Acts 15:3 So being sent on their way by the church, they went through  both Phoenicia and Samaria, narrating in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.

I was reading through Acts 15 this morning and came across vs. 3 in which we discover that the news that many Gentiles were coming to faith brought "great joy" to the church [which at the time was composed mainly of Jews]. I began to wonder what else brought the believers "great joy." Here are some things:

  • The discovery of the resurrection of Jesus. Matt. 28:8 So they left the tomb at once, with fear and great joy, and ran to break the news to his disciples.
  • The demonstration of the power of the gospel under Philip's preaching. Acts 8:8 So there was great joy in that city.
  • The news that followers of Christ were walking in the truth. 3John 4 I have no greater joy than this: to hear that  my children are walking in the truth.
  • Our reaction when we stand in God's glorious presence. Jude 24 Now to the one who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in his glorious presence  without blame and with great joy

Great joy then comes in the knowledge of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that he is not dead, but that he has risen and this leads both to the salvation of our own souls and the promise of our own resurrection. Great joy comes in seeing the work of the Holy Spirit extended to people whom we did not expect to see follow Jesus. Great joy comes when we see the working of the Holy Spirit in power as people come to faith and as those who are sick are healed. Great joy comes to us as we see fellow believers overcoming the temptation to live according to the world's standards and embrace and live according to the truth of God's word. Finally, this great joy will extend into the gates of heaven itself as we stand in the presence of our Great God with everyone else who has been washed clean by the blood of Jesus, who has been forgiven, and who stands before God's presence with us in great joy.

Amen and Amen!