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A sermon on joy


1.    Towards the end of each year we often hear people use the word joy.

2.    Christmas carolers sing songs that have phrases like joy to the world.

3.    Lighted signs in people’s yards spell out the word joy.

4.    The Bible is certainly a book that talks about joy.




1.    While we probably don’t think twice about seeing and hearing the word joy, things used to be different.

2.    2,000 years ago non-Christians hardly ever used the word translated joy in Acts 8:8.

3.    Most of the words used in the New Testament were also used outside the New Testament.

4.    Sometimes it is enlightening to see how Biblical and non-Biblical writers used the same words.


5.    One word that secular writers had little use for was joy.

6.    Sometimes a person would use this term.

7.    A traveler might have used it to describe returning to his homeland.

8.    Some present tonight have visited another country.

9.    When we came back to the states and back to our homes, we were delighted.

10.  It felt so good to return home.

11.  People 2,000 years ago who had this experience described it as a joyous event.

12.  The word joy in Acts 8 was occasionally applied to someone who spread false reports.

13.  There are individuals who get a thrill from reporting tales and gossip.

14.  A third use of this term was the flooding of the Nile River.

15.  A good flood meant a good harvest so during good floods people had joy.


16.  For the most part before Christianity came along there was a very limited understanding of joy.

17.  Christianity changed the world in that it really introduced the concept of joy.

18.  According to Acts 8, when lost people found and obeyed the truth, they experienced joy.




1.      Tonight I want us to see what God says about joy.

2.      We are going to take the three letter word in Acts 8:8 and learn about it.

3.      This part of our study involves several references, the first of which comes from Mt. 13.


4.      In Mt. 13 Jesus presented some parables.

5.      The Lord’s first parable is about a farmer who planted a crop.

6.      Jesus said sowing seed in the ground is like the word of God being taught to the unsaved.

7.      In Mt. 13:20 Jesus said some who are taught receive the word with “joy.”


8.      At different times in life people tell us they have received wonderful news.

9.      They have received information that is the most magnificent news they can imagine.

10.  According to Mt. 13:20, this is supposed to be the effect of the gospel.

11.  Joy (a thrill almost beyond words) fills the heart after finding and obeying the truth.

12.  An illustration of how deep and rich this joy is found a little later in this same chapter – v. 44.

13.  Verse 20 was not read, but verse 44 will be read – READ.

14.  Christian joy is to be so profound people are willing to give everything they have for it.

15.  No joy can surpass the type of joy found in the system called Christianity.

16.  God’s word says Christian joy is not limited to this life.

17.  A little later in Matthew’s gospel we have this same word occurring again.

18.  Matthew 25 describes the future judgment.

19.  The saved will be told to enter into the “joy” of their Lord (verse 23).

20.  For the Christian joy exists in the here and now as well as in the hereafter.


21.  Joy is an interesting part of Christianity because it has so many different angels.

22.  We have established that joy should be in the heart of those who hear and obey the truth.

23.  We also know that joy will be associated with going to heaven.

24.  Another aspect of joy is found in Lk. 15.

25.  In Lk. 15:7 the Lord described wayward child of God who returns to the faith.

26.  Jesus said when a person comes back to God, there is joy in heaven.

27.  The heavenly court is absolutely thrilled when an unfaithful Christian repents.

28.  Sometimes delinquent Christians believe they need to “get their act right” before returning.

29.  Jesus said the key to righting our relationship with God is “repentance.”

30.  An unfaithful Christian may not immediately have all the answers.

31.  If we are willing to repent, we are back in God’s good standing and heaven rejoices with joy.

32.  What else does the Bible tell us about joy?


33.  God says in His word that the world has joy.

34.  The word found in Acts 8:8 is also used in Jn. 16:20.

35.  Just prior to these words Jesus told His friends that He had to go away.

36.  It was necessary for Him to die and this would make His friends very sad.

37.  While the Lord’s disciples were grieving, the Lord’s enemies would “rejoice.”

38.  READ Jn. 16:20A.

39.  Today John 16:20 is a useful verse.

40.  There are events and decisions which still make God’s people grieve and the world rejoice.

41.  During the last several days we have heard reports about “Plan B.”


42.  Plan B is also known as the “morning after pill.”

43.  Ladies who do not want to become pregnant can take a pill to terminate a pregnancy.

44.  At the present time this pill requires a prescription.

45.  It appears that a decision will be made so this product will be an “over the counter” item.

46.  Most Bible believing people oppose making this pill easy to get for several reasons.

47.  Those on the other side of the aisle find easy access to this pill a cause for celebration.

48.  Quite often the world finds joy in what is saddening and upsetting to Christians.

49.  This is a good reminder that the world’s joy is usually far different than our joy.


50.  We should always be thankful that we do not need to get our joy from the world.

51.  Today the terror alert was raised.

52.  A government official said Americans “should not let their joy be taken away.”

53.  I think we understand what he was saying, but his statement was badly worded.

54.  For the Christians our joy cannot be taken away.

55.  When Jesus spoke about joy in Jn. 16:22 He made a subtle but strong point.

56.  He said it cannot be taken away.

57.  Here are His exact words – Jn. 16:22 – READ.

58.  Happiness is often emphasized in the world.

59.  Many confuse happiness with joy.

60.  Happiness is nice, but it fades.

61.  Happiness can be stripped from us at any moment.

62.  Bible joy is independent of circumstances.

63.  Whether we are in good health or bad health, we can and should have joy.

64.  If we are young or old, joy stays in the heart.

65.  New Christians and old Christians should all have joy.


66.  To this someone might say, “What about during difficult times?”

67.  “What about the periods when things are hard?”  “What happens to joy during affliction?”

68.  Paul answered these questions in 2 Cor. 7:4.

69.  This apostle said he “overflowed with joy.”

70.  Why?  Were times especially good when he wrote the book of Second Corinthians?

71.  Circumstances were difficult because this verse ends with the word “affliction.”

72.  Pressing problems were upon this apostle but he was still overflowing with joy (same word).

73.  2 Cor. 8:2 uses this same term in conjunction with poverty.

74.  There were first century Christians who were extremely poor.

75.  Many lacked material wealth but they abounded in joy.

76.  The poorest people in the world can overflow with and in joy.


77.  While upon the earth Jesus benefited from joy.

78.  Heb. 12:2, which contains this same word found in Acts 8, refers to Jesus’ death on the cross.

79.  Dying by crucifixion is about the worst death ever devised by man.

80.  How did the Lord manage to endure this form of execution?

81.  What motivated Him to go through with it?  How could He willingly submit to the cruelty?

82.  The Hebrew writer said He did it by concentrating on the “joy set before Him.”

83.  When we need a little boost for our faith, we can find it in the word joy.

84.  There is joy in the here and now as well in the hereafter.

85.  From many Bible believing people joy seems to be a word that is pulled out each December.

86.  For the New Testament Christian, joy is our world each day of the year.

87.  Part of our joy is found in the book of Third John, 3 Jn. 4.

88.  This verse is going to be read.

89.  There are some thing we do not know about John’s readers.

90.  One of the things we do know involves character.

91.  John wrote to faithful members of the church.


92.  3 Jn. 4 – READ.

93.  Parents receive great joy when they see their children doing what is right.

94.  God has a similar joy.  We saw an example of this in Lk. 15.

95.  When someone returns to the right way there is joy.

96.  As Christians one source of our joy is to see other people living as the Bible describes.

97.  We have access to what people really want.

98.  Consider how some famous people have sought joy.

a.       Voltaire was an infidel; he tried to find joy in unbelief.

b.      He finally said he wished he had never been born.

c.       Lord Byron life a life of great pleasure.

d.      He finally concluded that his life was also worthless; he didn’t find joy.

e.       Jay Gould was an American millionaire.

f.       When he died he said he was the most miserable man on the earth.

g.      Alexander the Great tried to find joy in world military conquest.

h.      He overcome the known world of his time and then wept in his tent.


99.  Many have searched and searched for joy.

100.          Long ago it seemed so elusive many simply didn’t use the word.

101.          Joy exists and it is found only in Jesus Christ.

102.          We find it by receiving the world and continuing to obey it.

103.          Many want to talk about joy, but this is actually our word.

104.          Do we have it?

Without faith we cannot please God (Heb. 11:6).

We cannot be a child of God without repentance (Lk. 13:3).

We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God (1 Tim. 6:12; Acts 8:36-38).

Finally we must be baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27) for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16).

Have we done these things and are we living a faithful and joyful Christian life?