The Apostle Paul describe spiritual maturity in a Christian as the manifestation of the nine-fold fruit of the Holy Spirit. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV). This is a good verse to memorise. Last week I wrote on Love. God is love (1 John 4:8). God is the source.
The second fruit of the Spirit is Joy! What gives you joy? A walk by the sea? The countryside? Your family? A good meal? A good night's sleep? The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 14:17 (NKJV) "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit". We have joy and peace listed together. We see that many times in the New Testament. The joy of the Holy Spirit comes as the Kingdom of God is a present reality in our lives. It flows through faith in the promises of God in Jesus. Love and joy prioritises relationships over temporal matters (for example, eating and drinking) without ever descending into sin or immortality.
After the exiles returned from Babylon to Judea, it is recorded in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah that on the first day of the seventh month, the people gathered together as one and the book of the Law of Moses was read (Nehemiah 8:1-3). This would have been on the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 22:23-25). The account says that all the people wept when they heard the words of the law (Nehemiah 8:9). But then Nehemiah's says to the people in Nehemiah 8:10 “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” The people are told not to weep, rather to rejoice and be joyous at the grace of the Lord, as they returned to the Lord. They are told to go and enjoy the feast, with foods and drinks, and to share with others, especially those less fortunate. Jesus says the same in Luke 14:12-14. The joy of the Holy Spirit is morally clean joy, that strengthens us to go and seek the welfare of others. Next week we will look at the fruit of peace.
Our services this Saturday/Sabbath are listed below, both at the Great Yarmouth church building and the Lowestoft church building. The Worship Service is at 11.15am, and will follow Sabbath School which starts at 10am. Please note that the Teen and Children Sabbath Schools are at Great Yarmouth. Zoom and Facebook will also be live-streamed from the Great Yarmouth Church.
May the Lord bless you and keep you,