What We Learned Together This Sunday July 30, 2023
Our message this morning in John chapter sixteen “A Promise of Answered Prayer for The Disciples of Jesus” verses 23-24. We continue to study these chapters being disciples making disciples as we learn together what discipleship means for each of here at New Life Fellowship. Throughout these chapters the many themes for us as disciples of Jesus: humbly serving, sacrificially loving, faithfully abiding, and personally believing. In this Upper Room discourse given to us here in the Gospel of John the words of the Lord Jesus for His own disciples are filled with promises for faithful believing, blessings for fruitful abiding, and prophecies for hopeful living. Here again we see the humble service, sacrificial love, and personal obedience by the Savior as He comforts His disciples at the time when He is going to the cross & die for them.
Last week we saw A Word By Jesus About Present Misunderstandings [16:16-18]. There was An Announcement by Jesus of His Resurrection. Today Some Promises By Jesus About Blessed Understandings [16:19-24]. Both Having Joy & Praying to The Father. Here are Some Encouragement by Jesus Because His Resurrection. In verse 19-22 For His Disciples His Promise Grief Will Become Joy. Last week we defined Joy as a deep, abiding inner thankfulness and gratitude to God which is not interrupted when undesirable life circumstances intrude. We have emphasized the three parts for joy: confidence in the promise of God, assurance of the power of God, and reliance on the plan of God. One unknown author represented joy as the royal banner flying from the flagstaff of the heart, signaling that the King is in residence. Jesus repeats the word joy through these verses [vv. 20,21,22, 24]. C. S. Lewis “The Weight of Glory”: If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
Next Jesus speaks about answered prayer and joy for His disciples. For His Disciples His Promise of Answered Prayer [16:23-24]. First, His Promise Declared For His Disciples Who Do Ask and Will Receive [16:23a]. This is confidence for His disciples in His words. “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you . . .” His words emphasize certainty, reliability, and truth to His disciples. Second His Promise Described for His Disciples Who Believe Jesus & Know the Father [16:23b] This is assurance for His disciples in His words. Jesus says, “if you ask the Father for anything in My name,He will give it to you.” Most translations written “whatever you ask the Father in My name . . .” This means what is consistent with the character of Jesus What a promise by Jesus! See John 16:19. The relationship with the Father through asking in prayer with Jesus as the ground and access. Reality of a relationship with the Father through the Son taught by the Spirit. Asking in His name is that Which Is Done for & Because of Jesus [cf. 14:13] Remember in the Gospel of John Jesus is revealed as the Son of God, the Savior of the World, and the Resurrected Lord. As in the Old Testament the Name of God because of Who He Is and What He does is displayed in His guidance, His deliverance, and His existence. This phrase by Jesus “in My Name” used in several places already used in this Upper Room Discourse [John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:24, 26 cf. Matthew 7:7-9]. Think about the first time praying out loud with others as you are called upon and look around and see, “you mean me?” This promise by Jesus so important for us as His disciples. “Our Lord here sums up the prerogatives and privileges of His servants in the day that was about to dawn and to last till He came again. There is nothing absolutely new in the words; substantially the promises contained in them have appeared in former parts of these discourses under somewhat different aspects and connections. But our Lord brings them together here, in this condensed repetition, in order that the scattered rays, being thus focused, may have more power to illuminate with certitude, and to warm into hope. These are the jewels which He sets in a cluster, the juxtaposition making each brighter, and gives to us for a parting keepsake.” [Alexander McClaren]
And finally third, His Promise Detailed For His Disciples Who Pray and Have Joy [16:24]. Th is obedience for His disciples in His words. Jesus says, “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” Remember what Jesus said in John 15:11 and 16:26. This a command by Jesus using the present active imperative form of this verb with continuing and repeating action. So as His disciples we are commanded to ask in prayer in His name! “Of all the list of Christian duties there is none to which there is such abounding encouragement, as prayer . . . It is worth noticing here how very frequent and full are the encouragements to prayer which our Lord holds out to His disciples.” [ J. C. Ryle] This means Seeing the Work of God, Having the Supply of God, and Knowing the Grace of God. Consider also Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-12. Charles Spurgeon on Joy “There is a marvelous medicinal power in joy. Most medicines are distasteful; but this, which is the best of all medicines, is sweet to the taste, and comforting to the heart. This blessed joy is very contagious. One dolorous spirit brings a kind of plague into the house; one person who is wretched seems to stop all the birds from singing wherever he goes . . . [But] the grace of joy is contagious. Holy joy will oil the wheels of your life’s machinery. Holy joy will strengthen you for your daily labor. Jesus concludes, “so that your joy may be made full.” [16:24]
One commentator wrote about this joy. “It is His joy that we are to pursue (see John 15:11). This is not the “joy” that the world seeks. The world seeks for a “joy” that is rooted in the absence of trials and suffering, that delights in the promotion of self-interest, and often in the downfall of one’s rivals. First and foremost, our joy is knowing for certain that Jesus is alive, risen from the dead (see Matthew 28:8; Luke 24:41, 52). Our joy is in the abasement of self, in the exaltation of Jesus Christ (see John 3:29), and in sacrificial service (Philippians 2:17). Our joy is in the Lord, in His salvation, and His working in the lives of others (Acts 15:3; Romans 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20; 1 John 1:4; 3 John 4).” Whatever failures, challenges, fears, disappointments, struggles, losses, bad reports, bad news that each of us would testify in the face of these with the testimony of joy in the presence of others. So are you missing joy in your life? Do you have half cup joy because not asking and not praying? Our message today from the words of Jesus in John chapter sixteen. "A Promise of Answered Prayer for the Disciples of Jesus" John 16:23-24. As we give some application from these words of Jesus let us read these words again and again. There would the great expression of confidence, assurance, and reliance in our joy as disciples of Jesus. That we would see the blessed understandings giving to us in the words of Jesus. Being a disciple of Jesus who acts upon these promises of Jesus in devoting yourself to prayer because of His words. Make this My Christian Ministry. Being a disciple of Jesus who is asking in prayer and receiving from the Father so that your joy may be made full. Make this My Christian Testimony. “And there is this marvelous new promise of answered prayer. Those answered prayers will bring a note, and an experience, and a disposition of joy that will make a Christian life worth living, and vital and marvelous. May we all have this joy.” [S. Lewis Johnson] Make this My Christian Joy.
Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher and Christian apologist, adds to this observation and refers to it as “diversion,” surmising that “being unable to cure death, wretchedness and ignorance, men have decided, in order to be happy, not to think about such things” because these things remind them of their feeble, mortal, unhappy condition. Each man and woman has his or her own way of diversion, be it by boisterous social life, gambling, drinking, war, excellent cuisine, travel, romance, financial security and gain, technology, even philosophy if it is the kind that has a perspective as wide as the point of a pin and that endlessly toils for no real purpose—none of these are “true bliss.” Instead, these activities and addictions serve only to drown out the piercing and alarming voice of reality and death. Engaging in such activities diverts our attention to pleasures and excitement and inhibits keen introspective thought, the sort that would make us painfully aware of our wretchedness and mortality.
Although the prospect of death makes us miserable, it forces us to confront our mortality and search for a remedy, if we do not immediately numb ourselves with the drug of distraction. The problem of a mortal is that he is mortal. The remedy is to become immortal. But, of course, that remedy is beyond mortal capability, by definition. Likewise, the problem of man is that he is wretched and sinful. The remedy is to become truly happy and good. But again, that lies beyond his capacity. One might argue, as Rousseau did, that man is naturally good but is corrupted by society, or by whatever other cause someone may conjure, but can anyone argue that man, at some point, sooner or later, will most certainly die? There is no remedy, then, it seems.
Unless, that is, he turns, to a higher being who is immortal, perfect, and good, and has the ability, and the benevolence, to cure us of our condition. Religion in general aims to answer man’s challenging questions and to point to a solution that remedies his insuperable problem—namely that of his inevitable fate. The stare of death goads religion for a satisfactory reply, and subsequently, a response is given, but, as Pascal affirms, it ought be one that leads to the acquisition of happiness: true happiness, not a numbing counterfeit. So, in order to accomplish this, religion must be true and give true answers and solutions:
To make man happy [true religion] must show him that a God exists whom we are bound to love; that our true bliss is to be in him, and our sole ill to be cut off from him. It must acknowledge that we are full of darkness which prevents us from knowing and loving him, and so, with our duty obliging us to love God and our concupiscence leading us astray, we are full of unrighteousness. It must account to us for the way in which we thus go against God and our own good. It must teach us the cure for our helplessness and the means of obtaining this cure.
After a string of arguments, Pascal, in confidence, concludes that the only religious practice that unfalteringly, effectively upholds the standards of true religion is Christianity. Christianity shows us an immortal God who, by submitting himself to death, defeated death once and for all in the Harrowing of Hell, and who offers the gift of grace and reconciliation—to become a new creature by dying to the old self, and to have the hope of a blissful afterlife, by faith in him through his Son, Jesus Christ. The mortal does not become an immortal and does not avoid death, per se, but does attain everlasting life, the happiest and fullest of ends, as well as the restoration of his relationship with God, fulfilling the human duty to worship and serve him.
The removal of distraction is the first step towards eternal life. We by ourselves cannot solve the problem of death, literally, figuratively, or spiritually, and destruction and evil still reign on the earth despite our objections and attempts. One can only ignore it for only so long, and perhaps after it is too late. Joseph Pearce wrote an excellent essay in these very pages, “Distracting Ourselves to Death,” outlining the pride and narcissism of addiction, particularly electronic, and its remedy, humility and truth and wonder. We may not have the power to subdue death and destruction, but we know who does have it and who lends us this power. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we may look upon the misery of our world with great sorrow, yet without fear or despair. Let us, then, follow the example of a humble, contrite spirit, aware of his own frailty and destiny, and embrace the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Find the proper place to die, so that you may live, reborn and renewed.
Microsoft Word - #1582 - The Fruit of the Spirit--Joy (spurgeongems.org)
They know nothing of a child’s joy in sure and full forgiveness, spoken by the Father’s own lips as He pressed them to His bosom.
His kiss was never warm upon their cheek. The ring was never on their finger, nor the best robe upon their shoulders. The music and the dancing of the joyous family who are in harmony with the father’s joy over the lost son have never charmed their ears. They are still under dread, which is the fruit of superstition rather than “the fruit of the Spirit.” Many things they do and suffer and all in vain–if the Son did but make them free, they would be free, indeed! I know some whom I am very far from despising, but whom, on the contrary, I greatly value, whose religion, sincere as I know it is, is sadly tinged with gloomy colors. They are afraid of Assurance, for they dread presumption! They dare not speak of their own salvation with the certainty with which the Bible saints were known to speak of it–they always say, “I hope,” and, “I trust.”
They would seem to be total abstainers from joy! They are suspicious of it lest it should be carnal excitement or visionary hope. They hang their heads like bulrushes and go mourning all their days as if the religion of Christ knew no higher festival than a funeral and all its robes were the garments of despair! Brothers and Sisters, despondency is not the fruit of the Spirit! Make no mistake, depression is frequently the fruit of indigestion, or of satanic temptation, or of unbelief, or of some harbored sin, but, “the fruit of the Spirit is joy.” Constantly looking within your own self instead of looking alone to Christ is enough to breed misery in any heart.
(a) In general, in our relying on the Lord Jesus only for the success of our prayers in heaven. Consider that we are in this matter to rely on Him only for access to God in our prayers (Ephesians 3:12; John 14:6). For acceptance of our prayers (Ephesians 1:6). For the gracious answer of prayer, and consider how we are to eye Christ as the object of this reliance — viz., as our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:15, 16). And here we find the infinite merit of His sacrifice (Romans 3:25), and His never-failing intercession to rely on (Hebrews 7:25).
(b) More particularly, praying in the name of Christ, and for His sake consists in renouncing all merit and worth in ourselves, in point of access, acceptance, and gracious answer (Genesis 32:10); believing that however great the mercies are, and however unworthy we are, yet we may obtain them from God through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:15, 16). In seeking in prayer the mercies we need of God for Christ's sake accordingly (John 16:24). In pleading His merit and intercession (Psalm 84:9); in trusting that we shall obtain a gracious answer for His sake (Mark 11:24).
Here are some helpful resources in writing out a brief testimony for baptism.
This is a wonderful opportunity to exalt Christ and encourage the church body!
And praying for the presentation to be clear, concise, and Christ-centered.
Here is a link and some articles below to read to assist in the process.
O THOU who art King of kings and Lord of lords, we worship Thee.
Before Jehovah's awful throne, we bow with sacred joy.
We can truly say that we delight in God. There was a time when we feared Thee, O God, with the fear of bondage. Now we reverence, but we love as much as we reverence. The thought of Thine omnipresence was once horrible to us. We said, "Whither shall we flee from His presence?" and it seemed to make hell itself more dreadful, because we heard a voice, "If I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there." But now, O Lord, we desire to find Thee. Our longing is to feel Thy presence and it is the heaven of heavens that Thou art there. The sick bed is soft when Thou art there. The furnace of affliction grows cool when Thou art there and the house of prayer, when Thou art present, is none other than the house of God and it is the very gate of heaven. Come near, our Father, come very near to Thy children. Some of us are very weak in body and faint in heart. Soon, O God, lay Thy right hand upon us and say unto us, "Fear not." Peradventure, some of us are alike and the world is attracting us.
Come near to kill the influence of the world with Thy superior power. Even to worship may not seem easy to some. The dragon seems to pursue them and floods out of his mouth wash away their devotion. Give to them great wings as of an eagle, that each one may fly away into the place prepared for him, and rest in the presence of God today.
Our Father, come and rest Thy children now. Take the helmet from our brow, remove from us the weight of our heavy armour for awhile, and may we just have peace, perfect peace, and be at rest. Oh! help us, we pray Thee, now. As Thou hast already washed Thy people in the fountain filled with blood and they are clean, now this morning wash us from defilement in the water. With the basin and with the ewer, O Master, wash our feet again. It will greatly refresh. It will prepare us for innermost fellowship with Thyself. So did the priests wash ere they went into the holy place.
Lord Jesus, take from us now everything that would hinder the closest communion with God. Any wish or desire that might hamper us in prayer remove, we pray Thee. Any memory of either sorrow or care that might hinder the fixing of our affection wholly on our God, take it away now. What have we to do with idols anymore? Thou hast seen and observed us. Thou knowest where the difficulty lies. Help us against it and may we now come boldly, not into the Holy place alone, but into the Holiest of all, where we should not dare to come if our great Lord had not rent the veil, sprinkled the mercy seat with His own blood, and bidden us enter.
Now, we have come close up to Thyself, to the light that shineth between the wings of the cherubim, and we speak with Thee now as a man speaketh with his friends. Our God, we are Thine. Thou art ours. We are now concerned in one business—we are leagued together for one battle. Thy battle is our battle and our fight is Thine. Help us, we pray Thee. Thou who didst strengthen Michael and his angels to cast out the dragon and his angels, help poor flesh and blood that to us also the word may be fulfilled, "The Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."
Our Father, we are very weak. Worst of all we are very wicked if left to ourselves and we soon fall a prey to the enemy. Therefore, help us. We confess that sometimes in prayer when we are nearest to Thee at that very time some evil thought comes in, some wicked desire. Oh! what poor simpletons we are. Lord, help us. We feel as if we would now come closer to Thee still and hide under the shadow of Thy wings. We wish to be lost in God. We pray that Thou mayest live in us, and not we live, but Christ live in us and show Himself in us and through us. Lord, sanctify us. Oh! that Thy spirit might come and saturate every faculty, subdue every passion, and use every power of our nature for obedience to God.
Come, Holy Spirit, we do know Thee. Thou hast often overshadowed us. Come, more fully take possession of us. Standing now as we feel we are, right up at the Mercy Seat, our very highest prayer is for perfect holiness, complete consecration, entire cleansing from every evil. Take our heart, our head, our hands, our feet, and use us all for Thee. Lord, take our substance, let us not hoard it for ourselves, nor spend it for ourselves. Take our talent, let us not try to educate ourselves that we may have the repute of being wise, but let every gain of mental attainment be still that we may serve Thee better.
May every breath be for Thee, may every minute be spent for Thee. Help us to live while we live, and while we are busy in the world as we must be, for we are called to it, may we sanctify the world for Thy service. May we be lumps of salt in the midst of society. May our spirit and temper as well as our conversation be heavenly. May there be an influence about us that shall make the world the better before we leave it. Lord, hear us in this thing.
And now that we have Thine ear, we would pray for this poor world in which we live. We are often horrified by it. O, Lord, we could wish that we did not know anything about it for our own comfort. We have said, "Oh! for a lodge in some vast wilderness." We hear of oppression and robbery and murder, and men seem let loose against each other. Lord, have mercy upon this great and wicked city. What is to be done with these millions? What can we do? At least help every child of Thine to do his utmost. May none of us contribute to the evil directly or indirectly, but may we contribute to the good that is in it.
We feel we may speak with Thee now about this, for when Thy servant Abraham stood before Thee and spake with such wonderful familiarity to Thee, he pleaded for Sodom, and we plead for London. We would follow the example of the Father of the Faithful and pray for all great cities, and indeed for all the nations. Lord, let Thy kingdom come. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth. Chase the old dragon from his throne, with all his hellish crew. Oh! that the day might come when even upon earth the Son of the woman, the Man-child, should rule the nations, not with a broken staff of wood, but with an enduring sceptre of iron, full of mercy, but full of power, full of grace, but yet irresistible. Oh! that that might soon come, the personal advent of our Lord! We long for the millennial triumph of His Word. Until then, O Lord, gird us for the fight and make us to be among those who overcome, through the blood of the Lamb and through the word of our testimony, because we "love not our lives unto the death."
We lift our voice to Thee in prayer, also, for all our dear ones. Lord, bless the sick and make them well as soon as it is right they should be. Sanctify to them all they have to bear. There are also dear friends who are very weak, some that are very trembling. God bless them. While the tent is being taken down, may the inhabitant within look on with calm joy, for we shall by-and-by "be clothed upon with our house that is from heaven." Lord, help us to sit very loose by all these things here below. May we live here like strangers and make the world not a house but an inn, in which we sup and lodge, expecting to be on our journey tomorrow.
Lord, save the unconverted and bring out, we pray Thee, from among them those who are converted, but who have not confessed Christ. May the Church be built up by many who, having believed, are baptized unto the sacred name. We pray Thee go on and multiply the faithful in the land. Oh! that Thou wouldst turn the hearts of men to the Gospel once more. Thy servant is often very heavy in heart because of the departures from the faith. Oh! bring them back. Let not Satan take away any more of the stars with his tail, but may the lumps of God shine bright. Oh! Thou that walkest amongst the seven golden candlesticks trim the flame, pour forth the oil, and let the light shine brightly and steadily. Now, Lord, we cannot pray any longer, though we have a thousand things to ask for. Thy servant cannot, so he begs to leave a broken prayer at the Mercy Seat with this at the foot of it, we ask in the name of Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen.
Wednesday Men's Bible Study July 26, 2023 Chapter Four Getting In Your Place
Join us at Scott Young's House for food and fellowship, singing and studying
What We Learned Together Today July 23, 2023
So many passages of Scriptures which speak to joy in the lives of the people of God. Listen to Psalm 30.
“Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning” [verse five]. “Hear, Lord, and be gracious to me; Lord, be my helper.” [verse ten]. And then verses eleven and twelve, “You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have untied my sackcloth and encircled me with joy, That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” The palmist gives testimony of the work of the Lord God in his life in the matters of joy. The title of our message this morning is “A Promise of Joy for The Disciples of Jesus Because of His Resurrection.” In this world we will be hurt, have pain, experience grief, and endure suffering. Three questions we can ask others: How are things? How are you doing? How can I pray for you? Each of these are seen in this passage today through the words of Jesus. That we would pray that we would have joy no matter what is going on in our lives. In our experience we pursue so many other things like pleasure, happiness, delight to have our will be done, and have control. But here Jesus says there is something more wonderful for us to have from Jesus which is joy. A song that teaches about the role of Jesus in our lives as His disciples would be the Christian hymn “In Christ Alone.” The truth that we as His disciples believe Him, love Him, serve Him, and have Him. Here are a few more thoughts as we begin this morning. Life brings many challenges where difficulties darken our understanding. Such experiences bring the accompanying shadow of emotions in seasons of sorrow and grief. When an unexpected turn on the road of reality is where we find ourselves. On our backs and in our minds there is placed a heavy burden with the companion of a grieving heart. And we walk on the cobblestone uneven path of uncertainty before us. The Bible does not stay away from such matters. Here in the Gospel of John the words of Jesus speak to this matter for His disciples. In this Upper Room discourse given to us here in the Gospel of John the words of the Lord Jesus for His own disciples are filled with promises for faithful believing, blessings for fruitful abiding, and prophecies for hopeful living. READ John 16:1, 33 Jesus speaks about joy in these verses today. He already has mentioned joy back in John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” There we emphasized three parts for joy: confidence in the promise of God, assurance of the power of God, and reliance on the plan of God.
First, A Word By Jesus About Present Misunderstandings [16:16-18]. Here Jesus speaks about Not Seeing Him And Yet Seeing Him Again. This is An Announcement by Jesus of His Resurrection with The Absence Then Presence. In verse 16 Here The Prophecy by Jesus. “A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.” A phrase Jesus uses throughout the Gospel of John [John 7:33; 12:35; 13:33; 14:18-19 cf. John 10:11, 17-18]. Jesus knew fully what was going to happen to Him stating personally these words describing both His death and His resurrection from the dead. The three days prophecy by Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels of His resurrection is only referenced once in the Gospel of John [cf. 2:19-20]. This also is the wording Jesus gave earlier in this chapter [cf. 16:5,7, 10]. In verses 17-18 There The Perplexity by His Disciples. Here in this section the conversation narrative returns [vv. 17-18, 29-30] Three levels of perplexity: 1) “What is this thing He is telling us . . .,“ 2) So they were saying, “What is this that He says . . .,” and 3) “We do not know what He is talking about.” Testimony to the honesty of the Gospel writer eyewitness account of revealing this about himself and the other disciples through a less than lens of presentation. Remember the words of Jesus in verse twelve, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them at the present time.” Also see how these remembered what Jesus said, “and because I go to the Father.” Remembering again what Jesus has already said in previous chapters [14:12, 28; 16:5, 7, 10, 12].
Second, Some Promises By Jesus About Blessed Understandings [16:19-24]. Here there are two main sections: Having Joy & Praying to The Father. In these verses there is Some Encouragement by Jesus Because of His Resurrection. Here Jesus hands them the key of His words to the unlock their understanding. Two points in these words by Jesus. We will only look at verses 19-22 today and study verses 23-24 next week. This week Jesus words For His Disciples His Promise Grief Will Become Joy [16:19-22]. Next week For His Disciples His Promise of Answered Prayer [16:23-24] where Jesus says, “so that your joy may be made full.” The theme of joy in these words of Jesus as he repeats the word joy throughout this passage [v. 20, 21, 22, 24]. A focus and emphasis in the lives of His disciples. Do you see how important joy is for the disciples of Jesus? He wants us to have joy. I am chasing so many other things. We are so often trying to figure out what’s going on, and looking for a little more comfort and less pain instead of having joy. Strong Christian testimony to have joy in a world with such pain and suffering and grief.
Now we look at verses 19-22 For His Disciples His Promise Grief Will Become Joy. In verses 19-20 His promise declared with a prediction. Jesus directing His disciples to His words “Jesus knew . . . and He said to them . . . that I said . . .” Jesus repeating His words plainly & personally to His disciples. And then Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you . . .” He uses this phrase for attention and affirmation calling upon His disciples listen, hear, certainty, reliability [cf. 16:23]. And then in verse 20 “ . . . that you will weep and lament . . . you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.” Such weeping and lamenting always connected with death. Such references are recorded in John 11:31, 33 over Lazarus and John 20:11,13, 15 with Mary near the tomb. These disciples would have joy as recorded in John 20:20. Remember back in John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” See forward Jesus prayer to the Father praying for our joy in John 17:13. There Jesus prayed to the Father, “But now I am coming to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.” In verse 21 His promise described with an illustration. The woman in pain but “ . . . because of the joy . . .” Reality of the pain and the reality of the joy! In verse 22 His promise detailed with an explanation. “Therefore you too have grief now . . .” Then Jesus says, “ . . . but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice . . .” Remembering how Jesus ministered to the hearts of these men [cf. 14:1, 27]. He wants us to have hearts that rejoice! Not going to happen if I get my way, seeking comfort only, and trying to get away from pain. And then He told them “ . . . and no one will take your joy away from you.” Here again three levels. One definition of joy is a deep, abiding inner thankfulness and gratitude to God which is not interrupted when undesirable life circumstances intrude. One unknown author represented joy as the royal banner flying from the flagstaff of the heart, signaling that the King is in residence. A large cold stone of overwhelming grief becomes a deep fresh spring of abounding joy. Would people say I have this kind of joy from Jesus as His disciple? The very event which caused grief and sadness would become the source of joy and gladness. Everywhere the disciples write about the cross there is joy in the resurrected Lord Jesus. Notice the phrase Jesus used, “and I will see you again . . .” Here His words mean looking you in the face. The great truth for everyone who has put their faith in the Lord Jesus that we also will see Him face to face in heaven one day. First Peter 1:3-9 teaches us about these future matters of seeing Jesus and Him seeing us. We need to learn more about this work of God in giving us joy! Such a wonderful statement to understand and the joy Jesus wants us to have as His disciples. This joy is not conditioned upon how people treat us, and everything going the way I want it to go, or whether or not I get my way, and feeling the way I want to feel.
In the epic conclusion to the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis attempts to express the absolute joy that will come as our earthly lives come to an end and we are reunited with our God for all of eternity: The things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before. C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle p.165.
As we give some application from these words of Jesus let us read these words again and again. There would the great expression of confidence, assurance, and reliance in our joy as disciples of Jesus. That we would see the blessed understandings giving to us in the words of Jesus. First, Having joy in your experience as a disciple of Jesus because of His Promises in His Words. He is the resurrected Lord and the exalted Savior. Second, Seeing the Lord turn your grief into joy that your heart would rejoice because of His resurrection. He Is able, He is reliable, He is dependable. Oh Lord you want to turn this grief into joy! What a glorious testimony of His power in our lives as disciples of Jesus. What do I really want the Lord to give me in His joy? Do I want my testimony to show He does this? Third, Understanding the ministry of the Good Shepherd to you as His disciple when you are in the misery of grief and sorrow. Our Testimony of Joy as His disciple. There is the joy only Jesus can give that others would see what He can do and the joy He does give His own. Fourth, This experience of joy needs to be my testimony as a disciple of Jesus. Do not underestimate what God wants to do in taking our grief and turning it into your joy as your testimony as His disciple. What a great message to the world of joy from Jesus!
Wednesday Men's Bible Study July 19, 2023 Chapter Three Identifying Your Own Way
Also Burgers with Bruce Dinner at the Leonard's 6:30 PM
1) Let us review again the teaching on communication in the Exemplary Husband book as the instructions for communication moving forward . . . “but speaking the truth in love” [Ephesians 4:15]. We ought to maintain a high level of biblical communication in our interaction as brothers.
2) Let us remind ourselves again of how we ought to relate and interact as brothers with the instructions by the Apostle Paul, “[I] urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” [Ephesians 4:1-3] We ought to walk with one another in such ways in which we live our calling and behave with such diligence.
3) Let us remind ourselves of remaining devoted to prayer to God, especially praying for another as the writer of Hebrews says, “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.” [Hebrews 13:19] We ought to pray for one another as brothers because of each of our responsibilities, concerns, problems, burdens, struggles, battles, failures, and sins. We need to pray for one another both privately and publicly, personally and presently, fervently and humbly.
4) Let us remind ourselves of what the Lord has done and what we believe He does do . . . “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” [Ephesians 3:20-21] We ought to speak forth this belief in the matters we are responsible as brothers giving thanks to Him when He does show Himself in our midst as Him who is able to do.
5) Let us remind ourselves of the importance of the work of the Spirit of God in our lives as brothers and the life of the ministry of New Life Fellowship. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want.” [Galatians 5:16-17] We ought to walk in dependence upon the Spirit of God desiring the fruit of the Spirit brought forth in our discussions so that any conflict, disagreement, complaint, and sin do not manifest any of the deeds of the flesh.
6) Let us remind ourselves of the need in each of our lives for the confession of sin, repentance of sin, and faith in the Lord as we were given as a church body during our time at the Communion table on Sunday. We ought to live the Christian life as one examined by the Spirit of God bowing at the foot of the cross being those who are asking forgiveness from the Lord and from one another as sinners saved by grace.
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.