Fruit of Joy - Galatians 5:22

Steve Viars January 8, 1991 Galatians 5:22

- we're talking about the fruit of the Spirit
- in case you're new to the study tonight, the fruit of the
  spirit is the phrase God chose to describe the character
  qualities he wants to be developing in those who have
  accepted his Son as Savior
- the Galatian church was all caught up in externals that
  they could produce apart from God and apart from His word
- God wants then to change in the inner man, by developing
  fruit of the Spirit, which can only happen as a person
  co-operates with the Holy Spirit and the work He wants to
  do in a believer's life,

- two weeks ago we began looking at the individual components
  of the Spirit's fruit
- we saw that the first component of the spirit's fruit is
  love, and we challenged each other to be growing in that
  important area of life

- tonight, we want to study the second component
- let's read our key verse - READ Gal. 5:22

INTRODUCTION

- if the Galatians had spent more time studying their Old
  Testaments instead of adding extra things to it, they would
  have known that God always wanted His people to be
  characterized by the fruit of joy

The Feast of Tabernacles:

- in the Old Testament God instituted a feast known as the
  feast of Tabernacles
- that feast was to take place right at the end of the
  harvest season
- God instructed his people to build lean-to's, or tents,
  like a boy-scout would build
       - and God had his people live in those dwellings for
         seven days
       - here's what He said about that feast in Deut. 16 -
          "Thou shalt observe the feast of Tabernacles seven
           days, after thou hast gathered in thy grain and
           wine.  And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast"

- INPUT - why do you think God wanted them, right after the
    harvest, to build these kinds of dwellings and then have
    a feast of rejoicing?
        - to separate those who had a true-deep seated joy
          centered in their personal relationship with God
          from those whose joy was determined on the
          circumstances around
        - in other words, even if we've had a great harvest,
          let's take some days and live as if we had no
          material blessings but still could rejoice, just to
          remind ourselves that life doesn't consist in the
          abundance of things
        - so that when the year comes when we don't have such
           a great harvest, we as God's people can still have
           joy because we still have our relationship with
           Him

- the point of all that is this - the kind of joy that God
  has always wanted to produce in His people is vastly
  different than the joy our world has to offer

Secular Uses of "joy" in Bible times

  - you can also see this point in the way people who weren't
    saved used the word joy even in Bible times
  - when you study the words for joy outside the Bible, you
    find folks focusing on physical comfort, pleasant
    external circumstances, health, wealth as if those things
    were the essentials for joy.
  - As a result, it would be normal for a person in that day
    to greet someone on the street with the word "joy"
      - in other words, I wish you all the material things,
        all the comforts, all the health and wealth, that
        will bring you joy

- the problem with that is, it never works
- joy, at least the way the Bible defines it, can't come from
  the outside, regardless of how pleasant the circumstances
  are

Example in American History

- we've seen that in history
- one of the greatest American humorists ever to live was
  Mark Twain
- while we would surely have different values than he, I
  think most of us would say - Mark Twain could make you
  laugh
- he was famous for writing and lecturing in a way that would
  make folks laugh and forget about their troubles

- but have you done any reading about his personal life?
- Mark Twain's friends wrote that he was regularly plagued
  with depression and sorrow.
- when his daughter Jean dies, Twain reportedly said to a
  friend, "I've never greatly envied anyone but the dead. I
  always envy the dead"

- see the point - here's a man who could make everyone laugh
    - he could tell a great joke
    - he'd be the life of the party

- but that was all on the outside
    - on the inside, he was so depressed that wished himself
      to be dead.

- that’s the world's shallow concept of joy
- it shouldn't surprise us that it doesn't work - Prov.
  14:12-13 says - "There is a way which seems right unto a
  man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Even in
  laughter, the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth
  is heaviness.

 


- you say - PV – that’s pretty discouraging, and it is
- but the good news is - for the person who's a Christian
  (develop) Jesus said:
     "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might
      remain in you, and that your joy might be full"

- but the fruit of the spirit is love, and joy
- God wants to develop in you a joy a joy that flows from the
  inside out as a result of your relationship with Him

- I'd like to divide this material into four parts, we'll
  begin this tonight and finish up in the next Wednesday or
  so

- (draw boxes)
- First, I'd like to talk to you about biblical joy
    - we want to give a definition, and mention some of the
      things the Bible says about it
- Then we want to mention some false substitutes (wax fruit)
    - I'm sure you've recognized that for each part of the
      fruit of the spirit, there is a worldly counterfeit
    - we've said all along that these character qualities can
      only be produced by a person who is saved, because its
      the spirit's fruit
    - but the natural question that flows out of that is -
      well then why are there some folks who are not
      believers in Christ who seem to be pretty joyful - we
      could probably go around town tonight and find some
      folks in a bar somewhere that are having a great time -
      and seem to be filled with joy
         - how could that be - well, for each component of
           the fruit of the spirit, there's a coresponding
           false substitute
              - that’s true of joy and the Bible has some
                things to say about that
- we'll need to ask ourselves the question, have I been
  developing the biblical fruit of the spirit or have I been
  satisfied with a false substitute

- then I'd like to talk to you about the worldly weeds
- there are some things the Bible would identify as the exact
  opposite of biblical joy
- its possible for some believers to get caught up in those
  sinful habits and miss out on the God's blessing of a
  joyful life
- some of us may have some weeding to do

- next week - we want to look at some hidden facilitators -
  some areas of life that on the surface may appear that they
  would take joy away when in fact God can use them to be
  great sources of joy in the believers life

- first of all, let’s talk about what this fruit is

I. The Biblical Fruit of Joy

    A. Definition

        - one writer defined it as "the deep down sense of
          well being that abides in the heart of the person
          who knows all is well between himself and his Lord"

    - "feeling of happiness that is based on spiritual
       realities"
    - the Bible makes it clear that its not based on outward
      circumstances, nor is it simply a human emotion that is
      divinely stimulated

    - Joy is a divine gift of God to believer's

    - Neh. 8:10 - The joy of the Lord is your strength

    - I Peter 1:8 - "Though you have not seen him, you love
        him, and though you do not see him now, but believe
        in him-you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and
        full of glory"

- I think we also need to clarify this: The Bible speaks of
  joy as a gift:

    B. Spoken of as a gift

        - in verses like John 15:12 - my joy might remain in
               you

    C. Spoken of as a command

        - Pastor Dutton spoke to you several weeks ago about
          Phil. 4:4 - "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again
           I say rejoice"

- so with that amount of information, I think we need to
  begin asking some questions
      - when those around you think of you - would they think
        of the spiritual fruit of joy?

    - would your spouse say that about you?
    - your co-workers, your kids, neighbors, fellow church
      members
- didn't ask if you were giddy, or if you could tell a good
  joke - but are you growing in the spiritual fruit of joy as
  we've described it tonight?

- if not, this definition gives us two very good possible
  reasons why you're not

  1) you haven't received the gift of salvation and therefore
     you're eligible for God's gift of joy

       - when Jesus said, "my joy I give unto you", he was
         talking to his disciples, those who had a definite
         time in their life where they asked Jesus to be
         their Savior and Lord.
       - you can't have joy until the guilt problem has been
         removed.
       - somebody has to pay to have your sin removed.
       - you also can't have joy until you stop trying to run
         your life independent of Him.  Regardless of how
         hard you try, without Him you'll always mess up.
         "Without faith, its impossible to please him"

        - so if you're here tonight and you'd say - "I surely
          don't have the kind of joy you're talking about,
          perhaps its because you need to be saved, and
          accept God's free gift of salvation, making you
          eligible for his joy.

- if you are saved, but you'd say - PV, this fruit really
  needs to be developed in my life, perhaps its because you
  haven't been following God's "production commands."
    - Just like producing literal fruit, a believer has to
      think certain things and do certain things and change
      certain things if he or she is going to develop this
      fruit.
    - that’s why fruit's not just spoken of as a gift, but as
      a command
    - perhaps you haven't been following those commands.

- so that’s what the spirit's fruit of joy is – let’s talk
   about:

II. Secular Substitutes - Wax Fruit

    please turn to Heb. 11:25 (READ)

    - how would you label the first secular substitute listed
      in that passage?

    A. Good times

        - our world is regularly communicating - "You can
          have a joyful time without God"
        - the pleasures of sin are enjoyable...for a time
        - its like eating chocolate cake on an empty stomach,
          feels good for a few minutes - but what an empty
          feeling it leaves

  INPUT - what are some of the sources our world offers:

        "You can have fun by getting involved in _______"

        - we also need to say that its not always by offering
          blatant sin. Sometimes, its just the offers of joy
          that supposedly will come apart from a personal
          relationship with God.

        - Ohio article

    - another group of secular substitutes would be:

    B. Joy derived from wrong motives

        - let's look at some examples

        - Luke 10:17 - read

           INPUT - what was the source of the disciples'
              rejoicing?

    - let's see how Jesus responded: read 18-20

        - his point was - it's possible to be joyful about
          something for the wrong reason
        - in other words, not all joy is the spirit's fruit
          of joy, even for the believer

        - INPUT - why do you think Jesus cautioned them about
            this?  (because a time was coming where they
            would minister without many visible results - and
            they would still have to demonstrate the
            spiritual fruit of joy)
                - the day would come when about the only
                  thing they had that they could count on was
                  their relationship with the Lord, and the
                  more practiced they were on focusing on
                  that even in the good times, the better
                  prepared they were to be joyful in the lean
                  times

    - let me just ask you - is that convicting?
    - I think we all need to ask ourselves tonight - what
      really brings me joy?
    - what is my primary source of joy?  (is it my
      relationship with the Lord? - is that what brightens me
      up the quickest?)

    - I think some of us would have to say - it really isn't.
       - what excites me is when I get something I want
       - when I make the sale
       - when someone compliments me
       - when my kids behave
       - when the problem goes away
       - when I get a day off

- I'm not advocating some kind of ascetic life where we don't
  smile or get happy about some of the things I just
  mentioned
- but the point is - God wants the primary source of a
  believer's joy to be their relationship with Him

- Jesus made it very clear that the disciples ought not to be
  rejoicing in their ministerial successes
- they ought to be rejoicing that they're saved and have
  personal relationship with God

- one of the questions this evening has to be - is it
  possible that one of the reasons you're not developing the
  kind of joy we're discussing tonight is because you're
  finding joy in some secular substitutes
- it looks like joy, but it turns out to be wax fruit

    there are some other examples of wrong motives producting
    joy in the Bible

    Mark 14:11 - the chief priests were joyful over Judas'
         betrayal

    Luke 23:20 - Herod was joyful over seeing Jesus because
       he wanted to see Him perform some miracles

    - point is - in every one of these cases, the folks were
        smiling, had big grins on their faces
    - it looked like joy


    - but the truth is - their motives were wrong, what they
      wanted was wrong

    - progression was  1) wrong desire   2) wrong desire
        fulfilled   3) false joy, wax fruit


    - we have to ask - is it possible that some folks around
      you might think of you as a joyful person, yet the
      truth is I derive your joy from a source that’s a
      secular substitute,
         - so that even though they might think of you as
           joyful, God knows, and you know different

- just like Mark Twain, though perhaps not as bad, in those
  quiet moments - there no real joy, no biblical joy, no
  spiritual fruit of joy

- there's one other false substitute, and I wanted to save
  this particular passage and make a separate category out of
  it

    - read John 16:19-20

    - INPUT - what label would you put on that kind of
              rejoicing?

    C. Blatant ungodliness

        - see, you can almost picture it, can't you?
        - religious leaders shouting - if you're the son of
           God, come down off the cross (Ha ha)
        - soldiers gambling for his clothing (Ha ha ha)
        - others making jokes and laughing

        - at first glance it appears that everyone is full of
             joy
        - because of blatant ungodliness

       - you say - PV, you wouldn't think anyone who would
         call Faith Baptist Church their home would get joy
         out of anything like that, do you?

    - I don't know, but I can tell you some folks who call
      themselves Christians do
    - they're right in the middle of the filthy jokes told at
        work, some are even known for the filthy ones they
        tell
    - or just the ungodly way they behave at work - "Go see
        so and so, he's always got some funny crack on the
        boss"

    - we talked about music Sunday night - some folks derive
      great pleasure from listening to blatant ungodliness

    - others pipe it in through their televisions or VCR's

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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