Stewardship of Our Joy

Faith Church November 21, 2009 John 14:

 

REVIEW:

#1:  DISCUSS the Stewardship Commitment Card

- some have already pledged an amount, you may want to consider INCREASING it

- some are NEW to our church, and have not yet made a commitment

NOTE: Our emphasis is NOT equal giving, but equal sacrifice!

- Also, emphasize the willingness to SERVE and produce FRUIT, MORE FRUIT, MUCH FRUIT

#2:  Discuss our Stewardship Banquet [TODAY IS THE DAY!! We still have a few tickets!]

- let’s do a quick review and get to our subject of Stewardship this morning!

* Quick Review:

  • Stewardship = God-given responsibility with accountability!

“. . . We do not choose to become stewards, we are stewards! 

The question is, ‘What kind of steward are you?’”

Q: What are the 4 Factors in Stewardship? [Matthew 25]

#1:  God Owns Everything, and I Own Nothing.

#2:  God Entrusts Me with Everything I Have.

#3:  I Am Responsible to Increase What God Has Given to Me. I May Increase It or
Diminish It.

#4:  God Can Call Me into Account at Any Time.

Introduction:

1.  Open your Bible to John 14 – we’ll read that passage in just a minute

2.  I’ve been traveling around a lot in the last few months: Washington, Arizona, South Carolina, Florida, St. Louis and even Brazil, South America

> and one of the things that I notice is this:  I noticed more and more how unhappy people are!

- and you don’t have to go very far – you can go to Meijer and see the same thing . . . and sometimes, even go to church!

Input:  How can you tell people aren’t joyful?

  • expression on faces
  • what they find joy in – really not joy – it’s temporal happiness
  • tone of voice (sound grumpy!)
  • words they say – gripe and complain

3.  I know life can be difficult, and you have to work through trials – Solomon pointed this out under inspiration:

  • Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.

Note: Unless you are a BAPTIST … Baptist’s don’t dance! J

4.  But can we still be good stewards of our joy even in times of disappointment

ILL: Like when the Patriots got BEAT by the Colts! – Pastor Gray was very sad! (he should be!)

5.  The real question on the table is:  What do we need to do to be good stewards of the JOY that God gives to us through His Holy Spirit?

[READ John 14 – whole chapter – it’s awesome to read and think about]

- Here are some things to think about that will help us be good stewards of our joy:

I. Remember the SOURCE of Our Joy: The Holy Spirit!

- the Holy Spirit is 3rd Person of the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit = 3 in one

> a way to state the Trinity is this:  One divine essence, 3 distinct Persons!

> each one is God, but each One has a specific function/role in the process

- Paul clearly states where real joy (God’s kind of joy) comes from:

  • Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

- the Holy Spirit helps us to produce the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ – one of which is JOY

- now, let’s pause for a second and ask this question: Why is the Holy Spirit here in the first place?

A. The Holy Spirit is here because Jesus completed His redemptive work!

- the context of John 14 is just prior to His crucifixion – John 13 is the Lord’s Table – Jesus washing the disciples feet (John 15 is where He challenges them to bear fruit, more fruit, and much fruit)

- His redemption work is the Gospel: Death, burial, resurrection of the Son of God (that’s a reason for JOY!) [started by in Genesis 3:15 – “the seed of the woman….”]

- shortly after the resurrection, Jesus had to ‘go away’ as He said He would in John 14:28:

  • John 14:28 "You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

- that event is described in Acts 1:4-9

  • Acts 1:9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

- it came time for Him to go back to the Father and be seated at the right hand of God the Father until He (Jesus) returns again (at the Rapture and at His millennial kingdom)

- as Jesus promised …

B.  The Holy Spirit was given to be a help us, abide in us, and teach us all things.

- Jesus made that clear in His statements to the disciples:

  • John 14:16 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.”
  • John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

IMPORTANT NOTE:  For many different reasons, one of which is the ‘over-emphasis’ on the Holy Spirit in some religions (Example: Charismatic Movement), other’s have NEGLECTED to properly emphasize the Person and work of the Holy Spirit [sadly: Baptists being one of those who have neglected Him in many ways]

-  maybe that’s why some people are not very joyful, because they don’t understand that…the joy of the Lord comes as a result of ‘walking in the Spirit’

> so if a person doesn’t understand Who the Holy Spirit is and how He functions (i.e. the Holy Spirit of God using the holy Word of God to make us more like the holy Son of God), then it’s not likely they are going to be very joyful (at least, God’s kind of joy as seen in the life of Christ!)

Input:  What are some specific reasons why the Spirit might not be producing His fruit in us?

- anger // bitterness // grieved the Spirit // stubbornness // lack of humility

- but there is hope if we …

II.  Remember the PERFECT EXAMPLE of Joy:  Jesus Christ!

Q: Was Jesus a joyful person?

A: YES!

  • John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

- keep in mind, His was a perfect joy because He was HOLY (separate from sin!)

- During Jesus’ prayer in John 17 (right before His betrayal by Judas), He prayed this:

  • John 17:13 "But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.

- maybe we need to refresh our memory as to the right definition of joy

‘Joy’ = as a feeling of inner happiness rejoicing, gladness, delight

Note:  Godly joy is not rooted primarily in circumstances (those can change for better/worse)

- instead, * Godly joy is grounded in a conscience relationship to God!

> it’s a recognition of Who He is, what He has done, and what He can do!

Point:  Godly joy is not temporal, it is eternal – it’s not based on things, but on a PERSON

> a person, by the way, who NEVER changes

> that Person is the Person and work of Jesus Christ, and His ministry furthered by the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives)

Input:  Why aren’t people joyful?

-  their relationship with Christ is NOT what is could be or should be!

- to be a good steward of one’s joy, we have to follow the Word of God, keep short sin accounts, and be GROWING in our relationship with Jesus Christ!

- let’s consider some other passages of Scripture as we ….

III.  Remember to be a good STEWARD of Your Joy for the Following Reasons:

A.  There is joy in being in the presence of God!

  • Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fullness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.

- this is in reference to worship of God in heaven

- understanding the glory and majesty of God – notice the ‘eternal’ aspect: forever!!!

Input:  What is it about the character of God that would bring joy?

[various answers]

B.  There is joy in having a right relationship to God!

  • Ps. 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, & sustain me with a willing spirit.

- give the context of Psalm 51 – David’s sin w/Bathsheba

- the fact that God grants forgiveness POSITIONALLY (becoming a child of God) and PROGRESSIVELY (as we grow to think and act more like Christ)

- that’s what 1 John 1:9 is all about – that’s not for unbelievers, but for believers!

- we can and should delight in …

C.  There is joy in knowing and obeying the Word of God!

  • Psalm 119:111 Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

Input: Why is it that the word of God can be a source of joy?

[various answers]

  • God’s Word give us ANSWERS to everyday problems
  • God’s Word gives us HOPE (for problems today and in the future)
  • God’s Word tells us God’s WILL for our lives
  • God’s Word SATISFIES a hungry heart!

D. There is joy (both now and later) in being a servant for the Lord!

  • Matthew 25:21 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joyof your master.

- nobody has ever regretted being a servant for the Lord

* Examples of ‘joyful’ servants in your life?

E.  There is joy in the salvation of a sinner!

  • Luke 15:7 I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joyin heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
  • Acts 15:3 Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joyto all the brethren.

- there is a lot of truth to focus on when a person comes to know Christ

Input:  What are some of the truths to focus on when a person comes to know the Lord?

  • God is glorified / Sins are forgiven / no eternity in hell / potential to tell others about Jesus

F.  There is joy in a disciple who is obeying God!

  • 3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

- this has parenting implications, but also discipleship implication

Input: Why do you rejoice in your children’s obedience?  [various answers]

  • you have put time into their training
  • you see the consequences if not
  • they have potential to impact others – the ‘process’ potential is enormous!!

Input: Why do you rejoice in your spouse’s obedience?  [various answers]

  • this impacts your ability to model truth to your children
  • impacts your outreach to the community

Conclusion:

Q:  What do you need to ‘put off’ and what do you need to ‘put on’ in order to be a better steward of the ‘joy of the Lord’?

Note: Remember: “walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of flesh” – if you are walking in the Spirit, then you will see the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ – if there is no fruit, then there is no walk!

Faith Church