VFC Bible Study Worksheet 15-Feb-2015


Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – February 15, 2015
Theme: Christian Maturity

Topic: Perennial joy.

Main Text: 1 Peter 1:1-12

Key Verse: 1 Peter 1:8 – “… you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…”

Introduction

It may seem contradictory that we suggest joy – even perennial joy – as a mark of Christian maturity, when we only last week said that admitting to our feelings is a mark of maturity, and sometimes those feelings could be negative. Of course, we all have times when we sink into a low mood, and some may even have occasional struggles with depression. Nevertheless, the general climate of a mature Christian’s heart is that of joy. But, we need to appreciate the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness depends upon what happens, but joy bubbles up even when things don’t go happily.

One of the false ideas that have hindered the spread of the Christian faith is that to receive the faith is to be made miserable. In fact, in the mid to late seventies, a popular and fast-growing Pentecostal Christian denomination in Nigeria preached and even had tracts rebuking Christians that exhibited joy because, according to this denomination, Jesus Christ was “a man of sorrows”. But our key verse today states that a hallmark of coming to know Christ is “an inexpressible and glorious joy”. “So there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8) was a result of widespread healings and conversion to the Gospel in Samaria.

The summons to rejoice is sounded no less than seventy times in the New Testament. The root meaning of the Greek word for joy (chara) has the flavour of glorious exuberance – even boisterousness. Of course nowadays we disapprove of excessive demonstrations of joy and are quick to say “But the fruit of the Spirit is also self-control”.

The joy that comes from God is actually part of the Christian’s armour. Sin insinuates itself more easily into a downcast heart. Jealousy, for example, finds a lodging place very quickly in a heart that is unsatisfied, and the desire for revenge requires harbouring of a grudge.

How then can we have more of this joy? Lack of joy is caused almost entirely through inner conflicts and wrong attitudes. When we get rid of these inner conflicts by putting our lives fully in the hands of Jesus, we will almost automatically burst into joy. Have you noticed that whenever a conflict between two people – say between a husband and wife – is resolved there is an outburst of joy? Suddenly, the parties feel better, even in their bodies! When the rebellious elements within us are surrendered to Jesus, and we become inwardly one with Him, then deep joy is ours.


Discussion Questions:

1. Read John 15:9-12 and Galatians 5:22-23. List some practical situations that deprive the Christian of the joy Christ promises.

2. Read Romans 15:1-13. List some definite actions and attitudes that foster joy in the
Christian and among Christian groups.


Prayer:

Father, show me in my spirit all those things that hinder me from consistently experiencing the joy You promised, and help me deal with them decisively. In Jesus’ name I ask it, Amen.

{Partly culled from January/February 1993 edition of Every Day With Jesus by Selwyn Hughes, used by permission of CWR}