Lordís Day Evening Meditations - November 16, 2003

"That Your Joy May Be Full"

Nehemiah 12:43

We have seen the remnant keeping the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem in chapter 12. Verse 43 is the conclusion of the dedication. See how the subject of joy runs through the verse: "They Ö rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off." There is no doubt about it; they were a very happy people that day! How did this come about? It was the result of what had gone before: they had rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem, a very remarkable work for the Lord; they had listened to the Word of God, and had begun to apply it to themselves. The result of it all was this great joy. Notice, it was "God had made them rejoice with great joy." This tells us something about God - He wants His people to be happy - His people then, and His people today.

In the New Testament we find things which are a cause of joy for believers at the present time. God does not take pleasure in the sorrow or the pain of His children. Sometimes discipline is necessary, and "no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous," however, He has done everything that is necessary so that we can have His joy filling our hearts. Weíll look at some of these things.

In Acts 8 we find the man from Ethiopia. He was probably anxious as he went to worship, and disappointed when he returned, but we find him rejoicing at the end of the story: "And he went on his way rejoicing." What brought that about? Philip presented to him the Lord Jesus as Saviour and the Ethiopian was saved. That is what caused his joy - he was saved! So weíll call this

1) the joy of being saved.

In Acts 16 the Philippian jailor was saved, and we read that he "rejoiced, believing in God with all his house." We may not think of it, but being saved is a wonderful thing. Those who have had a deep sense of being lost are those who realize most deeply the joy of being saved. That is where all the joy begins, when we pass from death to life and are born into the family of God.

Turn now to John 17 where the Lord is in prayer to His Father. The Father had given Him the disciples and on the eve of His departure from the world, one of His great concerns was that they be kept (v. 11). He had kept them while He was with them (v. 12), and now He spoke these things in their hearing, "that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves." v. 13. This is

2) the joy of being kept.

What a wonderful thing that is! It is not being kept from being lost again - one of the Lordís sheep cannot lose His salvation - "I give unto them eternal life, and They shall never perish." But one of the Lordís sheep can stray from the Shepherd and maybe fall into the mud. A believer can grow cold in his heart and fall into sin, and then discipline has to be used to bring him back. The result of this is sorrow and trouble. But that doesnít have to happen; we can be kept (we canít keep ourselves), and what a wonderful thing it is to be "kept by the power of God." It gives joy to trust in His keeping power.

Speaking to His disciples in John 16:24 the Lord said, "Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." The subject here is prayer, so weíll call this

3) the joy of answered prayer.

Have you ever experienced this? You asked for an urgent need and the Lord responded in His own wonderful way. Didnít that make your heart happy? The Lord loves to answer prayer and give joy to His own. Now, you will find that there are conditions to obtain answers to prayer. The one mentioned here is, "in My name," which is more than just tacking the Lordís name to the end of a prayer. The prayer must be according to all that that name stands for. However, the subject here is the Lordís desire that "your joy may be full" as a result of answered prayer.

Turn back now to John 15:11. "These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." See how the Lord repeated these words about their joy being full. It reveals to us that desire in His heart for the joy and happiness of His own. In the beginning of John 15 the subject is fruit-bearing. The Lord is the vine and we are the branches. The purpose of our being here is to bear fruit. A branch of a vine that does not bear fruit is useless. What is this fruit that we are to produce? It could be many things, but there is one thing that stands out in the chapter above all else, and that is love. See verses 12 and 17. Divine love working in a human heart is a wonderful thing. What joy it gives, so the Lord told them these things that their "joy might be full." This is

4) the joy of bearing fruit.

If you have ever had the blessing of being able to accomplish some service for the Lord, you have tasted this joy. It isnít self-satisfaction. He gave the opportunity, He gave the strength and direction to do it, and then He gives us the joy of having done it. What a blessed Master He is!

On that occasion in John 15, 16, and 17 when the Lord spoke about His disciplesí joy being full, the Apostle John was present; he heard it and recorded it. Then John takes up those same words in his first epistle: "And these things write we unto you that your joy may be full." 1 John 1:4. What did he write that would give us such a full joy? He wrote about the manifestation of the Son of God in flesh down here. We heard Him, we saw Him, and we touched Him, John wrote. v. 1. Moreover, the Father was manifested in the Son, so that with Father and Son thus revealed, John could have "fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." v. 3. What is fellowship with the Father? It is enjoying with the Father the things that He enjoys. What is fellowship with the Son? It is enjoying with the Son the things that He enjoys. And what is the Fatherís greatest joy? His Son. What is the Sonís greatest joy? His Father. John tasted that wonderful enjoyment, and wrote so that we also could have

5) the joy of fellowship with the Father and the Son.

This is a rare experience that few attain, but it is available to us "if we walk in the light, as He is in the light." v.7. It is a deep, deep joy which will be ours throughout eternity, when all hindrances will have been removed.

However, John wrote of another source of joy: "I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full." 2 John 12. He was writing to "the elect lady and her children," trusting to see them shortly to enjoy the Lordís things together. This is

6) the joy of fellowship with other believers.

Thank God for brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we can share together our Saviour, His love, His Word, and similar exercises and trials. This can be one on one, or it can be in an assembly setting. What joy we have experienced at times when, gathered together around the Lord, we offered praise and worship, or enjoyed some portions of His Word! May we know more of this joy.

Well, six is not complete; there must be seven for the joy to be complete. The seventh one will crown them all. It is

7) the joy of the Lordís coming.

In John 16 the Lord told His disciples that He was about to leave them and that they would be filled sorrow (v.20), "but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." v. 22. He was referring to them seeing Him again when He rose from the dead, however, for us, He has gone away, and we wait to see Him again. When will that be? At the moment of His coming. There are no words to describe the joy that will fill our hearts when we meet Him in the air! Then we will experience Ps. 16:11 - "In Thy presence is fullness of joy." Just the anticipation of it fills our hearts with joy! Can there be any doubt that our God wants His people to be happy and to be filled with joy? S.L.