1. Hello, listening friends. We are glad you joined us again.
2. If you have been following this series of messages, we have been talking about the fruit of the Spirit.
3. When we open our eyes daily, and welcome the Holy Spirit within, our lives begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit.
4. The Apostle Paul listed this fruit in a letter to the Galatians,
5. Chapter 5, verses 22 and 23.
6. We’ll read it so as to refresh your memory.
7. In our last broadcast, we learned about the foundation fruit, which is love.
8. Love, as a fruit, is what God the Holy Spirit will manifest in us as we get filled with Him every day.
9. Today, we shall begin learning about the second fruit of the Spirit.
10. It is joy.
11. I want to begin by telling you what someone said about Christianity.
12. “The best argument for Christianity is Christians,” he said.
13. “- their joy,
14. their certainty,
15. their completeness -;
16. however,” this person continued also to say,
17. “but the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians,
18. when they are somber and joyless,
19. when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration,
20. narrow and repressive.”
21. He continued to say that, at that point, Christianity dies a thousand deaths.
22. The world is constantly watching us to see our love, our joy and our peace.
23. Let me give you an example.
24. In 1983, a very extensive survey was conducted throughout the United States by a leading polling agency.
25. The key question was this:
26. “What are you looking for most in life?”
27. When the results were tabulated, the analysts were truly surprised.
28. Most of them expected answers such as “financial security”, “success”, and so on;
29. but the top three things people wanted in life were, as follows:
30. love, joy, peace—in that order—
31. the first three fruit of the Spirit.
32. Please listen to what I am going to tell you very carefully.
33. What the world is desperate for,
34. whether they know it or not,
35. whether they are able to verbalize it or not,
36. what the world is desperately looking for is not more sermons, not more exhortations,
37. but what the world is desperately looking for is the quality of our love and the quality of our joy;
38. and that was the very mark that distinguished the believers in Jesus Christ from the rest of the Roman Empire.
39. Make no mistake about it. What people want to see in Christians is the quality of our joy.
40. Although the word “joy” is mentioned seventy times in the New Testament, yet, many Christians use “joy” and “happiness” interchangeably.
41. They use “joy” and “happiness” as if they were equivalent concepts,
42. and that is precisely why many Christians are walking around very sad looking.
43. So many Christians wrongly think that church time is a time to be somber and sad and sour, not a joyful time.
44. So many Christians wrongly believe that the Christian faith is to walk around looking like being baptized in vinegar.
45. Sometimes, we, ministers, give Christianity a bad name.
46. There’s a story that goes something like this:
47. there was a preacher who was coming into town to hold some meetings,
48. and a delegation from the church went to pick him up from the train.
49. When they got to the station, and the train stopped, a man walked out of the train and the head of the delegation went up to meet him.
50. “Are you the preacher?”
51. And the man said, “No, no, no, my ulcer makes me look that way.”
52. We often don’t have the joy of the Lord on our faces.
53. Happiness and the pursuit of happiness have never made anybody happy.
54. I’m going to defend my argument in a minute,
55. but listen carefully to what I’m going to tell you.
56. Happiness comes from getting what you want,
57. and getting what you want will give you temporary happiness.
58. I am not saying getting what you want doesn’t make you happy.
59. It does;
60. but getting what you want will give you temporary happiness, which will fade away fast.
61. Then what?
62. Then, you want more, and more, and more.
63. The more you have, the more you want;
64. and the more you want, the more you want more.
65. They tell me that drug addicts and alcoholics, when they start, they cannot stop with the same amount with which they started.
66. They have to get more and more and more, because they need to get higher and higher and higher or get more drunk.
67. It is the same with all human nature.
68. If happiness is your pursuit, you are never going to be satisfied.
69. Let me tell you something else about happiness.
70. As you continue in your pursuit of happiness, the periods of temporary happiness get shorter and shorter and shorter.
71. I will tell you another problem about happiness that comes from getting what you want.
72. You constantly have an inner fear that you may lose whatever it is that you have.
73. Now, contrast happiness with joy.
74. Joy is a fruit,
75. and a fruit comes from the inside, not from the external, or the outside.
76. Joy does not come from things.
77. You cannot hang fruit on a tree unless it is fake fruit.
78. If you were to hang external fruit on a tree, sooner or later, it will rot on the tree;
79. but real fruit is produced when the nutrients of the tree flow freely to the branch.
80. The real fruit is produced when the inner nourishment flows freely into the blossoms.
81. The real fruit is produced when the tree is cultivated and has a healthy connection with the root.
82. It is not surprising, therefore, with what Jesus said.
83. Listen carefully, please.
84. He was talking about the believers as branches and He is the Tree.
85. John, Chapter 15, verse 5:
86. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
87. He said, “Abide in me...," just like the branch abides in the tree.
88. What else did He say?
89. Jesus said, “Abide in me so that your joy may be complete.”
90. Let’s read verses 10 and 11 of John 15.
91. And that’s where you get that complete joy.
92. That is where you get that inner contentment.
93. It is by abiding in Christ.
94. Joy is dependent on abiding in Jesus Christ, while happiness is dependent on the outward circumstances of life.
95. Joy is not dependent on the events in my life.
96. Happy events make you happy; sad events make you sad;
97. so, happiness is dependent on the events in your life.
98. Let’s read to you what Paul is saying to the Philippians.
99. Mark it in your Bible.
100. The Apostle Paul commands the Philippians to be joyful. How?
101. Let’s read it.
AT YOUR DISCRETION, PLEASE READ PHILIPPIANS 4:1-4 HERE, IF TIME PERMITS.
102. Paul, then, continues by reminding them that their joy is not dependent on their circumstances,
103. in Philippians 4, verses 5, 6 and 7.
AT YOUR DISCRETION, PLEASE READ PHILIPPIANS 4:5-7 HERE, IF TIME PERMITS.
104. Philippians, Chapter 4, has encouraged millions of people for the past 2,000 years.
105. It really has been an encouragement to millions of people.
106. I know it has been an encouragement to me, and I know it has been an encouragement to so many of you.
107. Philippians 4 helped many believers to rediscover the real joy of the Lord that is manifested, even in the worst of circumstances;
108. but let me tell you a thing or two about the church in Philippi.
109. Reading the Epistle, we may be tempted to think that it was a model church with some minor problems.
110. I heard people say, in Galatians, Paul rips the church apart about their legalism.
111. In the Corinthian church, he tells the church how carnal they are;
112. but you go into the Philippians and you think it’s a beautiful thing.
113. These must be very happy people.
114. The Philippians didn’t really seem to have many problems.
115. Let me tell you a thing or two about the Philippians; but, then finish on the next program.
116. If you examine the Epistle closely, you will discover that Paul was addressing some very serious problems with that church.
117. They were anxious about their material needs.
118. They were oppressed by outside forces and felt intimidated by the enemies of the cross.
119. They were suffering economic hardships and, yet, they were exceedingly generous in supporting Paul’s ministry;
120. and that is why Paul thanks them for their gift, and assures them that his joy does not come from material abundance.
121. Let us read Chapter 4, verses 10 to 14,
122. but what was even more serious for the Philippians is that, because of their suffering, they lost their inner strength;
123. and this, of course, made them vulnerable to all kinds of sin -
127. and that is why he commands them to “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, rejoice.”
128. We are running out of time, and, in our next broadcast,
129. we will find out what Paul is really saying here.
130. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.