Joy in the Mourning – Gospel in Life

Joy in the Mourning

Tim Keller |  February 16, 1992

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  • Fruit of the Spirit
  • Understanding the Gospel
John 16:16-22
RS 26-07

John 16:16–22

Looking at Jesus’ words in John 16, we can understand that the problems and struggles we see in places like New York City aren’t caused by the place itself, but rather, the city brings out what’s already inside us. It’s like we’re bombs, carrying around some unstable stuff inside that gets set off by outside things. The good news of the gospel is the only thing that can stabilize this, giving us a solid joy that’s sure, ongoing, above our circumstances, and possible to have.

1. Christian joy is inevitable

When you’re a Christian, joy is a natural part of who you are, because Jesus lives in you. This joy mirrors the very nature of God, and the good news about Jesus makes it even stronger, revealing a kind of happiness we never knew before. So, if we’re not feeling joyful, it’s not because God’s holding back, but because we’re doing something that’s blocking it.

2. Christian joy is continual

Christian joy is like a woman giving birth. It doesn’t make the pain go away, but it overshadows it with something greater. Christians know that evil and suffering are real, but their belief in the good news gives them hope that’s stronger than their problems. So, Christian joy is a mix of recognizing the bad while being lifted up by the greater truth.

3. Christian joy is transcendent

Unlike the joy the world offers, Christian joy isn’t tied to what’s happening around us. It’s rooted in God’s unchanging love and our relationship with Jesus. While worldly joy goes up and down, Christian joy, made even stronger by hard times, is based on what Jesus has done for us. This deep joy, found by thinking deeply about our spiritual life, gives us peace and comfort that no earthly situation can take away.

4. Christian joy is possible

Experiencing joy is a discipline. It requires avoiding things that make us feel guilty and doing positive things like thinking deeply about the truths of the gospel. It’s like learning to play a musical instrument, needing regular practice until our hearts soften. By doing this, we can experience the sure joy that comes with being a Christian.



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