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Joyful in Christ

Posted by Pastor Christopher Hull on

Jesus spoke to His apostles saying, " These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11).  These are the concluding words that He spoke in His little sermon that begins by preaching, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:1-5).  What does it mean to have joy that is full? It means that we are one with Christ, not by any action of our own, or by an infusion of Jesus grace that we use in this life to remain faithful. No. We are already made clean by the imputation of Jesus righteousness, meaning that Jesus declares us forgiven and so we are. Because of this action, we are one with Jesus, because He declares it so. In this declaration we abide in Jesus and because we abide in Jesus we have joy that is full, joy that belongs to Jesus that He grants to us in our justification.

Our joy, as children of our heavenly Father, is not found in the things of this world, but rather in the forgiveness of our sins which is given to us by Jesus Himself. Our joy is not found in vain pleasures from false idols, but rather is founded in the wounds of Jesus, who gives us eternal pleasure in life everlasting. Joy, or a constant delight no matter the context, is one of the fruits that flows from a heart that is created anew in the mercy of Jesus. Our joy is full only because it is Jesus' joy that He gives to us. Today then my friends, may the Joy of Christ fill you up. How does Jesus' joy fill you up? By being in His Word, hearing HIs voice of absolution, hearing His voice of comfort, love, and peace in the reality that you are right with your Father in Heaven. Abide in this truth and you have the joy of Christ that overflows in your heart. For the Joy of Christ is the gift of the Holy Spirit who is given to you in full in the preaching of the Gospel and the distribution of the sacraments. Because you have the full Holy Spirit, you have the full joy of Christ, the assurance that you are predestined for paradise and no one can take that identity away from you.

Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam drowned anew so that you hear only the voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "Take heart, in Me you have peace. Take heart, no one can take your joy away because no one can take the Holy Spirit away from you," Amen.

Jesus' Sheepdog,

Pastor Hull

Tags: holy spirit, jesus, joy, vine and branches