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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Adrian Rogers » Adrian Rogers - How to Have Fullness of Joy

Adrian Rogers - How to Have Fullness of Joy

Adrian Rogers - How to Have Fullness of Joy
TOPICS: Celebrating the Victory, Joy

Take your Bibles and find John chapter 15. And while you're finding it, let me say something to you. I don't know a lot about you. I certainly don't know everything about you, but I know one thing about every mother's child today. May I tell you what it is? You want joy in your life. Now don't deny it; you do. You want joy in your life. And I want to talk to you today about how to have fullness of joy. A woman lost her car keys. Have you ever done that? She lost her car keys; she went through the house; she went here, there, opened every drawer. Finally she looked in her purse and there were her keys. Do you know why she didn't find them at first? She was looking in the wrong place.

Now the reason people don't have joy, many of them, is they are looking for joy in the wrong place. Friend, joy is not a nicety in the Christian life; it is an absolute necessity. You ought to have in your life, if you're right with God, continual joy, conspicuous joy, contagious joy; joy unspeakable and full of glory. And a Christian without joy is a contradiction in terms. It'd be like speaking about a heavenly devil, as a Christian without joy. But I can tell you beyond the shadow of any doubt or peradventure, there're many who've lost their joy. Let me tell you why joy is so important. Number one: it is important in winning the lost to Jesus Christ. And you know, our best advertisement, is the joy of the Lord.

King David loved God with all of his heart, but he lost his joy, and he prayed this in Psalm 51 verse 12 and 13, "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation". He hadn't lost his salvation, but he lost his joy. "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy free spirit. And then," listen to it, "and then will I teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto Thee". Now if you're not a joyful Christian, you're not an effective soul winner, if you're going around with a Bible under one arm and a tombstone under the other, and saying, "Don't you want to be like I am"? He said, "No thank you, I've got enough troubles already". No! Listen, it is so essential in winning the lost.

I'll tell you something else, the joy of the Lord is essential in bearing life's burdens and living the strength of the Lord in living the Christian life. How are you going to live the Christian life? Well you need strength. Where are you going to get that strength? The joy of the Lord is your strength. The joy of the Lord Jesus will energize you and give you strength. Another reason you need joy is because of the heartaches and trials of life. You have heartaches; I have heartaches. We have difficulties. We have obstacles. How're we going to overcome them? The joy of the Lord is the way that we can overcome them. Joy is the lubricant of life. And the joy of the Lord will take the weariness out of work. And the joy of the Lord will remove the burdens from the heart.

So let's think a little bit about how to have fullness of joy. Now look if you will in John 15 and verse 11. Jesus Christ is speaking, and the setting is this: He's just facing dark Gethsemane and bloody Calvary, and here's what He says, "These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full". Now Jesus said, "I'm telling you how to have fullness of joy". There're three things I want you to think about when we think about the joy of the Lord, my joy. First of all, we're not to have joy like His. It is His joy, "That My joy might be in you". What is the joy of Jesus?

Number one: it is abounding joy; write it down. The joy of Jesus is abounding joy. He says in John 15:11, "That My joy might be in you, that your joy might be full". Do you know over in the book of Hebrews in chapter 1 and verse 9, the Bible says of the Lord Jesus that God the Father has anointed Him with joy, with the oil of gladness, above His fellows? The word "gladness" there is another word for joy. It is translated there in the book of Jude verse 24 as "exceeding joy". What it literally means is, "joy that leaps and dances". Can you imagine Jesus leaping and dancing? That's the kind of joy He has. It is abounding joy. Not half-hearted joy, not maybe-so joy, but joy that is abounding and supernatural.

I don't know what your concept of Jesus Christ is, but if you don't see Jesus as the joyful Jesus, you've not seen Jesus. Don't think of Jesus as some pale, sanctimonious, religious recluse with ice water for blood. Jesus had a life of abounding joy. You know one of the ways I know that? Little children loved Him. Now listen, if you're a sour puss and little children don't like you, you've got problems. Little children loved Jesus. They wanted to come and crowd around Him and sit in His lap. And these old disciples said, "Get the kids away," but Jesus said, "No, let them come to Me". Jesus had a life of abounding joy.

Now, I want to give you a couple more verses that teach what I'm talking about that the joy that we're talking about is not a cheap, tin imitation of Jesus' joy; it is His joy. Jot down John 17 verse 13. There He speaks, "That they might have My joy fulfilled in them". Jot down Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice". Now the only way that you can rejoice always is to rejoice in the Lord. You know, some of us when we were young were asked to give a memory verse. We love that verse over there in John 11 verse 35, "Jesus wept". You remember that one? Tried to pull that? "Jesus wept".

Now, some people say that's the shortest verse in the Bible. It's really not the shortest verse. Now it, that is, it is in the English Bible, but not in the Greek language. In the Greek language, this verse, Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord evermore," is really the shortest verse. Now, it speaks of the longest time, "Rejoice in the Lord always". It is the shortest verse with the longest time. "Rejoice in the Lord evermore". Now, when I'm talking about joy, you need to learn the difference between joy and happiness; difference between joy that gives meaning to life and happiness that may only put a smile on your face.

Now you look better with a smile, but you don't always have to have a smile on your face. It'd be a relief to know that we don't have to go around with a goony grin all the time, to have the joy of the Lord Jesus Christ. What is this joy? What is the difference between this joy, this abounding joy, and happiness? Now, if you're happy, I'm glad. If you remember, Thumper in the film Bambi said, "If it makes you happy to be happy, go ahead and be happy". And if you have happiness, that's good. But as I've told you, happiness depends upon what happens, and that's why we call it happiness. And, if that's what you're waiting for and that's what you depend on, then I can tell you clearly and plainly you're going to be a prisoner of circumstances, because there're going to come some times when your hap is bad, B-A-D, bad. That's the time you're going to need joy.

Happiness depends on what happens; joy depends upon what? The Lord. "Rejoice in, in the Lord always". And the only way that you can rejoice always is to rejoice in the Lord because He never changes. Now, again, happiness is a cosmetic. And lot of people look good in cosmetics. And I'm not saying don't be happy. But joy goes beyond the outward person to the inward character. Happiness can help you to meet surface needs, and we all have those, and God knows that we have them. But joy will help you to meet your deepest need. That's why I'm saying that you need joy.

You see, happiness is like a thermometer. It registers conditions. Joy is like a thermostat that controls conditions. Joy is inward; happiness is outward. Happiness, listen, evaporates in the time of trouble. When trouble comes, happiness goes; but joy will be intensified. Now when joy and happiness work together, that is wonderful! We all have had those times when the happy times are here and the joy of the Lord is in our heart, what a wonderful combination that is. But friend, when happiness goes, you need the joy all the more, and joy can be intensified. Joy is not there to remove the pain, but to help you to bear the pain. And if you're going through pain, that's all the more reason that you need the joy of the Lord.

And let me tell you what joy is. Joy is not the subtraction of problems from life; joy is the addition of power to meet those problems. You're going to have problems, beyond the shadow of any doubt. And I want to tell you that the joy that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ is abounding joy. I chose that word carefully because abounding means fullness. Now here's the second thing I want you to see about this joy from John chapter 15 verse 11. Not only is it abounding joy, but it is abiding joy. Now look at that verse again. He says, "That My joy might remain in you". It's not joy that comes and goes. It is joy in the good times, the bad times, the nighttime, the daytime, the rainy day, the sunny day; joy in a time of tragedy. It is still there. We're to rejoice in the Lord always, always.

Now listen to me, precious friend. You may be saying, "Adrian, the reason you're saying that is you're not going through the problems that I'm going through right now. You don't know the heartaches. You don't know the tears. You don't know the fears. You don't know the sickness. You don't know the pain. You don't know how I've been treated. You don't know the finances that I'm facing. If you did, you wouldn't say that". Friend, I'm only quoting the words of Jesus. And what was Jesus' situation at this time? Jesus was facing dark Gethsemane and bloody Calvary, okay? Dark Gethsemane and bloody Calvary. And He says, speaking of His joy. Now, He was not a morose person, even facing the cross. Yes, He had tears. Yes, He had pain. Yes, He had agony. But still He had that joy in His heart.

Now let me tell you about this abiding joy. Number one, and I want to give you some verses, number one: it is steadfast in sorrow. John chapter 16 verse 20, "Your sorrow shall be turned into joy". You have sorrow? God will turn your sorrow to joy. Number two: it is triumphant in tribulation. Do you have tribulation? Jesus said in John 16:33, "In this world you shall have tribulation". You're not going to escape without tribulation. But listen to this verse, Paul says in Second Corinthians 7 verse 4, "I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation". Joyful in tribulation. Paul and Silas in that prison at midnight were singing praises to the Lord. And you cannot sing praises to the Lord triumphantly unless you have joy in your heart. I'll tell you something else: this joy is lasting in losses.

Have you lost something? Have things gone upside down on you? Things that you need, things that you want, they're taken from you? That happened to the Hebrews to whom; I believe it was Paul who wrote the book of Hebrews. Scholars still debate it, but I think Paul wrote Hebrews. But that's beside the point right now. Hebrews chapter 10 verse 34, "And you took joyfully the spoiling of your goods". Now what if you came home from church today and everything's gone? Your house is burned, or else thieves came in and took everything from you, or you read and find out that some conniving shyster has cheated you out of everything, and now you don't have anything. Your goods have been spoiled. Should you lose your joy? Absolutely not! "You took joyfully the spoiling of your goods".

If your goods go and you lose your joy, you were getting your joy in the wrong place. You're getting your joy in the wrong place. Your joy was in your circumstances and what you have rather than who He is. The joy of the Lord is lasting in losses. And the joy of the Lord is abundant in affliction. Put this down, First Thessalonians chapter 1 and verse 6, "You have received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost". Affliction? Yes. Sickness? Yes. Pain? Yes. Trouble? Yes. Joy? Yes! Affliction, he says; but he links affliction with joy. Now, the joy of Jesus is abounding joy. The joy of Jesus is abiding joy, John 15:11, "That My joy might remain in you". And finally, the joy of Jesus is abundant joy. There is a lot of it. "That your joy might be full," might be full.

Now, you say, "Pastor, that's fine, but you haven't told me how to have it. How can I have joy"? Well I'm glad you asked. I want you to look again at John 15 verse 11, "These things have I spoken unto you". Well it only makes sense to see what He's just spoken. You go back and see what He spoke and there you will have a recipe for joy. Now I don't want you to miss the rest of the message. If your mind's been wandering a little bit, tighten the focus now, because I'm talking to you about now how to have fullness, abundant joy. Now Jesus said in John 15 verse 11, "These things," look, "have I spoken unto you, that you might have joy, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full".

Well, just back up and see what Jesus has spoken to them. In John chapter 15 verses 1 through 11, Jesus speaks of Himself as a vine, and He speaks of us as branches. And then He tells us that the branch is to abide in the vine. And what Jesus is saying is that when the branch abides in the vine, ipso facto, there is joy. "Well," you say, "Pastor, that sounds good, but 'abide' is a word I don't use a whole lot; and it's kind of a religious word. Could you tell me in plain English what it means to 'abide in Jesus' and therefore have abounding joy? Therefore having lasting, abiding joy, and therefore having abundant joy. What does it mean to abide"?

All right, I want you to write down these words, and first of all, it means surrender. Did you write it down? Look if you will in John 15 verse 4, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me". Verse 5, "I am the vine and ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me, you can do nothing". Now, now think about this. Just imagine a vine; that's the Lord Jesus Christ. And imagine a branch; that's you. Now don't miss this point. A branch exists for one reason: the vine. Not two reasons, not one and a half reasons. One reason: the vine. It makes a full surrender to the vine.

You say, "But, Pastor, I've got a family, I've got a job, I've got this, I've got that. How can I just have one issue"? Well, you must totally, completely abide in the vine. Now if you don't do that, you're not going to have joy. And how do you abide? By a full surrender. Have you ever made a full surrender? A great English preacher of yesteryear was Dr. F.B. Meyer; we still read his devotional books. In one of his books, Dr. Meyer told how he got joy that I'm speaking about. He said he'd been burdened for a long time in living the Christian life, that he did not have the joy that he ought to have. And he said one time in a meeting there was a young man who seemed to have learned the secret of abundant joy. And he said, "I went to him after the service. I'd heard him speak. And I said, 'Sir, can you tell me how to have the joy that you have? It seems that you have something that I do not have. Can you tell me how?'"

And F.B. Meyer, this famous preacher, said, "That young man looked at me and said, 'Have you surrendered everything to Jesus Christ?'" Meyer said, "Well, in a general way, I have". The young man said, "That's not good enough. Go alone, tonight, and get it settled". Meyer decided he would do that. He went to his bedroom and locked the door and got on his knees and said, "Lord, I am going to get this settled tonight". And he says, "Lord, I'm going to surrender everything to You". And he said, "It seemed like that I had a big bunch of keys, and I held them up to the Lord. And I said, 'Lord, here are the keys to my life. Take them.'" The Lord said to him, "Are they all there"? He said, "Well, they're all, except one little key. I've kept that back". The Lord said, "You must give Me that key". And Satan said, "Don't do it! Don't do it! If you give Him everything, no telling what He will ask of you"!

And Meyer was going through a struggle, and he said to the Lord, "Lord, I don't have the strength to give You this last key. But, Lord, would You take it"? He said the Lord opened his fingers and got that little key and went to a cupboard and opened it, and inside was vileness and wickedness and sin. He'd never seen the import of what he was holding back from the Lord. And he repudiated that sin and turned from it. And he said, "That night, the desire for that died in my heart". He said, "I went to sleep expecting to wake up in the morning with hallelujahs and praises". But he said, "No, instead, I just had a quiet confidence, and I found myself all day long saying, 'I'm His! I'm His! I'm His! I am completely His!'"

Now, a vine and a branch are connected together. But now listen. It must be a life of surrender. Did you write down the word "surrender"? All right, now, here's the second word I want you to write down. Not only surrender, but dependence. The joy of Jesus is given when you depend upon the Lord. Now look at the Scripture here when he says in John 15 verse 5, the last part of that, "Without Me, you can do nothing". You say, "Now wait a minute, Pastor. I might do a little bit". Well, may I say that's your opinion! I'd rather take the word of Jesus, "Without Me you can do nothing". Well, use common sense. What can a branch do without a vine? Nothing! That's a zero with the edges trimmed off. Nothing!

Well you say, "I think it's something". Well in eternity it will be nothing. The branch makes a full surrender, and that full surrender turns to an absolute dependence upon the Lord. Now, when you think you're something, then God is not everything. And God cannot be everything until you become nothing. But don't worry about it. God specializes in making something out of nothing when you abide in the Lord. Now here's a third word I want you to write down. Surrender, dependence, third one is rest. Now look in John 15 verse 9, if you will. He says, "As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you; continue ye in My love".

Rest in His love. He loves you. That's not rhetoric. That is rock-ribbed truth. He loves you. He loves you. But you must abide in His love. Let Him love you, and that'll give you rest. I mean, when you see yourself as the object of His love, you'll say, "He loves me". Just imagine that a human being could have a conversation with a branch. And the branch would say to the human being, "Now, you human beings think you're so intelligent, but you always seem frustrated to me, rushing around, knocking things over; no rest, no peace".

And the man says to the branch, "Well, you seem to have peace. How do you do it"? He says, "I've reduced all my concerns to one, and that is to abide in the vine. And once I do that, worry has to go. When its summertime and I need a drink of water, I don't worry about where it comes from. That's the vine's business. I abide in the vine, and the vine puts his roots down into the ground and brings up that moisture for my wilted leaves. And then when it's springtime and I need buds, I don't worry about where those buds are going to come from. I abide in the vine. And when the time of vintage and harvest comes, I don't worry about the grapes: how big, how few, how sweet. It's none of my business. I don't produce the fruit".

You see the Bible tells us in the book of Galatians chapter 5 verse 22, "The fruit of the Spirit is joy". The fruit of the Spirit is joy. You're not going to create that joy. You're not going to clench your fist today and grit your teeth and say, "I'm going to have joy if it kills me". You can't do that. You abide. And the branch says, "Sir, I just abide in the vine, and the grapes are His, not mine. I don't produce them. I simply bear them". Now, let me give you another word I want you to write down, and it's the fourth word. You won't like this one, but it's obedience. Now what we're doing is talking about how to abide. Jesus is saying, "Look, I want you to have joy". "These things have I spoken unto you that you might have joy". Now what did He speak? He spoke of obedience.

Look in John 15 verse 10, "If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love". "If you keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love". And Jesus spoke of His joy because He kept the commandments of the Father. Now, there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey. If I were to ask you, "How many of you today love Jesus"? I suppose we'd all lift our hands, some just because we didn't want to be seen with our hands down. We'd all lift our hands. But Jesus said in John 14 verse 15, "If you love Me, keep My word". John 14:21, "He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loves Me. And he that loves Me shall be loved of my Father," now watch this, "and I will manifest Myself to him".

How's God going to manifest Himself to you? The manifestation of His presence in your heart is joy, joy unspeakable and full of glory as you, friend, obey the Lord. Now last of all, write down the word rejoicing, and we've come full circle. Now we come back to john 15 verse 11 where we started. What He says here, "These things have I spoken unto you," He spoke about the vine and the branches. "These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy will be full". I know you've got problems. I know you have heartaches, and that's why you need joy. Our Lord said this in Luke 10:20, "Don't rejoice because the demons are subject to you". If they are, I'm glad. But Jesus said, listen, "Rejoice, rejoice that your name is written in Heaven".

Is your name written in Heaven? All of this that I've said will do you absolutely no good unless your name is written in Heaven. Now you can have your name written in Heaven and go to Heaven second-class without joy. But if your name is written in Heaven, you know, come what may, weal or woe, heartache, tears, I am Heaven-born, I'm Heaven-bound, I'm going to Heaven, and I rejoice that my name is written in Heaven. Friend, without genuine joy, your life is meaningless. That too big a statement? Absolutely not. Without genuine joy your life is meaningless. And joy is only found in Jesus. "That my joy might remain in you". Not joy like His, the supernatural joy of Jesus Christ.

Bow your heads in prayer. Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. Those of you who are saved, have you let the devil take the joy out of your life? Repent of it. Come and surrender to Jesus. Depend upon the Lord Jesus. Rest in the Lord Jesus. Do it, do it. Obey the Lord Jesus, and let that joy be renewed in your heart and in your life. It's called abiding in Jesus. And those of you who've never, ever received Jesus, all of the rest of this is impossible to you until you take the first step, and rejoice that your name is written in Heaven. When you give your heart to Jesus Christ, there's a book in Heaven, and God puts your name in it. What a thrill that is. Would you pray this prayer with me if you're not certain that you're saved? Would you pray:

Lord Jesus, (that's right, just speak to Him), I need You and I want You. I want Your life in me. I want to know that my sin is forgiven. I want to know that I have fellowship with You. I want the joy that only You alone can give. I don't want to go to Hell; I want to go to Heaven. But on the way to Heaven, I want joy. Come into my heart. Forgive my sin. Thank You for paying for my sin with Your shed blood on the cross. I love You for that. Forgive me and cleanse me, and come into my life right now, right now, right now and begin to make me the person You want me to be. And help me never to be ashamed of You. Give me the courage to make it public. In Your name, Amen.

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