A State of Spiritual Joy

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Intro: The epistle of 1 John is special. Of course God is the author of every word in this book, but God used men and in this case He used John. God allows John to express these words much like a loving father would express himself to his child. When I think of this epistle I am immediately reminded of the way in which Christ found John when He called him to follow Him.
Matthew 4:21–22 KJV 1900
And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
In that same sense, John is still net mending. God uses him through the writing of his epistles to mend the nets of the faith. This was needful because false teachers were abounding, and the faith was constantly under attack. But who better to net mend, then the one whom Jesus loved. The apostle that loved his Saviour.
That which was from the beginning: I love how the Holy Spirit works! Do you remember how He used John to begin the Gospel of John?
John 1:1 KJV 1900
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled...
I would like to start here by giving an illustration. Today is Veterans day! We thank the Lord for each of the Veterans that are here today, and for all of those that have served our country! If your a Veteran here today, then you went through boot camp. If we have time today, for you to share stories of your experience in boot camp, and at the end I looked at you and said I don’t believe any of that is true. You would be up in arms about it… Why!?! Because you lived it, you heard that drill sergeant scream at you, you smelled him breath as he stood with his forehead pressed against yours and called you names. You saw the obstacles that stood before you each day, you felt the pain, and you endured the trial, and you survived. No one could ever change your mind about your time in boot camp, no one could ever convince you that you didn’t attend and do you know why that is? Because you lived through it… That is what makes anyone that doesn’t believe the stories about your experience ridiculous. You were there, and they were not. You are an eye witness testimony of those events.
All of History is based upon eye witness testimony. You pick up any History book, and it was somewhere along the line a description of an event that someone witnessed. They lived through it, they experienced it… Some of the history that is recorded is based upon just one eye witness account, while others are based upon many accounts but regardless as to how many accounts there are, it is not called into question because the account was given by someone that was there. They heard it, they saw it, and they handled it.
History is believed, and is based upon eye witness testimony. However, when it comes to the history of Christ, it is rejected as a fairy tale. This is John’s first hand, eye witness testimony concerning Christ.
The fact is, that Christ was really in the flesh, John heard His voice, John saw Him with his own eyes, and John touched Him with his own hands. You could never convince John that these events never took place, because He was there when it happened! And it is with that that John begins very much like he did in the Gospel of John. He begins by declaring that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was eternal and from the beginning, came in the flesh, was made manifest, dwelt among them and their eyes beheld His glory.
John 1:14 KJV 1900
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
The record is given by God, but God used eyewitnesses who could not be deceived concerning those things which they had heard, seen and handled. They became veracious witnesses to His cause, and most of them died in the testimony of their faith.
Let me ask you this question, are you willing to die for something that you are not 100% certain is true? Millions of Christians have been...
the Word of life:
John 1:4 KJV 1900
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
There is something that every believer is drawn to do. When you have tasted, seen, and handled the Word of Life, you cannot help but tell others about it! God allows these men to give account in their own words so to speak. These are not words on a paper to them, they are not words on a paper to me, because I have experienced them. I believe them, they have power and have changed me. The words in this book have given me life! I cannot remain silent, and not one can convince me that I am dead… It is not just the teaching of doctrine that we find in the pages of this book, but the personal witness to the power of that doctrine. Have you ever been witness to the living power of God upon your heart? No one can convince me that their is no power in the Gospel of Christ, because I have been quickened by it! Is that your testimony today? Last week I preached on being sensual. I am thankful that as I age, my flesh grows weaker. My senses wain, but as I mature spiritually, those spiritual senses once they are brought to life, oh, how they begin to grow and develop, oh these spiritual taste buds have never tasted anything so good, these spiritual ears have never heard a sweater name, these spiritual eyes have been awakened to a Glorious Saviour, and oh the comforting touch of my Saviour has never been so consoling as it is now. The best is yet to come!
Sometimes when we receive help from someone that has never experienced what we are going through we are kind of like, yeah, whatever… But when someone has experienced the same thing you have gone through you are all ears. When you talk to someone who is being drawn by God to Salvation, if you have lived that, you cannot help but be excited and share what God has done for you...
vs. 2-3
There isn’t any doubt that the Apostles had something extremely special as they walked and talked with Christ on this earth, but while He was here with them, I don’t think they ever understood fully what they had been given. It is why Christ asked Philip
John 14:9 KJV 1900
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
That being said, once He had ascended, and the Spirit of God rested upon and dwelt in them, they became aware of the very near and dear, and deep communion could have been possible during those three years that He walked and talked with them. By the way, communion and fellowship that John, I believe came to understand while He was still here. What these men had learned and seen, they learned that they might share it with others. All the things that God allowed John to see and hear, He then prepared John to speak and share those things, that others might have fellowship with Him! This is what makes church so beautiful, church isn’t about me spending time with Christ, but it is about us having fellowship together with Him! That is what makes the fellowship the sweetest! When my desire becomes more than just me being blessed, or me fellow-shipping, but for others to enjoy it together with me!
To think that those things that John spoke of, we get to enjoy spiritually. Through Faith! The richest most valuable privileged given to sinful man, is salvation which results in fellowship with God! Think of the testimony of those men and women who where the friends of God. We get to have that opportunity. God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve, we get to enjoy that kind of walk with God.
Don’t look at me like I have lost my marbles… If God has quickened you to life. If you are saved here today, there is so much more that God offers to you then just eternal life. That is a fringe benefit. God is offering fellowship today with Him. Christ died on the cross to give us access, don’t waste the fulness of His sacrifice. He died to offer restored fellowship with God for all of those who have by His grace believed, and have been washed by the precious blood of Christ!
Ephesians 2:19 KJV 1900
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
and with his Son Jesus Christ: Christ died, but He didn’t stay dead. John enjoyed fellowship with Christ, in fact he was a chosen companion. Christ died, for you today, because you are a chosen companion. In being closest with Christ, John saw things that no one else saw… He saw Him peel back His flesh and reveal His glory, he witnessed miracles of raising a women from the dead that others didn’t see, He was there, near His Lord when He prayed that wonderful John 17 prayer. John laid his head upon His bosom, he followed Him after His capture, through His trial, and was at the foot of the cross as His precious blood sprinkled out of His perfect and sinless body. It can be said, that John had the nearest and dearest fellowship with Christ in the flesh.
He writes here today, and Christ was gone… All of those things he once knew through the physical, are all seen through the spiritual! John fellowship wasn’t broken, not even close, he said “truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” Notice he doesn’t say “was”…
Then he closes his introduction by stating why he writes these things.
vs. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full: Does John have a mouse in his pocket? No, John is in fellowship with God. He is a Spirit filled man, and is writing as we. John writes of a filling and joy that he experiences...
John 15:11 KJV 1900
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
John 16:24 KJV 1900
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
John 17:13 KJV 1900
And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
I can’t think of a better penman to write these encouraging words, then the one whom Jesus loved! The fulfilling joy, that I know every believer desires, is genuinely only found through the fellowship in and with Him!
Here below, we can walk with Him, have fellowship with Him, and be filled with joy!
What is keeping you from fellowship? Let’s leave the storm clouds and let us walk in the brightness of Christ! Christ died, and gave you life, that you might walk perpetually, in a state of spiritual joy!
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