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We have been talking looking at the Upper Room discourse, where Jesus knew He was about to die and where He shared the things that were most important to Him with His disciples. This is from John chapters 14 to 17. God has been speaking to me a great deal from this passage and there are seven main points that He has quickened to me:
God doesn't just want to give me intellectual understanding of these seven points, He wants them to soak into my spirit, that they might change and transform me, and enable me to move with God in greater measures of His anointing, power and authority, so that He can glorify His name through my life and ministry. You might say that God is taking me on a growth and transformation journey through John 14 to 17. And He is putting it on my heart to take the body of Christ with me on this journey. What God is showing me here is not just for me, it is for all of us, for each and every believer.
We have already discussed the first six points in the previous lessons. Now it is time to look at the last point: authority and how it relates to the joy that Jesus wants us to experience. I talked earlier about authority and power, now I want to talk about authority and joy. I you know your authority, you really can walk in power. But walking in power doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be walking in joy. However, there is a relationship between authority and joy -- it can produce joy.
Let's start with John 16:22. "Now is your time of grief" (Jesus had said that He was getting read to go to the cross and they would grieve over that). "But I will see you again..." (He was talking about His resurrection) "...and you will rejoice and no one will take away your joy. In that day you no longer ask Me anything. I tell you the truth. My Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. Until now you have not asked for anything in My Name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete."
Let me paraphrase what Jesus said here: "I want you to produce fruit so that your joy can be complete. Now here's how you produce fruit: you ask in My Name. My Father will give it to you so that your joy will be complete."
Let's think about this joy and about what produces this joy. Remember the parable of the Prodigal son. The 'elder brother' did not have a whole lot of joy, did he? What was it he said to his father? "All these years I've slaved for you! I've obeyed you! I've served you! And I've never broken one of your commandments!" Is that the voice of intimacy speaking? I think not.
Let me ask those of you who are married a question: Husbands, if your wife said something along that line to you, would that endear her to you? "I've served you! I've served you twenty-five years, and I've obeyed all your rules. I've never broken a one of them." It's not quite going to get it, is it? That is not a love relationship, that is a religious spirit speaking. That is the "works mentality" that sees service as a pain. But what if she says, "I just love serving you, doing things that make you happy." That is a different mentality, isn't it? That is not 'elder son' mentality, it is the right mentality.
How do we get this kind of joy? I think we see this kind of joy in Luke 10:17-21. Jesus appointed the seventy and commissioned them, gave them authority and sent them out. They come back in verse 17: "The seventy returned with joy and said 'Lord even the demons submit to us in your Name.' He replied, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm you, however, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.' At that time Jesus said, full of joy, 'I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, because this was your good pleasure.'"
There is great joy when you go out and do something for God -- you see an eye open, an ear open, a lame person walk, a family put back together. You see a demonized person set free. I'm telling you, there is nothing Madison Avenue has to offer that will bring you more lasting joy than that. Joy really does come, because it brings joy to the Father. And when we have been born again, the Spirit in us resonates with the things the Father likes, and it brings lasting joy in us. It comes from receiving revelation and from acting on the revelation. That revelation comes out of intimacy. Revelation comes and we act on the revelation through God's power, and the action produces fruit. We move in His power through His Name. We see things happen. We have a joy. It is the joy because of what we saw.
But there is another joy in that verse in Luke: the joy that came through the Holy Spirit. There is just the work of the Holy Spirit: love, joy (the second one mentioned after love), then peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Joy! The Kingdom of God does not consist in talk, but in power and demonstration of the Spirit. It talks about in another place, "It's joy and peace in the Holy Ghost."
When you have a vision of something that becomes precious to you, you will go after it. "Without a vision the people perish." The vision we're trying to create for you out of Jesus' upper room discourse is your privilege. Don't be like the elder brother who said, "I've labored for you, I've served you and I never disobeyed one of your commands." Remember what the Father said back to him: "All that I have is yours." All that time, it was available to him, and he had never written one check on it.
If you are a child of God you have privileges that will just blow your mind if it can ever get from your head to your heart You might say, "Well God if this is true, then I need to start writing some checks on what you have put in my account. I need to lay hold of some of these realities."
Some of us are too afraid to write a check. The religious spirit knows how to serve, but finds it very difficult to receive by grace. It is easier for a Prodigal (who has been restored, who really understands the Father's love) to receive by grace. The religious spirit thinks he has to earn everything. But we don't earn this, we receive it by His grace.
That is why I said, earlier, "God wants you all to be Charismatics." What does that mean? It means we are to be a people who live by His grace, and we are to be a people who live by the gifts He graciously bestowed upon us. I'm not emphasizing any one gift. Receive all of them so that we can live beyond our own potential.
The world wants to see something in us that can't be produced by our own ability. The world is looking to see something in us that He has to do through us. We have this treasure in earthen vessels, broken vessels at that. So when we little earthen vessels all of a sudden have this miraculous stuff comes out of us, then everybody says, "I know that had to be God, because I know he/they couldn't do that."
And the Father gets the glory. And that is what Jesus was talking about in John 14 to 17. Jesus wants us to live in that place. Are you willing?