presence? 3. Most times even many older believers do not understand the principle.
God is in the life changing business and no other!
The very need of salvation is because man is carnal and will sin. He can do nothing else.God saves a man and then changes him! There is never one without the other!
C. What does God change????
1. He changes man's nature.
2. If you change the nature of a person they will immediately begin to act differently!!ILLUS: If you gave a pig the nature of a bird what would happen? When I refer to the nature of something I am talking about what it is, how it thinks, what it does and what it is created to do.
If a pig was given the nature of a bird, I suppose you would have a pig that would try to fly. I guess he would flop his big ears or something. With the mind of a bird it would try to build nests and lay eggs. It would stop routing in the ground for roots and start eating insects and seeds. It would lose its taste for slops and wallowing in the mud. Do you get the picture? With a new nature it would be a new creature.
That would really be something to see...a pig trying to lay eggs!?
D. Do you get the point?
1. A carnal man acts differently than and child of God.
2. Once a person is saved his nature changes and he then begins to live according to his new nature.
E. When the Spirit of God comes and indwells a believer he first changes the nature or mind.
1. Now the person begins to see and understand the truth.
2. They love the Word of God and want to read and study it. WHY? Because their new nature wants to be fulfilled.
F. Now we get to the point. The new nature urges the child of God toward Godliness and righteous living.
1. So you see the Holy Spirit produces fruit in the life of a believer.
2. He has an effect on them.
3. If the child of God, obeys and lets the Holy Spirit lead them...then they are at peace with God and with everyone else.
When trouble or difficult circumstances come then they are sheltered and protected from ruin by God who indwells them.
ILLUS: A friend told the story of how they when caught is a violent thunder storm in the east. The wind was gushing over 60 MPH and the rain was mixed with hail. The husband was driving the car and the wife had their small child in her arms.
The child was asleep and woke up in the midst of all the turmoil. It looked up at its Mom and said is everything all right. She replied, Yes, sugar, everything is OK, mommy's got you. The child then closed its eyes and with complete trust in mom went back to sleep.
G. Some do not have peace and joy because they are not saved. They are not born again. Often folks join a church, some accept a philosophy, some see the need but instead of accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord, they accept Christianity as a religion. There is no commitment. It is surely miserable to be in a church where truth and salvation is taught and no deep down know you do not have it.
II. WE CAN QUENCH THE SPIRIT OF GOD.
A. Did you know that a Christian can stop the Holy Spirit from influencing us. We can ignore even His presence in our lives.
1. Let's look at 1 Thess. 5:14-23:
2. Note that we are told to "rejoice always" V16
3. We are to pray and give thanks V17-V18
In this we recognize where blessings come from and are grateful for what God does.
Most folks do not seem to be grateful. They rarely pray and when they do it is a form prayer. Do you thank God for life, health, shelter. Do you pray at meals and thank God for it.
Some folks are ashamed to pray in a restaurant. Got lots of reason why not. But if you are truly thankful, your pray...and share your gratitude with others.
ILLUS: Kaufmann Kohler states in the Jewish Encyclopedia that no language has as many words for joy and rejoicing as does Hebrew. In the Old Testament thirteen Hebrew roots, found in twenty-seven different words, are used primarily for some aspect of joy or joyful participation in religious worship.
Hebrew religious ritual demonstrates God as the source of joy. In contrast to the rituals of other faiths of the East, Israelite worship was essentially a joyous proclamation and celebration. The good Israelite regarded the act of thanking God as the supreme joy of his life. Pure joy is joy in God as both its source and object. The psalmist says, "Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fullness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures forevermore". (Psalm 16:11)
B. Then Verse 19, "Do not quench the Spirit of God!"
1. Folks you have a will that God will not violate.
2. If you are here today and lost, if you will not to receive Christ as you Savior, for what ever reason, God will allow you to go to Hell.
3. The work of the Spirit of God is to lead you, but He will never force you.
4. Like the drowning man who refused to be rescued, if you want to drown that is your prerogative.
C. So the Holy Spirit advises, leads, guides and informs....but the action taken is up to you.
1. You can tell God to let you alone. You can refuse to let Him lead you.
2. Like a shepherd trying to lead sheep, you can go to the side and go off on your own.
3. I hope everyone here would recognize that is not in their best interests.
4. Note VERSE 20, "Do not despise prophecies"
That means preaching of the Word of God.
5. Why mention that? Because to reject the preaching of God's Word is rejecting God. We are to love the Word of God and hunger for it.
6. He goes on to say, test all things (make sure what you do is right) That means be on your toes always.
Then Abstain from any appearance of evil.
D. David prayed that God would restore unto him the joy of his salvation.
He had lost it! How? By letting sin work in his life.
1. How then do we have joy in our lives such as the Bible speaks of?
a. Psalm 51:1 tells us to admit you are a sinner and just ask God to forgive and blot out your sin.
b. Psalm 51:2 says not only blot it out, but ask God to wash you clean..remove the source of temptation and the desire.
c. Psalm 51:3 explains we are to acknowledge sin freely. You can not overcome what you deny.
d. Psalm 51:10 Ask God to create in you a clean heart. Ask Him for strength to let the Holy Spirit lead you.
e. Psalm 51:13 Make a commitment to do what you were saved to do...reach out to a lost and dying world.
f. Let your will be God's will, that sinners come to Christ because of you.
ILLUS: A man came to the pastor one time and said, "I don't know what's wrong with my life, but that first Christian joy I knew has passed by. I still live a moral life. I go to church. But how can I recover the lost radiance of my faith?" His pastor said, "this is what you should do:
First go home go in your bed room and lock the door. In prayer confess your every sin unto the Lord.
Next, go to the store and buy a big basketful of groceries and go to an address of a family that has needs I will give you. Then when you have given your gift, you sit down with them to find out what else they need. Let them know that you are interested in them and that you are their friend. Then lead them in prayer before you leave.
I want you to give out at least two tracts this week and witness to at least one person. I want you to pray several times each day and thank the Lord for everything He has done for you. Name at least a dozen things and the radiance will come back."You see sometimes we lose our joy because we are not doing our job which is serving the Lord Jesus Christ and living for Him. Its hard to feel joy and spiritual when we are not obeying the Lord and serving Him by serving others.