Welcome to the community of Christians who gather Sunday by Sunday at St. Peter’s Shoalhaven Heads. God designed church to be a fellowship of love in which the truth is so treasured and lived out that people find true and lasting joy.
Joy is a strange word that probably defies definition and leaves us only with description. It’s not happiness but it is inclusive of it. It’s not thankfulness but thankfulness is a key component. It’s not born out of nothing but is a response to something or someone.
John the Baptist said that it was the appearance of the Messiah that brought him joy. And interestingly his joy was not about making more of himself but making more of Jesus. (John 3:28-30)
Of course Jesus found his joy not in making more of himself but in the obedience that expressed his love for his heavenly Father. That’s where Jesus found his joy and it’s the joy he wanted us to share in. It was a joy that came with loving God and loving in each other. Listen as Jesus speaks in John 15:10-11, “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s command and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
I think that is spectacular to understand. Jesus Christ wants us to know and share in his joy.
When the apostle John wrote his first letter the first thing he did was to introduce people to God the Father’s son, Jesus Christ, and concluded the introduction by saying “We write this to make our joy complete.”
John’s introduction to Jesus was not about apostles, or us, making more of ourselves but us making more of Jesus. Strikingly for John the Baptist, for the apostle John and for us, making more of God than yourself leads to us loving others more than ourselves and brings deep joy.
Of course life would be less than joyful if all we have to look forward to is troubles and death. Well Jesus love and joy was in making more of us than we deserve. John in his first letter says “this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and gave his son as a propitiation for our sins”.
I will leave you to look up “propitiation” to advance your joy, but know this… God’s perfect love cast out all fear when it comes to His judgement. What a joy, assurance of God’s love is. And what a joy it is when we love one another as Christ has loved us.
I may not be able to define joy but I can tell you that it is to be found in making much of Jesus. In making much of Jesus we will in love make much of others.
If you want joy then the best thing to do is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and with all your strength … and to love your neighbour as yourself.
Want joy? Make much of Jesus. In the words of John the Baptist, “He must become greater, I must become less.”
I write this to make our joy complete.