Acts 13:52 "And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."
Today is about 3 young people, who will shortly stand before God and make a public profession of their faith. It is a simple thing really, they will answer the questions that were asked at their baptism, but this time they will answer for themselves. They have prepared for this day with much study, and they will talk of the trials that tribulations... But I will speak of what it is to be a disciple, and what it means to be filled with joy.
A disciple is, in a real sense, not a finished product; rather it is a lifelong endeavor. Disciples do not graduate from being a disciple. Disciples do not go on to greater things, although they may do great things. A disciple is one who commits his life to follow a master. A disciple commits his life to learning all that the master has to teach. A disciple commits his life to doing all that the master give him to do. A disciple is one under authority, the authority of the master, and will remain under authority of the master, as long as he is a disciple.
There are many things that call us to follow. There are many things that would be our Master. But the Triune God is one God. And Jesus Christ, true God, has called us to follow him. The scripures teach that no one can say that Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Ghost. And we are gathered here today because Jesus has called each one of us to follow Him, to learn from him. Jesus has called each one of us to be a disciple, and to have Jesus as our Lord, master, and our Savior. Jesus has called us to hear, and to obey - to be under his authority for the rest of our life. And what’s more, we have said, Yes, we will follow, we will hear and obey.
As disciples, Jesus has given us a work to do. First is to learn, so we may speak of our faith with authority. We learn the scriptures, for they show us the way of salvation, and train us in holy living. And once we have learned what we believe, Jesus sends us out to be witnesses, to tell of what God in Christ has done in our lives, and to invite others to come with us, and follow Jesus. For the job of a disciple is not simply to walk the way of salvation, but walking the way of salvation, to invite others to join us, in Christ.
Sometimes this is easy, for it is easy to speak of good weather and good fortune, and so it is easy t tell the good news. But sometimes there is opposition, sometimes people fight against us for following Christ, and work to make us miserable. In our lesson, Paul and Barnabas met this kind of opposition at the end of their stay at Antioch, the opposition drove them out of the city, but they did not give up, the went on, to Iconium. And - "the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."
And this brings us to Joy. Its different that happiness, because happiness comes and goes, but joy remains. Joy remains, because the reason for Joy remains, infact it never changes. For Joy is always rooted in the salvation of God through Jesus Christ, it is joy because this salvation is for us.
Luke 2:10 And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people;