Fullness of Joy

1 John 1:4

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.

Preached at FBC Toulon, IL on July 29, 2001 by Albert Harmon; see it at toulonbaptist.com

Iwon search engine lists 2,847,388 pages with the word joy in them.

Amazon.com lists 2,728 books with the word "Joy" in the title. There were 1,367 books with the word happiness in the title, this includes some duplicates but not many. About 4,000 books on the market that want to tell you how to be happy. There must be a market.

At Christianbook.com the search turned up 436 books and music with joy in the title.

It seems that the world is looking for joy and happiness. But then that should not surprise us, very few people are looking for grief and sadness.

But don't you wonder how many of those over 4,000 books really bring happiness and joy. That would be quite a claim. But John here writes to these fellow believers and tells them that what he has written was for the purpose that they might find joy and more than that their joy might be full.

What is the joy that John is talking about and how will his readers be sure to have it.

  1. The fullness of joy comes from a closeness to God.
    1. Don't take the verse out of its context.
      1. The idea of joy is very important in John's letter.
      2. That is why he placed it at the very beginning.
      3. Not only what comes before is the key to joy but what comes after.
    2. You will never know any joy until you know Christ.
      1. He is the source of joy.
      2. He is the fount of all blessings that come from God and we cannot receive them unless they come through Him.
      3. Lloyd-Jones says, "Here again we come to the great watershed which divides Christian preaching and teaching from every other teaching; it is based solely on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian Church has nothing to say to the world until it believes on Him. Indeed the Church's message to the world is one of condemnation until it believes on Christ. Christ is central, He is essential, He is the beginning and the end, and John has nothing to say to these people by way of encouragement unless they are absolutely clear about Him. It is through Him that we have access to God; and it is through Him that we have fellowship with God." Life In Christ Studies in 1 John
      4. John is telling us that we will never know joy much less have our joy full without Jesus Christ in our lives.
      5. Unless we know Him;
        1. Concerning the deity and eternity of Christ, the Word.
        2. Concerning the truth of his humanity.
        3. The manifestation of him in the flesh.
        4. Concerning that eternal life and salvation which is declared in the Gospel to be in Him.
      6. You cannot have the joy that He offers until you know Him.
    3. But John wants them to know that there are some things that will hinder their relationship with God and thus hinder their joy.
      1. Fellowship is such a fragile thing and it can be diminished if we do not guard it.
      2. Sin - unrighteousness will always disrupt our fellowship with God.
        1. Notice what John says verse 5-6 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. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
        2. He tells us that God is all holy, all light and no sin and no darkness.
        3. The idea is that if we are of God and have been born of Him then we too will walk in light and not in sin.
        4. As a matter of fact, he says that if we do walk in darkness and yet say that we have fellowship with Him we are nothing but a boldface liar.
        5. You cannot live a sinful life and fellowship with God, it is not possible.
      3. Not loving God's other children will also have a direct affect on our fellowship with God.
        1. In 2:3 John says, "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments."
        2. Now I know that you are saying, "Well there are so many commandments."
        3. But John has only one in mind.
        4. 1 John 2:8-10 "a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
        5. When the kids fight with each other you can bet that they are going to get in trouble with mom.
        6. I can remember my dad often saying when in the midst of a fight I would say, "He started it." That dad would say, "Well I can finish it."
        7. How is it that we think we can have bad feelings and intentions towards God other children and think that He is somehow going to take our side.
        8. John says it is a sure sign that you are in darkness if you hate a fellow Christian.
        9. 1 John 3:15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
        10. Now I can hear someone say, "Well I don't hate them, I just can't stand them."
        11. Well listen to what John says in 1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.
        12. No love for fellow Christians = no fellowship with God = no joy.
  2. Joy in this life and world comes when you have a conscious possession of eternal life.
    1. It is possible to know that you have eternal life.
      1. 1 John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life,
      2. John 5:24 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
      3. It is because it does not depend on us. Tit 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us,
      4. What a blessed possession to know that even though this life is filled with all sorts of trials and troubles we have a home in heaven just waiting for us there.
      5. What hope there is there, what peace and joy.
      6. Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
      7. Psalms 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
    2. But as in fellowship with God there are things that we can do that can take away our assurance of eternal life.
      1. It is not that we have it then loose it.
        1. It is that only those who are on the narrow road know for sure that they entered the narrow gate.
        2. If your life says you are a child of the devil, then you have no assurance that you are a child of God.
      2. When we fail to keep His commandments and to life a Godly life then we loose this assurance and our happiness.
        1. When we fall into sin, we begin to doubt, and rightly so.
        2. The devil comes along to also accuse us and further remove our joy and peace.
        3. Remember John's warning in 1 John 2:4, "He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
        4. God does not want you happy if your happy living away from Him.
      3. Our assurance will be lost if we begin to entertain false views on Jesus Christ.
        1. If we become disillusioned with how Jesus is and what He is doing in the world.
        2. If you become unhappy about your understanding of him.
        3. Then you will loose the anchor of your assurance and become once again an unhappy soul.

Joy is not found in things. It is found in God through His Son Jesus Christ. It is found by knowing why you are hear and what you are doing and where you are going.

If you do not have those things there can be no joy.

John 13

15 "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

16 "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.

17 "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

 

This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com