| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 47 - Page 98 of 185 Index | Zoom | |
The gospel is not only glad tidings of great joy that heralded the Saviour's birth, but
an ever-living power unto salvation, and this, too, should lead us to rejoice. The Lord
assures us that "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that
repenteth" (Luke 15:10). In spite of darkness of the present day, sinners are still
repenting, and joy is still experienced in heaven. Shall we not also share this joy? Shall
we not find a ground of rejoicing in every trophy of grace?
The report that God has opened a door of faith in any district should, if we are in the
right spirit, fill us with joy:
"They passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they
caused great joy unto all the brethren" (Acts 15:3).
Paul and Barnabas were on their way to Jerusalem to battle for the faith. They might have
caused a great deal of harm had they discussed this matter with the churches in Phenice
and Samaria. They chose the better path, and left great joy behind them.
Let us be unselfish in this matter of joy and will be flow like a river.
"The joy set before"
Writing to the church at Thessalonians the Apostle says that he gives thanks and
prays unceasingly concerning their work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope in
our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father, and then proceeds to tell them
that he knew that they were the elect of God: "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election
of God" (1 Thess.1:4).
While Paul has been the recipient of an abundance of revelations, and had received
the stewardship of the mysteries of God, and had been caught away to paradise, there to
hear unspeakable words, there is nowhere any suggestion that Paul or any many could
ever look into the Book of Life, or that any man ever received from God private
information concerning His elective purposes. Yet Paul knew that the Thessalonian saints
were elect of God. He knew it by their fruits.
We may on some occasion have walked through an orchard. We may have admired
and sampled some of its luscious fruits. Throughout the whole of our exploration of that
orchard we should probably have not seen one single root, yet we should "know" that the
invisible roots were there and functioning properly by reason of the visible fruit. So Paul
saw the fruits of faith:
"For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost,
and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
And ye become followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much
afflictions, with joy of the Holy Ghost" (1 Thess.1:5,6).
The place that joy occupies here is only seen in true perspective as we view it in
juxtaposition with the "much affliction". This is a spiritual joy, the fruit of the Spirit, and