Because He Had No Joy

Because He Had No Joy
Robert Wurtz II

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. (Psalm 51:8)

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (Psalm 51:12)


It is impossible for a Christian to find lasting happiness in any kind of sin, for it cannot answer the basic inward need for genuine heaven sent joy. David, the great king, found this out the hard way. He had started backsliding we might say, and in the process committed a terrible crime (sin) against God. He committed adultery with Bathsheeba and then ordered Uriah the Hitite to his death. The effects of his sin were manifest in almost unspeakable horrors. His own son raped his own daughter. His son Absalom heard about it and killed his own brother. Before it was over with Absalom was dead too; strung by the hair of the head between heaven and earth where he exited this life to stand before God. 

All of this was prophesied in advance as the consequence of David’s sin. The details were not given, only a summary; “the sword will not depart from your house.” For years David struggled with lust and everybody knew it. In fact, when he lay dying his body started to get cold so they tried to bring a beautiful young woman into his bedroom to warm him up. He had been reeling from the effects of his sin(s) for decades perhaps, and it has all come down to this. I don’t know how you feel about it, but I say, “how embarrassing?” To have such a reputation for being with women that such a tactic would be tried in the first place. Her name was Abishag, but “he knew her not.” (1 Kings 1:1ff) “He gat no heat” says the KJV, so they sought a damsel. This ought to get his temperature up. Nay verily. After a life like he had lived, he had had his fill of it all. 

You will notice in Psalm 51 that David asked God for joy in two different verses. Some have taken this to mean that David had already lost his joy before he ever committed those terrible sins. Leonard Ravenhill once said that “entertainment is the Devil’s substitute for joy.” I suggest this is true, but I would like to add to it. Sin is the Devil’s substitute for joy. It begins with a simple lie planted in the heart and mind of an adulterer or adultress; Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. (Proverbs 9:17) I once knew a man that liked to quote this verse. Unfortunately he walked out verse 18 too; But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell. (Proverbs 9:18) Indeed he found that a willing subject can be found almost any place. There are no shortage of people in the world that have no scruples. I don’t know where this man is today. I only know he sacrificed his wife, family, ministry and all of his Christian friends for a glass of “stolen waters.”

You can tell when you’re getting cold in the Lord. You get rebellious and unwilling to listen to counsel. Once the process begins of trying to substitute entertainment for joy it will not be long until sin is used as well. Why? Because nothing can substitute for joy. All those things can do is serve as a place marker- holding you over until the next vile thing comes along. It’s all a sham and a lie. David would have understood this because he was a man of God’s word; nevertheless, for some reason he ran roughshod over all that he knew was right. I suggest that reason was joylessness coupled with selfishness. 

Who ever said that a child of God is supposed to be happy all the time? I’ll tell you who- many TV preachers. It is a lie. God wants us to have joy, but that is a very different thing than self-seeking happiness. Joy can be present in the most violent personal storms imaginable. Paul told the Philippians to “rejoice!” He wrote that from a dirty jail cell. Joy is what we need, not entertainment. Joy is what we need, not self-seeking sin. David cried out to God for it, Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. (Psalm 51:8) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (Psalm 51:12) If ever he were to get his life together it would have to begin with a fresh infusion of joy. 

Let me say that many Christians are locked in a vicious cycle where they are resisting the Holy Spirit and as a consequence have little or no joy. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and there is no substitute for it. If you resist the Holy Spirit –  you resist joy (along with love, peace, etc.). A person in this condition is on a slippery slope to total destruction. They will seek pleasure to compensate for the missing joy until they end up in a similar scenario as David was in. I once heard a famous preacher say, “When the joy of the Lord is gone in my life I start heading down to the miry places.” He was suggesting that joylessness leaves a void in our life that the world and the Devil will tempt us to fill with gross sin. 

Because he had no joy- David found a sin to fill the void. It didn’t happen over night, but eventually it did. Because David sinned, he completely lost the joy of his salvation as well. How can you enjoy anything when your conscience is eating at you day and night and the hand of the Lord is heavy upon you? You risk becoming the most miserable and unreachable person on earth if you continue in this state. David did a terrible thing, but God restored him when he truly repented. But I think of Judas as well. He did a terrible thing too, but the outcome was very different. It was bad enough that he betrayed the Lord, but added to this he took his own life. This is very instructive. The Devil is not just interested in ruining our lives and drowning us in our sins consequences, he wants a person to despair to the point that they take their own life. 

All of this can be traced by to the one phrase, “because he had no joy.” May the Lord sober our minds to the need to have His Holy Spirit working in us, bringing us joy and love and peace. Without joy we become capable of anything in our quest to find a replacement.  

Joy in the presence of His glory

Joy in the presence of His glory
Robert Wurtz II

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)

Our passage contains a wonderful promise of the the expression of the power of God. Jesus Christ, our savior from sin, is not only able to keep us from falling, but to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. Christ can do it, if we allow Him. We cannot in our own strength keep our own selves from falling. As it has been said, “our responsibility is to respond rightly to His ability.” (R. Bailey) My response to His ability will determine how my life turns out. Christ is the savior that saves from sin. If we are not being saved from our sins it is because we are not allowing the savior to save us. 

The wisdom of the Savior

When we come to Christ, whether or not we know it, our lives are in total shambles and we need “the only wise God” to be our savior. We might be able to correct certain facets of our life through our own human ability, but we cannot get all of our lives into a ‘faultless state’ in our own strength. there are too many variables and we have spent far too much time passing down the road of life by our own directions to ever find our way back home on our own. We are lost and we need a savior. Life is like a labyrinth without Christ. We had all turned aside after our own way landing us (as the old hymn writer said) far from the peaceful shore. We have no compass or sense of direction. We need the only wise God our Saviour to light the path of righteousness before us. We need direction from the Holy Spirit. 

The Joy of God’s guidance

Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)

The road to the Joy of the Lord is opened up to us as we respond to what God is saying to us. God can speak to our hearts in many splendored ways. The key is to submit to God when we know it’s Him. The Spirit and the word agree, so there is no need to fear that the Holy Spirit will lead us astray. Nay, He will guide us into all truth. When the word comes to us, how will we respond? Jeremiah was a man often vexed and depressed by the sin of the people and the judgment that was coming their way. But He found a place of joy when the Holy Spirit spoke. Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. Many people have tried a great many things trying to bring a sense of happiness to their lives, when all they needed was a fresh Word from God. 

First steps

The cure for sin is to turn to God. The cure for vexation is to turn to God. It is only as we face God, that we can face our tomorrows. The challenges of life are too great. The opportunities to sin are too many. We need the only wise God, our Savior, to take the lead and keep us from falling. But if we sin, we have an advocate with the Father. Sin is joys greatest enemy. David the king understood this when he had sinned with Bathsheeba. He knew that he needed the joy of His salvation to even think about going forward. When joy is gone, men and women will seek to entertain themselves. Sin can never replace joy, but many of men and women have given it a go. The despair and grief only magnifies the joylessness. David writes in Psalm 51, restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. That is to say, restore unto me the joy that I knew before I decided I didn’t need you to save me from my sins. Restore to me the joyful sense of feeling welcome in thy Kingdom and in Thy presence. David knew he had sinned, and like the prodigal son, was running from God. His soul dried up. How could he face the morning when he was no longer face to face with God. thanks be to God that David acknowledged his sin and the process to restoration was begun. 

Faultless and full of Joy

I wish to end these thoughts by looking at a key component to what Jude has said, “to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” The writer to the Hebrews tells us to obey those that have the oversight because they watch for our souls that they may give an account with joy and not grief. (Hebrews 13:17) There is a place where we can submit to God that He can present all parties at the judgment faultless and joyful. the Greek work gives the impression of a joy so great, that the rejoicing one is jumping up and down. Praise the Lord! Amen. Not downcast. Not fearing the next moment. But with a joy-filled confidence that only God can bring. It is no accident that these words are placed just before the book of Revelation. God wants us to know that there is a place in Him, where He can lead us by His word that we can rejoice all the way to and through the finish line.       
       

  

No Conscious Sin (The Key to Genuine Joy)

No Conscious Sin

The Key to Genuine Joy
Robert Wurtz II

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned (1 Timothy 1:5)

Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck (1 Timothy 1:19)

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21)

New Covenant Joy

For many, the joy of the Lord has been an illusive reality for which they have searched all of their Christian life. They have gravitated towards ministries that focused on joy, read books on joy, prayed for joy and yet still they have no joy. The reason for this is likely because the New Testament approaches joy in a different way than the Old Testament. The Old Covenant was designed for the old man, while the New Covenant is designed for the new man. You cannot satisfy the new man with Old Covenant means of joy. In the New Covenant joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) This is why Paul told the Ephesians not to be drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit. People for ages have sought merriment from intoxication; but that will never work with a Christian. It would be like putting Diesel fuel into a car that runs on Unleaded fuel. Not only would it not run, you risk causing all kinds of problems that will require strong intervention to reverse. Christians need the joy that comes from continual in fillings of the Holy Spirit. 

Interrupted supply

The Holy Spirit has been sent in to the world in part to convince (convict) the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. (John 16:8) If we stop there we will totally miss the other side of what He has come to do. When a person is in disobedience the Holy Spirit with strive with man to turn them into the right path. He will ‘convict’ them. It is a miserable thing to be in this situation. The Psalmist David reflected on the time he had sinned with Bathsheeba and was running from God; For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. (Psalm 32:4) This is a similar experience to one that God is dealing with to bring them to repentance. This is the mode of operation the Holy Spirit is in for them. Jesus told Saul on the road to Demascus that it was hard for him to kick against the pricks (goads); that is to say, it is hard to resist the Holy Spirit as he is working using all manor of means to secure your salvation. Goads were used in ancient time to keep the oxen in line as they plowed the fields. A goad is like a spear. In Judges 3:31 a man named Shugar slew 600 men with one. This is the picture we have of God’s dealing with Saul, and I dare say with all obstinate men and women. Stephen told the religious leaders that they did always resist the Holy Spirit as did their fathers. Is their any wonder they were so mean and miserable? But as soon as a person leaves off resisting, turns and trusts in faith, the Holy Spirit will leave off the operation of conviction and will pour in with His love and joy (Romans 5:5, Acts 13:52). 

That your joy may be full

God wants our joy to be full (John 16:24, 1 John 1:4, 2 John 12). This is a primary reason why John wrote his epistles. This is why the focus is very straight forward- calling the people into a righteous walk with God. He calls us to walk before the Lord with no conscious sin. Notice how in 1 John 1:4 he tells us he is writing that our joy may be full and then immediately says these words, If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 6-7) He is calling us out of sin and compromise and into a righteous walk with Christ. Notice he then says, BUT, if we sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  (1 John 2:1) This means that forgiveness through the blood of Christ and confession (acknowledgment) of sin is not to be a first option, but more like a last resort. Like a fire extinguisher in the school hallway- in case of Emergency, break glass. Who ever heard of an extinguisher on the teachers desk for the frequent fires that erupt? We have an advocate with the Father, but we must totally abandon the idea that forgiveness is a first option. What did God tell Saul? Behold to obey is better than to sacrifice. Obedience is to be preferred to the application of the blood upon our sins. This is what John was saying, if you will walk before God with no conscious sin and if (and I mean if) you sin- make it right with God immediately and turn from it, then your joy will be full. Otherwise you will be relegated to a life of walking the isles at the Bible Bookstore or the liquor store seeking some other means of merriment.   

In Psalm 51 David asked the Lord to restore to him the joy of his salvation. By implication he had lost his joy either after he sinned or he lost it and then started sinning as a result. I think the latter is in view. To whatever measure David or the most joyous in all of ancient Israel may have known the joy of the Lord, which was their strength, like John the Baptist as a man of God, it would have been least in the Kingdom of God. Joy in the New Covenant is taken to a whole new level just like love was taken to a whole new level. But as the Psalmist experienced, our supply of joy can be interrupted by sin. 

SECTION II

What is the Conscience?

The CONSCIENCE is that unaffiliated member of our being that God has placed within us to speak, as it were, on His behalf. It is a double or joint knowledge, namely, one of a divine law or rule, and the other of a man’s own actions. It measures our behavior and attitude against what we believe to be right and wrong, absolutely. It judges exactly as it sees without any prejudice. As designed it will judge against the laws of God written in the heart, but as men and women pour folly and falsehood into their belief system the conscience will work from that data. Whatever is sincerely held as truth will be the standard the conscience applies.

The conscience in its God given form is used by the Holy Spirit to convince us of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 8:9). Truth resonates in the conscience of even the vilest of sinners. The conscience is the mechanism of moral judgment that men and women pass on the morality of his/her own actions. It also passes judgment on the purity of our motives. It is the secret testimony of the soul, whereby it approves things that are good, and condemns those that are evil without partiality. The will of God is the only rule that should immediately bind the conscience. No one has authority over the conscience but God. Keep that clear. Man can sear their conscience, but they cannot make it call evil good and good evil; nor can they cause it to lie down when it has risen to pass judgment on our behavior and/or attitude.

The Guilty Conscience

The GUILTY conscience is one that believes the person has acted in disharmony with what the person believes is right and wrong. A guilty conscience is a primary obstacle to us coming to the throne of grace or to do His service (Hebrews 9:9). It shouts GUILTY, which tends to cause man to want to run or hide from God. This is what Adam and Eve had done when God came looking for them. In this way man cannot act contrary to what they believe is God’s will without suffering the pain of conscience. A guilty conscience can seize upon the person like a claw upon the mind. Many criminals have confessed under duress from their conscience.

The Purging of the Conscience

The blood of bulls and of goats could not take away sins- nor did that blood have the power to PURGE the conscience of its guilt when a person had sinned. People had a sense that they had done wrong and struggled to find relief. However, we read in Hebrews 9:14, How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God, and again, Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:22).

The Evil Conscience

Of an EVIL conscience there are several kinds. When our conscience has lost its sense of right and wrong (to some degree or another) it could be called a polluted or defiled conscience. This comes about from false criteria with which the conscience judges. The mechanism may work, but the ‘laws’ written in the heart may have been non-biblical teachings that should have been ‘cast down’ as they exalted themselves against the knowledge of God. The conscience is ‘evil’ when it gives either none or a false testimony as to past or present actions.

When reflecting upon ones own sin and wickedness, if the conscience feels no pain, it is EVIL, and said to be seared or hardened (1 Timothy 4:2). This is caused by ones deliberate quenching of the Spirit of God as He would seek to bring correction to our life through the conscience. A ‘dull spot’ develops in the area that the conscience is continually quenched or seared. It is also EVIL when, during the commission of sin(s), it remains silent.

A Good Conscience

A GOOD conscience is one that has been purged by the blood of Christ and is utilizing the laws of God written upon our hearts BY GOD as a reference point for its moral decisions. Everyone is born with certain ‘default’ laws upon our hearts in so much as to render every human being who ever lived as guilty before God for their sins (Romans 1:28). As we grow in the knowledge of God our conscience is trained with right information and becomes increasingly effective as a guide.

The Weak Conscience

A WEAK conscience is one in which there are residual rules and regulations of men that have nothing to do with God, but yet are present in the heart and are used by the conscience to make rulings for good or evil. This is seen in great detail in Romans 14. As it is written, accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand (NIV).

This is true in all sorts of disputable matters. The issue is, does the person have a pure biblical justification in their conscience for what they are doing? If so then they are acting in faith. If a person believes that what they are about to do is sin- it is sin unto them (Romans 14:23). Why, because they cannot do it in a pure conscience. They cannot act in faith and whatsoever is not of faith is sin. A person must walk in step with the conscience until they become full persuaded in their own heart that the behavior is not a sin.

Dealing With a Weak Conscience

This is not to say that God has a different set of rules for everyone because He does not. The issue has to do with our growth and having been built up in the knowledge of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). It takes time for God to erase things like ‘old wives fables’ and ‘legalistic laws’ and add HIS LAW in their place. There are also times when we may be vulnerable to certain sins and the Holy Spirit will CONVICT us to stay away from the things that make us fall. We must be sensitive to God and our conscience. One must not be advised to transgress the conscience, nor feel it is OK to do so. If a person thinks something they are about to do is a sin- they should not do it.

Traditions and the Conscience

We have certain traditions, as did the Pharisee’s, that make the word of God of no effect (Matthew 15:3). And that, because a lot of ‘taste not, touch not, and handle not,’ teachings exist that have cropped up in the last 200 years. As it is written, Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations — “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using — according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh (Colossians 2:22,23 NKJV). Change comes when we prayerfully spend time in God’s Word seeking to know the truth of God.

On Liberty and Freedom

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another (Galatians 5:13).

It is possible for a Christian to do things in front of other Christians that they view as sin and cause them to stumble in the faith. This is very important. We read in Romans 14Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died (Romans 14:13-15).

So then the summation of these things is found in Romans 14:21-23It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin (NKJV).

This is where believers must be conscious of the conscience of others. It is the charitable thing to do. To dismiss a sincerely held conviction of other believers is to walk uncharitably and to risk sending the message that it is ‘OK’ to transgress the conscience. Until the person can be fully persuaded in their own mind as to what is right and what is wrong, we are to bear their infirmity.

Evidence of a Seared Conscience

The only thing worse than an overly-sensitive conscience is a seared conscience. When a person can compromise or sin and feel no pain of conscience (whether in whole or in a particular area), repentance is in order. Once repentance is secured God must send a healing to reestablish sensitivity to the conscience. To transgress the area again is to re-sear what God has healed. The great enemy of our conscience is the ever increasingly wicked world system that is dumbing down the conscience of society. God has placed the Church (true Christians) in society to be a light unto it’s conscience (if you will). When believers conform to this world they have a diminishing conscience. Soon they side with evil with no pain of conscience. They can subject themselves to the presence of evil with no problem. This is the great challenge of our times. We must reject this tendency, maintain a good conscience, lest we be as some (who) having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck (1 Timothy 1:19)

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