A Recipe for Joy

Bible Book: John  15 : 11
Subject: Thanks; Thanksgiving Day; Gratitude; Joy
[Editor's Note: Though this is not a Thanksgiving sermon, it goes to the root of that which prompts Thanksgiving - which is the joy of the Lord.]

John 15:11

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

Joy is the birthright of the child of God. Every child of God ought to have conscious joy. Every child of God ought to have conspicuous joy. Every child of God ought to have continuous joy. Every child of God ought to have contagious joy. Joy is the birthright of the child of God. And if you’re not living a life of joy, you’re living beneath your privileges as a Christian. And it’s so important that you have joy to win the lost. If you want people to believe in your Savior, dear friend, the mark of the authenticity of Christ in your life is the joy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

They’re not all that interested in your creed. They’re not all that interested in your doctrines. They’re not all that interested in your organizations. They want to know, is it working for you? And there’s nothing more attractive in winning the lost to the Lord Jesus Christ than the joy of the Lord.

I don’t want to be in a joyless church service. Now some people, you know, they think that when they get all sad and somber, that is dignified -  but the problem with those people is they don’t know the difference between dignity and rigor mortis. And it’s dead—it’s dead. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17), and there’s that joy, and that peace, and that whatever it is that makes Jesus Christ real and shine out from us.

And not only is it the great strength in bringing the lost to Christ - but oh, dear friend, what a help, what a benefit, joy is serving the Lord! You know, the Psalmist said we’re to “Serve the LORD with gladness” (Psalm 100:2). Now serving the Lord, like anything else can, make you tired physically. And I’ve said before, sometimes I get tired in the work, but I never get tired of the work. And the reason why is the joy of the Lord. For the Bible says, “The joy of the LORD is your strength” — ”The joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Oh, I just feel sorry for somebody who tries to carry the burdens and the load of this life and they don’t have that joy to put a spring to a step, to put a beat in their heart, to put a smile on their face. Thank God for joy, real joy.

I heard about a lady who was in a prayer meeting one time, and there were not very many people in the prayer meeting - her church had met for prayer meeting, and there were just a handful there, and she was kind of whining and complaining and crying. And she said, “Now Lord, bless us while we met here to worship you and so many of our members are out there in the world having a good time.”

Well, friend, I’m having a good time here today—I really am. And there’s something about being here in God’s house that gives me strength and that gives me joy. And a Christian without joy is a contradiction in terms. A joyless Christian, perhaps, has no right even to call himself a Christian - or if he is a Christian, he’s certainly a Christian who is out of fellowship with the Lord and a Christian who is living beneath his or her privileges.

Now let’s see what the Lord Jesus had to say therefore about joy. He says here in John chapter 15, verse 11, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that you’re joy might be full.”

I. The Source of This Joy

Now first of all, I want you to notice the source of this joy. Look, if you will: “These things have I written unto you, that my joy might remain in you.” Just underscore that phrase, “my joy.” Now the joy that you are to have as a Christian is the joy of Jesus. He says, “my joy,” not joy like His - you’re literally to have His joy. Jesus wants to take the joy that He has and place that joy in you. Now perhaps you’ve thought of Jesus only as a man of sorrows and you’ve never thought of Jesus as the Jesus of joy, but Jesus here in John 15, verse 11, speaks of His joy. And you know, the Bible says that we are to rejoice in the Lord, and in the Book of Hebrews, the first chapter, the Bible says concerning the Lord Jesus, that God has anointed Him with the oil of gladness above His fellows (Hebrews 1:9). And do you know what the word gladness means? It’s a word literally in the original which means “to leap—to leap - to jump.”

Do you remember in the Scripture when Elizabeth, who was the mother of John the Baptist—and John the Baptist was a forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ—when Elizabeth came to greet Mary, and both of them had babies in their wombs? And the Bible says that the baby that was in Elizabeth’s womb leaped - it leapt for joy in the very presence of the Son of God. And that’s the same word that’s translated here in Hebrews chapter 1 that God hath anointed Jesus with the oil of “leaping.” It’s the same word.

Now what is the idea here? It is that the joy that Jesus has is so exuberant and so full that He is literally leaping for joy. He is jumping for joy. Don’t get the idea that Jesus is some pale, sanctimonious recluse. Jesus was a person whose life was full of joy, real joy. As a matter of fact, Jesus loved to go to parties. And then we think that in order for us to look religious we have to put on a face so long we could eat oatmeal out of a lead pipe. That’s not true—that’s not true.

Listen. Jesus went to parties. Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding, as we studied here not long ago, when He changed water into wine. And I preached a sermon on that subject a long time ago, and I entitled it “Jesus, the Life of the Party,” because that’s exactly what He was. He brought life. He hasn’t come to bring death - He’s come to bring life. As we preached last week, Jesus didn’t say, “I’ve come to invite you to a funeral.” Jesus came to invite us to a feast—so much that His enemies called Him a winebibber and a glutton (Matthew 11:19 - Luke 7:34). He was not a winebibber. He was not a glutton. But I’m just simply saying there was something about Jesus Christ, there was such a joy about Him, there was such a reality about Him, they even accused Him of being on the frivolous side. Of course, He was not. But there was in Jesus a genuine, genuine, real joy. And if you don’t have that joy, you’re not like your Lord, for your Lord Jesus Christ is literally leaping with joy. And He spoke to His disciples that day about His joy. He is the source of joy.

Where’s joy going to be found? Is joy going to be found in money? Jay Gould, who is one of the richest men who ever lived, said, “I am the most miserable man on earth.” Is it going to be found in pleasure? Lord Byron, that playboy of his day, wrote, “My days are in the yellow leaf - the canker and the grief are mine alone.” Is it going to be found in pleasure? Lord Byron didn’t find joy in pleasure. Is it going to found in fame? Lord Beaconsfield, who had plenty of that, described his life in this way: that, “Youth [was] a blunder, manhood a struggle, old age a regret.” He had fame, but he didn’t have joy. Where is joy going to be found? Is it going to found in unbelief? Voltaire, before he died, said, “I wish that I’d never been born.” He was an atheist.

No, joy is only in the Lord Jesus, and you’re going to find joy from Christ. He speaks of His joy. I’m not asking you to have your joy or get joy in things, but only from the Lord

Jesus Christ. We are to rejoice in the Lord. He is the source of our joy.

You’re in John 15—turn to John 17 and look in verse 13 for a moment. You see the same thought. Jesus is praying for us and He says, “And now come I to thee - and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13). Isn’t that a beautiful verse? “That they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.”

You are to have joy and it is the joy that comes from Christ. Somebody wrote these words:

A crust of bread and a corner to sleep in,
A minute to smile and an hour to weep in,
A pint of joy to a peck of trouble,
And never a laugh but the moans come double -
And this is life! (Paul Laurence Dunbar)

Not if you know Jesus, friend—not if you know Jesus, not if you know the Christ who said in John 10, verse 10, “I’ve come that you might have life, and that you might have it abundantly” (John 10:10). The source of this life is Christ - the source of this joy is Christ.

II. The Stability of This Joy

Secondly, I want you to notice not only the source of this joy, but I want you to notice the stability of this joy. Look again in John 15, verse 11: “These things have I [written] unto you, that my joy”—what’s that next word?—”might remain…”—”that my joy might remain in you.” This is not a joy that comes and goes - this is a joy that is constant joy. That’s the reason why I said not only do you need conspicuous joy: you need continual joy - you need constant joy - you need joy like a river. And a river just flows and flows and flows, and you’re never to be without this joy.

The Bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord always:”—always—”and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). We’re to have joy day in and day out—always.

You know, we used to think that the shortest verse in the Bible was in John 11:35: “Jesus wept.” How many of you used to, when beginners, primaries—we used to call them beginners, and now they’re called something else—and intermediates—you know, now they call them youth, or whatever, but when we were back there, that’s what we called them, and we used to have to do memory verses. Boy, we all headed for John 11. We could get that one: “Jesus wept.” How many of you…? “Oh, I know my memory verse, “Jesus wept,” because we thought that was the shortest verse in the Bible.

But in the Greek, actually, that’s not two words - it’s three words. The shortest verse in the Greek is not in John 11. The shortest verse is 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 16. And do you know what it says? “Rejoice evermore” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Now in the Greek, that’s just two words, “Rejoice evermore,” that we are to continue it - that is the shortest verse with the longest meaning. Not just “rejoice,” but “Rejoice evermore” — ”just keep on rejoicing.” Jesus says here “that your joy might remain,” that this joy is with you. It doesn’t fade. It doesn’t leave you - it’s going to be there.

Now I’m not talking about that you have to go around constantly with a smile on your face.

I was reading the other day about a little girl who lives in Winnipeg, Canada, and she entered a contest - really she wanted to see how long she could smile, she wanted to break the Guinness Book of World Records, and so she smiled as long as she could smile. The previous record in the Guinness Book of World Records was 7 hours and 32 minutes. Someone had held a smile for 7 hours and 32 minutes, and this little girl, Lisa Lester, was able to smile for 10 hours and 5 minutes.

But friend, there’s a difference between joy and smiling. You can smile, perhaps, for 10 hours and 5 minutes, and then that smile will leave your face. But I want to tell you, even when the tears are coursing down your cheeks, there can be joy in your heart. This is the joy that will never leave you. Jesus Christ was facing the cross when He spoke of His joy, and He said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you.”

Now why does it remain? Well, you see, the constancy of your joy is linked to the source of your joy. If the source of your joy is in things, when those things fail you, then your joy is going to fail you. Now if the source of your joy is external, then it will not be constant. For example, if you get your joy out of amusement, when you can no longer be amused, then your joy is gone. If you get your joy out of your business, and your business fails, then your joy is gone. If you get your joy from your health, and your health fails, then your joy is gone. If you get your joy from your family… And there’s nothing wrong in getting your joy from your business, your health, your family - that’s all fine. They all have their place.

The Bible says, “Rejoice with the wife of thy youth” (Proverbs 5:18). But how about when your wife goes to heaven, your wife is taken from you? Now what about if your family breaks up? Does that mean that your joy can be taken? Well, if that’s the only place you are getting your joy, then your joy is gone - that’s gone, then your joy is gone. But you see, Jesus never changes. Jesus is always there, and that is the reason that your joy can remain. Your joy can be steadfast, and nothing can take it away.

A. It Is Steadfast in Sorrow

Now for example, we are going to have sorrow. Don’t think that when I’m talking about being a joyful Christian, you aren’t going to have sorrow. Jesus, who was the Jesus of joy, was also the man of sorrow. There is no contradiction there. I have some sorrow in my heart right now over somebody that I love very much, who is going against the things of God, but I have joy. There’s no contradiction. The Bible says in Isaiah 61:3 that God gives us “the oil of joy for mourning” (Isaiah 61:3). That means in the time of mourning, in the time of broken-­heartedness, that God just pours in the oil of His joy. And Jesus said here in John 16—turn to John 16:20 and look at it: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice:”—now watch it— “and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy” (John 16:20). Isn’t that wonderful?

B. It Is Triumphant in Tribulation

What I’m trying to say is that this joy—this joy—that Jesus gives is steadfast in sorrow. But not only is it steadfast in sorrow -  it is triumphant in tribulation. Not only are you going to have sorrow -  you are going to have tribulation. I mean it’s tough. But Jesus said, “In this world, you shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). But let me tell you what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 7:4. He said, “I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulations”—“I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.” So you are having tribulations.

You say, “How do you expect me to be joyful, going through what I’m going through?”

You are like that little old lady who said, “If God gave me tribulations, then I think He expects me to tribulate.” And so you just tribulate.

Well, Paul said, “I am joyful.” He said, “I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.” This is the same Paul that sang praises to God at midnight in the Philippian jail with rats and vermin and sewage on the floor. At midnight he is singing praises unto God. Be joyful in tribulation.

C. It Is Abundant in Affliction

So this joy—I’m talking about this steadfastness of this joy, the stability of this joy. I’m saying it’s steadfast in sorrow. I’m saying that it is triumphant in tribulation. I’m saying that it is abundant in affliction. Let me give you another verse—1 Thessalonians 1:6— and this is what Paul said: “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word”—now watch it—“in much affliction, with joy of the Holy [Spirit].” You have some affliction, okay. But there is also the joy. It is steadfast in sorrow. It is triumphant in tribulation. It is, ladies and gentlemen, abundant in affliction.

Listen to it again: “Having received the word in much affliction, with joy.” The afflictions may come, the afflictions may go -  but Jesus is still there. And if you get your joy from Jesus, then your afflictions are not going to take away your joy. I’m not saying that the afflictions are good. I’m not trying to minimize the afflictions. I’m not trying to minimize your bereavement. I’m not trying to minimize the things that people have done to you.

Joe Scriven came from Ireland, Joe Scriven, to be a missionary to the Iroquois Indians over 100 years ago, and he loved God with a full heart, loved God, I suppose, as much as anybody in this room loved the Lord. He left his fiancée in Ireland -  she was a beautiful lass. He loved her so much -  they were going to get married. Finally, she sailed across the ocean and met this young missionary. They were planning their wedding, but shortly before the wedding she was killed in a tragic accident. And here was a man that loved God. He had to bury his fiancée with his own hands.

Later on, he wrote a letter home to his mother -  a year later, he wrote these words— we love to sing them:

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged -  take it to the Lord in prayer. (Joseph M. Scriven)

That’s exactly what Paul had learned to do.

D. It Is Lasting in Losses

Not only, dear friend, was it triumphant in tribulation -  but I want to tell you that it was lasting in losses. This joy—let me give you another verse: Hebrews chapter 10, verse 34: “For ye…took joyfully the spoiling of your goods” (Hebrews 10:34). How many of you right now are in a business that’s failing? Some of our contractors are having businesses that are folding up because of the high interest rates. Some of you right now are out of work, some of you have been laid off, and the joy is gone out of your life. Do you know why? Because you were getting your joy from your job. I’m not saying it’s easy to be laid off. I’m not saying it’s easy to see a business fold up in front of you. I’m not saying it’s easy to see your goods go. But listen to what the Bible says here in Hebrews chapter 10, verse 34: “Ye…took joyfully the spoiling of your goods.”

Why? Because we have treasure laid up in heaven -  we have a treasure that this world cannot spoil. And I want to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that if you get your joy in anything else other than the Lord Jesus Christ, when something happens to that thing, your joy is going to go. But nothing is going to happen to Jesus, and the joy that you have is to be received from Christ—that His joy might be in you, and therefore, that your joy might remain.

III. The Sufficiency of This Joy

Now I want you to notice something else. Not only the source of that joy, and not only the stability of that joy, but let’s read it again: “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” I want you to think about the sufficiency of that joy. Full joy, all that you need, is in the Lord Jesus.

Psalm 16, verse 11, is a good one. Listen to this: “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy -  at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). Isn’t that a wonderful verse? Listen to it again: “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy -  at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Or 1 Peter 1:8 speaks of those of us who “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Jesus said, “that your joy might be full.”

Now you see, these other things can give you joy in one area of your life, but unless you have joy in Jesus, your joy is not full. You get joy in money — your joy is not full. You get joy in friends — your joy is not full. You get joy in family—your joy is not full. You get joy in fame — your joy is not full. Only fullness of joy is found in Christ. You see, let me tell you about Jesus. Not only is Jesus necessary - Jesus is enough — Jesus is enough.

People are always searching - they don’t know what they’re looking for. I heard about a man who used to who played the cello, and rather than moving his fingers up and down, he just put it in one spot, and kept sawing like this, and never moved his fingers.

Somebody said to him, “Why don’t you move your fingers like everybody else does?” He said, “They are looking for it. I’ve found it.”

Well, I want to tell you something, friend. People are looking for something that I have found, and that you have found, and anybody has found who has found the Lord Jesus Christ. Fullness of joy is only in Christ—in Christ. “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy - at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” St. Augustine put it well when he said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.” And so there is, dear friend, the sufficiency of this joy. It is not just mere joy - it is fullness of joy.

IV. The Secret of This Joy

But now let us hasten on and look at this verse one more time—John 15, verse 11: “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you”—that’s the source of the joy—“might remain” -  that’s the steadfastness of the joy—“that your joy might be full” -  that’s the sufficiency of the joy. But now let’s spend just a few moments talking about the secret of this joy. Look, if you will again, in verse 11: “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you.” “These things have I spoken in order that my joy might be in you.” Now if you want His joy in you, then you’re going to have to see what’s He’s spoken. You’re going to have to see what He said. It all hinges on that.

You see, not every Christian has joy. You can be a Christian and be miserable. As a matter of fact, I’ve said it beforeI want to say it again: The most miserable man on

earth is not an unsaved man. The most miserable man on earth is a saved man out of fellowship with God. Amen?

You see, Peter there, after he cursed and swore and denied the Lord Jesus, the Bible says he “went out, and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75 - Luke 22:62). He was saved, but he certainly wasn’t full of joy. Oh, David, after he had committed his sin, he lost his joy. And he prayed in Psalm 51:12, “[Lord], restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.” He didn’t say, “Lord, I want you to give me my salvation back.” He never lost it. But he lost the joy of it.

So what is the secret of joy? Many Christians are joyless Christians. As I say, it’s almost a contradiction in terms, but it is possible that you could be here today without joy, and yet on your way to heaven, going second-­class. All right, what is the secret of this joy? Well, He says in verse 11, “These things have I spoken unto you.” Well, let’s back up and see what He said. Look, if you will, in chapter 15, verse 1. He says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman” (John 15:1).

Now what He means by that is, “My life is like a grapevine. My Father is like the tender of the vineyard. He’s the keeper of the vine.” And then verse 5 — Jesus says, “I am the vine -  ye are the branches” (John 15:5). Now He’s using an analogy. He’s using a figure of speech. He’s using something that those people of that day who had their vineyards could understand. He is saying that, “My relationship to you and your

relationship to me is to be the relationship of a branch and a vine.”

Now having said that, I want you to know three things about the life of a branch and a vine that are necessary for you to understand in order that you might have joy.

A. Absolute Dependence

In the first place, you see, a branch is absolutely dependent upon a vine. If you cut the branch from the vine, it withers -  it’s good for nothing but to be cast in a fire and burned. You see, we do not understand just how dependent we are upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Look again in verse 5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit”—now notice this next phrase. Look at it—“for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). “Oh,” you say, “yes, I can.” No, you can’t. You say, “Yes, I can.” That’s your opinion. But you see, what you think is something, He says is nothing. That is, all of these great vaunted plans and schemes and all of this, He calls it nothing. It’s going up in smoke. You know what nothing is? That’s a zero with the edges trimmed off. Nothing—nothing: “Without me ye can do nothing.” You see, we must depend upon Him. Do you depend upon Him totally, absolutely?

B. Complete Restfulness

But you see, when you depend upon Him, then you rest in Him. Once you are committed to Him, totally dependent upon Him, then all that you need is necessary for Him to supply.

Where does that little branch, where does it get its necessities, its needs? From the vine. It has no other source, so it must cling to the vine. And so as I’ve said before when we preached on this, if you were to carry on a conversation with a little branch and say, “Little branch, how are you doing today?” “Fine, thank you. You don’t look like you’re doing so good, though.” “Well, I’m not.” “Little branch, what’s your secret?” “Well,” he says, “I’m just resting in the vine. I don’t have any other worries -  I don’t have any other concerns. My one concern is to stay abiding in that vine.” “But you have some needs.” “Oh, I know I have the needs, but that’s not my responsibility. It’s my response to His ability. I just abide in the vine. And when I need water to cool my tongue, I don’t worry about where I’m going to get it. The vine sends His roots down into the ground and searches for water, and brings it to me. And when I need buds and leaves, I don’t worry where I’m going to get them. I just abide in the vine, and the leaves and the buds appear. And when it’s the fall of the year and I need fruit, I don’t worry about how much, what kind, how sweet, what size—that’s not my business. You see, sir, I don’t produce the fruit. All I do is bear the fruit.” Amen?

You see, we’re not called on to do anything for God. You ever see a branch thrashing around, groaning and straining? “Say, what are you doing?” “Oh, I’m trying to produce some grapes.” No, no, no!—he doesn’t have to do that. Just abide in the vine. It is the vine that produces the grapes. The branch bears the grapes, and we are to bear fruit.

And incidentally, what is the fruit? Look, look, look! “The fruit of the Spirit is love”— what’s the next word?—“joy” (Galatians 5:22). See, we’re talking about joy. See, that’s what Jesus said: “that my joy might be in you.” Well, how does His joy get out of Him and into me? As I am in union and communion with Him, as my life is blended with His, and His life infuses my life, and just as the sap flows from the vine into the branch, the life of Jesus Christ, as I abide in Him, flows into me, and so de facto there is the fruit which is the joy, which is His joy, which is in me. And all that I need I receive from Him.

C. Ultimate Surrender

And so you see, when there’s this absolute dependence, then there’s this complete restfulness. But wait a minute. In order for there to be this dependence and this restfulness, there must be ultimate surrender. I mean, a branch doesn’t have any side issues -  it exists for just one thing. You say, “Well, wait a minute. Don’t tell me to exist for one thing. I’m a businessman. I’m a family man. I’ve got sports. I’ve got this. I’ve got that.” Ladies and gentlemen, you are to say, if you would be a successful Christian, “This one thing I do” (Philippians 3:13). You know, the Bible says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). Do you know the Bible says, “This one thing I do”? Do you know the Bible says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways”? Do you know the Bible says, “If your eye be single, then your body is full of life” (Matthew 6:22 -  Luke 11:34)?

Have you ever brought all of the issues of life into one burning focus and you say, “I have no greater ambition, no greater zeal, no greater desire, no greater responsibility, than just to abide in the Lord Jesus Christ”? Now a branch may do some other things. It may curl around the post, it may show some leaves, it may bear some fruit, it may do some other things -  but it has one concern, and that is to abide in the vine. And these other things happen because it has reduced its concern to one concern. That’s not going to make you a worse father or a worse mother, a worse businessman -  it’ll make you a better mother, a better father, a better businessman. But I want to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that you have to come to the place where you say, “This one thing I do.”

There is a total ultimate surrender of a branch to the vine. The branch does not exist for anything else -  it exists for the vine. You are not your own. You’re “bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20). You belong to Him just exactly as a branch belongs to a vine. Now then when you start seeing your life in that relationship, and when you start abiding in the Lord Jesus Christ that way, you’re going to find in your heart a miraculous joy, because the joy of Christ, which is the life of Christ, it’s going to be flowing out of Christ and into you when you make that ultimate surrender.

F. B. Meyer was a great preacher. He lived a few generations ago. He was a man whose life has blessed my life by his writings—the things that I’ve read, and so forth. F. B. Meyer, however, always the saintly man that he came to be, as a matter of fact, he had an intense struggle in his heart and in his life. He didn’t have the peace and the joy.

And he wrote about it. And I want to share with you what F. B. Meyer said. He said there came to his church on one occasion a young man to preach -  he was a guest preacher. And there was such a fullness of joy in that young man’s life, such an effulgence in his face, such a spark of life, such a spontaneity, such a peace with God, such a joy like a river that was flowing in the heart and life of that young man, that when F. B. Meyer looked at his own life, he realized that young man had something that he did not have and that he desperate needed. He decided he would talk with the young man about it.

They met that night and they talked it over -  or at least they met the next morning, he said, at seven, and talked it over. And he said to the young man, “Would you mind telling me the secret of your joy?” And the young man looked at F. B. Meyer and said, “I want to ask you a question. Have you given to Jesus Christ everything?” And F. B. Meyer said, “Well, yes, in a general way, I have.” He said, “No, have you given to Jesus Christ everything?” It went like a dart to his spirit. He could not get it out of his heart, out of his mind. All day long he thought about it. That night he went into his room, F. B. Meyer did, locked the door behind him, and purposed that he would not come out of that room until he had the joy of the Lord in his heart.

And he started to wrestle with the Lord and to agonize with the Lord. And as he prayed and tried to give to God everything, he said he carried around with him a ring of keys in his pocket similar to this ring of keys. And he said that it seemed as though the Lord would have him take that ring of keys out of his pocket to symbolize the things that he was giving to the Lord, and he just turned them over one at a time, and he said, “Now Lord, I give you the key to this part of my life, and Lord, I give you the key to this part of my life, and Lord, I give you the key to this part of my life, and to this part, and to this part, and to this part.” But he said there was one little key that he took off to just a small cabinet, saying to himself, “The Lord doesn’t need that one -  He doesn’t want that one.”

Then he said it seemed as though the Lord said to him, “Have you given me all the keys?” “Well,” he said, “Yes, Lord, I’ve given you all the keys, well Lord, except for one small key that’s really not of much consequence.” The Lord held out His hand and said, “My son, the key.” And the devil whispered in F. B. Meyer’s ear and said, “Don’t give it to Him. Don’t do it. Don’t give Him all the keys. If you give Him everything, there is no telling what He might ask you to do. Don’t give it to Him.” And F. B. Meyer toddled that thing in his heart and in his life, that unclean thing, that habit — whatever it was he never said—but something that was there that was not completely, totally yielded, and something he was not free or willing to let go of.

And finally he said to the Lord, “Lord God, I’m so weak I don’t even know whether I can give it to you or not - but here it is, Lord. Take it.” He said, “The Lord gently opened his fingers and took that key and went straight to that closet in his mind and opened that cabinet. And,” he said, “when he did, he was appalled at the filthiness and the dirt and the selfishness and the rebellion that was there in that small cabinet that he pictured in his mind. The Lord went in and cleaned it all out.” F. B. Meyer said, “That night I felt a cleanness, I felt a freshness, a relationship that I’d never known. And,” he said, “as I awakened the next morning,” he said, “it was not a matter of shouting, it was not a matter of leaping or dancing, but just a sweet spirit, just the presence of the Lord. And,” he said, “all day long I said to myself, ‘I must have said it a hundred times: I’m His, I’m His, I am completely His,’ and there was the joy of the Lord.”


Now let me tell you something, friend. Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” What had He spoken? He says that we are to be to Him like a branch is to a vine. We are to abide in Him, we are to rest in Him, we are to draw our strength from Him, we are to be totally, totally committed to Jesus Christ — and that is joy. And may I say that, without that joy, I don’t care what else you have, where else you may go, what else you may achieve -  without that joy—and you’ll a agree that it is true — your life is meaningless -  without that joy—no matter what else you have, no matter what else you do — without that joy, your life is meaningless. And that joy is in Christ: His joy in you.