Joy in and from Preaching Christ

Since I wrote Count It All Joy on January 1, I have submitted that joy comes primarily from God, His Spirit and His Word. In the next few days, I want to submit that we can have joy from people, but it should be centered around their pursuit of Christ. In fact, I submit in Regenerated to Reconcile that our second primary purpose in life is to serve as Christ’s ambassadors in drawing people to Christ for the salvation of their souls. Jesus himself presents the joy that should be experienced around the salvation of one’s soul. Remember Luke 15. If not, here it is.

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

It is enough for me that Jesus associates joy in the repentance of one soul; however, I want you to recall that in Matthew 3 John the Baptist set for this expectation: Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. In Matthew 7, Jesus sets forth notion that there are specific fruits from following Him. In regards to the sincerity of a person’s repentance and faith, Jesus said, “By their fruit you will recognize them.” To reiterate, we can have joy from people when it is centered around their pursuits of Christ. Paul will serve as our model over the next few days. God put him and highlighted him in the Word for a purpose – to enlighten and guide us. In Philippians 1, we see that Paul, who had been locked up because of preaching the Gospel, expressing joy over Christ being preached and those whom he had shared Christ continuing in their pursuit of Christ.

12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ,which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.

In summary, Paul is saying that serving God for you has given me joy, and the fact that you are serving God by praying for him and providing support for him has given me joy. I can somewhat relate to Paul. It gives me joy thinking that the words that I write each morning provides encouragement for one of you who reads any of these posts. We will continue to look at how Paul received joy from those whom he had served with Christ over the next couple of days. Paul said, “The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” Do you want to experience joy? Then preach Christ. Who are you serving Christ to today, this week?


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