JESUS REJOICES IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
- Pastor Mark Driscoll
- Luke 10:17–24
- September 05, 2010
You having a bad day? Bad day? Oh, come on, don’t lie. It’s church. Bad day? You fought with your spouse on the way here. I know you did. I know your kids were late getting out. I know that some of you are single and even talking about spouse and kids just makes you depressed. It wasn’t a bad day ‘til just a minute ago. Some of you are married with kids and it wasn’t a bad day ‘til I mentioned single people. Now you’re wondering if that wouldn’t have been a better option for you.
Is it a bad day? Lots of people are bummed out, depressed. Oh, it’s a rough season. Number one category of prescription medication in America: antidepressants. People are bummed out, depressed, sad. Fastest growing segment of the anti-depressant industry? Preschoolers. Preschoolers! Ha! It’s just Jell-O and LEGOs and Play-Doh. And that’s bummin’ ‘em out. Everybody is bummed. Everybody is bummed.
If you live in Seattle, you’re extra bummed ‘cause the traffic’s bad, the weather’s bad, the sports teams are bad, the economy is bad, your home equity is bad. There is no joy to be had at all.
And this is what happens: People go pursuing joy in people and things and they don’t find it. “Oh, once I get to this life stage, once I get this experience, once I obtain this possession, once I finish this degree, once I pass through this season, then I’m gonna have joy.” No. Wild goose chase, no goose. How many of you have figured this out? Then you get totally depressed. You get bummed out. You go buy a lot of black clothes and you come to maybe a night service. Just cranky. Just cranky.
Well, here’s the good news. Your hope is not in your marriage. Now, I hate to break it to you if you’re engaged. Right? I hate to break it to you. Secret’s out. You know, your joy is not in your marriage. Your joy is not in your kids. Your joy is not in your job. Your joy is not in your health. Your joy is not in your wealth. Your joy has to come from someone else. His name is the Holy Spirit. We’re gonna learn about him today.
Jesus rejoices in the Holy Spirit. Luke 10:17–24. You got a Bible? Go there. We’re gonna learn about joy in the Holy Spirit. You got to say it like that. Got to get fired up so your wood’s not wet. Joy in the Holy Spirit! Here we go.
WE REJOICE BECAUSE JESUS WINS
First thing we learn: We rejoice because Jesus wins. We rejoice because Jesus wins. Luke 10:17–20. “The seventy-two.” Those are his disciples. “Returned with,” what? “Joy.” There’s our big idea. Say it like you mean it. They returned with joy! There we go. “Saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!’ And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold.’” Got to say it like that. “‘I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy,’” or Satan, “‘and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’”
First thing Jesus says is, “Bad news. There’s an enemy.” He’s a serpent. He shows up in Genesis 3 like a serpent. Revelation 12:9, he’s a serpent. Revelation 20:2, he’s a serpent. The serpent shows us, reveals to us, typifies for us the great enemy of God, Satan. God has an enemy named Satan. He’s a spirit being. He was a created angel. He was to worship and serve and honor and obey and glorify God, and he didn’t want to honor God. He wanted to be God. He didn’t want to glorify God. He wanted God’s glory. And he declared war on God and there was a war in the heavens.
And Jesus says something crazy. Jesus is gonna say a few crazy things here. You’re gonna see why they crucified him. He said some stuff that you either believe or you will oppose. There’s no neutrality with him. And he says, “You know, I was there. I was there when there was this great battle and I saw Satan defeated.” Now, the bad news is that God has an enemy. Do you believe that? Do you believe that there is an enemy called Satan, the serpent, and that there are serpents and scorpions, the language for demons, other fallen angels who are with Satan and against God and at work in the world?
See, some of you are Christians and you don’t factor Satan into your life at all. So something happens, you’re like, “God, why are you tempting me? God, why are you hurting me? God, why are you oppressing me?” You forgot to factor in the other variable. God has an enemy, that this world is a battlefield, that Satan has fallen from heaven and that battle between God and his enemy has now arrived in your life. God is good. Satan is bad. And the bad news is that Satan is at war against God.
Now, here’s even worse news. He’s at war against us. He’s seeking our death, our temptation, our devastation, our destruction. He wants to fool you, deceive you, accuse you, tempt you, lead you astray, rob you of joy, obscure for you God. So the bad news is there’s an enemy. The really bad news is he’s declared war on us too.
Where’s the good news? The good news is Jesus defeated him. Jesus says, “I was there as creator God before the world existed.” This is a big statement. “In eternity past, in the heavens, before the book of Genesis records Adam and Eve and Satan in the garden, I was there when Satan declared war and was cast down and he was cast out of heaven. Like a bolt of lightning, he was sent to the earth.” Like the Led Zeppelin t-shirt, he just fell to the earth. That’s what Jesus is saying. So the good news is Jesus defeated Satan in the heavenly kingdom and then Satan was cast down with demons to the earth.
And then the really good news is that Jesus comes to earth, God becomes a man, the second member of the Trinity enters into history, and he continues his battle against Satan and demons. And the really, really, really, really good news is that Jesus is going to ultimately, utterly destroy and defeat and disarm Satan at the cross. The right that he has to you and I because of our sin is taken away at the cross of Jesus, where our God dies in our place, for our sins, canceling our debt and crushing our enemy. That’s the really, really, really good news.
And then Jesus gives us even more good news. That now if we are in Christ, the positional authority of Christ, the victory of Christ belongs to the children of God and we can command Satan and demons and in Jesus’ name, they must obey and flee us.
So the seventy-two come back. These are Jesus’ followers and disciples. They’re like his community group leaders. And previously in Luke, there was a handful of his disciples, went out to cast out demons, and it didn’t work. They failed. And here, these disciples come back and they’re just buzzin’. They’re thrilled. They’re excited. They’re like, “Jesus, you’ll never guess what. We could tell demons what to do and they listen.” That’s awesome. That’s fantastic.
How many of you, that’s incredible? ‘Cause no one listens to you. No one listens to you. Right? Your kids don’t— “Hey, Johnny, could you stop lighting bottle rockets in the house? Okay, it was a suggestion. I wasn’t anticipating you would obey me.” Right? Your dog won’t obey you. Your cat sure ain’t gonna obey you. Nobody, nothing obeys you. Nothing! No one obeys you. Can you imagine? And then demons come. You’re like, “Ooooh, boy. That person’s oppressed, possessed. They’re sick. They need to be healed. They’re tormented. I don’t know what to do. ‘Leave in Jesus’ name.’ Ho ho, they left! Ahh! This is fantastic! Oh, if I only had this skill when driving to command people in front of me. This would be a fantastic skill set.”
So they’re able to command Satan and demons away from people and they’re healed, and they’re cured, and they’re liberated, and they’re delivered, and their lives are changed, and their souls are saved, and their bodies are healed, and they’re absolutely excited, and you and I, in Jesus Christ, have the same authority, not in and of ourselves, but delegated to us from him. It’s absolutely true.
So let’s just do it right now. In the strong name of Jesus Christ, we command Satan and demons away from us, individually and corporately, and we invite the Holy Spirit to teach us, instruct us, and fill us in Jesus’ name. Satan and demons must obey in the strong name of Jesus Christ.
And the disciples are mind-blown. Bad news: we have an enemy. Really bad news: he’s against us. Good news: Jesus is in authority over him. Really good news: Jesus delegates his authority to us. And Jesus says, “I’ve got something even better than that.” What could be better than that? He says, “Don’t even rejoice that the demons obey you. Rejoice in this. Your name is written in heaven.”
How many of you, you’ve never been on a good list ever? All right, you tried out for the sports team in high school and they posted the list. You’re like, “Am I on it? No. Okay, I’ll try drama. Okay, I tried out for the play. Did I make the list? No. I didn’t make it? I tried out to be a tree. I was just—they won’t even let me do this. Didn’t make the list. Okay, well, I’m gonna apply to college. Did I—no, I didn’t make that list. Oh, I made it into this other college. Okay, well I’m gonna try to get into the department that I really want to get into. Did I—no, I didn’t make that list, dang it. I’m gonna start drinking. That’s what I’m gonna do.” Go to the club. “All right, I need to start drinking.” “You can’t come in.” “Why?” “You’re not on the list.” “I’m not on the list? Oh man. Okay, fine, then I’m gonna go get something to eat.” You go to the restaurant. It’s packed. Walk up to the maître d’. “Can I get something to eat? I was gonna start drinking, but I wasn’t on the list.” “Are you on this list?” “No, I’m not on this list.” “You can’t eat. You’re not on the list.” “Not on this list either?”
There’s one list you’re on. The junk mail list. That’s the only list you’re on. That’s the only list you’re on. Spam and junk mail. You’re like, “How did I get on that list? That’s the only list I’m on. I never get to be on the good list.”
Jesus says, “You know what? I’ll put you on my list, write your name down. There’s a kingdom waiting. There’s a father who loves you. There’s an eternal inheritance. I’m building a place for you. You can die and rise and stand before the living God. And he’ll look you in the eye and say, ‘Ho ho, you’re on the list!’” Yes, finally! I’m on some list. I’m on a list of God’s people and God doesn’t take anyone off his list and God loves everyone on his list.
And is your mind absolutely blown today that God would put you on his list? Save you, love you, forgive you, heal you, redeem you, adopt you, bless you, pursue you, adore you, rejoice in you. Your name, if you’re a Christian, your name’s on that list. You can get excited about that. You can be like Jesus anticipates. [Congregation applauding]
WE REJOICE BECAUSE WE KNOW GOD
Now, so we rejoice because Jesus wins and we rejoice because of his victory. We rejoice because of his authority and we rejoice that he puts us on his list. Then we find out this. We can rejoice because we know God. Luke 10:21–22. “In that same hour,” he what? “He rejoiced.” This means Jesus is fired up. He’s excited. He’s happy. He’s not an emo kid. He’s in a good mood. He’s rejoicing. His voice is loud. His hands are doing Italian things. He’s very excited.
“He rejoiced in,” what? “The Holy Spirit.” Jesus isn’t rejoicing in his circumstances. He’s marching. He’s walking from the region of Galilee to Jerusalem. That’s gonna take a few months. How many of you, if I said, “Take a few months’ walk over rugged terrain in the heat with a bunch of disciples, some of whom are weird, and Judas, who’s ripping you off, while homeless, not sure what you’re gonna eat, with the occasional random religious dude or demon-possessed odd ball,” how many of you’d go, “That’s what I’m looking for. That’s a good time right there.” You’d say, “No, no, no, I can’t rejoice in that,” right? “Chicken wings and a nap? I could totally rejoice in that.” Jesus isn’t rejoicing in the fact that he’s suffering and he’s marching to Jerusalem for what ultimate purpose? To get murdered and crucified. He’s rejoicing in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings joy to him. The Holy Spirit wants to bring joy to you.
We’ll unpack that. “He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,” —here’s his prayer: “‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’”
The whole Trinity’s here. Do you see it? One God, three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit. Praise to the Father, Jesus Christ is the Son, and he’s rejoicing in the Holy Spirit. Here’s the whole Trinity. Do you see the whole Trinity right there? How is the Trinity connected to joy? The happiest person is God. The happiest person is God. And some of you, you don’t know that ‘cause you’ve been hanging out with religious people. You’re like, “God can’t be happy. I’ve met some of his people. Wow, those are not happy people. They’re no fun at all. They’re no fun. If they’re in heaven, I’m gonna ask for my own room.” Right? Like, they’re not fun people. God is joyful. God is filled with joy. No one is as happy as the Trinitarian God of the Bible.
Let me explain this to you. God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, for eternity, they coexist, sharing attributes, sharing love, communicating, glorying in one another. There’s no sin. There’s no covetousness. There’s no guile. There is no lying. There is no betrayal. There is only love and affection and connection in God. So God is the happiest person there is. God is the happiest person there is. No one is as happy as God.
GOD THE FATHER
And God reveals himself to us first of all, we find here, as Father. This is a mind-blowing concept. The Jews, up until this point, they were not prone to call God, “Father.” When Jesus starts talking about God as Dad or Abba or Father or Daddy, this was not a customary way of referring to God. This was not typical. When Jesus prays, “Our,” what? Who? “Father.” Unusual. Unprecedented. Unparalleled. Of all the names God could have chosen to reveal himself to us by, how majestic that he would choose Father? How majestic that he would choose Father?
See, today it’s common with new spirituality and new age and pantheism and panentheism that God is in all and all is in God and God is not a father, God is a force. You don’t need a force. You need a father. We’re like crazy, orphan kids. The last thing those kids need is Red Bull. What they need is a dad. We don’t need more power. We need a father. We don’t need more power to live an evil life. We need a father to give us a new life. God’s not a force. He’s a father. He’s not impersonal. He’s personal. He loves us.
How many of you parents, right? How many of you are parents? When you think of God in a parental fashion, or you fathers think of him as father, do you love your kids? I adore—I really, really, really, really like being a dad. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that, but I really like being a dad. I have five kids. I love ‘em, I enjoy ‘em, I have fun with ‘em. We have a great time. I love raising ‘em, and praying with ‘em, and hanging out with ‘em, and snuggling with ‘em, and wrestling with ‘em. Adore ‘em. Enjoy ‘em. Absolutely. They’re starting school and I go into a mild depression ‘cause I don’t like ‘em to be gone at all. I just like ‘em around.
You start thinkin’ about it. If God’s a father, and his father heart is toward us and his father heart is for us, and his father heart is perfect, then even the best parent among us only has a fraction of the affection that the Father has for us. I’ll tell you what. If God loves me like I love my kids, but only perfectly and infinitely, I am more than fine.
Someone asked me recently, “Does God need us?” No, God doesn’t need us. God doesn’t need anything or anyone. He’s self-sufficient, all-powerful. I said, “No, God doesn’t need us. And if he did, it seems like he could have picked somebody more efficient.” Right? He said, “Well, why does he make us if he doesn’t need us?” I said, “He didn’t make us because he needs us. He made us because he wants us.” That’s better. You know, what’s better than being needed is being wanted.
That’s what adoption is, of the father heart of God. He looks at you and me, just some of us neglected, abused kids, some of us rebellious kids, some of us just bratty, horrible, naughty kids, and what he says is, “You know, they need a dad.” So he sends Jesus as the big brother to atone for sin so that we might be adopted. He gives us the family name, Christian. He gives us the inheritance of the family, the kingdom. And the Father loves us. And so when Jesus prays to the Father, he is modeling for us the fact that God is a Father who loves us.
Now, in saying that, I know some of you are instantaneously conflicted because your dad was anything but like God the Father. Some of you didn’t have a father. Like 40 percent of kids tonight, you went to bed without a father. Like a younger woman that we got to hear the testimony of earlier today, your father raped you, beat you, molested you, abused you physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, sexually. You hear the name “father” and immediately you just recoil because so much negativity and evil is connected to that name.
And I would tell you, don’t judge God the Father by your earthly father, judge your earthly father by God the Father, who is even a Father to the fatherless. Fathers are supposed to be like the heavenly Father. And when they’re not, they’re acting as if their father was the devil, to use the language of Jesus from John 8. So you need to forgive your fathers so that you can see the capital “F” Father. Get beyond your bitterness and get to your real Dad. And so Jesus tells us that the Father is who God is, and the father heart of God is God’s affection for you.
NO ONE KNOWS GOD APART FROM JESUS
And then Jesus says something that is mind-blowing, earth-shattering, history-altering. What he says is, “No one knows the Son,” himself, “except for the Father and,” here’s the big idea, “no one knows the Father except for the Son.” Sometimes we can just read Jesus’ words. No, hit the brakes, pull over, take a look.
Here’s what Jesus is saying: “I’m the only person on earth who knows God.” That’s a big statement. Can you imagine Jesus saying that today? Can you imagine the headlines tomorrow: “Jesus Christ says, ‘No one else knows God.’” Really? How do you feel, Dalai Lama? Ms. Oprah? Do you have any opinions? Right? This would be a big debate. Jesus says, “No one knows the Father except for me.” This is a big statement. Jesus is saying, “As the Son of God, as the second member of the Trinity, the Father and I have been together perfectly, unceasingly, eternally. He knows me like no one knows me, and I know him, and no one knows him unless I reveal him to them.”
Here’s the point. No one knows God the Father apart from God the Son. No one knows God apart from Jesus. Jesus was crucified for saying things like this, and were he walking the earth still today rather than seated in heaven, he’d get crucified again. What this means is that those who are Jewish but don’t love Jesus, they have no idea who the God of the Bible is. Those who are Muslim and say, “We believe that God is like a father, but we don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God,” they have no idea who God is. The Jehovah’s Witnesses who would say, “We believe in God the Father, but we don’t believe that Jesus is God,” they have no idea who God is. There is no knowledge of God, there is no revelation of God, there is no declaration of God apart from Jesus.
Some of you say, “That’s very offensive.” What’s more offensive to God are false religions that would encourage you to know the Father apart from the Son, meaning you don’t know him at all. We don’t want for you morality, religion, or spirituality. We want the Father’s love. We want you adopted into the church, the Father’s family. We want you to receive the Father’s inheritance, which begins with a down payment of the Holy Spirit, and that is only made possible through seeing and savoring Jesus as Lord, God, Savior, and Christ.
Do you know Jesus? Have you met Jesus? Do you love Jesus? Some of you are here today and you would say, “I believe in God.” Jesus is who you need to get to know. Some of you would say, “But I’m very spiritual.” Spirituality apart from Jesus is demonology. Get to know Jesus. You cannot know Jesus without the Holy Spirit. You cannot know the Father without Jesus. You need to know all of God, the fullness of God. There is one mediator between us and God, the man Christ Jesus. You cannot, you will not connect to God apart from Jesus. Your sin needs to be atoned for and God needs to reveal himself to you. If you miss everything I say, you need Jesus! Am I clear with my big idea?
Now, some of you come here today and you say, “I don’t know Jesus. I don’t want to know Jesus. I don’t—” Here’s the good news. This is what Jesus says. “No one knows the Father except for the Son and those to whom the Son has revealed him.” Congratulations! This is fantastic! Jesus has chosen right now to reveal the Father to you. You’re hearing the preaching of God’s Word. You’re hearing the revelation of God’s Son. You’re invited to know God as the Father. You may have not known him. You may have not known about him. You may have not known of his love and forgiveness and adoption and salvation, but Jesus has chosen you on this day to reveal himself to you—that’s what he says. You cannot know the Father unless Jesus Christ the Son chooses to reveal himself to you.
Look, he loves you. Look how much he loves you. He’s revealing himself to you right now. Some of you, you don’t know what’s going on inside of you. You don’t know why your life’s not working. You don’t know why you’re here. You don’t know what you’re feeling. Let me tell you this. Jesus is revealing himself to you so that you can be adopted into the family of God, to know the love of the Father.
And this all happens in the Holy Spirit. That’s what Jesus says. “In that same hour, he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit.” You know what’s super sad today? Fifty-two percent of those who would say they are evangelical Christians between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine, according to a Pew study, say you don’t need Jesus to be saved, to know the Father, and go to heaven. Fifty-two percent of people who would say they were Christians would say, “Yeah, I believe in Jesus, but I don’t think that you need him to know the Father.” Jesus says that’s demonic. That’s what the liar, the father of lies, would tell you.
It’s about Jesus. It’s always about Jesus, and it’s only about Jesus, and it’s all about Jesus. And if you understand that, the Holy Spirit wells up in you with a rejoicing. There’s an enthusiasm. There’s an excitement! “What? Jesus is God? Jesus is Savior? Jesus is Lord? Jesus conquered sin? Jesus defeated the enemy? Jesus rose from death? Jesus is preparing a place for me? The Father wants to adopt me into his family? I have a Dad who loves me? Woo-hoo! Good news!” Good, good, good news.
Now, some of you hear that and you’re constipated, right? You’re like, “Mmm.” You’re constipated and you can’t let the joy out. You can’t get fired up because you’re living in your head. You’re stuck in your head. So Jesus says, “You need to be more like a child.” Not childish. Right? Not childish. We don’t want you guys—you like twenty-seven-year-old guys who are like, “I have training wheels and LEGOs. Jesus loves me.” No, not childish. Child-like faith.
So he says, “Father, thank you that some people that are educated beyond their intelligence, with more degrees than Fahrenheit, for some reason haven’t been able to figure out you love ‘em. But thank you that for those who are child-like in their faith, they get it.”
Now, here’s the deal. You have caught my sickness. All right? I tend to live in my head. I’m more of an introvert. I like books. I like footnotes. I like dead guys. I like to think about things. I have a huge library. I love to study. All right? I mean, I know I’m educated beyond my intelligence, but I’m even thinking about a Ph.D. I was looking at one this week, not that I have time for it. I just like to study and I like to think.
And since I’m in Seattle, it’s even worse. ‘Cause see, Seattle is where all the thinkers go. Right? It’s most educated, most literate city in America, but it’s—the weather’s bad, everybody’s indoors with their ear buds on, sitting in the coffee shop, ignoring everyone else, reading books, and blogging, and Twittering, and thinking and… So we only listen to depressing indie rock and all the people we really like kill themselves, and that’s how we do it. Maybe that’s why most of our buildings are black, and our chairs are black, and I only wear black, and it’s just all dark all the time. We’re just all stuck in our head.
You seen kids with their dad? They’re not stuck in their head. They’re not. They just trust their dad and have fun with him. Some of you gotta get outta your head. I’m not saying be anti-intellectual, anti-academic. But man, some of you guys really gotta lighten up. And I know you’ve caught this from me. So, let me repent publicly. Right? And let me encourage you, lighten up. Right? It’s okay. Get a little excited. Right? Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, Jesus is alive, right? Hey! These are hands, you can clap or raise, whatever you like. [Congregation applauding]
Now, I learned this from my four-year-old son, Gideon. Gideon’s awesome. He’s got this little brohawk goin’, and he’s awesome. He only wears skinny jeans. It’s awesome. He got new skinny jeans recently, he says, “Hey, Daddy, do you wear skinny jeans?” I was like, “Uh, no. If they fit, they’re just jeans.” He only wears—he likes Vans with skulls on ‘em and a sideways baseball cap, and he’s just, he’s just very excited, happy guy. And you can tell when Gideon learns or experiences, he just tells ya. You can hear him. Like the other day, honestly, I’m in the house and I hear, “Woo hoo! Woo hoo!” “What’s up, Giddy?” “I found a worm!” That’s it. “I found a worm. Woo hoo!” He’s just excited. He’s just child-like faith, “Woo, worm, nice!” He’s just excited.
I can go up to Giddy and be like, “Hey, Giddy, you know what, you’re my son, I’m your dad, I love you with all my heart, let’s hang out.” You know what he won’t do? He won’t say, “What do you mean by ‘love’? Eros,agape, phileo? What do you mean, ‘father’? What do you mean, ‘father,’ like Father God, or like foster parent father? What do you mean, ‘do something’? Is your love for me, Dad, predicated on my love for you? Are you—do we have an Arminian relationship? Did I love you first, Dad? Or do we have a Calvinistic relationship? Did you love me first? Or, you know, do we have an eternally secure relationship or someday are you gonna change the name on my driver’s license? Or, Dad—” Ugh!
Some of you are like that with your Dad! Your Dad’s like, “Woo! Love ya! Forgive ya! C’mon, let’s hang out!” And you’re like, “Well I want to discuss the footnotes and get in my head.” You know, the Father needs to just get you going a little bit, you gotta get outta your head.
We tend to be the most constipated bunch of well-informed people the world has ever known. We are a cheese-filled church. We’re just all bound up. Jesus says, “Rejoice! If you know the Father loves you, rejoice! If the Holy Spirit is in you.” ‘Cause the Holy Spirit takes the love and the joy and the peace and the life of the Trinitarian God of the Bible, boom, puts it in the child of God, explodes in their heart. New love, new life, new joy. “Ah, I see Jesus! Ah, I’m loved by the Father! Woo hoo!” Get a little fired up. [Congregation applauding]
WE REJOICE BECAUSE THE KINGDOM IS COMING
Oh! We gotta reload. Luke 10:23–24, rejoice because the kingdom is coming. “Then turning to the disciples he said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.’”
He pulls the disciples aside. I kinda see it like a little league coach. Any time a little league coach has got something important to tell the boys, he pulls ‘em all over. “All right, don’t let the other team hear. “I gotta tell you boys something. Let me explain this.” They all huddle around. It says Jesus had this private conversation with the disciples. There’s a large crowd there. “All right, guys, here’s the deal. You guys have no idea what’s going on. You have no idea what’s going on. This is a big deal. This is a big deal. Now, you guys remember that thing called the Old Testament? You remember that?” This is a great conversation. “Oh yeah, Jesus, we remember the Old Testament.” “Okay, that was about me. That was about me. And for thousands of years, the prophets? Yeah, they were talking about this virgin who would have a baby, who would be in Bethlehem and [whistling] yeah, that’s guess who? I’m here. So, since they’ve been waiting thousands of years and I’m here, you guys should be pretty fired up.
“Oh, and kings? Kings. Kings don’t wanna meet anybody. Kings wanna meet me, ‘cause I’m the King of Kings. You should see my throne. It’s pretty awesome. So here’s the deal, guys. It’s happening. The kingdom of God is among you, ‘cause the king is here, and the kingdom is showing up. You know why those demons obeyed you? The kingdom of God has dawned. You know why people are getting healed? The kingdom of God has dawned. You know why people are getting saved? The kingdom of God has dawned. Do you know who I am? I’m the King of Kings. Do you guys have any idea the privileged position you’re in?”
This is supposed to awaken in them awe-filled joy. “Wow, God. You let me see what you’re doing and be a part of it.” You know what’s amazing? They hadn’t even seen him rise from death yet. You know, we’re in an even more privileged position in history. He hadn’t gotten to Jerusalem. He hadn’t died on the cross to atone for sin. He hadn’t risen from the dead. He hadn’t conquered Satan, sin, and death. He hadn’t yet ascended into heaven. He had not yet sent the Holy Spirit.
We are in a more privileged position. Do you have any idea the privileged position we have to see Jesus risen, reigning, ruling? One of the ways that God the Holy Spirit increases our joy is by getting us, inviting us to seek and savor the evidences of God’s grace in our life and in our church and in our midst. Do you have any idea what we get to see? Do ya? Do you know how many churches—I don’t mean to disregard, discourage, or diminish any church. You know how many churches, though, they’re plateaud and declining? Most. Do you know how few churches get to see anyone become Christians? Do you know how many few churches there are weddings and baptisms and babies and rape victims coming forward and getting helped and those who are addicted to substances and experiences being redeemed? We get to see lives changed, churches planted, campuses started.
It’s as if they’re along the journey toward Jerusalem and Jesus says, “All right, everybody huddle up. Pull over for a minute. We just need to stop and pay attention to what’s been happening.” And then rejoice in that! Throw a little party.
It is amazing what we get to see. It is amazing what we get to see. Today already, somebody from Japan moved here to go to church. Japan. Some of you are like, “I couldn’t make it.” Really? Japan! I met a guy a little bit ago, “Hi, I’m from France.” “Hi,” or, “Bonjour.” Somebody from the Ukraine. “What are you doing here?” “I heard Jesus was doing stuff, and I came to hang out.” People come from all over the world to just come and hang out and just see. People tune in from all over the world. We take no credit for it, but we’re pretty fired up about it.
Earlier today, I saw a guy walk in, “Ok, I wanna give my life to Jesus and be baptized today.” “How long you been here?” “Uh, today.” “Wow! Welcome. That’s a big start. That’s a big start.” Heard a gal today, “My father raped me, beat me, abused me, molested me. I now know the love of the Father, wanna be a Christian.” Baptized. We see this hundreds of times here. We saw this almost a thousand times last year. We get to see crazy stuff. Crazy, God-sized stuff. We just do. It’s unbelievable.
And here’s a crazy one. I heard this story. I hear crazy stories all the time. Some of the volunteers, the college students are walking to set up the new building for the first initial, informal gathering in what is a clean-up and construction site. They see a young woman who’s about nineteen and feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to go talk to her. So they walk up, “Do you know that Jesus loves you? Do you know that God cares for you? Do you know?” And this gal just melts, she’s like, “That sounds good to me. I’m nineteen and I’m on the street as a prostitute to pay my bills ‘cause I ran away from home ‘cause I was being abused by my father. And there’s another Father who loves me, and he’ll forgive me for what I’ve done and he’ll cleanse me from what’s been done to me, and he wants good for me? Ok, fine. Where’s this church?” We had a convert before we had a service. We had a convert on the way to set up chairs.
You know what that is? The Father seeking worshipers. The Father out adopting, collecting kids. Lots of ‘em. We get to see it. We are in this very privileged, sacred position. We’re seeing even spiritual unity. I’m teaching for the Assemblies of God, Foursquare, Baptist, independent, all kind of groups. You know what they keep saying? “We just want people to meet Jesus, and we want churches to be healthy and grow, and we want the Bible to be taught.” Praise God. And we would have some differences, but those are differences between members of the family, not differences between enemies, but brothers and sisters.
See, Jesus is pulling us aside today and he wanted me to tell you, “Look what’s going on! This is fantastic. Look at what God is doing. The Father is loving, and adopting, and saving, and embracing a whole bunch of kids.” This should just fill us with joy and enthusiasm and hope and expectancy.
And I apologize because I have not led us well, historically, in a real enthusiastic, passionate, affectionate response to the Father. But man, I am filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit that the Father loves us, that the Son has redeemed us, that the Spirit is in us, and that God is at work among us, and that we get to see the kingdom of God unveiled around us. Isn’t that amazing?
REJOICING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
And the Bible says to watch our life and doctrine closely. We’ve looked at doctrines like the Trinity, and salvation through Jesus and the Father and the Spirit, but I wanna look at the life part and I wanted to share with you some things I’ve learned through experience. This is the life part. Rejoicing in the Holy Spirit. Here’s what I’ve found. And I share it with you as an act of repentance, and, I hope, encouragement.
I find that my joy in the Holy Spirit increases when some things happen. Number one, when I spend sufficient time in the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit wrote. If your joy is low, it may be because your Bible intake is low. You hear me? Okay? The Holy Spirit dwells in the child of God. The Holy Spirit inspired the writing of Scripture. He’ll speak through the Scripture to you to instruct you in the Father and to fill you with joy. And so when you’re discouraged, pick up your Bible. Before you’re discouraged, pick up your Bible. Bible intake is connected, I am absolutely convinced, with joy. Hearing from God.
Number two, I find that my joy goes up when I repent of sin he has convicted me of. As the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin, like Jesus said that he would, as I repent of that sin, I remove those barriers to receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit and his joy. Sin gets in the way of the Holy Spirit unleashing joy in your life. Repentance, acknowledging that it’s so serious, our sin, that Jesus died for it, that we need to give it to him and put it to death because he died for it, allows us to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit and his joy. What sin do you need to repent of? Number one, how’s your Bible reading? Number two, how’s your sin repenting?
Number three, when I serve with the gifts he has given me. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit gives us, individually, certain supernatural capacities or gifts to do ministry. Some of you are administrators, encouragers, biblical counselors, community group leaders, artists, musicians, whatever it is. When you do what God made you to do, you share in his joy. See, some of us, when we’re not having joy, we think, “You know, I need more people to serve me.” It may mean that I need to serve. How many of you find joy in using your gifts and abilities? “Hey, I’m part of God’s kingdom! Hey, I’m going to work with my Dad! Hey, I get to see fruit out of my efforts! Praise God, this is great!”
I want you to know this, I love my job. I love it! I love studying, preaching, teaching, praying, writing, love it, love it, love it, love it! Somebody asked me recently, they said, “If you could do anything you want, what would you do?” “What I’m doing!” I love this! Because this is what the Holy Spirit has given me to do, and when I do it, he fills me with joy. There’s joy in serving God according to the gifts that you have.
Additionally, number four. There is joy when you forgive those who sin against you and as you pray for your enemies. I don’t know about you, if I don’t forgive people, I get bitter, I get angry, I get hard-hearted, I get calloused, I get nasty. And that blocks the fullness of the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, and it restricts his outpouring of joy. But as I forgive others as God in Christ forgave me, Ephesians 4, I’m not saying that what they’ve done is okay, but I’m trusting God for justice and judgment. And I hope they come to repentance. So, in forgiving others and praying for our enemies, we open ourselves up to the fullness of the Spirit and we don’t give the enemy a foothold. Who do you need to forgive?
I spoke to a man earlier today, an older man who was embittered against his father for many, many years. By all accounts, his father was a very mean, cruel, nasty man. And he said, “I became a Christian, but I didn’t experience the joy of the Holy Spirit ‘cause I had ongoing bitterness against my dad.” And he said, “I heard a sermon about forgiving those who sin against us and I ran to my father and I went to his house and I told him that I forgave him.” And he said, “It was like a weight lifted and I was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit and I’ve never been the same since.” Who do you need to forgive?
Number five, I find that my joy in the Holy Spirit increases when I enjoy what I have and I give generously. See, when God gives you something, he’s a Father who blesses you, enjoy it! Enjoy your possessions, your income, whatever God gives you, enjoy it and share it. And be generous with it. That’s why God loves a cheerful giver. That’s why it is more blessed to give than receive. This is why God is the happiest of all! God gives more than anyone else. That’s why the Bible says that God so loved the world that he—he what? What did he do? He gave! He gave! Our God’s a giver. As we give, we receive joy from the Holy Spirit. How many of you, this has been your experience? You enjoy what God gives, and you share what God gives, and God gives to you joy.
Number six, I pay attention to my health. Some of you, it’s not that God is far away or he’s not blessing you or the Holy Spirit isn’t pouring out joy on you, but you’re sick. You’re tired. You’re not eating well. You’re not sleeping well. You’re not getting your day off. You’re not doing what Jesus did. We learned in Luke earlier he often withdrew to lonely places to be alone with the Father. Some of you’d say, “Holy Spirit, I don’t feel the joy.” And he’d say, “I wanna meet with you, I’m right here. Turn off your phone, shut down the laptop, stop Twittering about your depression. Come over here, take your day off, maybe eat something that grows in the ground, drink some water, take a nap, read your Bible, let’s work on your health.” I don’t know about you, when I’m tired, when I’m sick, I get grumpy and grouchy. Or grumpier and grouchier.
Number seven, I find my joy goes up when I remind myself that joy is one emotion that God gives. You’re not gonna be joyful all the time. Isaiah 40–66 talks about Jesus, on and on, as the Man of Sorrows, familiar with suffering. The shortest verse in the Bible is that, “Jesus wept.” We’ve seen him get angry and frustrated and tired and annoyed, and here we see that he has joy! There is a full emotional experience and spectrum for us like Jesus. But when joy comes, grab it, embrace it, love it, pursue it, rejoice in the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Number eight, I find my joy goes up when I rejoice in the joy of others. You got saved? Woo hoo! You got married? Good for you! Congratulations! You’re pregnant? Been praying that you make it to the end and you get to hold that baby. You did? Praise God! You have a friend, your sins are forgiven, ya found a community group, you’re doing ministry, you’re finishing school, you’re learning some truth, you memorized a verse, praise God! Glad for you. Don’t covet. Celebrate God’s goodness in the lives of other people. We have so much to celebrate, to rejoice with those who are rejoicing.
I find as well that my joy goes up, number nine, when I respond physically, trusting that my emotions will catch up. You know what? Some days you’re not gonna feel like picking up your Bible. Pick it up. Some days you’re not gonna feel like kneeling down in prayer. Kneel in prayer. Some days you’re not gonna feel like going to community group. Go to community group. You’re not gonna feel like going to church. Go to church. You’re gonna come to church, you’re not gonna feel like raising your hands. Raise your hands. You’re not gonna feel like singing. Sing. And the Holy Spirit honors that obedience. And he shows up and he blesses that obedience. He just does. He just does. How many of you are married and you found that some days you don’t feel like going home? Some days you don’t feel like hugging ‘em? Some days you don’t feel like talking to ‘em? But if you’re obedient and you go home, you walk toward ‘em, put your arms around ‘em, you look at ‘em, your emotions follow. They follow. That’s how it is in a relationship.
And number ten, I plan fun and I capture sacred moments as they come. So I like to plan fun in my life. And I invite the Holy Spirit, “Hey, drop a fun bomb right here. I got this day, this opportunity.” All right? “Me and the kids and Grace, we’re gonna go do something. Please, Holy Spirit, drop a fun bomb on that day.” And as it comes along, you grab these sacred moments. “Ooh, this is an opportunity for joy in the Holy Spirit.”
And that’s what’s happening. They’re walking to Jerusalem for Jesus to be crucified, and he is here grabbing a sacred opportunity, a moment for joy. “Woo hoo! You can cast out demons. Your names are written in heaven. Do you know who your Father is? Let me tell you about him! The Holy Spirit is in you. The nations are ripe for the harvest. Be glad! Be exceedingly glad!”
So we’re gonna do that right now. We’re gonna pull aside. Don’t check your phone. Don’t check your e-mail, your Twitter, your Facebook. Shut it down, set it down. Don’t leave, don’t go anywhere. We’re gonna give you a chance to respond. We’re gonna pull over on the side of the road, throw a little party. We’re gonna clap, we’re gonna sing, we’re gonna pray. I’ll explain to you how in just a moment. First, I’m gonna pray, and then we’re gonna have some fun. Is that okay with you? Anyone mind if we have a little fun?
We pray against the enemy, his servants, their works and effects. Satan, you’re a liar, a tempter, a deceiver, an accuser, a condemner, a destroyer. We confess that at the cross of Jesus, you were defeated and disarmed, that in Christ we share his positional authority. Lord Jesus, we thank you that you alone know the Father and you have chosen to make him known to us. That is good news! Father, we thank you that you love us, that you adore us, that you are crazy about us. Not because we deserve it, but because you are good. Thank you for adopting children into your family. And Holy Spirit, we invite you to fall upon us. We invite you to flood us. We invite you to fill us with the joy of the Trinitarian God of the Bible so that we might, like Jesus’ disciples, today rejoice, like Jesus today, rejoice in the Holy Spirit, in whose name we pray, Amen.