Here is a Sunday school lesson or Bible study on joy from the Bible.
The Fullness of Joy
John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
This was a hard time for the disciples. Think about it; they had been with Jesus for over three years and now He was leaving?! Jesus had already been telling them for weeks that He was about to be placed into the hands of evil men and be brought before trial and then crucified on a cross. They had heard it but they didn’t really want to believe it, so Jesus tries to comfort them by telling them “these things” in order that His joy would be in them and that their joy would be full. Right now, their joy-level is probably on fumes so Jesus says to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy” (John 16:16). Perhaps His most comforting words of all were, “I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22). Later He promised them, “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3).
Does the fact that Jesus is coming for you give you joy?
What does your joy-gauge show? Is your joy low, medium, or filled up?
Did you find comfort in Jesus words to the disciples?
The Fruit of Joy
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
There are a lot of joyless Christians out there and that’s sad too because they are missing out on the fact that joy, even though it’s a fruit of the Holy Spirit, is a choice of the will. That is, you choose to have joy and should have joy anyway. Maybe it’s just not full. What might help to fill it is to read just how much Jesus had to endure for our sake as found in Romans 5:6 which says that “while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” and “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8) and even more, Christ died for us and so “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom 5:10). Shouldn’t that make you joyful?
Does the Apostle Paul list the fruits in order of importance (1 Cor 13:1-3)?
Did you know that joy was a fruit of the Holy Spirit of God?
What is the most important fruit of all?
Joy in the Lord
Nehemiah 8:10 “Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The people were told that the joy of the Lord is their strength and that joy was in eating the fat and drinking the wine during a celebration of the walls of Jerusalem being rebuilt. The joy of the Lord is a source of strength for us since we can better endure the present sufferings of this world for the glory that’s coming (Rom 8:18). The psalmist wrote, “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound” (Psalm 4:7) so to him it was a source of strength but one that lasts longer than food and so could write that “the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy” (Psalm 68:3) and even if “He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing” in time, they “shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6). Having confidence in God can fill you up with joy.
Can joy include food and drink and celebrations?
Does joy come naturally?
Why is joy a source of strength?
The Joy Before Us
Hebrews 12:2-3 “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
One man asked D.L. Moody if he was tired of the work since he kept long hours and worked into the night but he said that he wasn’t tired of the work but he does grow tired “in” the work, acknowledging his human frailties. Yes, some do grow tired in laboring for the Lord, even if that’s at work for you as you’re still doing it as unto the Lord (Col 3:23-24), so remember, “God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do” (Heb 6:10) so “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9). Jesus was looking forward to the joy set before Him more than dwelling on the cross at the time. Perhaps we should take a similar approach and look at the joy that’s set before us (Rev 22), despising the present sufferings of our life.
Is there a lot of joy in your life?
Who do you know that shows the most joy?
Do you grow weary in doing good things?
I urge you in your study to look at all of the Bible verses and read them aloud in the class so that you can get the most out of this lesson on joy. Is joy missing in your life? I think reading the gospels can help and perhaps the one that is most joyful to me, the Gospel of John, might give you joy to read it and by that, your joy can become full or at least fuller. If you’re not feeling joy, then you’re losing a source of strength and you’ll need every bit of Jesus’ help to fill you up again.
Do you ever feel joyless?
What do you think is the cause?
Do you think differently now about joy? If so, in what ways?
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.