CONTINUED - PART TWO
The Church of God 7th Day, Denver, CO, USA
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).
Joy is a feeling of happiness, ranging from gladness to great
delight or exultation. It can also refer to whatever brings about
the feeling of happiness. Contentment, satisfaction, and triumph
may express various degrees of joy, depending on circumstances.
In a secular sense, people may find joy in their accomplishments,
work, family, association with others, etc. Doing good deeds may
result in peace or serenity of conscience - a kind of moral joy.
This lesson is about spiritual joy, part of the fruit of the
Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
Joy is mentioned many times in the Old Testament. Those who were
faithful to the Lord found joy in serving Him. When the people
came together to sincerely observe the Lord's feast days, they
were joyful in celebrating God's goodness and remembering all His
benefits. The book of Psalms, Israel's worship guide and hymn
book, contained much exhortation to rejoice and be joyful. But in
Old Testament times most people did not have an abiding joy
because they didn't have the Holy Spirit abiding within them
Numerous texts also point out that the Israelites did not
experience joy because of their disobedience to the Lord.
Joy is elevated to a new height and emphasis in the New
Joy in the Bible Often Relates to Jesus
In several texts people expressed joy because of Jesus:
Zachariah 9:9 - The Lord called people to rejoice about the
Luke 2:10 - Angels announced tidings of great joy to the
Matthew 2:10 - The wise men from the East rejoiced with exceeding
John 3:29 - John the Baptist said his joy was fulfilled because
of the bridegroom (Jesus).
John 17:13 - Jesus prayed that His joy would be fulfilled in His
Matthew 28:8 - The ladies left the empty tomb with great joy
after the angels told them Jesus had risen.
Some expressed joy because of salvation through Jesus:
Acts 8:8 - People responded joyfully because of the gospel and
Acts 15:3 - Brethren rejoiced to hear of the conversion of the
2 Corinthians 8:2 - The brethren in Macedonia experienced
abundant joy, though in serious poverty.
Joy is elevated to a new height and emphasis in the New Testament
because it relates mostly to Jesus Christ. Great joy erupted when
He came as a babe in Bethlehem, when He healed people through His
ministry, when He rose from the grave as the risen Savior, and
when people converted to the gospel and received the Holy Spirit
through the apostles' and disciples' preaching.
Christian joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22;
Romans 14:17). It increases when we fellowship with the community
of believers and rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15; 1
Corinthians 12:26; 2 Corinthians 2:3). Sinners experience joy
when they repent and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior
Living a Christian life is not easy; believers often face serious
difficulties. In past centuries vast numbers of Christians were
tortured and killed because of their steadfast commitment to
Christ. Even in some countries today many are dying for their
faith. James 1:2-4 and 1 Peter 4:12,13 admonish us to consider it
joy to suffer for Christ's sake, because such experiences help us
grow stronger in our relationship with Christ. Joy does not
result from suffering but remains in the believer despite
suffering. With the Holy Spirit's presence, Christians are
content with God and themselves no matter what difficulties they
face. Spirit-produced joy is not based on circumstances but on
the Christian's encounter and daily walk with Christ.
1. Luke's Gospel contains many expressions of joy and praise to
God. Match the statements (from the New King James Version) in
the right column with the correct scriptural references in the
left column. (All texts are in Luke.) Briefly discuss why joy is
mentioned in each text.
a. 1:14 i. "Then the seventy returned with joy .."
b. 1:44 ii. "there is joy in the presence of the angels.."
c. 2:10 iii. "you will have joy ... at his birth."
d. 6:23 iv. "returned to Jerusalem with great joy.."
e. 10:17 v. "the babe leaped in my womb for joy."
f. 15:7 vi. "they still did not believe for joy,and marvelled"
g. 15:10 vii. "I bring you good tidings of great joy.."
h. 24:41 viii."Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!"
i. 24:52 ix. "joy in heaven over one sinner who repents.."
2. Talk about the Source who provides believers with spiritual
a. In Acts 2:25-28 Peter quoted a well-known passage from one of
David's psalms (16:8-11). Who did David say brought him joy?
b. What did the "gospel prophet" say brings joy? Isaiah 12:3.
What are the "wells of salvation"?
c. How is the Holy Spirit involved with joy manifested in the
lives of believers? Galatians 5:22.
3. Who did Paul claim as his joy? Philippians 4:1.
4. What does the Bible say about the endurance of joy? Isaiah
35:10; John 16:22.
1. The kingdom (sovereignty or rule) of God will be perceived by
all when Jesus comes again, but it can be perceived by Christians
a. What three elements can help Christians today realize the
reigning presence of God through the work of the Holy Spirit?
b. How can these virtues guide Christians into service? Romans
2. Jesus counselled His disciples regarding how they can remain
in His joy, that their joy might be full (John 15:11). Discuss
the responsibility this places on us.
a. Jesus is the true vine, and active believers are the
fruit-bearing branches. How does this translate into our
relationship with Jesus and His abiding joy? John 15:1-8.
b. Following Jesus' example of His relationship with the Father,
how can we abide in Jesus' love? Verses 9,10.
3. Read and discuss Philippians 2:12-18.
a. What does Paul say about obedience and God's work within us?
b. What actions hinder joy in a person's life? Verse 14. Have
these affected your personal life?
c. What benefits can be reaped by living godly lives rewarded
with joy? Verses 15-18.
Christians are not immune from suffering for Christ's sake, but
such suffering can deepen our joy. Therefore, let us continue in
the joy we found in Christ, celebrate it in our daily walk with
Him, cherish our fellowship with other disciples, and hope in
Jesus' second coming. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate
His fruit in our lives in unending joy.
Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you were
called in one body; and be thankful (Colossians 3:15).
The Old Testament Hebrew word for peace (shalom) means
"completeness." - "soundness," and "well-being." Shalom is used
in praying for the welfare of another, expressing harmony with
another, or seeking the good of a city or country. It may imply
material prosperity, physical safety. or spiritual well-being.
The Greek word for peace (eirene) is prominent in New Testament
writings. It carries the meaning of shalom but nearly always has
a spiritual connotation.
Peace is a gift from God. Spiritual peace, in particular, is made
available to those who believe in Jesus sacrifice as an atonement
for their sins and profess Him as Lord. It becomes a constant
resident in the hearts and minds of believers as part of the
fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). The peace of God is
mentioned often in the salutations and benedictions of the
Pauline and General Epistles.
Though we Christians have not fully achieved the perfect peace
God wants for us, through faith we have experienced it. And we
long for the eternal peace Jesus will usher in when He comes
Names and Terms Associated with Peace
By its association in the New Testament writings, peace is an
essential spiritual element in the lives of believers. Consider
"the God of peace" - Romans 15:33; 16:20; Philippians 4:9;
1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20.
"peace from God" - Romans 1:7 and in the salutation of most of
Paul and other writers also pronounced peace upon their readers
in several of their benedictions.
The whole concept of peace as a fruit of the Spirit can be
perceived in the person and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth, who
embodied the gospel (Acts 10:34-43). He is our shalom (peace) who
reconciles us to God (Romans 5:1-11); who helps us understand
that He does not show favoritism among persons (Acts 10:34-36);
who makes one body (house, temple, people, nation) from ancient
foes, Jews and Gentiles; and who removes any alienation between
people of different races (Ephesians 2:14-22). As a result,
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free,
there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ
Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).
1. God's Word proclaims Jesus Christ as the basic source for
spiritual peace for God's people in this age and beyond.
a. Consider Isaiah's prophecies about the peace that would come
through the Messiah. See Isaiah 9:6,7; 52:7; 53:5.
b. Discuss the angel's announcement to the shepherds in Luke
2:13,14 about the Savior's birth in Bethlehem.
2. How was the peace Jesus gave His disciples different from the
peace people receive from the world? John 14:27; 16:33.
3. How can sinners establish peace with God? Romans 5:1,2. How
were Jews and Gentiles able to come to peaceful terms with each
other after centuries of hatred? Ephesians 2:14,15.
4. What should be our attitude and constant lifestyle to maintain
the peace Jesus promised His disciples? Philippians 4:6-9.
1. How does the Hebrew term 'shalom' help us understand spiritual
2. How did Jesus and His ministry bring peace? Acts 10:36,43.
3. What elements were (and are) contrary to peace in the gospel
4. How can we overcome our obstacles to peace? Romans 5:1,2.
5. How has salvation brought peace to you?
Let's live with the blessing in this text: "Now may the God of
peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great
Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting
covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will,
working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus
Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen" (Hebrews 13:20,
For whatever things were written before were written for our
learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the
Scriptures might have hope (Romans 15:4).
Patience is "1. the state, quality, ability, or fact of being
patient: specifically, a) the will or ability to wait or endure
without complaint. b) steadfastness, endurance, or perseverance
in performing a task. Patience implies the bearing of suffering,
prov - cation, delay, tediousness, etc., with calmness and
self-control" (Webster's New World Dictionary).
As the dictionary says, patience involves waiting with hope, like
the farmer who plants seed and then waits, expecting to reap in
the future (James 5:7,8). His waiting shows patience as he
carries out his work from year to year.
For examples of patience, James reminds us of the prophets and
Job (James 5:10,11). We read of Jobs trials and perseverance and
about his reward after suffering. However even if he had not been
rewarded in this life, Job had hope in the future (Job 19:25,
A preacher confessed to his congregation, "How foolish of me! I
recognized that I did not have enough patience, so I prayed for
it. Guess how the Lord answered? He put me through trials and
tribulations. I should have remembered the apostle Paul said that
'tribulation worketh patience' (Romans 5:3, KJV)." Patience is
not a virtue learned in a vacuum but in real-life situations -
trials and tribulations. Though it is a fruit of the Spirit, it
must mature through exercise. Patience is often developed through
sickness, stress, or interpersonal relationships, such as
conflicts with a spouse, relative, friend, or employer. We need
to remember the command to be patient with all people
(1 Thessalonians 5:14), including those who make our lives
Our God is Patient
Have you ever doubted God's patience (longsuffering) toward us?
For instance, meditate on these texts:
Numbers 14:18: "The LORD is longsuffering and abundant in mercy,
forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears
Psalm 78:38: "But He, being full of compassion, forgave their
iniquity, and did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned
His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath." (This
describes God's patience with Israel during their years in the
Psalm 86:15: "But You, 0 Lord, are a God full of compassion, and
gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth."
Romans 2:4: "Or do you despise the riches of His goodness,
forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of
God leads you to repentance?"
2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as
some count, slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not
willing that any should perish but that all should come to
There is another aspect of patience the dictionary doesn't
mention. It is exemplified in God and could be called spiritual
patience - or patience rooted in love. It makes sense, then, that
longsuffering (patience) is the first description of love in
1 Corinthians 13:4. Several descriptions in this chapter of what
love is and does, indicate the close relationship between love
and patience. Some of the things said about love could be said
about patience as well: it "is kind; ... does not parade itself"
(v.4); "does not behave rudely ... is not provoked" (v.5); "bears
all things ... hopes all things, endures all things" (v.7).
To develop patience, then, we must surrender to the Lord in all
situations, waiting with hope and expectation. We must be sure
our love is patient. Because patience is a fruit of the Spirit,
the Holy Spirit within us will not fail us in exercising it.
1. Read the context of the verses quoted in the sidebar, then
discuss God's example of patience expressed in these verses.
2. The exhortation to be patient (longsuffering) is usually
accompanied by other godly characteristics essential to
Christlike living. Read and discuss how patience relates to the
other characteristics in these texts: Romans 12:9-13; Ephesians
4:1,2; Colossians 3:12,13; 1 Thessalonians 5:14.
3. How should patience relate to our long-term goal? Hebrews
12:1; James 5:7,8.
4. Whom does James mention as examples of men who exercised
patience in their suffering? James 5:9-11. How has knowing about
Job's suffering and patience helped believers throughout the
a. Why is patience required for those who believe Jesus is coming
again? James 5:7,8.
b. In what way have you been waiting and hoping with patience?
How does the illustration of the farmer who plants and waits for
the crop edify you and help you to be patient?
a. How is patience toward others demonstrated?
b. Why is it easier to be more patient with certain people than
c. How does the command to be patient with everyone eliminate
discrimination in displaying patience or impatience?
3. Cite your or someone else's experience of patiently
persevering through suffering.
a. What are some reasons for experiencing "patient endurance" or
b. How has suffering helped you learn to practice patience?
God is not slack in His promise to provide salvation for us; He
is patiently waiting for sinners to respond. Likewise, we must
not be slack in serving Christ by doing God's work. The Word
says, "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily
ensnares us, and let us run with endurance [patience] the race
that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
TO BE CONTINUED