Joy From Knowing Christ
Another part of God's divine nature we share is joy. Applying the Word of God in your life and living in His will gives you joy.
Alright. Thank you very much and hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your good friend, Bob Cook, and we’re back together again for a few moments to enjoy God’s blessed Word, the infallible, inherent, eternal Word of God, the Bible. You know at the college, we don’t teach people that the Bible contains God’s Word. We teach people that the Bible is the Word of God. That’s our basic presupposition. Every scientist is entitled to at least one and that’s ours. And we start — we start with the Word of God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Good understanding have all they that love thy Law.
And so my joy is to share with you from God’s Word. Try to put a handle on it is what I do. Put a handle on it so that you can get hold of it for yourself and I trust that that may be so. I’ve got letters from all different kinds of people, corporate vice presidents and presidents and physicians and surgeons and nurses and lawyers and salespeople and teachers, professors, and homemakers and students, and even a little boy who sends me 7 cents out of his allowance. God bless him. Nice to hear from you people. Bless your heart. I’m so glad there’s some blessing coming to different ones of you through the Word of God.
Well, joy is the next thing that we’re talking about in this divine profile. That by these promises, ye might be partakers of the divine nature. And then we looked at Galatians 5 where he said, “The fruit of the Spirit, the result of God working in your life in other words is love and then joy, joy. At thy right hand — in thy presence there’s fullness of joy. At thy right hand, there’s pleasures forevermore.” They that sow in tears shall reap in joy; therefore, with joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation. Hitherto have you asked nothing in my name. Ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full. “The kingdom of God,” said Paul in Romans “is not meat and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Joy. Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart, for I’m called by thy name, oh, Lord God of hosts. Philip went down to Samaria and preached Christ. He said there was great joy in that city. We had a passage from I Peter before when we were studying that book. “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” The joy of the Lord is your strength.
What about this matter? These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full. What do you make of all these? Well, first of all, there is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness depends upon circumstances and how I feel about them. Joy depends upon a relationship with a person that doesn’t vary. There’s an old English chorus that as a matter of fact, I never heard it sung. I saw the words once in an English songbook where they just had the words without the music, but I remembered them through the years. “I’m happy when everything happens to please. But happiness comes and goes. While a heart that has stayed on Jesus the Savior, ever with joy or flows. Happiness happens, but joy abides in the heart that has stayed on Jesus.” Wise words, those, wouldn’t you agree? So it’s a matter of joy. It has to do with the relationship with the person.
Remember the disciples’ glad when they saw the Lord. There was joy there. Joy when the Gospel was preached, joy when the lost sheep was brought back. He layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And our Lord Jesus said, concerning his message to the disciples, “These things” — this is John 15:11. “These things have I spoken unto you that my joy, my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full.” What was his joy? Over to Hebrews. Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has now sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high, the joy of doing the Father’s will. He said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.” Joy in accomplishing the will of God. He said, “I want my joy to be fulfilled in you, remain in you.” The Word of God makes you happy with the will of God. The Word of God makes you happy and comfortable with the will of God.
Have you ever noticed how uncomfortable people are who are either unsaved or are backslidden and out of God’s will? You get them in a red hot prayer meeting or you get them in a revival meeting or on a meeting where people are just rejoicing in the Lord and they are absolutely uncomfortable, not to say miserable. Why? Well, because when you’re out of God’s will or if you’re unsaved, you don’t feel easy with the Lord. You know, when we were enemies through wicked works, you’re God’s enemy until you get saved. That’s the fact of the matter, isn’t it?
And so it’s the application of the Word of God that makes you comfortable with the will of God. That my joy might remain in you. And then he said, “Your joy might be full.” What is your joy? That’s the joy of knowing Christ, whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Your joy is the joy of knowing Christ and the joy of winning others. To Him, they that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seeds. The seed is the word of God. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seeds, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. So it’s the joy of knowing Christ. It’s the joy of sharing Christ. It’s the joy of seeing the Lord work in the lives of others.
John the Baptist said, “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth by, greatly rejoices to hear the bridegroom’s voice. This, my joy, therefore is fulfilled.” What did he mean? I get a kick out of seeing Jesus work in the lives of others. That’s what John the Baptist meant. Joy of knowing Jesus, joy of sharing Jesus, joy of seeing Him work in other people’s lives. Ah, yes. Now, he said, “You apply the Word of God and you will begin to share.” Partakers means share. Remember the Greek word “koinonia”? We call it fellowship, sharing the very essence of God’s nature, part of which is His joy. The Lord God in the midst of thee is mighty. He will rest in his love. He will love over thee with singing. That’s what the prophets said about God.
Part of God’s nature is joy. Don’t think of God as a gloomy, old, grandfatherly somebody sitting off in the corner of heaven growling at you. Don’t get that impression of God. He is a loving heavenly father. He is more willing to bless you than you are to be blessed, more willing to guide you than you are to be guided, more willing to strengthen you than you are to be strengthened, and He will rejoice with you and fill your life with joy.
I’ve told you often about Cyril Thompson, the man I met in Calcutta the first day that we arrived there, Meryl Dunlap and I, tired after having flown all night from where was it? Shanghai I guess we came from. And getting into Calcutta about 4 in the morning, going through the interminable process of immigration and customs. It took two or three hours as they examined every facet of our life and experience. Just for a chuckle. A funny thing that just killed me was that on the form, it said, “Where did you spend the last 14 nights?” It didn’t say anything about what you did during the day.
Well, anyhow, by the time we got into downtown Calcutta after having traversed the several miles, what was it, 10 or 15 miles into town, with the camel caravans and the rickshaws and the sacred cows and the Rolls Royce’s and the street people that had no home, just a malaise of human nature, just boggling the mind as one saw it for the first time, then coming in to the Youth for Christ Office which was in a local church and meeting Cyril Thompson. He was a missionary there sent from England, a great strapping young fellow with a ruddy British complexion and a voice like thunder. And so when we met, I exchanged greetings with him. I said, “Well, how is it going?” And he drew himself up to his full 6 foot whatever it was, 3 or so, and said, “Brother, I am full of the joy of the Lord.” Oh, he was just beaming. Well, I found out later that that very day, he was stony-broke. He didn’t have a rupee to his name because those who were supporting him in Great Britain hadn’t sent the support check and he didn’t have a thing. He was literally existing by faith and on the goodness of some other folk who might have loaned him a rupee or two to buy something to eat, but he was full of the joy of the Lord.
Joy doesn’t depend on circumstances. It depends on the relationship with the person. You could have joy even when your heart is breaking. Have you learned that? You see, it’s a fallacy to think that you’ll always be happy as a Christian. Through 23 years of being the president of the college, I dealt with I would suppose hundreds of young people who came in my office at one time or another complaining that things weren’t going well with them and they’d say, “I thought when I became a Christian, everything was going to go all right.” And now they had problems and now there was too much month at the end of the money, or now they had broken up with someone that they had thought they were in love with, or now something was going wrong and they felt that their Christian faith was at risk.
See, the Bible nowhere says that everything is coming up roses just because you became a Christian. Our Lord Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” “Ye all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,” wrote Paul. Troubles are part of living. You learn that after you live a while. But joy is something that is greater than any of the troubles, any of the burdens, any of the heartaches that you and I can ever face. Hallelujah for that. Have you learned that, beloved? Oh, get hold of that truth. You don’t have to be happy all the time.
Remember this man that changed his religious faith? He was a member of a group that claims that everything is wonderful and everything is just happy, happy, happy? And he met his friend and his friend said, “Well, how are you doing with your new-found religion?” He said, “I changed it. I dropped it.” And his friend said, “Well, what happened?” He said, “I got tired of being so happy all the time.” You’re not required to be happy all the time. You are required to be faithful. “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life,” says our Lord. And in return, he promises you His joy. These things that I have spoken unto you, that’s His promises, see, His promises. We’re talking about them, aren’t we? Precious promises. These things have I spoken unto you that in me you might have peace, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. A right relationship with a loving Savior gives you joy even when things aren’t going so well. We come on with this the next time we get together.
Jesus our Lord, we worship and adore Thee. We pray that we may have Thy joy today as we obey Thy Word. Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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