The Joy of Jesus is from The Heart

New International Version (©1984)
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
New Living Translation (©2007)
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

English Standard Version (©2001)
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
May the words from my mouth and the thoughts from my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my defender.

King James Bible
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 31:5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.
Psalm 104:34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD.
Isaiah 47:4 Our Redeemer--the LORD Almighty is his name--is the Holy One of Israel.
New International Version ©1984 by Biblica

Acceptable Chief David Heart Meditation Mouth Musician O Pleasing Psalm Redeemer Rock Salvation Sayings Sight Strength Thoughts

The Joy of Jesus is about a New Life

There is a bond uniting the saints which is closer than any natural tie: "so we, being many are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another" (Rom. 12:5), and therefore "those members should have the same care one for another" (1 Cor. 12:25). So vital and intimate is that mystical union that if "one member suffer, all the members suffer with it" (v. 25). If one member of your physical body is affected, there is a reaction throughout your whole system: so it is in the mystical Body. The health or sickness of your soul exerts a very real influence, either for good or for evil, upon your brethren and sisters. For their sake then, it is most desirable that if in a spiritual decline you should be restored. If you are not, your example will be a stumblingblock to them, and if they have much association with you their zeal will be dampened and their spirits chilled. Surely it is not a matter of little concern whether you are a help or hindrance to your fellow-saints. "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew 18:6).
Contemplate your case in connection with your unsaved relatives and friends. Do you not know that one of the main obstacles in the way of many from giving a serious consideration to the gospel, is the inconsistent lives of so many who profess to believe it? Years ago we read of one who was concerned about the soul of his son, and on the eve of his departure for a foreign land, sought to press upon him the claims and excellency of Christ. He received this reply: "Father, I am sorry, but I cannot hear what you say for seeing what you do"! Is that the unuttered sentiment of your child? You may reply, I do not believe that anything in my conduct can have any influence on the eternal destiny of any soul. Then you are woefully ignorant. "Wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the Word, they also may without the Word be won by the conversation [behavior] of the wives" (1 Peter 3:1). In saving sinners God uses a variety of means, as in prejudicing sinners Satan employs many agents; is God or Satan most likely to use you? Most certainly the latter, if you are in a backslidden state.

The Joy of Jesus is Joy itself

We profit from the Word when we perceive that joy is a duty. "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice" (Phil. 4:4). The Holy Spirit here speaks of rejoicing as a personal, present and permanent duty for the people of God to carry out. The Lord has not left it to our option whether we should be glad or sad, but has made happiness an obligation. Not to rejoice is a sin of omission. Next time you meet with a radiant Christian, do not chide him, ye dwellers in Doubting Castle, but chide yourselves; instead of being ready to call into question the Divine spring of his mirth, judge yourself for your doleful state.
It is not a carnal joy which we are here urging, by which we mean a joy which comes from carnal sources. It is useless to seek joy in earthly riches, for frequently they take to themselves wings and fly away. Some seek their joy in the family circle, but that remains entire for only a few years at most. No, if we are to "rejoice evermore" it must be in an object that lasts for evermore. Nor is it a fanatical joy we have reference to. There are some with an excitable nature who are happy only when they are half out of their minds; but terrible is the reaction. No, it is an intelligent, steady, heart delight in God Himself. Every attribute of God, when contemplated by faith, will make the heart sing. Every doctrine of the Gospel, when truly apprehended, will call forth gladness and praise.

The Joy of Jesus is The Holy Spirit of God

Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version, ©2010)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Freedom by the Spirit

The attempt of the Galatian believers to attain spiritual perfection by keeping the law had ended in failure. Their churches were torn apart by conflict: they were "biting and devouring each other" (v. 15). Obviously their devotion to the law had not enabled them to be devoted to each other in love. And since they did not love each other, they were breaking the law. Where could they find the motivation and power to resolve their conflicts and renew their love for each other? Many Christians are asking the same question today. They are members of Bible-teaching churches torn apart by conflict. What went wrong? How can they be so devoted and yet so divided? How can they be empowered to really love each other?

Paul's answer is the Spirit of God. So I say, live by the Spirit (v. 16). The command live by the Spirit is the central concept in Paul's ethical appeal. Since the Christian life begins with the Spirit (3:3; 4:6, 29), the only way to continue the Christian life is by the power of the Spirit. The Spirit is not only the source of Christian life but also the only power to sustain Christian life. Actually, "walk by the Spirit" would be a more literal translation of Paul's command in verse 16. The command to walk in a certain way speaks of choosing a way of life--or we might say a "lifestyle," as long as we realize that what Paul has in mind is more than a matter of outward style. His command speaks of a way of living in which all aspects of life are directed and transformed by the Spirit.

The Galatian believers began their Christian life by receiving the Spirit (3:2-3), but they soon turned to the law to direct their lives. They probably felt that observance of the law was the way of life that would establish their identity and guide their behavior as the people of God. By turning to observance of law as their way of life, however, they were denying the Spirit's sufficiency to identify them as the people of God and to direct their conduct. Paul's references to the Spirit in chapters 3 and 4 assure his readers that their experience of the Spirit has clearly established their identity as the true children of Abraham and as the children of God. In this section (5:13--6:10) his references to the Spirit express his confidence that the Spirit is more than adequate to direct their moral behavior. The Spirit is the best guarantee of Christian identity and the only sure guide for Christian behavior. The Spirit is the only source of power to love in a way that fulfills the whole law.

Paul's confidence in the directive power of the Spirit is emphatically asserted in the promise that follows his command: Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature (v. 16). Paul's use of a double negative in the Greek could be expressed in English by saying, "You will absolutely not gratify the desires of your sinful nature." The fulfillment of this promise depends on the implementation of the command.

Walking is excellent exercise, my doctor says! Walking by the Spirit demands active determination to follow the direction of the Spirit in the power of the Spirit. Those who follow the Spirit's direction in the Spirit's power will not carry out the evil intentions of their sinful nature. Walking by the Spirit excludes the destructive influence of the sinful nature. Walking by the Spirit can transform people who are "biting and devouring each other" into people who are serving each other in love.

In verse 17 Paul explains the basis of his confidence in the Spirit. He describes the war between the flesh and the Spirit and the result of that war. The Spirit and the sinful nature are two hostile forces opposed to each other: the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other. So walking by the Spirit (v. 16) means fighting in a war between the Spirit and the sinful nature (v. 17). The connection between verse 16 and verse 17 indicates that those who live by the Spirit are not neutral in this war. They are committed to fight on the side of the Spirit against the desires of the sinful nature.

This inner spiritual warfare is the nature of the Christian life; it is the experience of all those who live by the Spirit. The conflict Paul is describing here is not the moral conflict that everyone feels at some time, nor the conflict of a wayward Christian who is no longer committed to Christ. This is the conflict of a thoroughly committed Christian who is choosing each day to "walk by the Spirit." Each day the Christian who chooses to walk by the Spirit is engaged in a fierce battle between the Spirit and the sinful nature. It is important to stress this point, because many Christians feel ashamed to admit that they are experiencing such a conflict. They feel that mature Christians should somehow be above this kind of struggle. They imagine that the great saints were surely too spiritual to feel the desires of the flesh. But Paul flatly contradicts such images of superspirituality. His perspective is expressed by an old hymn:

And none, O Lord, have perfect rest,

For none are wholly free from sin;

And they who fain would serve Thee best

Are conscious most of wrong within.

But while Paul honestly portrays the reality of incessant moral warfare in the life of a Spirit-led Christian, he is not painting a picture of defeat. If you have sworn your allegiance to the Spirit in this war between the Spirit and your sinful nature, you "do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature" (v. 13), nor will you gratify the desires of the sinful nature (v. 16). The result of this fierce conflict is that you do not do what you want (v. 17), but what the Spirit desires you to do.

Some interpreters have taken the phrase you do not do what you want as an admission of defeat: the sinful nature defeats the Spirit-given desires of the believer, or at best the conflict ends in a stalemate between the flesh and the Spirit. But such an interpretation fails to see that Paul sets forth verse 17 as the explanation of his confident promise in verse 16 of the Spirit's victory over the sinful nature for those who live by the Spirit. If the Spirit's direction is continually defeated by the sinful nature, then there is no good reason to live by the Spirit or to have confidence in the Spirit's directive power.

The common interpretation of verse 17 as an admission of defeat in the conflict is influenced by Paul's admission of defeat in Romans 7:14-25 and the frequent experience of defeat in Christian experience. But there are significant differences between Romans 7:14-25 and this passage in Galatians 5, not least of which is that there is no mention of the Spirit in the Romans 7:14-25 passage. Furthermore, our common experience of moral failure should not determine our understanding of Paul's explanation of life in the Spirit. In this context Paul is presenting a reason for confidence in the Spirit's power to guide Christian behavior. His confidence is based on the fact that Christians who walk by the Spirit are involved in a war that determines the direction of every choice and every action. Their Christian freedom does not mean that they are left without moral direction to do whatever they want. They do not do what they want. They march under the Spirit's orders, to fulfill the directions of the Spirit.

In my elementary school we stood at the beginning of every day with our hands over our hearts to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America "and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." Mrs. Crane, our principal, often reminded us that some had upheld their pledge of allegiance at the cost of their own lives so that we could experience liberty and justice. And she challenged us to dedicate our own lives to keeping our pledge of allegiance in order to preserve true liberty and justice for all. In the war for true Christian freedom, victory is possible only for those who continually renew their allegiance to the Spirit in the unremitting war against the sinful nature. Then they do not do whatever they want, but only what the Spirit directs them to do.

Those who are living by the guiding power of the Spirit in their lives and are fighting each day against the influence of the sinful nature do not need to be supervised and restrained by the law. So Paul says, If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law (v. 18). Life in the Spirit was pictured in verse 16 as an active determination: "Walk by the Spirit!" Walking demands active determination to get up out of the soft armchair and endurance to keep going at a steady pace. But now Paul speaks of life in the Spirit as passive submission: if you are led by the Spirit. The verb suggests pressure and control. A donkey and her colt were led by the disciples to Jesus (Mt 21:2). Soldiers arrested Jesus and led him away (Lk 22:54). Soldiers arrested Paul and led him away (Acts 21:34; 23:10). Paul has already described the control of the law in similar terms: "we were held prisoners by the law, locked up" (3:23); "the law was put in charge to lead us" (3:24), "subject to guardians and trustees" (4:2). But while the law exercised control, it could not give life or transform character (3:21). The law controlled by locking up all under sin (3:22). Now Paul depicts an alternative kind of control: the control of the Spirit. Life begins with the Spirit (3:3); children of promise are born by the power of the Spirit (4:29). The Spirit produces a transformation of character (5:22-23). The one who submits to the control of the Spirit is not under the control of the law.

If the Spirit is leading you to forgive your sister who wronged you instead of being resentful toward her, you are under the control of the Spirit rather than under the restriction of the command "You shall not kill." When your conduct is guided and empowered by the Spirit, your conduct will fulfill the law, so you will not be under the condemnation or supervision of the law.

Life by the Spirit involves active obedience to the direction of the Spirit (v. 16), constant warfare against the desires of the sinful nature by the power of the Spirit (v. 17) and complete submission to the control of the Spirit (v. 18). Such a life will be an experience of freedom from the control of the sinful nature and the control of the law.

The Joy of Jesus is Learning to Love

The Psalms

God's Faithfulness to His Unfaithful People
Maschil of Asaph.

1 Give ear, O my people, to my law:

incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable:

I will utter dark sayings of old: Mt. 13.35
3 which we have heard and known,

and our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children,

showing to the generation to come
the praises of the LORD, and his strength,
and his wonderful works that he hath done.
5 For he established a testimony in Jacob,

and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers,
that they should make them known to their children:
6 that the generation to come might know them,

even the children which should be born;
who should arise and declare them to their children:
7 that they might set their hope in God,

and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments:
8 and might not be as their fathers,

a stubborn and rebellious generation;
a generation that set not their heart aright,
and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.
9 The children of E'phra-im,

being armed, and carrying bows,
turned back in the day of battle.
10 They kept not the covenant of God,

and refused to walk in his law;
11 and forgat his works,

and his wonders that he had showed them.
12 Marvelous things did he in the sight of their fathers,

in the land of Egypt, Ex. 7.8--12.32 in the field of Zo'an.
13 He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through;

and he made the waters to stand as a heap. Ex. 14.21, 22
14 In the daytime also he led them with a cloud,

and all the night with a light of fire. Ex. 13.21, 22
15 He clave the rocks in the wilderness,

and gave them drink as out of the great depths.
16 He brought streams also out of the rock,

and caused waters to run down like rivers. Ex. 17.1-7 · Num. 20.2-13
17 And they sinned yet more against him

by provoking the Most High in the wilderness.
18 And they tempted God in their heart

by asking meat for their lust.
19 Yea, they spake against God;

they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
20 Behold, he smote the rock,

that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed;
can he give bread also?
Can he provide flesh for his people?
21 Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth:

so a fire was kindled against Jacob,
and anger also came up against Israel;
22 because they believed not in God,

and trusted not in his salvation:
23 though he had commanded the clouds from above,

and opened the doors of heaven,
24 and had rained down manna upon them to eat,

and had given them of the corn of heaven. Joh. 6.31
25 Man did eat angels' food:

he sent them meat to the full.
26 He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven:

and by his power he brought in the south wind.
27 He rained flesh also upon them as dust,

and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea:
28 and he let it fall in the midst of their camp,

round about their habitations.
29 So they did eat, and were well filled:

for he gave them their own desire;
30 they were not estranged from their lust:

but while their meat was yet in their mouths,
31 the wrath of God came upon them,

and slew the fattest of them,
and smote down the chosen men of Israel. Ex. 16.2-15 · Num. 11.4-23 ; 31.35
32 For all this they sinned still,

and believed not for his wondrous works.
33 Therefore their days did he consume in vanity,

and their years in trouble.
34 When he slew them, then they sought him:

and they returned and inquired early after God.
35 And they remembered that God was their rock,

and the high God their redeemer.
36 Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth,

and they lied unto him with their tongues.
37 For their heart was not right with him, Acts 8.21

neither were they steadfast in his covenant.
38 But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity,

and destroyed them not:
yea, many a time turned he his anger away,
and did not stir up all his wrath.
39 For he remembered that they were but flesh;

a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
40 How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness,

and grieve him in the desert!
41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God,

and limited the Holy One of Israel.
42 They remembered not his hand,

nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy:
43 how he had wrought his signs in Egypt,

and his wonders in the field of Zo'an:
44 and had turned their rivers into blood;

and their floods, that they could not drink. Ex. 7.17-21
45 He sent divers sorts of flies Ex. 8.20-24 among them, which devoured them;

and frogs, Ex. 8.1-6 which destroyed them.
46 He gave also their increase unto the caterpillar,

and their labor unto the locust. Ex. 10.12-15
47 He destroyed their vines with hail,

and their sycamore trees with frost.
48 He gave up their cattle also to the hail,

and their flocks to hot thunderbolts. Ex. 9.22-25
49 He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger,

wrath, and indignation, and trouble,
by sending evil angels among them.
50 He made a way to his anger;

he spared not their soul from death,
but gave their life over to the pestilence;
51 and smote all the firstborn in Egypt; Ex. 12.29

the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham:
52 but made his own people to go forth like sheep,

and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. Ex. 13.17-22
53 And he led them on safely, so that they feared not:

but the sea overwhelmed their enemies. Ex. 14.26-28
54 And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, Ex. 15.17 · Josh. 3.14-17

even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased.
55 He cast out the heathen also before them, Josh. 11.16-23

and divided them an inheritance by line,
and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.
56 Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, Judg. 2.11-15

and kept not his testimonies:
57 but turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers:

they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
58 For they provoked him to anger with their high places,

and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.
59 When God heard this, he was wroth,

and greatly abhorred Israel:
60 so that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh,

the tent which he placed among men; Josh. 18.1 · Jer. 7.12-14 ; 26.6
61 and delivered his strength into captivity,

and his glory into the enemy's hand. 1 Sam. 4.4-22
62 He gave his people over also unto the sword;

and was wroth with his inheritance.
63 The fire consumed their young men;

and their maidens were not given to marriage.
64 Their priests fell by the sword;

and their widows made no lamentation.
65 Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep,

and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.
66 And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts:

he put them to a perpetual reproach.
67 Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph,

and chose not the tribe of E'phra-im:
68 but chose the tribe of Judah,

the mount Zion which he loved.
69 And he built his sanctuary like high palaces,

like the earth which he hath established for ever.
70 He chose David also his servant,

and took him from the sheepfolds:
71 from following the ewes great with young

he brought him to feed Jacob his people,
and Israel his inheritance. 1 Sam. 16.11, 12 · 2 Sam. 7.8 · 1 Chr. 17.7
72 So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart;

and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.

Published by The American Bible Society


The Psalms 77

The Joy of Jesus is Beautiful

The Beatitudes

He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

The Fulfillment of the Law

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

The Joy of Jesus is The Christ to The World


"Who remembered us in our low estate: for His mercy endureth forever"

Psalm 136:23

"Who remembered us." This is in striking and blessed contrast from our forgettings of Him. Like every other faculty of our beings, the memory has been affected by the Fall and bears on it the marks of depravity. This is seen from its power to retain what is worthless and the difficulty encountered to hold fast that which is good. A foolish nursery-rhyme or song heard in youth, is carried with us to the grave; a helpful sermon is forgotten within twenty-four hours! But most tragic and solemn of all is the ease with which we forget God and His countless mercies. But, blessed be His name, God never forgets us. He is the faithful Rememberer.
We were very much impressed when, on consulting the concordance, we found that the first five times the word "remember" is used in Scripture, in each case it is connected with God. "And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark" (Gen. 8:1). "And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth" (Gen. 9:16). "And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt" (Gen. 19:29), etc. The first time it is used of man we read, "Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him" (Gen. 40:23)!
The historical reference here is to the children of Israel, when they were toiling amid the brick-kilns of Egypt. Truly they were in a "low estate": a nation of slaves, groaning beneath the lash of merciless task-masters, oppressed by a godless and heartless king. But when there was none other eye to pity, Jehovah looked upon them and heard their cries of distress. He "remembered" them in their low estate. And why? Exodus 2:24,25 tells us: "And God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto it."
Our text is not to be limited to the literal seed of Abraham: it has reference to the whole "Israel of God" (Gal. 6:16). The saints of this present Day of salvation also unite in saying, "Who remembered us in our low estate." How "low" was our "estate" by nature! As fallen creatures we lay in our misery and wretchedness, unable to deliver or help ourselves. But, in wondrous grace, God took pity on us. His strong arm reached down and rescued us. He came to where we lay, saw us, and had compassion on us (Luke 10:33). Therefore can each Christian say, "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings" (Psa. 40:2).

The Joy of Jesus is The Work of The Lord


Our present design is twofold: to censure a misuse, and to explain the meaning of the following verse: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58). In the heedless hurry of this slipshod age not a few have taken those words as though they read, "Work for the Lord," and have used them as a slogan for what is now styled "Christian service," most of which is quite unscriptural—the energy of the flesh finding an outlet in certain forms of religious activities. In this day of pride and presumption it has been quite general to speak of engaging in work for the Lord, and to entertain the idea that He is beholden to such people for the same, that were their labours to cease, His cause would not prosper. To such an extent has this conceit been fostered that it is now a common thing to hear and read of our being "co-workers with God" and "co-operators" with Him. It is but another manifestation of the self-complacent and egotistical spirit of Laodicea (Rev. 3:17) and which has become so rife.
But it is likely to be asked, Does not Scripture itself speak of the saints, or at least ministers of the Gospel, being "co-workers with God"? The emphatic answer is No, certainly not. Two passages have been appealed to in support of this carnal and blatant notion, but neither of them when rightly rendered teach any such thing. The first is 1 Corinthians 3:9, which in the Authorized Version is strangely translated "For we are laborers together with God." Literally the Greek reads, "For God’s we are: fellow-workers; God’s husbandry, God’s building, ye are." The apostle had just rebuked the Corinthians (3:1-3), particularly for exalting some of the servants of God above others (verse 4). He reminded them, first, that the apostles were but ministers or "servants," mere instruments who were nothings unless God blessed their labours and "gave the increase" (verses 6, 7). Then, he pointed out that one instrument ought not to be esteemed above another, for "he that planteth" and "he that watereth are one (verse 8) and shall each "receive his own reward." While in verse 9 he sums up by saying those instruments are "God’s"—of His appointing and equipping; "fellow-workers," partners in the Gospel field.
The second passage appealed to lends still less color to the conceit we are here rebutting: "We then as workers together with Him beseech you" (2 Cor. 6:1), for the words "with Him" are in italics, which means they are not contained in the original, but have been supplied by the translators. This verse simply means that the instruments God employed in the ministry of the Gospel were joint-laborers in beseeching sinners not to receive His grace in vain. There is no thought whatever of "co-operating" with God. Why should there be? What assistance does the Almighty need! Nor does He ever voluntarily receive any (Job 22:2, 3; Luke 17:10). What an absurdity to suppose the finite could be of any help to the Infinite! At most, we can but concur with His appointments, and humbly present ourselves before Him as empty vessels to be filled by Him. It is wondrous condescension on His part if He designs to employ us as His agents; the honour is ours, we confer no favour on Him. The Lord is the sole Operator; His servants the channels through which He often—though by no means always—operates. Ministers are not coordinates with God, but subordinates to Him.

The Joy of Jesus is Bible Study

The Spirit Uniting to Christ

Two Kinds of Union
One of the principal ends or designs of the Gospel is the communication to God’s elect of those benefits or blessings which are in the Redeemer; but the communication of benefits necessarily implies communion, and all communion as necessarily presupposes union with His Person. Can I be rich with another man’s money, or advanced by another man’s honors? Yes, if that other be my surety (one who pledges himself as liable for my debt), or my husband. Peter could not be justified by the righteousness of Paul, but both could be justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, seeing they are both knit to one common Head. Principal and surety are one in obligation and construction of law. Head and members are one body; branch and stock are one tree, and a slip will live by the sap of an-other stock when once engrafted into it. We must, then, be united to Christ before we can receive any benefits from Him.
Now there are two kinds of union between Christ and His people: a judicial and a vital, or a legal and a spiritual. The first is that union which was made by God between the Redeemer and the redeemed when He was appointed their federal Head. It was a union in law, in consequence of which He represented them and was responsible for them, the benefits of His transactions redounding to them. It may be illustrated by the case of suretyship among men: a relation is formed between the surety and that person for whom he engages, by which the two are thus far considered as one—the surety being liable for the debt which the other has contracted, and his payment is held as the payment of the debtor, who is thereby absolved from all obligation to the creditor. A similar connection is established between Christ and those who had been given to Him by the Father.
But something farther was necessary in order to the actual enjoyment of the benefits procured by Christ’s representation. God, on whose sovereign will the whole economy of grace is founded, had determined not only that His Son should sustain the character of their Surety, but that there should be also a vital as well as legal relation between them, as the foundation of communion with Him in all the blessings of His purchase. It was His good pleasure that as they were one in law, they should be also one spiritually, that Christ’s merit and grace might not only be imputed, but also imparted to them, as the holy oil poured on the head of Aaron descended to the skirt of his garments. It is this latter, this vital and spiritual union, which the Christian has with Christ, that we now purpose to treat of.
Internal "Drawing"
The preaching of the Gospel by the ambassadors of the Lord Jesus is the instrument appointed for the reconciling or bringing home of sinners to God in Christ. This is clear from Romans 10:14 and 1 Corinthians 1:21, and more particularly from 2 Corinthians 5:20, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God." But, as we have pointed out, the mere preaching of the Word—no matter how faithfully—will never bring a single rebel to the feet of Christ in penitence, confidence, and allegiance. No, for that there must be the special and supernatural workings of the Holy Spirit: only thus are any actually drawn to Christ to receive Him as Lord and Savior: and only as this fact is carefully kept prominently before us does the blessed Spirit have His true place in our hearts and minds.

The Joy of Jesus is Trusting God

I Will Trust in the Lord

Verse 1 I will trust in the Lord.
I will trust in the Lord.
I will trust in the Lord until I die—
I will trust in the Lord.
I will trust in the Lord.
I will trust in the Lord until I die.

Verse 2 I’m goin’ to treat everybody right.
I’m goin’ to treat everybody right.
I’m goin’ to treat everybody right until I die—
I’m goin’ to treat everybody right.
I’m goin’ to treat everybody right.
I’m goin’ to treat everybody right until I die.

Verse 3 I’m goin’ to stay on the battlefield.
(optional) I’m goin’ to stay on the battlefield.
I’m goin’ to stay on the battlefield until I die—
I’m goin’ to stay on the battlefield.
I’m goin’ to stay on the battlefield.
I’m goin’ to stay on the battlefield until I die.

Verse 4 I’m goin’ to stay on (a/my) bended knee.
(optional) I’m goin’ to stay on (a/my) bended knee.
I’m goin’ to stay on (a/my) bended knee until I die—
I’m goin’ to stay on (a/my) bended knee.
I’m goin’ to stay on (a/my) bended knee.
I’m goin’ to stay on (a/my) bended knee until I die.

Verse 5 I’m goin’ to watch, fight and pray.
I’m goin’ to watch, fight and pray.
I’m goin’ to watch, fight and pray until I die—
I’m goin’ to watch, fight and pray.
I’m goin’ to watch, fight and pray.
I’m goin’ to watch, fight and pray until I die.

Verse1 (END)

The Joy of Jesus is Your Blessing

Psalm 103

1Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

3Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

4Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

5Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.

6The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

7He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.

8The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

9He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.

10He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

11For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

12As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

13Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.

14For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

15As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

16For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

17But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;

18To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

19The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

20Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.

21Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.

22Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.

The Joy of Jesus is God's Word

John 1

The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

John the Baptist Denies Being the Messiah

19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders[c] in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”
21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”

He said, “I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

He answered, “No.”

22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”[d]

24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26 “I baptize with[e] water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John Testifies About Jesus

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”[f]

John’s Disciples Follow Jesus

35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter[g]).

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

50 Jesus said, “You believe[h] because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you,[i] you[j] will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’[k] the Son of Man.”

John 1:5 Or understood
John 1:18 Some manuscripts but the only Son, who
John 1:19 The Greek term traditionally translated the Jews (hoi Ioudaioi) refers here and elsewhere in John’s Gospel to those Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus; also in 5:10, 15, 16; 7:1, 11, 13; 9:22; 18:14, 28, 36; 19:7, 12, 31, 38; 20:19.
John 1:23 Isaiah 40:3
John 1:26 Or in; also in verses 31 and 33 (twice)
John 1:34 See Isaiah 42:1; many manuscripts is the Son of God.
John 1:42 Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) both mean rock.
John 1:50 Or Do you believe … ?
John 1:51 The Greek is plural.
John 1:51 The Greek is plural.
John 1:51 Gen. 28:12
New International Version, ©2010

The joy of Jesus is God's Glory

<< Luke 2 >>
Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible
Chapter 2
In this chapter, we have an account of the birth and infancy of our Lord Jesus: having had notice of his conception, and of the birth and infancy of his forerunner, in the former chapter. The First-begotten is here brought into the world; let us go meet him with our hosannas, blessed is he that cometh. Here is, I. The place and other circumstances of his birth, which proved him to be the true Messiah, and such a one as we needed, but not such a one as the Jews expected (v. 1-7). II. The notifying of his birth to the shepherds in that neighbourhood by an angel, the song of praise which the angels sung upon that occasion, and the spreading of the report of it by the shepherds (v. 8-20). III. The circumcision of Christ, and the naming of him (v. 21). IV. The presenting of him in the temple (v. 22-24). V. The testimonies of Simeon, and Anna the prophetess, concerning him (v. 25-39). VI. Christ's growth and capacity (v. 40-52). VIII. His observing the passover at twelve years old, and his disputing with the doctors in the temple (v. 41-51). And this, with what we have met with (Mt. 1 and 2), is all we have concerning our Lord Jesus, till he entered upon his public work in the thirtieth year of his age.

Verses 1-7

The fulness of time was now come, when God would send forth his Son, made of a woman, and made under the law; and it was foretold that he should be born at Bethlehem. Now here we have an account of the time, place, and manner of it.

I. The time when our Lord Jesus was born. Several things may be gathered out of these verses which intimate to us that it was the proper time.

1. He was born at the time when the fourth monarchy was in its height, just when it was become, more than any of the three before it, a universal monarchy. He was born in the days of Augustus Caesar, when the Roman empire extended itself further than ever before or since, including Parthia one way, and Britain another way; so that it was then called Terraram orbis imperium-The empire of the whole earth; and here that empire is called all the world (v. 1), for there was scarcely any part of the civilized world, but what was dependent on it. Now this was the time when the Messiah was to be born, according to Daniel's prophecy (Dan. 2:44): In the days of these kings, the kings of the fourth monarchy, shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.

2. He was born when Judea was become a province of the empire, and tributary to it; as appears evidently by this, that when all the Roman empire was taxed, the Jews were taxed among the rest. Jerusalem was taken by Pompey the Roman general, about sixty years before this, who granted the government of the church to Hyrcanus, but not the government of the state; by degrees it was more and more reduced, till now at length it was quite subdued; for Judea was ruled by Cyrenius the Roman governor of Syria (v. 2): the Roman writers call him Sulpitius Quirinus. Now just at this juncture, the Messiah was to be born, for so was dying Jacob's prophecy, that Shiloh should come when the sceptre was departed from Judah, and the lawgiver from between his feet, Gen. 49:10. This was the first taxing that was made in Judea, the first badge of their servitude; therefore now Shiloh must come, to set up his kingdom.

3. There is another circumstance, as to the time, implied in this general enrolment of all the subjects of the empire, which is, that there was now universal peace in the empire. The temple of Janus was now shut, which it never used to be if any wars were on foot; and now it was fit for the Prince of peace to be born, in whose days swords should be beaten into plough-shares.

II. The place where our Lord Jesus was born is very observable. He was born at Bethlehem; so it was foretold (Mic. 5:2), the scribes so understood it (Mt. 2:5, 6), so did the common people, Jn. 7:42. The name of the place was significant. Bethlehem signifies the house of bread; a proper place for him to be born in who is the Bread of life, the Bread that came down from heaven. But that was not all; Bethlehem was the city of David, where he was born, and therefore there he must be born who was the Son of David. Zion was also called the city of David (2 Sa. 5:7), yet Christ was not born there; for Bethlehem was that city of David where he was born in meanness, to be a shepherd; and this our Saviour, when he humbled himself, chose for the place of his birth; not Zion, where he ruled in power and prosperity, that was to be a type of the church of Christ, that mount Zion. Now when the virgin Mary was with child, and near her time, Providence so ordered it that, by order from the emperor, all the subjects of the Roman empire were to be taxed; that is, they were to give in their names to the proper officers, and they were to be registered and enrolled, according to their families, which is the proper signification of the word here used; their being taxed was but secondary. It is supposed that they made profession of subjection to the Roman empire, either by some set form of words, or at least by payment of some small tribute, a penny suppose, in token of their allegiance, like a man's atturning tenant. Thus are they vassals upon record, and may thank themselves.

According to this decree, the Jews (who were now nice in distinguishing their tribes and families) provided that in their enrolments particular care should be had to preserve the memory of them. Thus foolishly are they solicitous to save the shadow, when they had lost the substance.

That which Augustus designed was either to gratify his pride in knowing the numbers of his people, and proclaiming it to the world, or he did it in policy, to strengthen his interest, and make his government appear the more formidable; but Providence had another reach in it. All the world shall be at the trouble of being enrolled, only that Joseph and Mary may. This brought them up from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea, because they were of the stock and lineage of David (v. 4, 5); and perhaps, being poor and low, they thought the royalty of their extraction rather than a burden and expense to them than a matter of pride. Because it is difficult to suppose that every Jew (women as well as men) was obliged to repair to the city of which their ancestors were, and there be enrolled, now, at a time when they kept not to the bounds of their tribes, as formerly, it may be offered as a conjecture that this great exactness was used only with the family of David, concerning which, it is probable, the emperor gave particular orders, it having been the royal family, and still talked of as designed to be so, that he might know its number and strength. Divers ends of Providence were served by this.

1. Hereby the virgin Mary was brought, great with child, to Bethlehem, to be delivered there, according to the prediction; whereas she had designed to lie in at Nazareth. See how man purposes and God disposes; and how Providence orders all things for the fulfilling of the scripture, and makes use of the projects men have for serving their own purposes, quite beyond their intention, to serve his.

2. Hereby it appeared that Jesus Christ was of the seed of David; for what brings his mother to Bethlehem now, but because she was of the stock and lineage of David? This was a material thing to be proved, and required such an authentic proof as this. Justin Martyr and Tertullian, two of the earliest advocates for the Christian religion, appeal to these rolls or records of the Roman empire, for the proof of Christ's being born of the house of David.

3. Hereby it appeared that he was made under the law; for he became a subject of the Roman empire as soon as he was born, a servant of rulers, Isa. 49:7. Many suppose that, being born during the time of the taxing, he was enrolled as well as his father and mother, that it might appear how he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant. Instead of having kings tributaries to him, when he came into the world he was himself a tributary.

III. The circumstances of his birth, which were very mean, and under all possible marks of contempt. He was indeed a first-born son; but it was a poor honour to be the first-born of such a poor woman as Mary was, who had no inheritance to which he might be entitled as first-born, but what was in nativity.

1. He was under some abasements in common with other children; he was wrapped in swaddling clothes, as other children are when they are new-born, as if he could be bound, or needed to be kept straight. He that makes darkness a swaddling band for the sea was himself wrapped in swaddling bands, Job 38:9. The everlasting Father became a child of time, and men said to him whose out-goings were of old from everlasting, We know this man, whence he is, Jn. 7:27. The Ancient of days became an infant of a span long.

2. He was under some abasements peculiar to himself.

(1.) He was born at an inn. That son of David that was the glory of his father's house had no inheritance that he could command, no not in the city of David, no nor a friend that would accommodate his mother in distress with lodgings to be brought to bed in. Christ was born in an inn, to intimate that he came into the world but to sojourn here for awhile, as in an inn, and to teach us to do likewise. An inn receives all comers, and so does Christ. He hangs out the banner of love for his sign, and whoever comes to him, he will in no wise cast out; only, unlike other inns, he welcomes those that come without money and without price. All is on free cost.

(2.) He was born in a stable; so some think the word signifies which we translate a manger, a place for cattle to stand to be fed in. Because there was no room in the inn, and for want of conveniences, nay for want of necessaries, he was laid in a manger, instead of a cradle. The word which we render swaddling clothes some derive from a word that signifies to rend, or tear, and these infer that he was so far from having a good suit of child-bed linen, that his very swaddles were ragged and torn. His being born in a stable and laid in a manger was an instance, [1.] Of the poverty of his parents. Had they been rich, room would have been made for them; but, being poor, they must shift as they could. [2.] Of the corruption and degeneracy of manners in that age; that a woman in reputation for virtue and honour should be used so barbarously. If there had been any common humanity among them, they would not have turned a woman in travail into a stable. [3.] It was an instance of the humiliation of our Lord Jesus. We were become by sin like an out-cast infant, helpless and forlorn; and such a one Christ was. Thus he would answer the type of Moses, the great prophet and lawgiver of the Old Testament, who was in his infancy cast out in an ark of bulrushes, as Christ in a manger. Christ would hereby put a contempt upon all worldly glory, and teach us to slight it. Since his own received him not, let us not think it strange if they receive us not.

Verses 8-20

The meanest circumstances of Christ's humiliation were all along attended with some discoveries of his glory, to balance them, and take off the offence of them; for even when he humbled himself God did in some measure exalt him and give him earnests of his future exaltation. When we saw him wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, we were tempted to say, "Surely this cannot be the Son of God." But see his birth attended, as it is here, with a choir of angels, and we shall say, "Surely this cannot be the Son of God." But see his birth attended, as it is here, with a choir of angels, and we shall say, "Surely it can be no other than the Son of God, concerning whom it was said, when he was brought into the world, Let all the angels of God worship him," Heb. 1:6.

We had in Matthew an account of the notice given of the arrival of this ambassador, this prince from heaven, to the wise men, who were Gentiles, by a star; here we are told of the notice given of it to the shepherds, who were Jews, by an angel: to each God chose to speak in the language they were most conversant with.

I. See here how the shepherds were employed; they were abiding in the fields adjoining to Bethlehem, and keeping watch over their flocks by night, v. 8. The angel was not sent to the chief priests or the elders (they were not prepared to receive these tidings), but to a company of poor shepherds, who were like Jacob, plain men dwelling in tents, not like Esau, cunning hunters. The patriarchs were shepherds. Moses and David particularly were called from keeping sheep to rule God's people; and by this instance God would show that he had still a favour for those of that innocent employment. Tidings were brought to Moses of the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, when he was keeping sheep, and to these shepherds, who, it is probable, were devout pious men, the tidings were brought of a greater salvation. Observe, 1. They were not sleeping in their beds, when this news was brought them (though many had very acceptable intelligence from heaven in slumbering upon the bed), but abiding in the fields, and watching. Those that would hear from God must stir up themselves. They were broad awake, and therefore could not be deceived in what they saw and heard, so as those may be who are half asleep. 2. They were employed now, not in acts of devotion, but in the business of their calling; they were keeping watch over their flock, to secure them from thieves and beasts of prey, it being probably in the summer time, when they kept their cattle out all night, as we do now, and did not house them. Note, We are not out of the way of divine visits when we are sensibly employed in an honest calling, and abide with God in it.

II. How they were surprised with the appearance of the angel (v. 9): Behold, an angel of the Lord came upon them, of a sudden, epesteµ-stood over them; most probably, in the air over their heads, as coming immediately from heaven. We read it, the angel, as if it were the same that appeared once and again in the chapter before, the angel Gabriel, that was caused to fly swiftly; but that is not certain. The angel's coming upon them intimates that they little thought of such a thing, or expected it; for it is in a preventing way that gracious visits are made us from heaven, or ever we are aware. That they might be sure it was an angel from heaven, they saw and heard the glory of the Lord round about them; such as made the night as bright as day, such a glory as used to attend God's appearance, a heavenly glory, or an exceedingly great glory, such as they could not bear the dazzling lustre of. This made them sore afraid, put them into great consternation, as fearing some evil tidings. While we are conscious to ourselves of so much guilt, we have reason to fear lest every express from heaven should be a messenger of wrath.

III. What the message was which the angel had to deliver to the shepherds, v. 10-12. 1. He gives a supersedeas to their fears: "Fear not, for we have nothing to say to you that needs be a terror to you; you need not fear your enemies, and should not fear your friends." 2. He furnishes them with abundant matter for joy: "Behold, I evangelize to you great joy; I solemnly declare it, and you have reason to bid it welcome, for it shall bring joy to all people, and not to the people of the Jews only; that unto you is born this day, at this time, a Saviour, the Saviour that has been so long expected, which is Christ the Lord, in the city of David," v. 11. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed; he is the Lord, Lord of all; he is a sovereign prince; nay, he is God, for the Lord, in the Old Testament, answers to Jehovah. He is a Saviour, and he will be a Saviour to those only that accept him for their Lord. "The Saviour is born, he is born this day; and, since it is matter of great joy to all people, it is not to be kept secret, you may proclaim it, may tell it to whom you please. He is born in the place where it was foretold he should be born, in the city of David; and he is born to you; to you Jews he is sent in the first place, to bless you, to you shepherds, though poor and mean in the world." This refers to Isa. 9:6, Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. To you men, not to us angels; he took not on him the nature of angels. This is matter of joy indeed to all people, great joy. Long-looked for is come at last. Let heaven and earth rejoice before this Lord, for he cometh. 3. He gives them a sign for the confirming of their faith in this matter. "How shall we find out this child in Bethlehem, which is now full of the descendants from David?" "You will find him by this token: he is lying in a manger, where surely never any new-born infant was laid before." They expected to be told, "You shall find him, though a babe, dressed up in robes, and lying in the best house in the town, lying in state, with a numerous train of attendants in rich liveries." "No, you will find him wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger." When Christ was here upon earth, he distinguished himself, and made himself remarkable, by nothing so much as the instances of his humiliation.

IV. The angels' doxology to God, and congratulations of men, upon this solemn occasion, v. 13, 14. The message was no sooner delivered by one angel (that was sufficient to go express) than suddenly there was with that angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts; sufficient, we may be sure, to make a chorus, that were heard by the shepherds, praising God; and certainly their song was not like that (Rev. 14:3) which no man could learn, for it was designed that we should all learn it. 1. Let God have the honour of this work: Glory to God in the highest. God's good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah, redounds very much to his praise; and angels in the highest heavens, though not immediately interested in it themselves, will celebrate it to his honour, Rev. 5:11, 12. Glory to God, whose kindness and love designed this favour, and whose wisdom contrived it in such a way as that one divine attribute should not be glorified at the expense of another, but the honour of all effectually secured and advanced. Other works of God are for his glory, but the redemption of the world is for his glory in the highest. 2. Let men have the joy of it: On earth peace, good-will toward men. God's good-will in sending the Messiah introduced peace in this lower world, slew the enmity that sin had raised between God and man, and resettled a peaceable correspondence. If God be at peace with us, all peace results from it: peace of conscience, peace with angels, peace between Jew and Gentile. Peace is here put for all good, all that good which flows to us from the incarnation of Christ. All the good we have, or hope, is owing to God's good-will; and, if we have the comfort of it, he must have the glory of it. Nor must any peace, and good, be expected in a way inconsistent with the glory of God; therefore not in any way of sin, nor in any way but by a Mediator. Here was the peace proclaimed with great solemnity; whoever will, let them come and take the benefit of it. It is on earth peace, to men of good-will (so some copies read it), en anthroµpois eudokias; to men who have a good-will to God, and are willing to be reconciled; or to men whom God has a good-will to, though vessels of his mercy. See how well affected the angels are to man, and to his welfare and happiness; how well pleased they were in the incarnation of the Son of God, though he passed by their nature; and ought not we much more to be affected with it? This is a faithful saying, attested by an innumerable company of angels, and well worthy of all acceptation, That the good-will of God toward men is glory to God in the highest, and peace on the earth.

V. The visit which the shepherds made to the new-born Saviour. 1. They consulted about it, v. 15. While the angels were singing their hymn, they could attend to that only; but, when they were gone away from them into heaven (for angels, when they appeared, never made any long stay, but returned as soon as they had despatched their business), the shepherds said one to another, Let us go to Bethlehem. Note, When extraordinary messages from the upper world are no more to be expected, we must set ourselves to improve the advantages we have for the confirming of our faith, and the keeping up of our communion with God in this lower world. And it is no reflection upon the testimony of angels, no nor upon a divine testimony itself, to get it corroborated by observation and experience. But observe, These shepherds do not speak doubtfully, "Let us go see whether it be so or no;" but with assurance, Let us go see this thing which is come to pass; for what room was left to doubt of it, when the Lord had thus made it known to them? The word spoken by angels was stedfast and unquestionably true. 2. They immediately made the visit, v. 16. They lost no time, but came with haste to the place, which, probably, the angel directed them to more particularly than is recorded ("Go to the stable of such an inn"); and there they found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger. The poverty and meanness in which they found Christ the Lord were no shock to their faith, who themselves knew what it was to live a life of comfortable communion with God in very poor and mean circumstances. We have reason to think that the shepherds told Joseph and Mary of the vision of the angels they had seen, and the song of the angels they had heard, which was a great encouragement to them, more than if a visit had been made them by the best ladies in the town. And it is probable that Joseph and Mary told the shepherds what visions they had had concerning the child; and so, by communicating their experiences to each other, they greatly strengthened one another's faith.

VI. The care which the shepherds took to spread the report of this (v. 17): When they had seen it, though they saw nothing in the child that should induce them to believe that he was Christ the Lord, yet the circumstances, how mean soever they were, agreeing with the sign that the angel had given them, they were abundantly satisfied; and as the lepers argued (2 Ki. 12:9, This being a day of good tidings, we dare not hold our peace), so they made known abroad the whole story of what was told them, both by the angels, and by Joseph and Mary, concerning this child, that he was the Saviour, even Christ the Lord, that in him there is peace on earth, and that he was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, and born of a virgin. This they told every body, and agreed in their testimony concerning it. And now if, when he is in the world, the world knows him not, it is their own fault, for they have sufficient notice given them. What impression did it make upon people? Why truly, All they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds, v. 18. The shepherds were plain, downright, honest men, and they could not suspect them guilty of any design to impose upon them; what they had said therefore was likely to be true, and, if true, they could not but wonder at it, that the Messiah should be born in a stable and not in a palace, that angels should bring news of it to poor shepherds and not to the chief priests. They wondered, but never enquired any further about the Saviour, their duty to him, or advantages by him, but let the thing drop as a nine days' wonder. O the amazing stupidity of the men of that generation! Justly were the things which belonged to their peace hid from their eyes, when they thus wilfully shut their eyes against them.

VII. The use which those made of these things, who did believe them. 1. The virgin Mary made them the matter of her private meditation. She said little, but kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart, v. 19. She laid the evidences together, and kept them in reserve, to be compared with the discoveries that should afterwards be made her. As she had silently left it to God to clear up her virtue, when that was suspected, so she silently leaves it to him to publish her honour, now when it was veiled; and it is satisfaction enough to find that, if no one else takes notice of the birth of her child, angels do. Note, The truths of Christ are worth keeping; and the way to keep them safe is to ponder them. Meditation is the best help to memory. 2. The shepherds made them the matter of their more public praises. If others were not affected with those things, yet they themselves were (v. 20): They returned, glorifying and praising God, in concurrence with the holy angels. If others would not regard the report they made to them, God would accept the thanksgivings they offered to him. They praised God for what they had heard from the angel, and for what they had seen, the babe in the manger, and just then in the swaddling, when they came in, as it had been spoken to them. They thanked God that they had seen Christ, though in the depth of his humiliation. As afterwards the cross of Christ, so now his manger, was to some foolishness and a stumbling-block, but others saw in it, and admired, and praised, the wisdom of God and the power of God.

Verses 21-24

Our Lord Jesus, being made of a woman, was made under the law, Gal. 4:4. He was not only, as the son of a daughter of Adam, made under the law of nature, but as the son of a daughter of Abraham was made under the law of Moses; he put his neck under that yoke, though it was a heavy yoke, and a shadow of good things to come. Though its institutions were beggarly elements, and rudiments of this world, as the apostle calls them, Christ submitted to it, that he might with the better grace cancel it, and set it aside for us.

Now here we have two instances of his being made under that law, and submitting to it.

I. He was circumcised on the very day that the law appointed (v. 21): When eight days were accomplished, that day seven-night that he was born, they circumcised him. 1. Though it was a painful operation (Surely a bloody husband thou has been, said Zipporah to Moses, because of the circumcision, Ex. 4:25), yet Christ would undergo it for us; nay, therefore he submitted to it, to give an instance of his early obedience, his obedience unto blood. Then he shed his blood by drops, which afterwards he poured out in purple streams. 2. Though it supposed him a stranger, that was by that ceremony to be admitted into covenant with God, whereas he had always been his beloved Son; nay, though it supposed him a sinner, that needed to have his filthiness taken away, whereas he had no impurity or superfluity of naughtiness to be cut off, yet he submitted to it; nay, therefore he submitted to it, because he would be made in the likeness, not only of flesh, but of sinful flesh, Rom. 8:3. 3. Though thereby he made himself a debtor to the whole law (Gal. 5:3), yet he submitted to it; nay, therefore he submitted to it, because he would take upon him the form of a servant, though he was free-born. Christ was circumcised, (1.) That he might own himself of the seed of Abraham, and of that nation of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, and who was to take on him the seed of Abraham, Heb. 2:16. (2.) That he might own himself a surety for our sins, and an undertaker for our safety. Circumcision (saith Dr. Goodwin) was our bond, whereby we acknowledged ourselves debtors to the law; and Christ, by being circumcised, did as it were set his hand to it, being made sin for us. The ceremonial law consisted much in sacrifices; Christ hereby obliged himself to offer, not the blood of bulls or goats, but his own blood, which none that ever were circumcised before could oblige themselves to. (3.) That he might justify, and put an honour upon, the dedication of the infant seed of the church to God, by that ordinance which is the instituted seal of the covenant, and of the righteousness which is by faith, as circumcision was (Rom. 4:11), and baptism is. And certainly his being circumcised at eight days old doth make much more for the dedicating of the seed of the faithful by baptism in their infancy than his being baptized at thirty years old doth for the deferring of it till they are grown up. The change of the ceremony alters not the substance.

At his circumcision, according to the custom, he had his name given him; he was called Jesus or Joshua, for he was so named of the angel to his mother Mary before he was conceived in the womb (Lu. 1:31), and to his supposed father Joseph after, Mt. 1:21. [1.] It was a common name among the Jews, as John was (Col. 4:11), and in this he would be made like unto his brethren. [2.] It was the name of two eminent types of him in the Old Testament, Joshua, the successor of Moses, who was commander of Israel, and conqueror of Canaan; and Joshua, the high priest, who was therefore purposely crowned, that he might prefigure Christ as a priest upon his throne, Zec. 6:11, 13. [3.] It was very significant of his undertaking. Jesus signifies a Saviour. He would be denominated, not from the glories of his divine nature, but from his gracious designs as Mediator; he brings salvation.

II. He was presented in the temple. This was done with an eye to the law, and at the time appointed by the law, when he was forty days old, when the days of her purification were accomplished, v. 22. Many copies, and authentic ones, read autoµn for auteµs,the days of their purification, the purification both of the mother and of the child, for so it was intended to be by the law; and our Lord Jesus, though he had no impurity to be cleansed from, yet submitted to it, as he did to circumcision, because he was made sin for us; and that, as by the circumcision of Christ we might be circumcised, in the virtue of our union and communion with him, with a spiritual circumcision made without hands (Col. 2:11), so in the purification of Christ we might be spiritually purified from the filthiness and corruption which we brought into the world with us. Now, according to the law,

1. The child Jesus, being a first-born son, was presented to the Lord, in one of the courts of the temple. The law is here recited (v. 23): Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord, because by a special writ of protection the first-born of the Egyptians were slain by the destroying angel; so that Christ, as first-born, was a priest by a title surer than that of Aaron's house. Christ was the first-born among many brethren, and was called holy to the Lord, so as never any other was; yet he was presented to the Lord as other first-born were, and no otherwise. Though he was newly come out of the bosom of the Father, yet he was presented to him by the hands of a priest, as if he had been a stranger, that needed one to introduce him. His being presented to the Lord now signified his presenting himself to the Lord as Mediator, when he was caused to draw near and approach unto him, Jer. 30:21. But, according to the law, he was redeemed, Num. 18:15. The first-born of many shalt thou redeem, and five shekels was the value, Lev. 27:6: Num. 18:16. But probably in case of poverty the priest was allowed to take less, or perhaps nothing; for no mention is made of it here. Christ was presented to the Lord, not to be brought back, for his ear was bored to God's door-post to serve him for ever; and though he is not left in the temple as Samuel was, to minister there, yet like him he is given to the Lord as long as he lives, and ministers to him in the true temple not made with hands.

2. The mother brought her offering, v. 24. When she had presented that son of hers unto the Lord who was to be the great sacrifice, she might have been excused from offering any other; but so it is said in the law of the Lord, that law which was yet in force, and therefore so it must be done, she must offer a pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons; had she been of ability, she must have brought a lamb for a burnt-offering, and a dove for a sin-offering; but, being poor, and not able to reach the price of a lamb, she brings two doves, one for a burnt-offering and the other for a sin-offering (see Lev. 12:6, 8), to teach us in every address to God, and particularly in those upon special occasions, both to give thanks to God for his mercies to us and to acknowledge with sorrow and shame our sins against him; in both we must give glory to him, nor do we ever want matter for both. Christ was not conceived and born in sin, as others are, so that there was not that occasion in his case which there is in others; yet, because he was made under the law, he complied with it. Thus it became him to fulfil all righteousness. Much more doth it become the best of men to join in confessions of sin; for who can say, I have made my heart clean?

Verses 25-40

Even when he humbles himself, still Christ has honour done him to balance the offence of it. That we might not be stumbled at the meanness of his birth, angels t

The Joy of Jesus is in Sharing

The Christian life begins by the exercise of a God-given faith, namely, an act whereby we receive Christ as our own personal Saviour (John 1:1). We are "justified by faith," and by Christ "have access by faith into this grace [i.e., accepted into God is favor] wherein we stand" (Rom. 5:1, 2). We are "sanctified by faith" (Acts 26:18), that is, made actual participants of the ineffable purity of Christ. Through the Spirit we "wait for the hope of righteousness by faith" (Gal. 5:5; cf. 2 Tim. 4:8). It is by "the shield of faith," and that alone, we are able to "quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (Eph. 6:12). It is "through faith and patience" that we "inherit the promises" (Heb. 6:12). It was by faith that the Old Testament saints "obtained a good report" (Heb. 11:3) and wrought such wonders as the remainder of that chapter demonstrates. It is by faith we successfully resist the Devil (1 Peter 5:9) and overcome the world ( l John 5:4). From all of which it is very evident that the Treasure of our Christian progress will he very largely determined by the extent to which this principle he kept healthy and remains operating in us.

Share Love in Christ Jesus....

The Joy of Jesus is Security

Consider God the Son in His mediatorial character. The elect were committed unto Him as a trust by the Father: said He Thine they were and Thou gayest them Me" (John 17:6). In the covenant of redemption Christ offered to act as their Surety and to serve as their Shepherd. This involved the most stupendous task which the history of the universe records: the Son’s becoming incarnate, magnifying the Divine Law by rendering to it perfect obedience, pouring out His soul unto death as a sacrifice to Divine justice, overcoming death and the grave, and ultimately presenting ‘faultless" before God (Jude 24) the whole of His redeemed. As the good Shepherd He died for His sheep, and as the great Shepherd it is His office to preserve them from this present evil world. If He failed in this task, if any of His sheep were lost, where would be His faithfulness to His engagement? where would be the efficacy of His atonement? how could He triumphantly exclaim at the end "Behold land the children which God hath given Me" (Heb. 2:13)?
The person of the Holy Spirit is equally concerned in this vital matter. It is not sufficiently realized by the saints that they are as definitely indebted to the third Person of the Godhead as truly as they are to the first and second Persons. The Father ordained their salvation, the Son in His mediatorial character purchased it, and the Spirit "applies" and effectuates it. It is the blessed Spirit’s work to make good the Father’s purpose and the Son’s atonement: "He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5). Said Christ to His disciples "I will not leave you orphans (though I leave this world): I will come to you" (John 14:18). That promise given on the eve of His death was made good in the gift of the Spirit "But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, the same shall teach you all things" (John 14:26). Christ’s redeemed were thus entrusted to the love and care of the Spirit, and should any of them be lost where would be the Spirit’s sufficiency? where His power? where His faithfulness?
This, then, is no trivial doctrine we are now concerned with, for the most momentous considerations are inseparably connected with it. We are satisfied it is because of their failure to realize this that so many professing Christians perceive not the seriousness of their assenting to the opposing dogma of the total apostasy of saints. If they understood more clearly what was involved in affirming that some who were truly born again fell from grace, continued in a course of sin, died impenitent and were eternally lost, they would be slower to set their seal unto that which carried such horrible implications. Nor may we regard it as a matter of indifference where such grave consequences are concerned. For any of the elect to perish would necessarily entail a defeated Father, who was balked of the realization of His purpose: a disappointed Son, who would never see the full travail of His soul and be satisfied; and a disgraced Spirit, who had failed to preserve those entrusted to His care. From such awful errors may we be delivered

The Joy of Jesus is Divine Power

Excellence and Sufficiency of Divine Power
"Now to him that is of power to establish you" (Rom. 16:25). This is not a petitionary prayer, but the adoration of Deity. No request is made for the saints, but God is exalted before them. The apostle begins by reminding us of the excellency and sufficiency of the divine power. He had concluded his introduction to this epistle by affirming "the gospel of Christ... is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom. 1:16). Now he points out the believer is equally dependent upon God’s power for his establishment. Christians cannot establish themselves, nor can their ministers establish them; the one or the other may use the appointed means, but they cannot ensure success. God alone can make them effectual to any of us. But blessed be His name, He can do so, for "God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2 Cor. 9:8). Note that the word able includes disposition as well as capacity: He can, He will (cf. Rom. 4:21; Eph. 3:20).
The Greek word translated "stablish" (sterizo) is rendered "set steadfastly" in Luke 9:51 and "strengthen" in Luke 22:32 and Revelation 3:2. It means "to thoroughly establish," "to make rooted and grounded in the faith" (Col. 1:27) both in heart (1 Thess. 3:12) and in walk (2 Thess. 2:17). This is a duty incumbent upon us, for we are expressly bidden, "Stablish your hearts" (James 5:8). But because we are not sufficient for such a task, God has graciously made the promise: "But the Lord is faithful [though we are unfaithful], who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil" (2 Thess. 3:3). Though it be our privilege and obligation to study the Word, to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, yet so strongly are our hearts influenced by sin, so dull is our understanding and so feeble is our love, that the working of God’s power is required to preserve us. Not only were we unable to bring ourselves into the faith but we cannot continue in it without divine strength. Because of our proneness to apostatize, the subtlety and strength of our spiritual enemies, the evil of the world in which we live, God’s power alone can keep us (cf. Jude 24).

The Joy of Jesus is The Glory of God

(Romans 15:4-7 NIV) For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. {5} May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, {6} so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. {7} Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

The Joy of Jesus is True Love

1 Corinthians 13

1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is

The Joy of Jesus is The Power of God

Jesus Calms the Storm

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

YouTube - Handel's Messiah - 1 of 6

YouTube - Handel's Messiah - 1 of 6

YouTube - The Passion of Christ Pt 5 of 12 (Full Movie)

YouTube - The Passion of Christ Pt 5 of 12 (Full Movie)

The Joy of Jesus is all about The Truth

Christ's Intercessory Prayer.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
The next thing he prayed for for them was that they might be sanctified; not only kept from evil, but made good.
I. Here is the petition (v. 17): Sanctify them through thy truth, through thy word, for thy word is truth; it is true—it is truth itself. He desires they may be sanctified,
1. As Christians. Father, make them holy, and this will be their preservation, 1 Thess. v. 23. Observe here,
(1.) The grace desired—sanctification. The disciples were sanctified, for they were not of the world; yet he prays, Father sanctify them, that is, [1.] "Confirm the work of sanctification in them, strengthen their faith, inflame their good affections, rivet their good resolutions." [2.] "Carry on that good work in them, and continue it; let the light shine more and more." [3.] "Complete it, crown it with the perfection of holiness; sanctify them throughout and to the end." Note, First, It is the prayer of Christ for all that are his that they may be sanctified; because he cannot for shame own them as his, either here or hereafter, either employ them in his work or present them to his Father, if they be not sanctified. Secondly, Those that through grace are sanctified have need to be sanctified more and more. Even disciples must pray for sanctifying grace; for, if he that was the author of the good work be not the finisher of it, we are undone. Not to go forward is to go backward; he that is holy must be holy still, more holy still, pressing forward, soaring upward, as those that have not attained. Thirdly, It is God that sanctifies as well as God that justified, 2 Cor. v. 5. Fourthly, It is an encouragement to us, in our prayers for sanctifying grace, that it is what Christ intercedes for for us.
(2.) The means of conferring this grace—through thy truth, thy word is truth. Not that the Holy One of Israel is hereby limited to means, but in the counsel of peace among other things it was settled and agreed, [1.] That all needful truth should be comprised and summed up in the word of God. Divine revelation, as it now stands in the written word, is not only pure truth without mixture, but entire truth without deficiency. [2.] That this word of truth should be the outward and ordinary means of our sanctification; not of itself, for then it would always sanctify, but as the instrument which the Spirit commonly uses in beginning and carrying on that good work; it is the seed of the new birth (1 Pet. i. 23), and the food of the new life, 1 Pet. ii. 1-2.

The Joy of Jesus is Salvation to All

A Prayer for Cleansing
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, 2.1--0.1 ; 0.12 ; -15.15 after he had gone in to Bath–she'ba.

1 Have mercy upon me, O God,

according to thy loving-kindness:
according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity,

and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions:

and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,

and done this evil in thy sight:
that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest,
and be clear when thou judgest. Rom. 3.4
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity;

and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:

and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:

wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness;

that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9 Hide thy face from my sins,

and blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God;

and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence;

and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;

and uphold me with thy free Spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways;

and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,

thou God of my salvation:
and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips;

and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
16 For thou desirest not sacrifice;

else would I give it:
thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:

a broken and a contrite heart, O God,
thou wilt not despise.
18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion:

build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,

with burnt offering and whole burnt offering:
then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

The Joy of Jesus is to Grow in Love

"As the Father hath loved me, so I have loved you" (John 15:9). There is no change of theme, only another aspect of it. In the two previous verses the Lord had described three of the consequences of abiding in Him in order to fruitfulness; here, and in the three verses that follow, He names three of the varieties of the fruit home; and it is very striking to note that they are identical with the first three and are given in the same order as those enumerated in Galatians 5:22, where the "fruit of the Spirit" is defined. Here in John 15:9, it is love; in John 15:11, it is joy; while in John 15:12 it is peace—the happy issue of brethren loving one another.
"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you." "As the Father loved Him from everlasting, so did He love them; as His Father loved Him with a love of complacency and delight, so did He love them; as the Father loved Him with a special and peculiar affection, with an unchanging, invariable, constant love, which would last forever, in like manner does Christ love His people; and with this He enforces the exhortation which follows" (Dr. John Gill).
"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love." (John 15:9). Christ’s love to us is unaffected by our changeableness, but our enjoyment of His love depends upon our continuance in it. By this continuance in His love, or abiding in it, as it should be (the Greek word is the same), is meant our actual assurance of it, our reposing in it. No matter how mysterious His dispensations be, no matter how severe the trials through which He causes us to pass, we must never doubt His immeasurable love for us and to us. The measure of His love for us was told out at the Cross, and as He is the same to-day as yesterday, therefore He loves us just as dearly now, every moment, as when He laid down His life for us. To "abide" in His love, then, is to be occupied with it, to count upon it, to be persuaded that nothing shall ever be able to separate us from it. Dwelling upon our poor, fluctuating love for Him, will make us miserable; but having the heart fixed upon His wondrous love, that love which "passeth knowledge," will fill us with praise and thanksgiving. Very blessed but very searching is this. To "abide" in Christ is to abide in His love. Our growth proceeds from love to love.

The Joy of Jesus is Peace

Stilling the Storm

Matt 8:23; Mark 4:35; Luke 8:22

Luke 8:22-25 (web)
Now it happened on one of those days, that he entered into a boat,
himself and his disciples, and he said to them,
"Let’s go over to the other side of the lake."
So they launched out.
But as they sailed, he fell asleep. A wind storm came down on the lake,
and they were taking on dangerous amounts of water.
They came to him, and awoke him, saying, "Master, master, we are dying!"
He awoke, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water,
and they ceased, and it was calm.
He said to them, "Where is your faith?"
Being afraid they marveled, saying one to another,
"Who is this, then,
that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?"
What does this teach about Jesus?

He is Lord over nature, commanding the wind and sea.

What is an application to the Christian life?

We shouldn't panic when we are following the Lord, regardless of the situation.

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."Isaiah 26:3
So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Heb 13:6