Introduction: Is life a little bit discouraging? You get up each day
and go through the same routine. Then you go to bed. The next day
you do it all over again. Sort of like a rat on a treadmill. Would
you like a little more joy? Our lesson this week reveals how a
Christian can have joy not only in everyday life, but also in
difficult times. Let’s jump right into our study and discover the
Bible’s secret to joy!

  1. Joy in Conflict?

    1. Read Philippians 4:2-3. What does this suggest is going
      on between these two women? Are they good people?(These
      are good Christians who simply disagree with each other.
      Paul wants them to stop the fight.)

    2. Read Philippians 4:4-5. Is there a connection between the
      dispute and Paul’s next statement about rejoicing?

      1. If you say “yes,” how can a person be in a dispute
        and still rejoice? (Some people have an evil
        attitude that enjoys conflict, but normal people do
        not like to be in a dispute. Something different is
        going on here.)

      2. If you say, “no,” does this dispute at least
        illustrate that you cannot “always” rejoice? Is Paul
        suggesting the impossible?

      3. Last week we studied love and decided that we needed
        a lot of help to love certain people the way God
        suggests we should. Is joy or rejoicing all the
        time just like that – we need a lot of help with it?

      4. What does Paul’s direction to rejoice “in the Lord”
        mean? What does it suggest for our discussion about
        rejoicing in difficult circumstances? (When our joy
        depends on humans, we have the problem of changes in
        their mood. When our joy comes from God, we have an
        unchanging Father who continually loves and cares
        for us. These two women had a common reason to
        rejoice – their relationship with God. So do we.)

  2. Sheep Joy

    1. Read Luke 15:3-6. Is the shepherd calling for a party?

    2. Read Luke 15:7. The picture is that God and His angels
      experience joy when we accept Jesus. If you were the lost
      sheep, how would you feel about being found?

      1. Compare the happiness of the sheep with the
        happiness of the shepherd? Who should be
        happier?(The shepherd has 99 other sheep. For him,
        that lost sheep is one percent of his concern. For
        the sheep itself, its own welfare is 100% of its
        concern. The sheep should be one hundred times
        happier than the shepherd.)

      2. How should that thought play into our joy in the
        Lord? (The mere fact that God saved us from eternal
        death and forgave our ugly sins should be a source
        for great joy!)

  3. Obedience Joy

    1. Read John 15:9-10. If we disobey God, does He stop loving

      1. If you say, “God always loves us regardless of our
        actions,” what does He mean when He says “If” you
        obey, you will remain in my love? Isn’t that clearly

    2. Read Matthew 7:21. Is obedience the key not only to God’s
      love, but the key to the kingdom of heaven?

    3. Read Psalms 19:8. Do God’s precepts (His rules) give joy
      to us even when we do not obey them?

      1. If not, does that mean that joy, like God’s love, is
        conditional on obedience?

    4. Let’s go back to John 15. Read John 15:10-11. It seems
      that God takes joy in our obedience to Him. How do we
      have complete joy in obedience? What about obedience
      gives us joy? (I’m coming to believe that the Bible is
      not so much a book about rewards for obedience, as it is
      a book revealing the secret laws of the universe. When
      Psalms 19:8 refers to “giving light to the eyes,” it
      means we see something about the way the universe
      operates that we did not see before. God loves us even
      when we are sinners ( Romans 5:8). But, in His great love,
      God revealed to us the rules for better living. If we
      obey those rules we benefit from God’s wisdom. Living
      better gives us joy. If we stray from the rules we suffer
      and that takes away our joy.)

    5. Let’s continue reading what Jesus says about the
      relationship between obedience and heaven. Read Matthew
      7:21-23. When I added the next two verses, it sounds like
      the people who are lost also had works. If obedience and
      works are not the key to the kingdom of heaven, what is?

    6. Let’s continue with Jesus’ essay by reading Matthew 7:24-27. What relationship do we find between obedience and
      better living? (This is another example of my secret rule
      book theory. If works can save us, those who performed
      miracles and drove out demons should have been saved.
      Instead, the person who survived and thrived is the one
      who understands the principle of building on a proper
      foundation. The person who knew that secret, and used
      that knowledge, was able to withstand the storms of

  4. Destination Joy

    1. Read John 16:16-18. Do you understand what Jesus’
      disciples did not understand? (That Jesus was going to
      leave them, but that He would come back to see them after
      His crucifixion.)

    2. Read John 16:19-24. Jesus mentions joy several times in
      these verses. As you consider the context, what is a
      source of joy for you today? (Just as the disciples would
      have joy in Jesus’ resurrection, so we can have joy in
      the fact that Jesus has overcome sin on our behalf.)

    3. Read John 16:33. In the prior section, I suggested that
      obedience to God’s secret rule book gives us a better
      life. Does this text show that I am wrong? (The disciples
      were heading for unavoidable trouble and we will have
      trouble in our life. Following God’s rules not only
      helps to keep us out of unnecessary trouble, but when we
      get into necessary trouble, the knowledge that Jesus has
      defeated sin is the source of both joy and hope.)

  5. Spirit Joy

    1. Our series is about the Fruit of the Spirit. We have not
      said a word about the relationship of the Holy Spirit to
      joy. Let’s explore that. Read Galatians 5:22-25. Is the
      sinful nature opposed to joy? How does the Holy Spirit
      help us to have joy? (The suggestion is that sinful
      passions and desires are contrary to a Spirit led life.
      They lead to trouble.)

      1. Is that how we experience joy in the Holy Spirit –
        because we are released from sinful passions and

    2. Read Acts 2:28. We have a reference here to God’s secret
      rule book of life, but we also are told that God’s
      presence brings us joy. How can we come into the presence
      of God? (This is the Holy Spirit. God’s spirit can be
      everywhere – which allows you to live in the presence of
      God. This text (quoting David) links God’s presence and
      knowing and following “the paths of light” – God’s secret
      rule book.)

    3. Read Acts 8:6-8. By whose power were the people healed?
      How is this joy connected with the presence of God?
      (Philip healed through the power of the Holy Spirit. The
      power of the Spirit to help us with the problems of life
      brings joy.)

    4. Read Acts 13:49-52. Have you ever been asked to leave?
      Have you ever been tossed out of a city, church or home?

      1. Would you say that you were happy about it?

      2. The text says the disciples were filled with joy
        “and” with the Holy Spirit. Why are they joyful
        about getting booted out? What has that to do with
        the Holy Spirit? (Normally, we do not take joy in
        rejection. However, the presence of God reassured
        the disciples that they were doing the right thing.
        That gave them joy.)

    5. Friend, would you like more joy in your life? I’m sure
      you would. Why not increase your joy by asking the Holy
      Spirit to come into your life and lead your thoughts and
      actions into obedience to God?

  6. Next week: The Fruit of the Spirit is Peace.