Series: Fruits of the Spirit

Title: 2. Joy


  • 2016-06-04: White Rock Lake
  • 2022-03-19: Birmingham First Church


  1. 12: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
  2. 470: There's Sunshine in my Soul Today

  1. Introduction: Fruits of the Spirit: Joy
    1. Difference between happiness and joy: None
      1. Definition: Joy (n.): “1. The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation. 2. A source of keen pleasure of delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated: Her prose style is a pure joy. 3. The expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety. 4. A state of happiness or felicity.”
      2. The idea that there’s a significant difference between happiness and joy is incorrect. It only originated within the last century or so.
      3. The Bible uses happiness and joy as synonyms1
        1. Esther 8:16 (NIV): “For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor.”
        2. Jeremiah 31:13 (HCSB): “I will turn their mourning into joy . . . and bring happiness out of grief.”
    2. Growing up: Must always be cheerful. Grumpiness and bad moods were unacceptable
      1. Is this right? We’ll see from scripture that it is
    3. Aside: So much in the Bible on joy: I looked up the word on the computer, and before I even got through the Old Testament, I already had way too much material for a single sermon. It’s like drinking from a fire hose. So we’ll focus on joy in the OT.
  2. Origin of Joy
    1. 1 Chronicles 16:27: Joy is an attribute of God; We’re made in His image
    2. Salvation
      1. Nehemiah 8: The people gathered together to hear the Law of God. Ezra read it to them, and he and his assistants explained it, so the people understood it clearly (v 8). Vv 9-12: The proper response to understanding the words of God is joy.
      2. Ps 51:12: joy comes from repentance
      3. Isa 12:1-6 Joy results from salvation
  3. Maintaining Joy
    1. 2 Chronicles 30 tells of Hezekiah’s restoration of the Passover. It was exactly one month late because the priests weren’t consecrated in time. Hezekiah invited all of Israel and Judah. Some from Israel scorned it, but others came to Jerusalem. The Levites had to kill the sacrificial lamb on behalf of the majority of the people, who had not cleansed themselves “For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon everyone 19 who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.”*n1 20 And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.” At the end of the regularly-scheduled seven days of the feast, (v.23) “the whole assembly agreed together to keep the feast for another seven days. So they kept it for another seven days with gladness.” V. 26: “So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.”
    2. 1 Chronicles 15:16: There’s joy in worshiping God
    3. Psalm 4:6-8: God puts more joy in the heart than drunken parties
    4. Psalm 16:11: In God’s presence is fullness of joy.
  4. Obligation of joy
    1. Ps 32:11; 47:1: We are commanded to be joyful
    2. Joy should be the Christian’s primary experience. There are, of course, unhappy times in our lives, but if we’re predominantly unhappy, we need to check our relationship with God.
    3. Too often, unhappiness is the result of selfishness.
    4. There’s no excuse for grumpiness
  5. How to Be Joyful
    1. Make sure we’re right spiritually
    2. Act happy; feelings follow actions
      1. Acting how you want to feel isn’t dishonest.


  1. Taken from Randy Alcorn, “Is There a Biblical Difference Between Happiness and Joy?” Many Bible versions use gladness in place of happiness.