Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Joy of the Church - 130714AM@TBC

Week 1:  The IDEA of the Church:  (Pastor Jim)
as the Building, the Body, and the Bride
Week 2: The VALUE of the Church  (Andrew Moss)
Thru it the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known
This Week:  The JOY of the Church
Week 4: The PURPOSE of the Church (Paul Elliot)
Week 5: The FUTURE of the Church (Andrew Moss)

Think back over the last week (or maybe two). What has brought you happiness or joy?
What we laugh at and take pleasure in can tell a lot about who we really are.

When we talk about the “Joy of the Church,”we might address this expression from the perspective of what actually causes joy for the often dysfunctional and sinful group of redeemed saints who make up the Church.  We can also look at the topic from an aspirational perspective and consider what the Church should take joy in.

The two most common Greek words for joy appear almost 130 times in the NT.
The Greek noun χαρά (chara), which occurs 59 times in 57 verses.
The corresponding Greek verb χαίρω (chairō), which occurs 77 times in 68 verses.

What should bring the Church joy?

I am reminded of a familiar joke..
The Sunday school teacher asked the young boys in his class, “What is red, furry, and has a bushy tail?”
The class stared back with blank, puzzled looks.
Finally one timid boy raised his hand and responded, “Well, it sounds a lot like a squirrel, but I know the answer has to be Jesus.”

We use this story to poke fun at the thoughtless rote answers that are can be so common in Sunday school.
The truth is the little boy had figured out what the heart and focus of the Church is.

We will look to a sampling of examples and admonitions from some New Testament Apostles.
What were occasions of their joy?
As we read through the NT we quickly notice that the joy of the Apostles centered around Christ.
  • A sweet fellowship with Him
  • An unwavering faith in Him
  • Discipling followers for Him
  • A spectacular finale with Him

1.  JOHN: Joy in Fellowship with the Father and the Son.
  • Brother of Peter.
  • Call from his father’s fishing business to follow Christ.
  • He was the disciple “whom Jesus loved.”
  • Was used to write a Gospel, three letters, and Relation.
John 17:20-23  Christ’s heart for the Church
20 "I do not pray for these alone,
but also for those who will believe in Me
through their word;
21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me,
 and I in You; that they also may be one in Us,
that the world may believe that You sent Me.
22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them,
 that they may be one just as We are one:
23 I in them, and You in Me;
that they may be made perfect in one,
and that the world may know that You have sent Me,
 and have loved them as You have loved Me.
those who will believe in Me
  • This refers to us today who have believed. (What?)
  • as You, Father, are in Me,  and I in You
  • Notice that the fellowship between members of the Trinity is the model for the fellowship Christ desired for us.
  • Christ valued fellowship with the Father and the Spirit and desired for us to join in that fellowship.
  • one
  • Notice the frequent use of the number one to reinforce the unity desired between us and Christ.
  • that the world may
  • When our fellowship is centered with Christ is heaven, it will make an impression on the lost around us.
1 John 1:3-4
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life-- 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. 5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
that you also may
  • John gives his heart’s desire and the purpose of the book.
  • fellowship
  • κοινωνία G2842 - koinōnia:  community, communion, joint participation  
  • fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
  • Notice the similarity between this and Christ’s prayer for us in John 17.  Our fellowship with Christ and each other is a source of joy for the Church.
2.     JAMES: Joy in Faith that is complete and unwavering.
  • a brother of Jesus Christ
  • Apostle
  • leader in the church in Jerusalem
  • He wrote one of the earliest books of the Bible
James 1:2-4, 6
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
  • count it all joy
  • count  ἡγέομαι  G2233 - hēgeomai
  • NJKV, NIV84—consider;  NASB, ESV—count
  • When your faith is tested and tried by trials, there is a good result. 
  • It enables us to endurance to “abide under” the pressures
  • that you may be perfect and complete
  • perfect  τέλειος  G5046 - teleios:  finished, complete, mature
  • complete ὁλόκληρος  G3648 - holoklēro:  complete in all its parts, without blemish or defect
  • ask in faith, with no doubting
  • When testing strengthens our faith, so that we will have confidence when we come to God to ask for wisdom
  • When we face these trials, the big consideration is what is it doing for our faith.  This was so important to James that he was joyful to have trials that strengthened his faith.

 What was James last thought as he wrote this letter to the  early church?
James 5:19-20 
19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

  • James began the book concerned about the positive effect trials had on his faith. 
  • He ends concerned about restoring those who will turn from the truth.

TE: The discipling followers of Christ to finish well with Him was also a passion and joy of Paul.

3. PAUL: Joy in Followers who finish well.
Philippians 2:14-17  These statements by Paul about himself are in the context of Christ making himself of no reputation and dieing for us.
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. 17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
in the day of Christ

  • This points to the rapture of the Church,
  • Paul’s focus for the Philippians was not primarily their conversion, but that they would finish well.
  • labored in vain.
  • If he worked with them only to have them fail to run well, it would be wasted effort. 
sacrifice and service of your faith
Paul uses the imagery of a drink offering to describe how he was pouring himself out in a life of sacrifice and service to strengthen their faith.
glad and rejoice
Paul took great joy in the opportunity to teach and disciple those Philippian believers.

1 Thessalonians. 2:18-19
Paul had a tender affection for the Thess. church.
17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. 18 Therefore we wanted to come to you--even I, Paul, time and again--but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?
hope-Their development was what he lived for
joy-God’s working in their lives caused him to be glad.
crown of rejoicing-The evidence of the success and effectiveness of his ministry.

in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ
Paul was looking forward to Christ’s return and was pleased at those he would take with him.
Philippians 4.9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

TE: Who are you taking to heaven?  What have you built into people’s lives that will bring Christ glory when He takes us to heaven?

4.  PETER: Joy in a Finale of praise, honor, & glory to Christ.
1 Peter 1:6-9
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
v. 6  In this you greatly rejoice
begotten us again
to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled ... reserved in heaven for you,

Notice the forward focus toward the resurrection and heavenly inheritance.

(kept by the power of God through faith)
Peter understood what this phrase meant like few others because he had been shaken by Satan himself. 
It was the prayers of Christ that saw Him through with his genuine faith.
Luke 22  After a dispute between the disciples about  who would be greatest.
31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."
genuineness of your faith,
Like James, Peter put great importance on unwavering faith. 
praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ
Peter did not take pride that he had somehow mustered up the courage to have faith.
The fact that his faith was still strong was a result of God’s power and Christ’s prayers.
This relates to what Andrew reminded us of last week.  The value of the Church is that we give praise , honor, and glory to Christ.

Notice how the anticipation  of Christ’s return and being with Him in glory outweighed the grieve from their trials and persecution.  
1 Peter 4:12-13
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.

partake of Christ's sufferings
This is a reoccuring theme in the epistles.  The Apostles desired to be like Christ in every way possible.

that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

Luke 6
22 Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man's sake.
23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
Matthew 10.32
 "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.

Mathew 10.32
"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
Has this world been so kind that you should leave it with regret?  There are better things ahead than we leave behind.  —CS Lewis

JOHN: Joy in Fellowship
      with the Father and the Son.
JAMES: Joy in Faith
    that is complete and unwavering.
PAUL: Joy in Followers
    who finish well.
PETER: Joy in a Finale
    of praise, honor, & glory to Christ.

The source of joy for the Christian is Christ and a life devoted to Him.

Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say,
Philippians 4:4

Benediction 1 Peter 5.10-11

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