GOD WANTS US TO HAVE JOY REMAINING UNTIL THE FULLEST
1 John 1:4 “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”
What is the whole purpose of John writing this letter? John is very clear about that. The purpose of writing first John is to teach Christians how to experience joy to the fullest.
Let us first look at the Greek… when you study the Greek the word “full” means to be filled to the brim and without limit. Another way of translating the sentence “be full” is “to be full all the time”. So what is John really saying, he is saying that he is writing this letter so that we might experience joy to the fullest, joy that will overflow and always remain in us no matter the situation around us.
This is just awesome news. John says that the reason he is writing this letter is to teach us about being able to have joy to the fullest no matter what is happening in our lives. As I think about this passage I can imagine this older man sitting with a big smile on his face teaching us the basic principles of Christianity, sharing from his experience how to have remaining joy.
Wow I don’t know about you but I know I would like to experience this joy… You?
Very interesting when you think about it, how many Christians are really walking in this joy that is set aside for everyone? Probably if I am honest I don’t see many Christians walking in this remaining joy. Just imagine what a witness this would be if all Christians would truly walk in joy to the fullest while they are facing difficulties, accidents and problems. I sometimes understand why nobody wants to become a Christian. There is no difference between those who are Christian and those who are unbelievers. Don’t you think that people would become more interested in Christianity when they could see that Christians are truly different? It doesn’t matter what happens in their life they will have joy to the fullest.
The bible is full of passages that talks about joy. Check out John 15:11 where Jesus says that “these things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” Doesn’t that sound the same as John is saying?
Listen to Paul in Philippines 4:4 “Rejoice in the LORD always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Now remember when Paul was writing this to the Philippians he was in a dark and depressing prison cell, possibly with some stripes on his back. Cockroaches and rats crawling over the floor …. You get the picture. While suffering for Christ he says to the church to rejoice. He doesn’t only say it one time but repeats the same message over and over again. Read Philippians for yourself… just awesome. Now this is the joy that John is talking about. No matter what happens we can experience this remaining joy to the fullest or overflowing… wow.
So what can we learn from this passage. Christ wants all Christians to experience joy that is not dependent on our situation. We can experience joy that is overflowing from the inside to the outside. Christians are people meant to be full of joy.
Before closing I like to point out something. Why do Jesus, John and Paul want us to experience this joy overflowing? What is the reason that so many Christians give up their walk with the LORD while they should have victory in their lives?
The answer is maybe very simple. Nehemiah 8:10 says that “… the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Christians will receive strength to face the world and to overcome our enemy the devil. Once we have this joy of the LORD we will be ready to face any enemy. Joy is something very deep and profound; something that affects the whole and entire personality.
As we study the first book of John we will be looking and learning from the apostle John as he teaches us how to experience and keep joy to the fullest. We will be looking at how we can have this joy and what can take away our joy.
STUDY GUIDE FOR SMALL GROUPS
· Start with 1 or 2 Icebreaker(s) if necessary
o When times are very difficult for you, how do you deal with them?
o A famous person you admire is coming to dine with you tomorrow. What would you do to get ready?
1. These coming few months we will be studying the book of 1 John together. Believing that it can and will transform your life if you are willing to accept the life changing teaching of the apostle John. Who remembers last week’s teachings? (That every Christian knows they are going to heaven and that the world belongs to Satan.)
2. 1 John 1:4 – What is the reason for John to write this letter? (So that we may experience joy.)
3. When you study the greek in this verse the work full means – to be filled to the brim, without limit, that your joy may be full. Also the word be full is better translated with the meaning of to remain full or to be full all the time… so John is really saying that he is writing this letter so that we might experience joy to the fullest that will overflow and always remain in us. How does this make you feel? What are you thinking right now?
4. If we accept what John is saying we can also conclude the following, I do not have to have joy of the LORD if it depends on circumstances, accidents and things that happen to me. John is really saying that we can have joy all the time. Our joy that is remaining is not dependant on what is happening around us and in our life. How does this make you feel?
5. If Christian could have this joy always in our life look around you and look at your life, how are you witnessing the gospel? When people are looking at you do you always have this joy or do you complain a lot and get worried about worldly things? When people look at you would they be interested to become a Christian or not? (Just imagine all Christians walking in this joy overflowing how we would impact the world.)
6. Look up some other scriptures about joy – John 16:22, John 15:11 – does the bible want us to have joy everlasting?
7. Phil. 4:4 – what does the apostle Paul tells us to have always? (joy, just explain in what kind of situation the apostle was writing this letter that he was in prison most likely just beaten up and he says to rejoice.)
8. So what can we learn from this? (That our joy is not dependant on our situation. We can experience joy that is overflowing from inside to the outside. Christians are people meant to be full of joy.)
9. Nehemiah 8:10 – what do we see that will happen when we have joy of the LORD? (We will have strength to face the world and to overcome our enemy. Once we have the joy of the LORD we will be ready to face any enemy. Joy is something very deep and profound, something that affects the whole and entire personality. There is only 1 thing that can give true joy – JESUS CHRIST. He satisfies mind, emotions, desires and will. Joy is a response of our soul to Jesus. These coming weeks we will be studying together as John tells us through his own experience how we can have this joy and what can take away our joy.)
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