1. JOY is the atmosphere of heaven, radiating from God’s PRESENCE to fill the earth with PLEASURES of God’s inventory, as it is written: “… IN THY PRESENCE IS FULNESS OF JOY; at thy right hand there are PLEASURES FOR EVERMORE” [Psalms 16:11] JOY is not a sudden burst of ecstasy, but an enduring FELLOWSHIP with God in the shadow of His indomitable PEACE and SAFETY. At a time like this, when dizzying optimism of the 20th century, buoyed by giant strides in technology, economic boom and social liberty are fallen apart, putting your trust in men, power or money will do you no good. Men, power and money may buy you moments of HAPPINESS, they cannot deliver PEACE and inner SECURITY that flows from FULNESS OF JOY. At such a time as this, with “MEN’S HEARTS FAILING THEM FOR FEAR, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: …”, what you need most are not new cars or more houses but JOY of the Lord [Luke 21:26] In the midst of this perverse and wicked generation, it is reassuring to know there is a SECRET PLACE of JOY and REFUGE and “He that dwelleth in the SECRET PLACE OF THE MOST HIGH shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is MY REFUGE and MY FORTRESS: MY GOD; in him will I trust” [Psalms 91:1].
2. JOY is the MYSTERY of God manifest in Jesus Christ and open floodgates of GREAT JOY to “ALL PEOPLE” [1 Timothy 3:16] The GOOD NEWS of JOY to all men was announced by angels, saying: “… I bring you GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY, which shall be TO ALL PEOPLE. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOUR, WHICH IS JESUS CHRIST the Lord” [Luke 2:10-11] Those who HEAR and BELIEVE “…GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH… “ receive the ANOINTING OF JOY, as it is written: “These things have I SPOKEN UNTO YOU, that MY JOY MIGHT REMAIN IN YOU, and that YOUR JOY MIGHT BE FULL” [1 Timothy 3:16, John 15:11] JOY is not a FEELING or ASSUMPTION, but the REALITY of Christ dwelling in you. JOY is knowing “… GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU, than he that is in the world” [1 John 4:4] Listen closely, SALVATION is not the end of TRIBULATION and JOY is not the cessation of TRIALS. JOY is PEACE and SECURITY in the worst AFFLICTIONS, anchored on absolute FAITH in the VICTORY of Jesus Christ over the world. Thus, says the Lord: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but BE OF GOOD CHEER; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD” [Matthew 16:33]
3. JOY is not bogus smiles or raucous outbursts of religious fever. JOY is the Holy Ghost filling up the INNER MAN, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and JOY IN THE HOLY GHOST” [Romans 14:17] JOY is God in the driving seat of your soul working, “… both TO WILL and TO DO of his GOOD PLEASURE” [Philippians 2:13] How does He do that? The Bible says: “But the COMFORTER, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall TEACH YOU ALL THINGS, and BRING ALL THINGS TO YOU REMEMBRANCE, whatsoever I have said unto you” [John 14:26] The Holy Ghost is the FOUNTAIN of JOY bubbling in us to quench doubts and fear inimical to DIVINE PURPOSE. He is the COMFORTER, stilling our heart in PEACE and turning our mind away from present distress to serve God in fulness of JOY. Beware of those who peddle fear of demons, poverty and death and turn around to sell platitudes of HAPPINESS, “For GOD HATH NOT GIVEN US THE SPIRIT OF FEAR; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” [2 Timothy 1:7] Beloved, HAPPINESS is limited to fulfilment of personal desire and has no ETERNAL VALUE. Those who preach crass materialism and hawk HAPPINESS hinder your JOY, “… SUPPOSING THAT GAIN IS GODLINESS: from such withdraw thyself” [1 Timothy 6:5]
4. ANOINTING OF JOY draws the line between WISE and FOOLISH VIRGINS [Matthew 25:1-13] TEN VIRGINS went out to meet the BRIDEGROOM, “They that were FOOLISH took their lamps, and TOOK NO OIL with them: But the WISE TOOK OIL in their vessels with their lamps” [Matthew 25:3-4] When NIGHT came, they “ALL SLUMBERED” [Matthew 25:5] At the ALERT of His Coming, WISE VIRGINS “TRIMMED THEIR LAMPS”, FOOLISH VIRGINS were caught flat-footed and “… while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and THEY THAT WERE READY WENT IN WITH HIM TO THE MARRIAGE: and the DOOR WAS SHUT” [Matthew 25:10] Though all TEN VIRGINS SLEPT, the OIL in the LAMP of the WISE did not SLEEP. The LAMP is the INNER MAN and OIL is the ANOINTING OF JOY that keeps the SAINTS burning until the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. ANOINTING OF JOY keeps us engaged in “TRIMMING” our LAMPS; cutting away excesses and anxieties of this world to focus on His Coming. FOOLISH VIRGINS have no OIL, the INNER MAN is cold, and their souls burdened with FEAR and WORRIES. They no longer SERVE or WAIT on the Lord with JOY, and if “… thou SERVEDST NOT THE LORD THY GOD WITH JOYFULNESS, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; THEREFORE SHALT THOU SERVE THINE ENEMIES… “ [Deuteronomy 28:47-48]
5. A word of COMFORT to all SAINTS, “… weeping may endure for a night, but JOY COMETH IN THE MORNING” [Psalms 30:5] If for any reason your JOY is not full, “… ASK, and YE SHALL RECEIVE, THAT YOUR JOY MAY BE FULL” [John 16:24] Amen.