Thursday, October 1, 2015

John 15:9-17 comments: Joy

9 ¶  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 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. 11  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17  These things I command you, that ye love one another.

If you think about it, this is a startling statement. As God the Father loves the Lord Jesus Christ, so Christ loves His disciples.  We often hear preachers talk about Christ’s special relationship with the Father, but that relationship is also available between Christ and us. Now, if I had an agenda I would go on to tell you that the way to have that relationship is to do what I tell you, which, is, of course, nonsense and even evil if I couldn’t back that up scripturally.

Let Christ be our guide and let His words in His Book be our final authority in all matters of faith, practice, and doctrine reading it to whom it is written, for what purpose , and in what context, knowing what is directly applicable to us as doctrine and what we can make a spiritual application with. Of course, then, every verse in the Bible applies to our lives in some way.

If we are to be Christ’s followers we must follow His instructions and His example in obedience. Now, beware of someone who applauds you as having a ‘servant’s heart’ as that usually means they think you will be submissive to their own will. It often has nothing to do with Christ. Christ has given us His commandments, His instructions, and His standard of righteousness in the gospels and He has given us the perfect example of obedience to the Father for us to follow.

Christ has given us His words that His joy may remain in us and that our joy may be filled. Joy is first mentioned in the Bible with dancing and singing and musical instruments playing in 1Samuel 18:6. It is not just a good feeling. It is more than that.

1Kings 1:40  And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.

Do you have joy in the Lord? I was a Christian for sixteen years before I even knew what joy was, when God confirmed to me what a Bible truly was and God spoke to my heart, not in an audible voice, but in the quiet way the Holy Ghost speaks to the Christian’s heart, changing, molding, and sanctifying; setting him or her apart for God’s use. If you don’t have joy, why? Are you just spiritually lifeless like preachers and evangelists insist, because you don’t come to church enough, don’t hand out enough gospel tracts, don’t give enough money? Or are you without joy because someone has robbed you of it? Is it possible you’ve been lied to by someone who is also deceived?

Why do you not have joy? It is one of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.  Is it perhaps because you’ve been taught that every bad thing that happens to you must be because you haven’t been in the church building enough, tried to sell Christ on the street or door to door enough, or given enough money to the church organization so a new floor can be put on the church basketball court? The solution for that is to read the Book of Job, Jeremiah, the other  prophets, and, in fact, the entire Bible cover to cover to see that even the most righteous and “faithful” Christian will suffer and not necessarily know exactly why and that we live in fallen bodies in a fallen world and that no one, “does business with God,” as the evangelists like to say when they want to see you come up in front of the church and get on your knees because their sermon manipulated your emotions so well.

Have joy. Christ has overcome the world and death itself as we are told in the Bible and the Creator of the universe wants to have a relationship with you 24/7. Have joy. Be giddy about it. Dance for the Lord and sing praises to Him. Rent the very earth with the sound of your joy. You are going to be with the Lord forever and ever! If you are sick now, have joy. If you have suffered a loss and are grieving, have joy. If you have been told you are going to die, have joy. If you have lost your job, have joy. If your friends and family have rejected you or you are being persecuted because of your love for Christ, have joy. If you are young and uncertain about what the future holds, have joy. If you are old and tired and ready to go, have joy. Whatever situation God has placed you in, that’s right, God has placed you in, HAVE JOY!

Christ gave His commandment again, to love one another, to be willing to lay down our lives for each other, to die to Self and selfish desires, no longer wanting to dominate and control and manipulate and exploit others to satisfy your own desires or to justify your own convictions.

If we do Christ’s will we are not servants, but His friends.

James 2:23  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Christ has told us what we are to do, which is nothing more than a master tells a servant, but He has also told us why, which is how we would treat a friend, a close companion, whose will and ours are in agreement on a task.

God chose us because He knew we would believe. He ordained us that we might bring forth fruit and not just whenever we feel motivated but that it would come from the Spirit’s indwelling and God speaking to us through His words.

Again, it is said that anything asked in His name and, of course, by His will and not contrary to it, He will do. He has commanded us to love one another. There are so many Scriptures that tell us in the New Testament how we are to be as the body of Christ on earth there is no excuse for looking at yourself as being of ‘a better sort’ than others in the assembly, trying to psychologically manipulate others, trying to guilt others and control them so them so they are a miniversion of yourself, judging others by your own experiences; the ‘been there, done that, got the t-shirt’ crowd,but to truly be concerned with the spiritual growth IN THE LORD of each and every one of your brothers and sisters rather than how they submit to your plans and prejudices.

Christ is preparing to die for the sins of the world and to be raised from the grave in victory to those who count themselves as the Friend of God. He is also preparing them for the trials and tribulations they will have to endure.

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