A Joyful Heart

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A Joyful Heart

TEXT: John 15:1-11

INTRODUCTION: In Jesus' instruction to His disciples He was preparing them for His soon departure from this world, Jesus explained how to get and keep a clean heart, how to nurture a praying heart, and how to have a courageous heart. Jesus continued His conversation with His disciples here, and He said, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full". Jesus said that His desire for us is that we might be full of joy.

Are your hearts filled with joy this morning? I'm not talking about just when things are going well, but I mean all the time! Perhaps we should define our terms. Joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness is largely dependent upon events or circumstances. Joy is the fruit of the Spirit of God and can be experienced even in times of affliction.

One fellow described a believer like this, we are like a large bowl of soup carried by a waiter. He holds the bowl high over his head and you cannot tell what is in it until he is bumped and it spills out. Now think about it, what spills out when we are bumped? Is it joy? If we are filled with joy, then that is what will spill out.

The world says that joy can be found through a change in our circumstances: take a vacation, earn more money, spend more money, or save more. Another popular notion today is that we should change ourselves: Pump iron, start jogging, lose weight, gain weight, anything to discover the new you!

Jesus had a very different formula for joy. It is learning to abide in Christ so that we become fruit-bearing Christians. Jesus said it is possible for us to have enough joy for ourselves and still enough to share with others. It depends on our relationship with Christ.

I.          Joy Depends on Fruitfulness for God

A.        What is fruitfulness?

1.      It is the outward expression of the inner nature.

a)      Some folks can walk through the forest and identify trees simply by looking at their leaves or their bark, I can't.

b)      But, if I can see the fruit of the tree I can usually know what kind of tree it is.

c)      The fruit is the outward expression of the inner nature.

d)      Oranges, apples, pears, etc. all identify what type of tree that they grow upon.

2.      In the case of a believer, fruit- fullness is the same.

a)      As Christians, we are to bear fruit.

b)      That means that the nature of Christ (who dwells within us in person of the Holy Spirit) should be outwardly expressed.

c)      Our fruit is not just other Christians, it is the inner nature of Christ that eventually will bring about new birth in the lives of others.

d)      Fruit is the product of God, not something that you and I can manufacture.

B.        Fruitfulness is the purpose of God for our lives.

1.      "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit..." v8

2.      As far as God is concerned, there is no reason for us to live, except to bear fruit.

3.      If we are not fruitful, then we are worthless in God's service.  v6

II.       Fruitfulness is Dependent upon Our Relationship with Christ.

A.        It is one of life.

1.      "I am the vine, ye are the branches." v5

2.      The connection is a vital one.

3.      Each branch is made partaker of the life that is in the vine.

B.        It is one of entire dependence.

1.      "Without me ye can do nothing" v5

2.      The primary purpose of the vine is to supply the necessary nourishment so that the branch can bear fruit.

3.      For this to take place, the vine and the branch must remain intact.

C.        It is one of great possibilities

John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

1.      Our relationship with Christ brings the things which are impossible with men within easy reach.

2.      The promise is one of power in prayer!

3.      It is also a promise of fruit- bearing, which in turn brings glory to God.

III.    Our Relationship Depends upon Our Abiding in Christ

A.        What does it mean to abide in Christ?

John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

1 John 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

1.      The focus of attention is on the Words of Christ and our obedience to that His Word.

2.      Christ and His Word must become the focus of our thoughts and our actions.

3.      We must fill our minds with His Word and then allow His Word to influence our wills.

B.        Our abiding will result in His blessings.

1.      One is answered prayer. v7

2.      Another will be fulfillment and joy. v11

3.      Abiding in Christ releases the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Conclusion: Joy is a by-product of living as a fruit-bearing Christian. It is not something that we should seek directly, but is the outgrowth of a personal living relationship with Christ. Our joy depends upon our fruitfulness, our fruitfulness is dependent upon our relationship with Christ, and our relationship with Christ is dependent upon our abiding in Him.

 

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