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"Perfected Joy"
John 16:24; Genesis 21:6

I want to use this ‘Preaching Moment’ to highlite a subject I feel is of extreme importance in the life and ministry of any local church who strives to live out its mandate. I want to chat with you these moments from this thought: PERFECTED JOY. And, of course, I want to tag and target your thematic scripture as our point of reference, John 16:24 along with a parallel passage in Genesis 21:6 (read).

 One of the most powerful instruments the local church has at its disposal is THE POWER OF ATTORNEY: a legal instrument authorizing one to act as the agent of the grantor. Jesus has authorized us to act as His agents by the use of His Name. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus says: “All power [Exousia: power of rule by which one’s will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed] is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. As you go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”  In Mark 16:17-18 Jesus says: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My Name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues [in My Name]; They shall take up serpents [in My name]; and if they drink any deadly thing [in My Name], it shall not hurt them; [In My Name] they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.”  And now in John 16:24 Jesus says to the church: “Up till now have you asked nothing IN MY NAME: ask [in My name], and you shall receive. . . .” One of the most powerful instruments the local church has at its disposal is THE POWER OF ATTORNEY: the use of this “IN MY NAME.”

And I believe the use of that THAT NAME  is Sufficient! For, “God has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at The Name Of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

James reminds us that demons believe in That Name and tremble.

Mark reminds us that at the mention of That Name evil spirits flee and shut their mouths.

Luke reminds us that That Name takes crippled legs from a lift to a leap and chases fever away.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews reminds us that That Name shouts the mouth of lions and cause nations to crumble.

The Law and the Prophets remind us that That Name causes worlds to twirl and galaxies to spin. That Name gives life to every creature, motion to every winged fowl, luster to every blade of grass and fruit to every tree.

The Prophets told us that That Name weighed the mountains in balances, crowned their hoary heads with the floating clouds, and made the rivers to dance about their feet.

The Psalmists remind us that That Name clear His throat and the thunders rumbles across the earth, bats His eye and the lightning zigzags across the ethereal expanse of the sky, moves His heavy feet and the earth convulses causing a Tsunami to devastate Eastern Asia, and hurricanes to annihilate parts of Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas.

Matthew and John remind us that That Name makes cancer cancel its claim, death give up its dead, and even makes Satan give up his keys.

And so in the Book of Acts we pick up the post-resurrectional consequences of That Name for in that 4th chapter of Acts, That Name had upset the established religion of Judaism to such an extent that the religious leaders of the Jews arrested Peter and John and brought them up before the bar and concluded that to stop That Name for doing any further damage, they decided to threaten them that they speak no longer to any man in That Name. And so they called Peter and John in, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it be right in the sight of God to listen unto you more than unto God, you judge. For we cannot help but speak the things which we have seen and heard.’

 And so, I think it would be most beneficial if Saint John Church would rediscover the POWER of THAT NAME and recall for good THE POWER OF ATTORNEY which is given you by your Lord.

And that is significant because some us have doubted the power of prayer in Jesus’ name. Let me illustrate that by this story. A tavern was being built in a town that had previously been dry. In opposition to the tavern, a group of Christians began an all night prayer meeting and asked God to intervene. Lightning struck the tavern and burned it down. The owner then brought a lawsuit against the church and held them responsible. The Christians hired a lawyer and denied responsibility. In response to this unusual scenario, the judge said, "No matter how this case comes out, one thing is clear. The tavern owner believes in prayer, and the Christians do not." Do we really believe in the power of prayer in Jesus’ name?

We need to understand that the disciples could not use the name of Jesus in prayer because basically Jesus was still present in their midst. In a very real sense, they had no need to pray to the Father because God was in their midst in the person of Emmanuel. All of their needs Jesus had supplied up till now. But He is about to depart out of this world to return to His Father. So one of His last bequeaths to them was the use of His name in prayer. He is about to conquer sin, guilt, death, demons, the devil, and Hades through His death on the cross, entombment in a borrowed tomb, resurrection from the dead, and ascension and exaltation to the Holy of Holies, there to sit down on the right hand of power. No wonder Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:20-23 that God “raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all.”

 

And so, I thought you wouldn’t mind exploring with me the context of this 16th chapter of John using verses 1-24 as our frame of reference, for therein lies the key to PERFECTED JOY.

For after listening to the Text on your behalf as your representative before God, I have come away with the impression that PERFECTED JOY IN THE GATHERED CHURCH IS A DIRECT RESULT OF PERSISTENT PRAYER IN THE SCATTERED CHURCH. The text makes the claim that Full Joy Is Available to the Church Who Uses Jesus’ Name in Prayer. For Sorrow turns into Joy, and Sight turns into Faith when the Scattered Church Prays Persistently IN JESUS’ NAME! For in verse 24 the historical Jesus says to the Gathered Church, “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My Name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

 Now right away you noticed this purpose clause in the subjunctive mood, “that your joy may be full.” Which implies there is a possibility our joy may or may not be made full depending on our action or mood.

Which underscores How Frequently Our Moods Migrate! We migrate from Blessing to Blaming; from Praising to Finger-Pointing; from Compliment to Criticism; from Inspiration to Imprecation; from Joy to Sorrow; We Navigate from the Holy to the Horrible, from the Heights to the Depths much-too-much and way-too-often!!!

That’s one of our perennial problems: we cannot Master Our Moods; we fail to Remain Constant!!! One moment we are Speaking Well Of and the next we are Speaking Against. One moment we are Joyful and the next we are Sad. That’s why its imperative that we yield ourselves to the mastery and ministry of the Holy Spirit. We need Him to regulate our minds and monitor our moods. We need His hand on the reigns of our emotions and mind-sets.

The Madness and Mess of our Mood Swings is further exasperated by the Tenses of our Temperaments. It would appear from the context of our lives that our Joyful or Praising Mood is of Aorist Kind, the Past Tense Kind of Momentary Action, whereas our Sorrowful Mood is of the Imperfect of Repeated Action Kind.

I wonder, can you relate? From our own practical experience from day to day, we find, after retrospection, that our Praise, our Blessing, our Joy Unspeakable is much too often a One Time Act. For our Praise, our Worship, our Blessing seems to be compartmentalized. We have designated our Joyful Mood to Sunday Mornings. We put on our Worship Face and Blessing Clothes on Sunday Mornings and pull them off after church. Momentarily, we Speak Well of God and our Brothers and Sister with whom we come in contact. But after the 11 o’clock hour, we re-compartmentalize our Praise Mood.

For some fleeting moments in the sanctuary, we refrain, sometimes, from Speaking Against Anyone else, and we just Speak Well Of, Praise the Lord. For one momentary moment, we enjoy the peace of God and the joy of the Lord. But that Mood does not last Long! It appears that we cannot sustain the Joyful Mood for protracted periods of time. It appears that our Joy dies on our lips and brotherhood is confined to one hour of the week.

For more often than not, we Keep-On-Speaking Against One Another from Sunday to Sunday. We Talk About Folk. We Criticize People. We Find Fault with Folk. We Tear them Down Repeatedly. We live more in the Mood of Criticism than we do in the Mood of Praise!!!

 And that is significant because since our joy has the possibility of being made full in the future means that it lacks something right now in the present. It is not full, not complete, not brought to a perfected state. Our hearts are filled with something other than joy. The question is: what are our hearts filled with?

And Jesus answers in verse 6, “. . . Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow has filled your hearts.” And in the context of verses 1, 2 and 5 Jesus gives Four (4) Causes of Sorrow.

In verse 1 He lists Scandal as a cause of sorrow (read & Expound). In verse 2a He lists Excommunication as a cause of sorrow (read & expound). In verse 2b Jesus lists Murder as a cause of sorrow (read & expound). And in verse 5 Jesus lists His Departure as a cause of sorrow (read & Expound).

 

And so you notice the Tension that exists in the Text between Joy and Sorrow (v. 6 speaks of the intrapersonal tension that exists between joy & sorrow; vs. 20 –21 speaks of the interpersonal tension which exists between the church & and the world). But this Joy-Sorrow Tension can also exist within the membership of a local church!

 

But the Good News is that this Tension is relieved by a Look from Jesus. For verse 22 suggests there’s a connection between the hōráw (sight, visitation) of Jesus and rejoicing: The Reversal of Conditions.

When our Moods are In Sync with Majestic Moments, our Sight is In Sync with the Sightings of Jesus, and our Persistent Prayers are parallel with the Sayings of the Savior, JESUS WILL SHOW UP!

 

And that is significant because our Genesis 21:6 passage informs us that God Times His Moves with the Moment. For just when Sarah’s faith was faltering and her hope was flickering, GOD SHOWED UP! AND TURNED HER SORROW INTO LAUGHTER! (explore Genesis 21:1-7)

LAUGHTER IS PERFECTED JOY!!!

 

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME GOD MADE YOU LAUGH?

 

Copyright © 2007 Norris Harris I Ministries. All rights reserved.