Joy of Holiness

Men’s Small Group // May 9, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group and is based on the book “Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges (Chapter 17)

Bridges – “God intends the Christian life to be a life of joy – not drudgery. The idea that holiness is associated with a dour disposition is a caricature of the worst sort. In fact, just the opposite is true. Only those who walk in holiness experience true joy.”

  • Take a moment and really think about that. You know this in your head, but do you keep this in your heart?

John 15:10-11 ESV
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. [11] These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Jesus links obedience and joy in a cause and effect relationship; meaning that joy is a result of obedience.

  • If you keep his commands – if you are pursuing holiness – then and only then will you be abiding in his love.
  • And in his love we will find joy. The fullness of joy in our heart.

In what ways does holiness produce joy?

  1. There is joy in fellowship with God.
    1. Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
      • David is here acknowledging this fullness of joy that’s found in the presence of God.
    2. Bridges – “The daily experience of Christ’s love is linked to our obedience to him. It is not that His love is conditioned on our obedience. That would be legalism. But our experience of His love is dependent upon our obedience.”
    3. Psalm 51:11-12 “Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. [12] Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
      • This is David’s prayer of penitence after his sins of adultery and murder had broken fellowship with God.
  2. There is joy in the anticipated reward.
    1. Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, [2] looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
      • There will be hardship and struggle in this life. Our motivation to endure is this same anticipated joy of Jesus.
      • What does this world have to offer in light of the kingdom of God!

Bridges – “Joy not only results from a holy life, but there is also a sense in which joy helps produce a holy life.”

  • As we see joy being brought into our life through obedience, we will see that same joy change our outlook and our motivation.
  • Joy produces hope in our hearts. And as hope in Christ increases, we are strengthened through the Spirit into further obedience.

We have all that we need for our pursuit of holiness.

  • We have been delivered from the reign and dominion of sin. We are no longer slaves to disobedience.
  • We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
  • God hears our prayers. Not only does he hear them, but he answers them.

Bridges ends the book with these words – “Surely He has not commanded us to be holy without providing the means to be holy. The privilege of being holy is yours, and the decision and responsibility to be holy is yours. If you make that decision, you will experience the fullness of joy which Christ has promised to those who walk in obedience to him.”

Reflection Questions

  • Talk about your experience with the fullness of joy that is found in the presence of the Lord?
  • Do you have the same mindset of Jesus talked about in Hebrews 12:2?
  • What is your key takeaway from this series in “Pursuit of Holiness” and how has it impacted your life?
  • How can you encourage one another in the pursuit of holiness this summer?

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