Introduction: A parishioner's parting words to his pastor were penetrating and pertinent. He simply said, "Whatever you do, don't miss the joy!" That's a good word. Robert Louis Stevenson, at life's end, said, "To miss the joy is to miss everything!"
What are we Christians going to say to that? Are we really supposed to experience joy? Sometimes it would appear that we don't think so. A keen observer of Christians once said, "Christians seem to have a religion that makes them miserable. They are like people with a headache. They don't want to get rid of their heads, but it hurts to keep them."
No doubt, others may have felt similarly. Jesus, however, did not come to bring us misery but to make possible joy. Listen again to His words, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full," v. 11 The gift of joy is the legacy of the Lord.
What did Jesus say that insured that His joy would remain that their joy might be full? What did He say that could guarantee we might experience joy?
I. You can know joy when you experience a vital union with Jesus.
Explanation: Jesus described that joyous union with an allegory of the vine and the branches. After the supper in the Upper Room, Jesus and His disciples went outside to the city wall and were on one of the slopes near the city. The Passover moon was shining brightly. Vineyards were easily seen on the slopes.
Jesus said the intimacy of His union with them was comparable to the union of the branches to the vine. Life-giving sap flowed from the vine to the branches. In like fashion, joy-giving life flowed from Jesus to His followers.
Transition Statement: Where does the joy come from?
Illustration: Not in unbelief. Voltaire, the atheist philosopher, wrote: - wish I had never been born."
Not in pleasure. Lord Byron wrote: "The worm, the canker, the grief are mine alone."
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