“But The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Joy”      Psalm 30                                May 19, 2006

 

SI:  This summer studying the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.

“Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . .”

This morning let’s consider the fruit of joy.

 

INTRO:  My motorcycle battery went dead this winter—wouldn’t keep a charge.

   Several times this spring I wanted to ride, but couldn’t.

So last Saturday Will and I went to the Honda shop—bought a new battery.

   And it cranked right up—he got on the back, rode down Woodland Street.

Turned south on 31.  Beautiful day—sun was shining, sky was blue,

   hills of Blount Co. in distance.

Gunned it—and we both said, Yee-haw.

 

Sometimes there are cold seasons in the life of a believer.

   Seasons of grief and loss. 

   Seasons of discouragement and depression.

   Seasons of failure and regret.

   Seasons of sorrow and weeping.

 

During those times, it seems like you will never be joyful again. 

   Wonder if you will ever take pleasure in life again.

   May even seem that God has removed his favor from your life.

 

But true joy never goes away forever.

   It’s still there, everything you need.  Holy Spirit adds the spark—

   suddenly you are riding again—feeling the sunshine of God’s favor.

 

Remember how David expresses it in Psalm 30.

   “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

   “You turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.”

Remember how Jesus expressed it to disciples

   “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices.

   You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.”

 

What is joy? 

Joy is the deep delight and lively pleasure that comes from believing

   the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

Joy begins with the Gospel, begins with believing the Good News.

Remember at the first Christmas, the angel appeared to the shepherds:

   “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which shall be to all people.

   For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord.”  

 

The Good News about Jesus Christ as Savior has two parts.

   I am more wicked and sinful than I ever dared to admit.

      I need a Savior.  Someone has to die.

   I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared to hope.

      God has provided that Savior by giving his Son.

 

When you believe the Gospel.  When the Good News sinks into your life,

   then joy springs up and that joy is irrepressible.

Because no matter what happens, no matter how strong the grief,

   this truth comes home—but I’m right with God through Jesus Christ.

 

Yes, I’m grieving for this loss but God loves me.”

Yes, I’m wailing over mess I’ve made of things, but God forgives, accepts me.

Yes, things are hard now but God has a great future for me.

Yes, I’m weeping on my pillow but God has said, I will wipe away every tear.

 

Joy is a deep delight and a lively pleasure in these truths.

   It’s deep—not shallow emotion.  It’s lively—grows, irrepressible.

It’s part of the essence of being a Christian.  Christians are joyful because God is.

   Holy Spirit is joyful, has planted the seed of joy in you.

 

What about you?  Do you have this joy?  Is this fruit flourishing in your life?

   If it isn’t, why not?

 

Let’s look at Psalm 30, see what it says about joy.

Four headings:

   1.  The experience of joy.

   2.  The counterfeit of joy.

   3.  The opposite of joy.

   4.  The cultivation of joy.


MP#1  The experience of joy.

What is it like to experience this joy?  Two things need to know.

1.  Joy is experienced as an assurance of God’s favor.

 

Look at the way David expresses this in his psalm.

David wrote this psalm to give praise to God for a time in which he went

   through a very difficult trial.

 

Don’t know what happened to David but there are some clues:

   vs. 1  You lifted me out of the depths.”

   vs. 2  You healed me.”

   vs. 3  You brought me up from the grave,

             You spared me from going down into the pit.”

 

Was this a life-threatening illness?

Was this a plot against his life?  Trouble in his kingdom?

   We don’t know, but whatever it was, David had sunk very low.

   vs. 7, seemed like God had hidden his face—no longer looked with favor.

   Because he did not sense God’s favor, he lost his joy.

 

David began to pray—at first his prayers are the bargaining prayers.

   vs. 9  What good is there in my destruction?  Will the dust praise you?

Ever prayed those kinds of prayers?

   Then David’s tone changes:

   vs. 10  Hear O Lord and be merciful to me, be my help.”

 

And God answered—not just in delivering David from this threat, but restoring joy.

   David experienced this joy as an assurance of God’s favor.

   vs. 5  His anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime.

            Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Connects God’s anger (brief) with weeping,

   God’s favor with rejoicing.

   When he became assured of God’s favor he was joyful.

 

Joy is not being jolly and hilarious.  Those can come and go.

It is a deep and settled assurance that you are favored by God

   because of what Jesus Christ has done on your behalf.

Knowing that God listens to your prayers, with you, cares for you,

   Has great things planned for you.

2.  Your experience of joy in this life will be mingled with sorrow.

   Said “in this life” because in heaven, all tears wiped away.

But in this life, you experience joy mingled with sorrow but joy is so great

   it doesn’t just co-exist with sorrow, it transforms it.

   “Mourning turned to dancing.”  “Grief turned to joy.”

 

This was the experience of Jesus Christ—the most joyful man who ever lived.

   Yet wasn’t his life filled with sorrow?  Man of sorrows.

But his sorrows never overwhelmed his joy, joy gave him perspective on sorrows.

   “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before

   him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of

   God.”

See what the writer is saying.  Jesus faced the painful and shameful death of cross.

   But he had a greater joy set before him that sustained him and transformed sorrow

 

When Jesus talking to disciples he used another vivid image.

Woman giving birth is in pain.  When child born, pain doesn’t go away,

   But the joy of a new child overwhelms the pain.  Joy bigger than pain.

 

Apostle Paul, “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”

Listen to the way a famous Baptist preacher minister put it:

   “These two states of mind (joy and sorrow), both of them the natural operations of any deep

   faith, may co-exist and blend into one another, so as that the gladness is sobered, and

   chastened, and made manly and noble; and that the sorrow is like some thundercloud, all

   streaked with bars of sunshine that pierce into its deepest depths.”

 

Joy of the Lord is realistic.  Looks squarely at the brokenness of life and grieves. 

   Still joyful.  Joy transforms sorrow because in sorrow assured of God’s favor.

Christian—we grieve, but pierced with sunshine.  Grief temporary, joy eternal.

   Know we are right with God, He cares for us now, has great things planned.

 

Are you assured of God’s forgiveness, love, and acceptance?

If you are, then you know joy.  Know exactly what I am talking about.

   Know how it transforms the sorrows of life.

If you don’t, why not?

   Has the knowledge that you are reconciled to God really sunk in?

 

Possible to experience something that you think is joy but not—call counterfeit.


MP#2  The counterfeit of joy.

Counterfeit joy is the high you get when the things you think you have to have

   in order to make your life worthwhile are coming your way.

 

Counterfeit joy is finding happiness only in the gifts and not in the Giver.

   It doesn’t rest on the favor of God in Christ,

   but on things like wealth, success, relationships, standard of living.

 

Possible to even have counterfeit joy in the Gospel.

   Some people come to Gospel, not because believe sinner

   needing to be forgiven and accepted into God’s favor.

But because they are suffering and want some relief.

   Think, if I give myself to God, He’s going to end my suffering.  No more pain.

   Going to save my marriage, get rid of my emotional pain, whatever.

 

Counterfeit joy can’t take the heat. 

Remember Jesus parable of the seed in shallow soil—sprang up quickly—

   wilted when sun came out, because it had not root.

Wow, it’s God good—because enjoying a time of material blessing, success—

   but when trouble comes—have no joy, because not in God himself. 

 

Even solid believers can (for a time) confuse real joy and counterfeit joy.

   Say, “For a time” because God in his love always corrects it.

   That is what happened to David.

 

Verses 1-5 He praises God for this great answer to prayer, for God’s love and favor.

Verse 6 He goes back and describes this experience from the beginning.

   “When I felt secure, I said, ‘I will never be shaken.’”

   David was in a very secure position—healthy, kingdom strong, army strong.

   But he was putting his confidence in those things.  Finding his joy in them.

 

So what happened when they were jerked out from under him?  He fell hard.

   Counterfeit joy can’t take the heat.

   “O Lord, when you favored me, you made my mountain stand firm;

   but when you hid your face, I was dismayed.”

 

Did what believers almost always do initially when counterfeit joy is destroyed,

   Said, “This must mean God doesn’t love me.  He has turned away from me.”

Then, as we have already seen, after falling low.

   Joy was restored, this time his joy was in the right thing, in the Lord’s favor. 

   So when God graciously restored his health, things were in the right place.

 

Do you have counterfeit joy?   You can find out the hard way or the easy way.

The hard way is to continue to find your joy in your gifts instead of Giver

   and when they are jerked away from you, you crash.

 

You’ll have a crisis just like David had.  Life won’t seem worth living.

   Because the things you are counting on to hold you up are gone.

You’ll feel like the Lord has abandoned you.  Of course He hasn’t.

   He’s really restoring your joy in the right thing.  In relationship with Him.

 

The easy way is to begin right now to rid your heart of counterfeit joy.

   Replace it with joy in the Lord.

Years ago heard a sermon by Tim Keller—said something never forgotten—

   shared it with you a number of times. 

Two tests Christians ought to take—solitude test, nightmare test.

 

Solitude test—in quiet moments, life is hushed, where does heart go? 

   What are your dreams?  expectations?  what are you hopes?

   Is your dream to know Christ?  glorify him?  build his kingdom?

   Is your dream greater wealth, more romantic marriage, early retirement?

 

Nightmare test—what do you dread losing more than anything else?

   admiration of certain people, standard of living, looks?

   closeness with God, dishonoring Christ in some way, straying from faith?

 

Those tests reveal what you are really looking toward for you joy.

   If it is not the Lord.  His favor—then it is something else.

If you don’t deal with this counterfeit joy,

   when you crash, when you lose it—may experience the opposite of joy.

 


MP#3  The opposite of joy.

The opposite of joy is not sorrow—we’ve already seen that.

The opposite of joy is hopelessness.

   Collapsing during times of sorrow and refusing to be comforted by Lord.

 

There’s a touch of this in David.

vs. 9, when he is at the depths of woe over this thing in his life.

   “What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down into the pit?

   Will the dust praise you?  Will it proclaim your faithfulness?”

David almost loses his sense of perspective.  Forgets Lord bigger than his life.

   Even in his death, should the Lord choose to take him, God is faithful.

   If someone had come to David at that point, “David, joy in Lord, faithful.”

   But you don’t understand how bad this thing is I’m going through.

   This is it.  This is the end.  A note of hopelessness.

 

An old Dutch pastor put it this way:

   “If one gives in to such mourning, he can progress so far that he finds no delight in anything except in mourning and in consuming his own heart.  He is then not fit for anything—not for prayer, believing, and overcoming sin, the practice of virtue, nor for being beneficial to other people—and makes himself unfit to be restored by the common means, since he refuses to be comforted.  ‘A wounded spirit who can bear?’ (Prov. 18:14). 

 

Do you have a tendency toward hopelessness?

   Don’t forget that your temperament colors your spiritual experience. 

When you become a Christian, your personality doesn’t change.

   Christians aren’t all alike—some are cheerful, some gloomy, introverts, extra

 

Experience of the joy of the Lord is different.

   If you tend to be skeptical, melancholy, negative,

   your experience of the joy of the Lord different from Christian who

   is naturally extroverted and cheerful. 

 

But remember, Christ claims your personality and He is sanctifying it.

   Gives you the power to bring even your temperament into subjection to Him.

   Never an excuse to say, I’m just a gloomy person, I don’t have joy.

If you start to feed off of your hopelessness and refuse to be comforted,

   then your life is making a lie of the Gospel you claim believe. 

You are refusing to be cheered by the Good News.

Recognize your tendencies.

   Same Dutch pastor went on to say:

Therefore conduct yourself valiantly, for it is as easy to yield to a mournful frame, as it is to collapse for a person who is fainting.  However, the harmful consequences are too dangerous.  Therefore, lift up your head and endeavor to break out of this.”

 

So what does this mean in practice? 

   Does it mean that when in a very sorrowful time, put a grin on your face?

Of course not.

   Apostle Paul put it best 1 Thessalonians 4:13

   “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep,

   or to grieve like the rest of men who have no hope.”

 

Grieve when you need to grieve.  It’s inhuman not to grieve.

   It’s creepy when Christians don’t grieve when they should grieve.

   Jesus himself wept at Lazarus’ grave even though knew going to raise him.

David grieves in many of the psalms—over sickness, disaster, failures.

   But don’t grieve like the rest of men who have no hope.

   You grieve with hope.  You grieve with joy.  Because know right with God.

 

How on earth do you do that?  Brings us to last point—cultivation of joy.

 

 

 


MP#4  The cultivation of joy.

How do you cultivate joy?  It is a fruit.  Image one of cultivation.

   Fruit tree in your yard—things you can do to make it more productive.

 

Scripture tells us that joy is a gift from God.

   Not something you create or work up in your emotions.

   vs. 11  You clothed me with joy.”

   Joy comes from God.  Fruit of the Holy Spirit.  He implants it in you.

 

Does this imply that you just sit around and wait passively for joy.

   It’s fruit.  Intentional image in Scripture is one of cultivation.

   If you have a fruit tree in your yard—you don’t create life or fruit—

   but there are lots of things you can do to make it more productive.

 

Over and over again—believers given this command—“Rejoice.”

   Philippians 4  Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again:  Rejoice.”

 

But what does it mean to “rejoice in the Lord”?  Let me share two thoughts.

First, think about how your rejoice in other things.

   Let’s take two examples—rejoicing in the birth of a child, in winning big game

   How do you rejoice in those things?

 

1.  You talk about them.  Especially with people who care about them.

   You want them to share your joy.

   You call your relatives and friends and say—guess what, had a baby girl.

   Guess what—we’re state champs.  We won the big game.

 

2.  You re-live it.  Brings such joy you go over it again and again.

   Allison and I were talking about this.  She said, baby born, it’s one hour old.

   Relative takes come pictures, rushes out to a one hour photo place,

   Brings pictures back to the hospital.

   Mother holding 3 hour old baby, looking at picture of it one hour old—awww!

You re-live the game.  Go over play by play in mind, with friend.

 

Now, let’s apply this to rejoicing in the Lord.

Don’t have to be commanded to rejoice when a baby is born, win big game.

   Have to be commanded to rejoice in the Lord.

   Means we are spiritually cold.  When get to heaven, won’t have to be told.

Rejoicing in the Lord—you talk about Him, what he has done.  What He’s like.

   Especially with other Christians you say, He’s good, He’s faithful.

You re-live the things He’s taught you, times He’s walked with you.

   This is exactly what David did in writing Psalm 30.

Tells about this great answer to prayer, how joy restored.

   Walks us through all of his ups and downs, and God’s faithfulness.

   In short—as your mind is on the Lord’s faithfulness, your joy restored.

 

Second thought is this.

If you experience joy as an assurance of God’s favor. 

   Then you rejoice by doing all you can to grow in your assurance of God’s favor.

Means you have to fix your attention on, meditate on the truths

   that are going to make you joyful and strong.

 

Have to stop fixing your attention on and meditating on the half-truths

   that will make you hopeless and weak.

I’ve sinned and failed and messed things up.  True—but half truth.

   Full truth is and you are forgiven and eternally loved by God.

 

If you meditate and mull over yourself all the time,

   your sad circumstances, the wrongs done to you, your failures, your faults,

   even if those things are true, you are going to be weak and hopeless.

 

But, if you meditate on Jesus Christ and His great love for you.

   And how, through Him, you are fully accepted by God the Father.

   Even though your sin and rebellion was so heinous, Jesus Christ had to die,

   God has accepted you as righteous in His sight.

   Looks at you and sees the perfection of Jesus Christ. 

   That He has adopted you as His son, has a place for you.

Find some verses of Scripture that encourage.

   If you think on these great things.  They will color your spiritual life.

 

Are you cultivating joy?

Rejoicing in the Lord, soaking in the assurances of his favor?

 


CONC: