You may recall a few weeks ago that I did a bible study that focused on the three levels of faith.  In that study, I answered the question and stated, “We may lose our joy and our gifts, since we are not using them, but we will never lose our salvation.”  So, we saw that our salvation is sealed through God’s grace and our faith in Christ.

Because our salvation is sealed through God’s grace, there are some believers that believe this means they can do whatever they want.  This also has been a subject of conversation that we have focused on just as recently as my latest sermon – Who Do You Serve.  Paul was speaking to the Roman believers about being either a servant of righteousness or a servant of sin.  He asked the question, “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace (Rom. 6:15)?”  He immediately answered, “Certainly not!”

The honest truth is that no one in this world is perfect and without sin, whether they are a follower of Christ or not.  Yes, genuine followers of Christ still commit sin but if we go to God and confess our sins to Him, He is both faithful and just to forgive us of our sin (1 John 1:9).  Now, there are some who profess to be a follower of Christ yet they blatantly dwell in sin because they believe they have the Lord’s forgiveness.

To blatantly choose to dwell in sin while professing to a believer states quite a few things about this person.  First, they are not a true follower of Christ and are still a servant of sin.  Secondly, they are trying to take advantage of the Lord’s grace and mercy, which honestly shows that they do not care about God, His grace, and His mercy.  Thirdly, this also shows what this person thinks of their peace and their joy.

I focused on my first point in the sermon I mentioned above, so if you’re interested in that point, I would definitely recommend checking out that sermon if you have not done so already.  Now, what I do want to focus on is the idea about despising the Lord even further by not cherishing our peace and our joy.  So, let’s take a deep dive into the thought of cherishing our joy and peace.

Where Our Joy Comes From

As a child of God, the last thing we should ever do is despise the Lord, our salvation, peace, and joy.  In my recent study – Losing Your Gift From God – we essentially took a look at how we despise the Lord by despising the gift(s) that God gives to us.  We should be thankful and cherish the gifts that the Lord gives to us, right?

At the very same time, I want you to know that the peace and joy that we have has been given to us by the Lord.  The peace and joy that I am speaking of is not given to us by anything that is of the world.  To show you this, I want to show what Jesus said about our joy and where it came from.  

I find that when we don’t know where something we have received came from, we often do not cherish what we have received.  So, when we can understand where our joy came from, we can then better cherish what we have.

Peace given by the Lord

The joy that dwells in the heart of all of those that genuinely believe in the Lord comes from the Lord.  Let us take notice of what Jesus said to the disciples about the peace and joy we had received in John 14:25-27; 15:9-11.

Jesus was speaking to the disciples about His leaving the world, just prior to His death in the two passages of scripture that I just referenced.  He had advised the disciples to have faith and believe in Him when their hearts were troubled.  The idea being that when our hearts are filled with sorrow, we should turn to the Lord so that our sorrow can be replaced with His joy.

So, in the first passage of scripture I referenced from John’s gospel, Jesus tells the disciples, “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Now, if you notice, Jesus was speaking specifically about peace to the disciples.  We define peace as a state of feeling safe and secure in liberty (freedom).  If you pay close attention to this passage of scripture, Jesus clearly states He is leaving peace with us and that it is His peace that He is giving to us.  Jesus then said, “not as the world gives do I give to you,” when speaking about His peace.

So, the world is capable of giving peace but I want you to understand that the peace that the world gives is nothing compared to the peace that comes from Christ.  When we receive Jesus’ peace through the inner dwelling of the Holy Spirit which dwells in the hearts of all believers.  Because our peace is coming through God, we should understand that our peace is eternal because God is eternal.  Peace that is given by the world is a peace that is temporary because the world itself is temporary, just as Jesus stated (Matt. 6:19-20).

Joy comes from the Lord

Feeling safe and secure in the liberty of the Lord leads us to being joyful in our hearts.  Therefore, this means that the joy we feel in our hearts comes from the Lord.  This is confirmed to us in the second passage of scripture I referenced from John’s gospel.  Jesus stated in that second reference, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

So, to be clear, our peace and our joy comes from God through our fellowship (our relationship) with Him.  Someone might say, “preacher, I feel happy and joyful and I am not a believer in God.”  Just to reiterate, the world is fully capable of bringing peace and joy to those who do not believe in the Lord.  However, the world’s peace and joy is simply not the same as God’s peace and joy.

Consider for a moment how the world has gone about and still goes about trying to establish peace and joy.  Wars have been fought trying to establish someone’s idea for what peace is, only for war and contentions to be unending.  As we know, the world is always changing and peace – feeling safe and secure – cannot be established by a world that is constantly going through shifts and changes.  So, the world’s peace and joy will always be temporary.

So, because the kind of peace we truly need in our soul cannot be established by the world, that means that the joy we need in our soul cannot truly come by way of the world.  Yet, again, because God’s peace is everlasting in our hearts, that means the joy that we receive because we are safe and secure in the Lord is also everlasting.  Where the world’s joy is temporary, Jesus tells us that His joy is full.  The world’s joy eventually goes away and will leave you empty, but the Lord’s joy never goes away and will never leave you feeling empty. 

How God gave us His joy

Now, from what we have already seen, it is the Holy Spirit that gives us Jesus’ peace and therefore, God’s joy.  However, I feel that it is important for us to understand the effort that went into our receiving of the Holy Spirit.  Let us take a brief look at what Jesus said to the disciples about the Holy Spirit in John 16:5-7.  

To the disciples, Jesus said, “Now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’  But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.  Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”

So, in order for us to receive the Holy Spirit, Jesus had to go away — He had to return back to His Father’s house.  The way in which Jesus returned back to God’s heavenly kingdom was through His physical death.  (In order for all of us to reach heaven, we will have to physically die.)  Jesus was risen from the grave and after remaining with the disciples for forty days after His resurrection, He returned to heaven, which made way for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:1-3,9).

So, I share this information with you so that we can understand that Jesus sacrificed Himself so that we could receive quite a bit.  Through Jesus’ sacrifice, we received:  God’s mercy and salvation, the Holy Spirit, peace, joy, and salvation.  Not only did we receive all of this through Jesus’ sacrifice, the barrier to the Lord was torn down and we are able to go directly to Him and be in fellowship with Him.

Having that barrier that was between us and the Lord because of our sin torn down is so significant and important.  Prior to His sacrifice, we have to understand that mankind’s sin blocked us from having access to the Lord.  This means that there was no chance of personally being in fellowship with the Lord.  We could say that Israel was in fellowship with the Lord but this was not the case for other nations of people.  

So, because we are in fellowship with the Lord because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can go and communicate with Him at any time.  In scripture, we will see that Jesus said,

“In that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.  Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:23-24).”

So, our peace and joy has come to us through the Lord giving us His only begotten Son.  We received our peace and joy through the only begotten Son sacrificing Himself for us.  Because He sacrificed Himself for us, and we have chosen to believe in Him, we have joy and our joy is full.  We should not take this joy for granted but we should live our lives cherishing our joy.

Losing Our Joy

Unfortunately, our joy is seemingly always under attack.  We know for certain that the devil is always trying to take away our joy.  When Jesus spoke about His sheep and tending to the fold, He spoke of why it was necessary for Him to be the good shepherd of the flock.  The reason that we need the Lord to keep us in His care is because we are always under the threat of grave danger.

Satan wants your joy

In John 10:7-10, we will see Jesus say, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Let us note that Jesus was speaking to the safety and security of those who belong to Him – His sheep.  If you are one of His sheep – a genuine follower – then Jesus says you will have safety and security in His pasture.  However, let us note that there are thieves who, before He came, would do nothing but try to steal, kill, and destroy those who desired to follow the Lord.  Even while Jesus was physically present in our world, we know that there were many that turned from following Him, including one of His own close followers, Judas Iscariot.

So, yes, we have to certainly be on guard because the thieves and robbers are still out there.  Peter, from his life experience, wrote that the devil is like a prowling lion seeking whom he can devour (1 Pet. 5:8).  The devil desires to take away our joy because when our joy is lost, our hope is lost.  A hopeless believer is one who can easily be taken down and defeated by the devil.  This is why we are told to pray diligently because the Lord desires that we never lose our hope.

Now, I don’t believe I have shared any new information with you about the devil desiring to rob you of your joy, right?  Yet, I do want to point out to you that there is a far larger threat and enemy that wants to take away your joy than Satan.  You see, the Lord, I believe is not going to allow the devil to just have your joy.  However, what about you?

We are our own worst enemy.  We are in control of our joy with the Lord’s help.  However, the devil will work on you to the point to see if you will break and give away your joy.  We like to think of it as the devil ‘robbing us of our joy’ but I want you to look at this differently.  The devil does not break into your house and take away your joy without you seeing it.  No, Satan will work to snatch your joy away from you and what we must do is build up our strength not to let our joy go.

Sadly, there are times where we give in to our old nature and we sin.  In our sin, we can get so down that we end up giving up our joy and we lose the joy of our salvation.  This is what happened to David after he committed his great sin by committing adultery with Bathsheba, and then having Uriah killed to cover up his great sin (2 Sam. 11:1-17).

David’s great transgression

David discusses his transgression against the Lord in a couple of psalms that we are going to take a look at.  In his transgression, we will see that David lost the joy of his salvation.  I want to point out to you that it was not necessarily Satan that robbed David of his joy, but it was David in his own decision that caused him to lose the joy of his salvation.

David tried to keep quiet and do nothing about his transgression.  In Psalm 32:3-5, we will see David speak of his transgression and the results of his transgression.  David tells us, “When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long.”  David sinned and literally kept silent about his great sin.  Notice that in doing this, David suffered greatly in his soul to the point of being in agony.

David even tells us that in the inaction of his transgression, he started to age (his bones grew old).  I don’t believe David was the vibrant and joyful king that happily danced for the Lord at the bringing in of the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem.  No, David’s spiritual joy was gone and it began to show physically.  

As David tells us, the Lord’s hand was heavy upon him both day and night.  David’s sin did not go unpunished as the Lord felt that David had despised His commandment (2 Sam. 12:9-19).  Because of his great sin, the son of David that Bathsheba bore because of their adultery was taken away by the Lord.  Not only did he lose that son, but Absalom was also taken away from David later in his life which caused David to mourn greatly (2 Sam. 18, 19:1-4).

So, yes, Satan will definitely try to rob us of our joy but we can be our greatest threat to our own joy by choosing to transgress against the Lord.  I believe that when we knowingly transgress against the Lord, we will beat our own selves up which can cause great agony.  Then, to add on to that, the Lord is going to offer His correction until we confess our wrong.  Even after he confessed his wrong, David had to deal with the consequences of his transgression – I believe the same to be true for us as well.

Restoring Our Joy

Now, if we go about living our lives cherishing our joy, then we will do our very best to hold on to that joy.  Again, none of us are perfect, so there certainly are going to be times when we give up our joy because of our own error.  So, if we live our lives cherishing our joy, on that day when the joy of our salvation seems lost, we should go to the Lord.

Had the Lord not sent the prophet Nathan to David, I’m not certain David would have ever came clean and confessed his sin to the Lord, but he did confess his transgression as shown in Psalm 51.  The Lord has reached out to all of us when it comes to our sin; He did this through the giving of His only begotten Son.  So, we have an opportunity to go to God when it comes to confessing our transgressions to Him. Let’s take a moment to look at David’s repentance because this is something we have to learn how to do when we have transgressed the Lord.

Repentance leads to joy

A few weeks ago at church, we were discussing the subject of losing salvation, and my uncle, a retired pastor, brought up Psalm 51 to speak about how we can lose the joy of our salvation.  In this psalm, David spoke to God about restoring the joy of his salvation because he had lost that joy (Ps. 51:12).  David cherished that joy and he desired greatly to have his joy restored.

As we open to this psalm, we will see David say to the Lord, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.  For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.  Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight (Ps. 51:1-4).”  In order for there to be true repentance, like David, we have to confess and acknowledge when we wrong the Lord.

David then said in this psalm, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You (God) have broken may rejoice.  Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit (Ps. 51:7-12).”

I want you to understand, David understood well what he once had in the joy of his salvation and what he had lost in that joy.  David was in so much agony because he realized that he had transgressed the Lord and that he had lost God’s special joy.  What we see in David’s repentance is that David cherished that joy and he wanted that joy back.

Cherish your joy

Likewise, we should cherish the joy of our salvation to the point where we do not want to live without it.  When we have erred, we should turn to the Lord and repent of our transgressions.  To not repent of our sin, would be to despise our joy and to despise the Lord as well.

Despising the Lord and the joy of our salvation can be absolutely tragic for the genuine believer.  No, you would not lose your salvation because as we have seen, our salvation is sealed, but at the same time, we ought not grieve the Holy Spirit which dwells in us (Eph. 4:30).  So, at the conclusion of this study, I hope that you understand how special your joy is and that you will cherish it.

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