Month 4

The Joy of The Lord Is Our Strength!

What a needed commodity! What a source of attractiveness to a broken and needy world! Joy! Joy is the second characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit. That makes perfect sense. Only love better describes the lifestyle of Christ. Only love more aptly meets the needs of our torrid age. Love melts the heart of stone. Joy touches the deepest part of that heart. We need joy, and our world needs believers who evidence the fruit of joy.

“This month we will examine the wonderful fruit of joy. We will find in Scripture five sources of joy. Some of them you will readily recognize. Some will be a surprise. Come along as we study the second characteristic of the fruit of God’s Spirit. “The fruit of the Sprit is…joy.”

Principle Questions
Week 1:By what “record” or “reservation” will we enter the kingdom of
Week 2:How did Paul consider everything else to compare to the “surpassing
greatness of knowing Christ Jesus”?
Week 3:What two matters did Paul see as parts of “knowing Christ”?
Week 4:Why has Christ told us to “remain” in Him?
Week 5:What did Paul consider to be his “joy” and “crown”?

Today’s Treasure– “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight” (Psalm 43:3-4).

Week 1 – Joy’s Bedrock

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23). This week we begin to study the second character quality of the fruit of the Spirit – JOY. The Greek word for joy is chara, pronounced with the accent on the second syllable. Chara is the most common word translated joy in the English New Testament. It means “joy, rejoicing, gladness – enjoyment, bliss.” In many ways, chara means “to celebrate!”

We will attempt to discover the origin of optimum joy. Scripture highlights five reasons for chara. This month, we will consider each of the five. Today, we give attention to our primary reason. For the remainder of the month, we will revel in the other four as icing on the cake! Through His words to the 72 as they returned from their mission, Christ revealed the first and foremost reason for joy.

Read Luke 10:17-20. Why were the 72 joyful? ______
According to Jesus, what was their greatest reason for rejoicing?______

Jesus made clear the primary reason for joy among His disciples. He said, “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Take a look at Psalm 51:12. What was the source of David’s joy? ______

Did you notice whose joy David was concerned about? He recognized the joy was of “Thy” salvation.

Read Revelation 7:10. To whom does salvation belong? ______

Now pray. Ask God to show you the significance of the truth that salvation belongs to Him. After you have prayed, answer this question: Why do you think salvation is described as God’s rather than yours? ______

You may have recognized several aspects of God’s ownership of salvation. Did you note that salvation is God’s to give? It is a gift of GRACE that we have the privilege to accept. The Greek word for grace is charis, which means “unmerited favor.”

Do you remember the Greek word for joy? Write it in this space. ______

Do you see a very close relationship between charis and chara? That’s because joy is an absolute assumption in grace. Joy is literally written into grace! God is telling us, “If you only understood what grace means and what you have received by way of it, you would never cease to rejoice!” Whether we ever have one external thing over which to rejoice, it is enough that we are born again! I believe the main reason we lack an awareness of joy in our salvation is because we are unaware or seldom reminded to what and from what we have been saved. In this way, we have neglected “so great a salvation” (Heb. 2:3, NKJV). We need to consistently focus on our great salvation so that our joy might be full.

You may have noted another facet of “God’s salvation.” Recognizing that salvation belongs to Christ helps to get us out of ourselves. Simply stated, “it’s not about us.” Sometimes we get so wrapped up in ourselves that we become the center of our own universe. Salvation is His. It’s about Him. Following Christ breaks the stranglehold of self in our lives as He becomes the center of our universe. We decrease; He increases (see John 3:30). Joy results.

You will remember that Christ said, “Do not rejoice that the spirit submit you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Christ linked our joy to reservations made in our names somewhere in heaven. Let’s see what we can learn about the place where our names are recorded.

Read Hebrews 12:18-24 and answer the following questions:
What is the city of the living God called (v. 22)? ______

Describe the assembly (v. 22). ______

Whose names are written in heaven (v. 23)?______

NOTE: Notice all the things, persons, and places believers “have come to” in the New Jerusalem. From all the items identified, which two mean the most to you personally and why?

Answer: ______

Turn to Revelation 13:8. What is the record of names called? ______

To whom does the record belong? ______

Now read Revelation 17:8. How long have names been written in the “book oflife”? ______

In Revelation 3:5, what does Christ say about those who “overcome”? ______

Consider TO WHAT we have been saved as a result of the reservation Christ made for us in the “book of life.”

Read Revelation 21:22-27. In your own words, describe the New Jerusalem. ______

Read Revelation 20:11-15. FROM WHAT have we been saved? (Check one or more)
 being case into the lake of fire
 the second death
 judgment according to our own works

We who are saved by grace through faith have been saved from all three of the above penalties. While our works are important- we were “created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Eph. 2:10) – we will not be judged by our works. Rather, we are saved by Christ’s work.

Now read 2 Peter 3:3-7, with emphasis on verse 7. Notice the phrase, “being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” The Greek word for destruction is apoleia which means “losing, loss, the state after death wherein exclusion from salvation is a realized fact.” That definition sends chills up my spine. A moment will come, at the ushering in of eternity, when every lost man and woman will be confronted with the staggering loss of his or her salvation. Remember, Philippians 2:10 says that “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” The lost will suffer a horrible threefold realization: they will realize that He is LORD, that they are LOST, and that it’s too LATE. Another definition of the word apoleia is just one sobering word: waste. Their lives will have been a total waste. A life without Christ is a wasted life. All the energy, all the pain—for absolutely nothing. Praise God, with reverence, that your name is written in the “book of life.”

Now let’s attempt to adjust our perspective so that our joy might be full in our salvation. Read Psalm 39:4-7. How long will we be here on this earth? ______

Now answer the following review questions.

How long will we be in heaven? ______

According to this week’s study, by what “record” or “reservation” will we enter the kingdom of heaven? ______

Who put our names in the book? ______

When? ______

Reread Luke 10:20. You may have many reasons, but what is the only reason you need to rejoice? ______

First and foremost, our salvation, which assures our reservation, is reason to rejoice!

Take one last look at Today’s Treasure. What does the psalmist call his God? ______

God is our JOY. What do you enjoy most about God? ______

Lord Jesus, teach us to enjoy You and revel in Your great salvation even when difficulty surrounds us. Make our lives a celebration of your grace!