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αὐξανόμενοι εἰς τὴν ἐπίγνωσιν τοῦ Θεοῦ
OF THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT
The Old Testament was entrusted to the Jewish nation. Abundant
evidence shows that they did an excellent job. Paul himself witnessed to
that: “What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of the
circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed
the oracles of God.” (Romans 3:1-2). The witness of the Jewish historian
Josephus is also worth notice. He writes: “… and how firmly we have
given credit to those books of our own nation, is evident by what we do;
for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold
as either to add anything to them, to take anything from them, or to
make any change in them; but it becomes natural to all Jews, immediately
and from their very birth, to esteem those books to contain divine
doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be, willingly die
for them.” Flavius Josephus, Against Apion, 8.42.
I am presenting here the outline of a Bible study held at New Hope Christian Center on October 8, 2014. The interaction and the comments of those attending cannot be reproduced here: this is why nothing will ever take the place of traditional, constant church attendance.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV)
Joy will be the subject of this Bible study.
J.B. Lightfoot wrote: “Love is the foundation, joy the superstructure, peace the crown of all.”
I decided to choose one of the many definitions of the word joy, which I believe fits my personal experience: The Joy of the believer is a deep feeling of contentment, not depending on specific events but on his relationship with God.
Billy Graham said: “Joy cannot be persued. It comes from within. It is a state of being. It does not depend on circumstances, but triumphs over circumstances.”
There a wonderful, amazing phrase in the Old Testament which has always blessed me.“… the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
This passage of Scripture tells us what kind of joy is in the believer’s heart. It is the joy of the LORD, as a result of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.
Joy was felt at the resurrection of Jesus: “So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.” (Matthew 28:8)
Joy is felt when we hear God’s Word: "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)
Joy was felt by the early church. “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:52)
Joy is felt as we serve God. "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)
Joy is in the Kingdom of God. "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)
The true, unspeakable, perfect joy has God as its source. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
The joy of the Lord gives us strength, no matter the circumstances. That is why Paul can write: “I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.” (2 Corinthians 7:4)
Peter wrote a wonderful passage to the persecuted church. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 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, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith-- the salvation of your souls.”(1 Peter 1:3-9)
Paul was in Rome, in prison, when he wrote: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). If even a man, unjustly persecuted and finally cast in prison for no reason at all, literally held in chains, did not only rejoice himself, but even found the strength to encourage others to do so, we have no excuse to not enjoy and participate in this wonderful spiritual blessing – joy, the fruit of the Holy Spirit dwelling is us.
Taught at New Hope Christian Center, Wednesday, October 8, 2014.
The pdf outline read in the church. Feel free to download it, print it and use it for personal or group study.