Bible Truth Restored

Bible Truth Restored

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.           1 Peter 4:11

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It may seem strange to speak of manifesting joy in the midst of sorrow; yet in reading the Acts of the Apostles one thing that should impress us is that those early believers were very happy men and women. They showed an abundant joy in the very circumstances that would fill most men and women with fear and despondency. How was it possible for the apostles to be joyful when over their heads there hung the constant threat of persecution and death? How could they depart from the council, after they had been beaten, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus? And how was it possible for Paul and Silas in that Philippian gaol to sing praises to God, despite their aching limbs and lacerated backs?
The apostles had not always possessed this joy; consider that small band immediately after the death of Jesus. For over three years they had been his constant companions. Not only was he their Lord and Master but he was their friend in whom they had put their trust. They loved Jesus for what he was; the one to whom they could look for comfort and guidance in all their troubles, and never fail to obtain it. Now he had died a horrible death upon the cross.
On that dark betrayal night, he said to his disciples: “These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you” (John 15:11). This later saying occurs in the context of the parable of the vine. He is the vine, we are the branches, and as the branch cannot abide apart from the vine, so without him we can do nothing. The lesson is that we have to abide in his love, drawing of his energy and vitality, for only then can we bring forth much fruit; only then can we know the joy that was his. “For these things have I spoken unto you that my joy might be in you.”

Jesus’ joy was the joy of unhindered fellowship with God, the gladness of unbroken communion with the Father. Of him the Psalmist had said that because he loved righteousness and hated wickedness, therefore God had anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows (Psalm 45:7). Strange as it may seem, Jesus, the man of sorrows, is pre-eminently the man of joy also. He loved righteousness, and he himself said that it was his delight to do the will of God. So his joy is known only to those who have a similar disposition, and while no material circumstance can affect it, we ourselves can destroy it by disrupting our relationship with God, by sinning against Him. David prayed: “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” (Psalm 32:11-12). How often must that be our prayer! And we can thank God that He hearkens to our cry and grants us the happiness of the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered (verse 1).

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